Chase Checking to Enhance Freedom Card Rewards

Chase’s “Freedom” credit card rewards program now has a new incentive: “Chase Checking.” In addition to one point per dollar charged to a “Chase Freedom” credit card, the new offer provides Chase checking account customers with: 10% more points for every dollar they spend on purchases with the card and 10 bonus points on every purchase. The “Chase Freedom” credit card also provides access to “Ultimate Rewards” and the “Ultimate Rewards Online Mall.” With the “Chase Freedom” credit card program customers earn unlimited points with no-annual fee card and the points never expire. In addition, new customers receive 1,000 bonus points after their first purchase. Chase introduced the “Freedom” card in 2006. (CF Library 9/18/06)

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BUYER-WALL

The process of combining tokenization and encryption for securing cardholder data from the card reader through the entire transaction lifecycle has become a reality. The new solution can virtually remove merchants’ POS and card readers from the scope of PCI compliance. Electronic Payment Exchange has become the first payment processor to offer such a true end-to-end solution with the introduction of “BuyerWall.” With the new solution encryption built into the hardware and software at the POS, it protects against potential breaches before card numbers enter into the authorization process as it immediately encodes credit card numbers upon the card swipe. Tokenization then replaces account numbers with values that are meaningless to hackers and identity thieves. FasTraxPOS, a retail automation company offering POS solutions to more than 1,300 convenience and tobacco-related stores, is one of the first organizations to adopt EPX’s new tokenized end-to-end encryption solution. EPX is a participating organization of the PCI Security Standards Council.

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Trustcash and Alligato to Integrate

Trustcash Holdings will integrate its alternative payment solution with
phone service provider Alligato. Alligato markets its service under the
www.CellLongDistance.com brand. Large member based organizations,
existing service providers, application providers and web communities
will now have access to cell phone long distance for their customers and
members with greater quality and at up to 90% savings. Trustcash is a
pioneer of anonymous payment systems for the internet. Trustcash
developed a business based on the sale of a virtual stored value card
that can be used by consumers to make secure and anonymous purchases on
the internet.

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Capital One Sued Over Rate Increases

Atlanta attorney E. Adam Webb
has filed a class action lawsuit against Capital One Bank.
According to the suit, Capital One raised the interest rates associated
with credit card accounts by over 9% even though accounts were
in good standing and had been at all relevant times. Although Capital
One did not purport to impose these new higher rates on balances accrued
prior to its notice to consumers, the effect is the same because of the
Bank’s practice of crediting all payments to the portion of the account
balance with the lowest interest rate. In addition, the suit alleges
that Capital One’s offer that customers could reject this interest rate
increase by closing their credit card accounts is inadequate because
closing a credit line has a negative impact
on a consumer’s credit score. A lower credit score can cost a consumer
thousands of dollars over the term of a home mortgage or other loan. As
a result, customers have been forced to accept Capital One’s unilateral
rate increases.
The Plaintiffs allege that Capital One is liable for all damages that
have resulted from its bad faith and improper conduct, to include the
differential in interest payments paid by the class members to Capital One.

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Ceto Names Consulting Services Exec

GA-based financial service consultants Ceto and Associates has
promoted Richard J. Holtzman to a manager position in their Consulting
Services Group. In his new role, Holtzman will serve as the Manager for
Ceto
and Associates’ nationally recognized revenue enhancement projects and
contract cost reduction assessments, in addition to other responsibilities.
Holtzman initially joined Ceto and Associates as a Consultant in Ceto’s
Consulting Service Group, conducting bank-wide studies to identify and
quantify systemic gaps in pricing, assessment and collection of service
and transactional fees. Ceto and Associates recognized his outstanding
efforts and results with clients and promoted him to Senior Consultant
in 2007. During his tenure as a Senior Consultant, Holtzman performed
multiple revenue enhancement consulting engagements for clients
nationwide. His responsibilities included identification and
quantification of benefits, implementation assistance, development of
performance measurement and monitoring systems, and ongoing consultation
and support. Holtzman is a Cum Laude graduate of Georgia Southern
University’s School of Finance.

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ASIA-PACIFIC TRAVEL

Corporate travel payment solution provider AirPlus International has
released a whitepaper, “Successful Travel Management in Asia-Pacific –
Challenges and Solutions in a Fast Changing Region” at the ACTE
Asia-Pacific Education Conference in Singapore which explores the
unique realities of managing travel in Asia-Pacific and provides
suggestions to global travel managers for improved performance in the
region.
A survey of ACTE-affiliated corporate travel managers supported the
study. Of those surveyed, 42% consider Asia-Pacific to be on the same
evolutionary path as Europe and North America, but at an earlier stage.
Another 72% consider travel managers from outside Asia-Pacific to lack a
good understanding of the region. This is best outlined by the
challenges highlighted within the paper which include cultural
diversity, multiple languages and alphabets, domestic (not global)
distribution systems, insufficient adaptation of management tools,
greater regulation and the lower status of travel managers. A few of
the whitepaper’s suggestions for working more effectively in the region
include: improving cultural understanding, meeting the high quality
service ethic in the region, visiting the region and recruiting local
expertise. Further, 19% said travel management has a different meaning
in Asia-Pacific but will change to resemble the European/North American
model more closely in the future.

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Survey Finds Purchase APRs up 20% Since January

A new study has found widespread and wide ranging changes in credit card pricing since January. CA-based BillShrink found that purchase rates are up nearly 20%; balance transfer fee maximums have increased 34% (from a maximum average of $94 in January to maximum average of $126 in July); issuers have not changed their rates equally; issuers that have changed their rates the least include American Express and Bank of America; and issuers that have increased rates the most are Capital One, US Bank, Discover and Citi. BillShrink found that Capital One has increased purchase and balance transfer rates 50%; US Bank has increased purchase and balance transfer rates 33%; Discover has increased purchase and balance transfer rates 30%; and Citi has increased purchase and balance transfer rates 27%. About 150 credit cards were reviewed.

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HYPERCOM & APRIVA

Apriva has Class A-certified Hypercom’s “SPOS32” payment software on the “Optimum T4230” terminal. The PCI PED-approved terminal features long-range GPRS with dial backup 32-bit multi-application processing and 24MB memory to accommodate value-added gift and loyalty programs. This allows credit, debit, gift, loyalty and check transactions on the “T4230” to be conducted using Apriva’s “Intelligent Gateway,” certified with all major North America-based merchant processors. The terminals also can conduct online reporting, order processing, terminal real-time provisioning and comprehensive customer management. Apriva wireless solution provider integrates hardware, software and network infrastructure in the POS and Secure Mobile Messaging markets while Hypercom offers high security, end-to-end electronic payment products and services.

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Mintel Comperemedia Hires Davidson

Market researcher Mintel Comperemedia has hired credit card industry
analyst Andrew Davidson as SVP.
Davidson brings 15+ years of financial services research
experience to Mintel Comperemedia. Davidson will help Mintel
Comperemedia provide the best direct marketing competitive intelligence
for businesses during this rough economic time. Mintel Comperemedia
provides competitive intelligence for businesses
looking to advance and improve their direct marketing strategy.

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RBS & VERIFONE

RBS WorldPay has inked a deal to market VeriFone’s “VeriShield Protect”
end-to-end solution for encrypting payment card data. The VeriFone
solution uses AES-level encryption that preserves existing card track
data formats so it works transparently with retailers’ existing payment
infrastructure. Because “VeriShield Protect” preserves the format of the
card data there is no need to redesign the POS applications to deal with
a new data format. In addition to encrypting card data, “VeriShield
Protect” monitors all systems in real time at the device level via
“VeriShield Secure Device Management Service,” so if a breach occurred
the retailer would be immediately alerted. In addition, data encryption
keys can be managed remotely as part of the device management service.

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Fiserv & Aspen Release an EBPP Study

Fiserv,has released the results of a new study that reveals the
positive impact of electronic billing and payment on customer
satisfaction, retention and profitability. The study
evaluated data from 8 million Qwest Communications residential customers
over an 18-month period, with analysis concluded in April 2009. The
analysis found the most significant linkage between billing and business
benefits among early tenure customers, those who had been customers for
less than 28 months. The study also revealed that customers who receive paperless electronic
bills at a company website or at a financial institution website, or who
use recurring payments, are more profitable for the billing
organization. Among early-tenure customers, e-bill users are 12.5% less likely to leave,
are 35% more likely to pay their bills on time, and purchase 20% more products than paper bill users; automatic,
recurring payment users are 14% less likely to leave
and 86% more likely to pay their bills on time with 74% of customers who receive an e-bill at a bank site pay using
a deduction from their bank account, a low-cost form of payment and 40% of customers who receive bills at the company site pay
using a card-funded payment, a higher cost method of payment.

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ARGW & NEXO

AR Growth Finance has completed a series of
transactions which have eliminated its interest in ProBenefit and have
allowed for the purchase of an interest in the Argentine consumer credit card
company, Nexo Emprendimientos. ARGW had purchased a 95% interest in the financial services holding company
ProBenefit in 2007. ProBenefit had at the time a pension management
company, an insurance company and had started Nexo.
In December of 2008, the Government of Argentina nationalized the pension asset management
business conducted in Argentina and thus the business of ProBenefit was
no longer the growth business that ARGW had planned on. As a result, ARGW decided
to focus solely on the high growth business of Nexo and divest itself of all the
other businesses of ProBenefit. ARGW will initially have a 15%
common stock interest in Nexo with an option to acquire an additional 58%, which
would give ARGW a 73% interest in Nexo.

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