UAL Expands its Cash-Free Environment

Introducing its “EasyPurchase” initiative, United Airlines is to accept
only payment cards for most onboard purchases during trans-Atlantic
flights and flights to and from Brazil and Argentina, effective
September 2. To speed cabin service, provide receipts and increase
efficiency, cash will no longer be accepted onboard these flights,
except for duty-free purchases. The policy is already effective on
flights within the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and
the Caribbean. “United Mileage Plus” Chase Visa cardholders will earn 10
miles for every dollar spent on in-flight purchases. Those who apply and
are approved for the card using the onboard application will earn 30,000
Mileage Plus bonus miles and a $100 United discount travel certificate
after their first purchase.

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CC Accounts Slide After Peaking Last Year

Since the start of the recession the number of Visa and MasterCard credit card accounts has dropped by at least 40 million in the U.S. and could exceed 80 million once final second quarter data are released. The number of Visa and MasterCard credit card accounts peaked at 496 million one year ago. At the end of the first quarter the number had fallen to 446 million. MasterCard reports that its credit card accounts declined from 206 million in 1Q/09 to 184 million at mid-year. Visa reported that its credit card accounts dropped from 258 million in 4Q/08 to 240 million in 1Q/09. (Visa will release official Q2 figures in late October.) According to CardData, the 9% drop through the first quarter and MasterCard’s second quarter figures, projects to 404 million credit card accounts at mid-year or an 18% year-on-year decline.

CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS
(Visa and MasterCard)
1Q/08: 490 million
2Q/08: 496 million
3Q/08: 492 million
4Q/08: 479 million
1Q/09: 446 million
2Q/09: 404 million (projected)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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ShieldSafe Introduces America Protected

Identity protection provider ShieldSafe has launched the “America
Protected” solution to help
consumers protect themselves from identity theft at no charge.
ShieldSafe helps individuals
and their entire family protect themselves with the ShieldSafe fraud
alert quick link and the ShieldSafe credit report quick link. The fraud
alert quick link directs individuals to the initial 90-day fraud alert
form. Once this form is filled out, an individual is proactively
protected for 90 days with a fraud alert. An individual must fill out
this simple form every 90 days in order to keep the fraud alert active.
ShieldSafe then emails the individual every 90 days to remind them to
fill out this form to remain protected. The credit report quick link
directs individuals to the free credit report link where individuals can
view their credit report immediately. ShieldSafe then emails the
individual every 12 months with the credit report quick link to remind
them to get their free credit report.

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INTERCHANGE REGS

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payments System Board has ruled to keep regulating interchange fees on credit card and EFTPOS transactions. The Board says there is still not enough competition or assurances that future interchange fees would not rise. In September, the Board indicated that it would be prepared to step back from interchange regulation if industry participants took sufficient steps to reduce the risk that interchange fees would rise in the absence of regulation. If sufficient progress was not made by August, interchange regulation would be retained, with the Board proposing that the benchmark for credit card interchange fees be reduced to 30 basis points. The Board has now concluded that, although progress has been made in both these areas, it is not yet sufficient to warrant a decision to step back from interchange regulation. While the Board noted the establishment of EFTPOS Payments Australia and the renewed commitment to develop an online payments system (the “MAMBO” project), it does not believe that these initiatives have yet reached the point where they will exert significant competitive pressure on interchange fees, though such a position may well be reached over time.

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TASQ Inks a Major Hypercom Optimum Deal

First Data’s TASQ Technology has inked a deal to market Hypercom’s “Optimum” multi-lane terminal family. Under terms of the partnership TASQ plans to purchase and roll-out for resale up to 100,000 “Optimum” countertop and mobile payment terminals, during the next 12 months, to its U.S.-based bank and ISO customers. TASQ will also become
an authorized service partner for these devices. TASQ has sold thousands of “Optimum” products in Canada, and is also Hypercom’s exclusive distributor for the “Optimum T4205” in that market. Hypercom recently reported that net revenue for the second quarter increased 28% sequentially to $106.8 million, but down 14%, compared to 2Q/08. The payment terminal manufacturer delivered net income of $1.3 million for 2Q/09, compared to a $9.9 million loss in the prior quarter and a $10.9 million loss in the year ago quarter. (CF Library 8/5/09)

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AmEx Joins the NYC FNO Promotion

American Express has put its support behind Fashion’s “Night Out” (FNO),
offering exclusive benefits for Cardmembers on September 10. Cardmembers
can now visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment to register for
access to retail and restaurant incentives at more than 700
participating locations that evening across all five boroughs.
Cardmembers who spend at least $300 in total at two or more stores will
receive a $50 credit on their next American Express monthly statement
and are allowed a free appetizer or dessert at a variety of
participating restaurants. A collaboration between American Vogue, the
Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company, and the City of
New York, “FNO” is a global initiative created to celebrate fashion,
restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry’s economy. A
complete listing of participating retailers and restaurants can be found
at www.americanexpress.com/entertainment.

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Paymetric Revenues Leap in 2Q/09

Paymetric integrated and secure enterprise payment acceptance solutions
has released the results of its record-breaking 2Q/09 sales. Thanks in
part to the introduction of its new software-as-a-service (SaaS)
solutions, “XiPay On-Demand,” Paymetric was allowed to add Lastar,
Numark Industries and Fossil to its portfolio and reach deferred revenue
growth of 175% Y/Y. What companies find attractive about Paymetric’s
“XiPay On-Demand” are its capabilities to manage, accept and integrate
virtually every type of electronic payment in any enterprise system
where payment is accepted. The SaaS ultimately lowers the customers’
total cost of ownership through an inclusive monthly service fee;
reduced installation costs; reduced billing, collection and
administrative costs; reduced customer attrition costs; reduced
interchange fees; and reduced IT costs with no hardware to manage, no
operating system or database patches to install. “XiSecure On-Demand”
and Paymetric’s tokenization solution is also adaptive to more easily
meeting PCI DSS compliance.

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ViVOtech Releases NFC OTA for Large Deployments

NFC Mobile payment provider ViVOtech has rolled out “ViVOnfc Suite 2.8”
NFC infrastructure software on the Solaris 10 Operating System and Sun
Microsystems hardware for large-scale commercial deployments. ViVOnfc 2.8’s unique dual server architecture ensures that issuers will
maintain the security of their card data and leverage the widest
possible reach over the mobile carrier network. Card issuers, merchants,
and transit operators are now able to extend their brand image and
online services to their customers’ mobile devices. The solution
includes NFC wallet and OTA card provisioning software. The suite
enables the entire ecosystem of Mobile Network Operators (MNO), Trusted
Service Managers (TSM), card issuers, merchants, and marketing services
companies to securely provision and manage payment cards, coupons and
tickets on NFC-enabled handsets.

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Citi Intros Multicurrency Virtual Card Platform

Citi has introduced a new service for institutions that generates unique
virtual card numbers for transactions, allowing administrators to
dynamically set spending and reconciliation controls on each virtual
card account. The new multicurrency “Citi Virtual Card Accounts” service
is an electronic solution for post-invoice payments and card-not-present
transactions made via the Internet, phone, or mail order. It also
complements an organization’s existing commercial card program. Citi has
teamed with MasterCard to integrate their “inControl” virtual card
platform into its core commercial cards processing systems. Citi’s
“Virtual Card Account” solution, which extends Citi’s “Procure to Pay”
suite, is available globally, with local currency issuance and
settlement in nearly 50 countries.

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OCC Wants More 45-Day Opt-Out Disclosure

The OCC issued a bulletin calling for national banks to expand
disclosure on the implementation of any terms during the 45-day opt-out
period. Under the new “Credit CARD Act” banks must notify customers 45
days in advance of any rate increase or significant changes in credit
card account terms. The rules also require lenders to disclose that
their customers have the right to reject those changes. However, under
the rules, the new rates or terms can be applied to any transaction that
occurs more than 14 days after the notice is provided – even if the
customer ultimately rejects the changes. The rules do not require
creditors to tell their customers that new terms can be applied during
the 45-day period. The OCC is directing national banks to include an
additional disclosure to notify consumers of this consequence to prevent
consumer confusion, particularly for customers who opt to reject the
changes in terms.

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