Financial Responsibility Ranks High

A new survey has found that money and financial responsibility topped
the list of challenges new parents faced after having their baby.
The Visa survey found that 21% of respondents saying it was their
biggest worry. About one in five parents in Washington, DC (20%),
Vermont (20%), Orlando, FL (20%), San Francisco, CA (20%), Charlotte, NC
(19%), Cincinnati, OH (19%) Pittsburgh, PA (18%) and Baltimore, MD (16%)
said their greatest challenge was money. Chicago parents were the most
worried about money, with 26% citing it as their biggest difficulty,
followed by New York City (25%), Springfield, MO (25%) and San
Antonio, TX (25%).

Details

MASTERCARD CONTROLLER

MasterCard has named Melissa Ballenger as Controller and
Principal Accounting Officer. Tara Maguire, who formerly held the role,
will become Group Executive, Corporate Planning and Financial Analysis.
Ballenger previously served as SVP/Controller and Principal Accounting Officer of Washington Mutual, until its recent acquisition by JPMorgan Chase, she was responsible for the company’s accounting and financial reporting functions. Prior to that, she held other accounting positions of increasing responsibility at organizations including Freddie Mac and Arthur Andersen.

Details

WU EVP

Western Union has named Ranjana Clark to EVP/Global Payments and Global Strategy. Clark has served in a variety of leadership positions at Wells Fargo, Wachovia and Deutsche Bank. As the CMO at Wachovia,
she developed a fully integrated marketing division focused on insight,
innovation, brand development, customer loyalty and acquisition. During
her almost 20 years at Wells Fargo and Wachovia, she has also served as
head of the Treasury Services Division, head of Strategic Planning and
head of Capital Markets Strategic Development. Prior to that, Clark
spent five years with Deutsche Bank in Mumbai. Clark will join Western Union in late March as a member of the executive committee, reporting to Gold. She will be based in Englewood, Colorado.

Details

PESSIMISTIC CEOS

According to the results of the latest “PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Private Company Trendsetter
Barometer” survey, optimism in the world economy among international marketers continued to
drop significantly, with only 10% of “Trendsetter” CEOs claiming
they are optimistic about the global economy over the next 12 months,
down nine points from the previous quarter and 45 points below last
year’s 55%. Indicative of this lowered optimism, only 30 percent
of international marketers reported increased sales abroad, down 8
points from the prior quarter and 17 points from one year ago (47%). The number of international marketers reporting lower
international sales in 4Q08 doubled to 16%; those reporting no
change in 4Q08 stayed constant at 54%. In the face of low levels of optimism in the U.S. and global economies,
respondents projected notably lower average revenue growth rates for
their companies over the next 12 months, averaging 5.2% in 4Q08,
down from 10.1% in 3Q08 and 15.5 percent last year. Similarly, 57% of “Trendsetter” CEOs are projecting revenue growth over the next
12 months, down 10 points from last quarter and down 30 points from
4Q07; just 25% of those companies forecasting growth are
projecting a double-digit increase, a 13 point drop from last quarter’s
38%. International marketers remain ahead of their domestic-only peers in
revenue growth projections for the next 12 months (6.1% vs. 4.5%), but the gap narrowed this quarter, from a 3.8 point spread in
3Q08 to a 1.6 spread in 4Q08.

Details

APWG SUMMIT

The Anti-Phishing Working Group will host it third annual “Counter-eCrime
Operations Summit” this May in Barcelona to engage questions of operational
challenges and the development of common resources for the first
responders and forensic professionals who protect consumers and
enterprises from electronic crime threats every day. “CeCOS III” will
present:
informative case studies by electronic crime
responders and security specialists; examinations of technologies
developed and used by electronic crime gangs to exploit Internet
infrastructure and user’s PCs and client devices; discussions about the
technologies and techniques of educating and protecting consumers; and
presentations about the development of shared resources like common data
formats for ecrime reporting, alerting and coordinating mechanisms.
CeCOS III is an open conference for members of the electronic-crime
fighting community, hosted by the APWG and sponsored by LaCaixa,
Telefonica, S21sec, GMV, MarkMonitor, EMC’s RSA security division,
Deloitte Espana and Ecija. Although sponsorship is principally from
industry, the CeCOS programs are considered the most vital events to
investigators and managers of electronic crime from across private and
public sectors.

Details

TIO & H-E-B

Bill payment processor TIO Networks and U.S. retailer H-E-B
today announced the deployment of “TIO” bill payment and financial services
kiosks in 26 participating H-E-B store locations in five markets throughout
the state of Texas. “TIO” bill payment is a fast, secure and convenient way to access bill
payment accounts, view balances without the need to have account information
present and pay bills in cash. Payments are made by feeding the cash
directly into the TIO terminal’s note acceptor or by using a debit card (available on
select billers). Once the payment is accepted, TIO uses an Internet link to
ensure timely posting of the payment. H-E-B customers can navigate
through TIO applications in either English or Spanish and complete financial
transactions by either printing or emailing their receipt to an email address of their
choice. By early spring 2009, cash-preferred H-E-B customers will be able
to make expedited bill payments on their wireless, utility, cable and other accounts
through self-serve automated kiosks. Customers will also be able to purchase
prepaid products and services and reload pre-paid debit cards. These
self-serve kiosks will be positioned adjacent to or nearby H-E-B’s Business
Centers to enhance the services H-E-B currently provides and to add
access to bill payment capabilities currently not offered. The kiosks will also help
alleviate payment traffic during peak payment periods.

Details

SMARTRAC CQM

RFID inlay manufacturer SMARTRAC N.V has
received Card Quality Management (CQM) Certifications from MasterCard.
CQM is a quality program ensuring high quality standards throughout the
entire production process of MasterCard-branded products.
The CQM Label has been granted to SMARTRAC’s High Frequency card inlays,
Durable Dual Interface (DDI) Inlays as well as to the module packaging
process. With the recently awarded CQM certification, SMARTRAC’s
production processes from
chip embedding to manufacturing of the DDI and HF card inlays have
formally been verified to pursue the strict MasterCard quality
requirements for the manufacturing facility, process management,
testing, evaluation, and auditing. SMARTRAC’s High Frequency (HF) card
inlays for highly secure
ePayment cards have already been certified by MasterCard in 2006. This
certification has been renewed for all SMARTRAC HF inlays within the
current audit.

Details

CECOS III

Electronic crime responders, investigators and counter-electronic crime technologists will join law enforcement and public policy officials from across the globe in Barcelona in May for the APWG’s “Counter-eCrime Operations Summit,” uniting thought-leaders worldwide to plan the next stage in the global confrontation against electronic crime. “CeCOS III” will present: informative case studies by electronic crime responders and security specialists; examinations of technologies developed and used by electronic crime gangs to exploit Internet infrastructure and user’s PCs and client devices; discussions about the technologies and techniques of educating and protecting consumers; and presentations about the development of shared resources like common data formats for ecrime reporting, alerting and coordinating mechanisms.

Details

GREENLINE CARDS

Boston-based Arthur Blank has introduced the “AB Recycled FinancialCard” into its “GreenLine” suite of environmentally oriented products. The new card is made from a 100% pre-consumer recycled plastic core (88% recycled with an overlaminate) and is specifically designed for financial institutions for use in credit and debit card applications. The material is specially formulated to have a bright white finish – even whiter than the “AB RecycledCard” Arthur Blank currently offers for commercial customers. The material also meets or exceeds all ISO and ANSI specifications for CR80 payment cards. All “AB Recycled FinancialCards” for financial institutions will be processed at Arthur Blank’s secure Mt. Pleasant, TN facility. Arthur Blank’s “GreenLine” suite also includes the “CornCard USA”, “AB RecycledCard,” “AB BiodegradableCard,” and the “AB HybridCard.”

Details

Citi Launches a Thank-You Promotion

Citi is offering members of its “ThankYou Rewards Network” the chance to put their creativity into wallets around the world with the launch of the “ThankYou Gift Card Design Contest.” Between May 1st and May 30th, consumers will be invited to vote for their favorite design. The first-prize winning design, along with the second- and third-place designs, who will win 50,000 and 25,000 points, respectively, will be announced on ThankYou.com after June 18th. The winning design will become the face of a “ThankYou Gift Card” redeemable by millions of “ThankYou Members” nationwide. The winner will join the company of internationally renowned artist and designer Karim Rashid, who designs the current “ThankYou Network” gift cards which will continue to be available in the rewards collection. In addition to having his or her design on a gift card, the top winner of the contest also will receive 100,000 “ThankYou Points.”

Details

CASH USE

A survey commissioned for Visa Europe by Cards International indicates a
19.9% increase in the volume of cash withdrawals in 2008 compared to 2007.
These figures suggest consumers are more dependent on cash as a payment
method in an economic downturn and challenge the assertions from card
companies that we are soon to be a cashless society.
In an economic climate where anxious consumers are cutting back on
credit card usage, it was anticipated that debit cards would enjoy
increasing volumes (if at a slower rate than before), and this has been
proved by figures from the payment networks and industry bodies
worldwide. But one consequence of the rise in debit card usage is that
levels of cash usage and ATM withdrawals have grown sharply over recent
months – which will undoubtedly be viewed as a setback for banks and
payment networks.

Details

GSMA Selects Visa for Mobile Money Transfer

GSMA has selected Visa as a provider for mobile money transfer solutions globally, and is working to execute an agreement to formalize participation terms. Visa is already a leading provider of money transfer solutions with active programs in 14 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. A key aspect of the collaboration between Visa and GSMA will be the creation of standards for mobile money transfer, mobile payments and related services. This collaboration will allow carriers and financial institutions to deploy mobile payments more rapidly and limit market fragmentation. Standardization also benefits consumers by promoting interoperability among carriers and institutions, ensuring a consistent and reliable experience and promoting faster adoption of the technology. Recently, as part of the GSMA “Pay-Buy-Mobile” initiative, Visa and several GSM mobile network operators launched mobile payment trials in Canada, Switzerland, France and the UK, and completed successful trials in Australia, Malaysia and Taiwan, which are all designed to advance the development of mobile payments at the point of sale. Importantly, many of these trials embed the Visa payment application into the SIM card enabling Visa account holders to easily switch the application from one handset to another.

Details