Big Issuers Target Small Business Owners Again

Tracking data show credit card direct marketing to small business owners is picking up especially for top tier issuers like Chase. While the number of mailings received by small businesses has been flat this year, it contrasts sharply to the 82% decline observed from January 2008 to January 2009. During the second quarter, Chase accounted for 41% of offers received by Mintel Comperemedia’s small business panel, up from 26% in the second quarter of last year. American Express, on the other hand, reduced direct marketing, accounting for less than 7% of mailings, down from 23% in the year ago quarter. Other card issuers have also stepped up direct marketing for their small business cards recently. Barclays and Citibank, both of which were prominent small business card promoters in the past, each sent significantly more offers to Mintel Comperemedia panelists in July and August than in previous months.

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Sub-Primer DataX is PCI DSS Compliant

Subprime credit reporting agency DataX has
has achieved compliance with Payment Card
Industry Data Security Standards.
A PCI-approved quality security assessor evaluated DataX operations, and
compliance was validated in the third quarter of 2009. Selling Source’s
DataX provides real-time credit
reporting, consumer data verification and analytic services to the
business and financial services industry and operates a comprehensive
consumer credit reporting agency.

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More than 40% of Americans Cut Credit Card Spend

A new survey has found that two-thirds of Americans consider themselves
as “good” or “very good” money managers. Nearly 60% have cut back on
discretionary spending and 41% of consumers have trimmed their credit
card spending. The new study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that
Americans have been forced to get smarter about managing their money and
nearly 8 out of 10 consumers polled have adopted a money management
system. The report shows that in the past 90 days, three to five times
as many Americans took defensive steps to cope with the financial pain
versus those with an improving financial outlook. Javelin found that 35%
struggled to continue saving, 28% cut back on buying basic goods and 23%
said they found it harder to pay off their credit card bills each month.
Surprisingly, 50% of consumers still use old fashioned pen and paper
techniques to track finances by hand.

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GiroCheck Offers Guaranteed Check Program

FL-based check cashing provider GiroCheck is now offering a Guaranteed
Check Program to retailers.
Under the program, available to all merchants utilizing the
company’s check-cashing services, 100% of approved checks are
guaranteed. This effectively eliminates the risks of counterfeit checks,
bad checks and stolen checks, as well as the need for collections or
check-recovery litigation. Convenience stores and supermarkets can also
capitalize on a variety of
other benefits by working with GiroCheck. GiroCheck Financial
provides management tools that enable merchants to monitor transactions
at their locations in real time. No data input via keyboard is required.
Employees simply have to scan the customer’s check and identification,
providing a quick and easy processing solution. Regulatory and
compliance issues are also simplified with GiroCheck’s
complete solution. Agents of GiroCheck work directly under the company’s
license, eliminating the need and hassles of the licensing process and
continued compliance.

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Chase Launches its First Business Charge Card

Chase officially unveiled a new business card portfolio that includes
four distinct cards and marks the issuer’s first introduction of a
pay-in-full charge card. The new cards include: “Ink Bold,” “Ink,” “Ink
Plus” and “Ink Cash.” “Ink Bold” is a pay-in-full charge card with a $95
annual fee offering premium rewards from business purchases with no
limit on how many points may be earned and the points do not expire.
“Ink” is a business credit card with no annual fee and a rewards
program. “Ink Plus” with a $60 annual fee is a business credit card with
a rewards program. “Ink Cash” is a no annual fee credit card that offers
unlimited cash back and accelerated earnings on everyday business
purchases. All the new cards offer online expense management tools,
complete with online reporting capabilities as well as customized
reports on spending that can be categorized, sorted and downloaded to
accounting software for easy tracking and tax purposes. Also, additional
cards are available for employees with individual spending limits and
custom alerts delivered via email or text to track employee spending –
all while earning rewards from employees’ purchases.

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NetSpend Introduces Virtual Prepaid Card

Prepaid card provider NetSpend has released a “virtual” card to be tied
to an existing prepaid debit card account. The NetSpend virtual card
acts just like an additional card on the account and is available to
current cardholders through the company’s online account center at
NetSpend.com. The virtual card can be created or deleted on demand, can
be accessed—or created—via a mobile phone and can be used for any
card-not-present transaction. The virtual card adds an
extra layer of protection for account holders who are shopping online or
on the phone and the instant issue functionality allows it to also act as a
temporary backup when a customer loses their physical card—eliminating
the waiting period to receive a replacement. The visual spending history
helps to
manage a cardholder’s money by automatically categorizing all
transactions into an easy-to-read pie chart. This simple presentation
helps them see where they have been spending their money and to browse
and search expenses by month, category or merchant.The NetSpend
budgeting application and “report card” helps
customers set spending limits by category and to monitor their money
throughout the month through cardholder-set spending targets.

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JULY LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Germany increased
for the 4th consecutive month by 1.1% while The Conference Board
Coincident Economic Index (CEI) posted no change in July. With the 1.1%
increase in July, the Conference Board LEI for Germany now stands at
89.1 (2004=100), which increased 1.1% in June and increased 0.6% in May
and increased 0.7% over the previous 6 months with five of the seven
components increasing. Meanwhile, the CEI decreased 0.8% throughout the
previous 6 months with none of the four series making a positive
contribution. LEI results for the month were attributed to positive
gains in goods industries, yield spread, consumer confidence, new
residential construction orders, inventory change series and stock
prices while negative contributors include gross enterprises and
properties income.

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Companies Still Struggle with PCI DSS Compliance

A new survey has found that despite “PCI DSS,” companies still struggle with data security, putting consumers at continued risk for identity theft. Seven out of ten companies surveyed admit to not making data security a top strategic initiative, and 55% admit to only securing credit card information and not sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and bank account details. The research from Imperva and the Ponemon Institute also found that 60% of respondents don’t think they have sufficient resources to comply with PCI and bring about a necessary level of cardholder security. Additionally, the survey found that only 28% of smaller companies (501-1000 employees) comply with PCI as opposed to 70% of larger companies (75,000 or more employees). Imperva says companies can’t articulate their security efforts to consumers, and consumers are not aware of the compliance status of the retailers they do business with. As a consequence, companies cannot leverage their investment in PCI compliance to gain competitive advantage.

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BB&T to Deploy Wincor Nixdorf’s ProCash

NC-based BB&T Bank has signed on Wincor Nixdorf to provide “ProCash” ATMs, software and associated services.
BB&T is purchasing a range of models, including Wincor’s ProCash NDC ATM
terminal software, along with the company’s ongoing first- and
second-line servicing, maintenance and support. Installation of initial
units is scheduled for completion by the end of 2009, with additional
installations planned for 2010. BB&T holds $152.4 billion in assets and operates
more than 1,500 banking offices.

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FIFA & VISA

A “FIFA World Cup” partner since 2007, Visa announced it will roll out its Financial Football game (known as Financial Soccer in the U.S.) in over 12 countries in the months leading up to the “2010 FIFA World Cup.” The game, which went live in Brazil on September 15th, is now available for U.S. players. Visa says the new “FIFA World Cup” branded educational video game is the centerpiece of a commitment to reach 20 million people worldwide with financial literacy information by May 1st, 2013. The new video game was announced at the “Clinton Global Initiative Conference.” Visa also rang the bell of the New York Stock Exchange today. Following the bell ringing, Visa hosted a Financial Football clinic with U.S. national team captain Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy, World Cup veteran Brian McBride of the Chicago Fire and Mexican soccer legend Jorge Campos at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Manhattan.

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FNDS3000 PREPAID

FNDS3000 financial transaction processing services company has announced
an update on the preliminary results of the Market Test Phase of its
operations. Reportedly, 41,000 cards have been distributed to corporate
clients who are in the process of issuing these cards to cardholders
with no significant problems. The number of new corporate clients has
increased to 30 bank approved clients and expectations exceed 50,000
cards during October. Corporate customers have ordered and paid for
141,000 prepaid cards for issuance from which FNDS3000 has raised over
$7 million in capital in an extraordinary credit environment. FNDS3000
financial transaction processing service focuses on the development and
implementation of a variety of prepaid card programs outside the United
States.

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Chase Makes it Debit Cards More Consumer Friendly

As pressure builds on bank overdraft practices, particularly with regard to debit card transactions, Chase announced it will revamp its policies early next year. The plans call for eliminating overdrafts for debit cards unless the customer opts in to overdraft services; modifying the
posting order to recognize debit-card transactions and ATM withdrawals as they occur; eliminating overdraft fees if a customer’s account is $5 or less overdrawn and reducing the maximum number of overdraft fees per day to three from six. Chase says it will continue its current policy of not allowing customers to withdraw more cash from an ATM than they have available in their account. In addition, Chase will continue to offer overdraft protection for customers who link their checking account to a savings account, credit card or home equity line of credit. Earlier this month, Chase introduced “Blueprint,” a new initiative that makes it easier for Chase credit card customers to reduce balances and avoid interest charges.

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