Dillard’s Offers Planet Payment Service

Retailer Dillard’s is now offering NY-based Planet Payment’s “Pay in Your Currency” service.
The “Pay in Your Currency” service provides international shoppers paying
for their purchases with Visa or MasterCard payment cards with the choice to
pay in their home currency at the point of sale, rather than allowing their
issuing bank to perform the conversion after the sale has been completed. The service
provides greater clarity and certainty to international purchases by allowing the
customer to pay in the currency that he or she knows best. The service
is being offered through OH-based Fifth Third Processing Solutions
Dillard’s current credit card acquirer. Planet Payment enables processors, acquiring banks and their
merchants to accept process and reconcile credit card transactions in multiple
currencies, allowing cardholders to view prices and settle transactions in their native


CardWizard/FCP 20/20 Deployed in TX

TX-based Advancial FCU is installing Dynamic Card Solution’s
“CardWizard” instant issue program. Advancial will be installing DCS’
instant issue
software and hardware in their Texas, Louisiana and Alaska branches. The
Credit Union’s instant issue program will enable instant issue of a
permanent debit
card immediately at the branch location in lieu of members having to
wait seven to 10 business days to receive their card and personal
identification numbers (PINs) through the mail. The card can then be
immediately used at ATMs and for most POS transactions once the member
leaves the branch. Advancial
decided to offer its members unembossed debit cards utilizing the FCP
20/20 printer to print, in real time, the cardholder’s personal card
information on its custom pre-printed plastic. DCS’ “CardWizard” software
transfers all personalization data to the FCP 20/20 where the card is
securely and immediately printed and presented to the cardholder at the
time of their visit and is the first and only instant issuance
application in the financial marketplace to have validated compliance
with Visa’s Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) and Payment
Application Best Practices (PABP)


Tier Technologies Acquires ChoicePay

Tier Technologies has inked an agreement to purchase substantially all
of the assets of OK-based ChoicePay. The deal is for $7.5 million in
cash at closing and an earn-out based upon a percentage of the
profitability of future defined new client business not to exceed $2.0
million. ChoicePay specializes in streamlining high-volume bill payment
processes enabling billers to accept customer payments by electronic
check, credit card or cash using a superior Internet, IVR, call center,
kiosk, and agent payment platforms. ChoicePay has over 50 contracts and
about $10 million in annual revenues. Tier Technologies currently serves
over 3,300 electronic payment processing clients throughout the USA.


Selling Source Acquires a CompuCredit Unit

NV-based Selling Source has acquired the marketing unit of CompuCredit
and has formed a new consumer financial products group to target U.S.
credit card issuers. In addition the group will also handle credit card
lead generation in the U.K. As part of the deal, CompuCredit entered
into a long-term agreement to perform certain marketing services for
FPG. John Hashman, formerly with CompuCredit, heads the newly acquired
team as EVP of the group. Jon Colston, who served as the director of
risk management at CompuCredit, also joins FPG as director of
operations. London Bay Capital, a private equity firm based in San
Francisco, acquired a controlling interest in Selling Source in December


Merchant Focus Names a New Sales Exec

Payment solution provider Merchant Focus Processing has hired Nathan
England, previous with CyberSource, to the position of VP, Reseller
Marketing. England worked for
CyberSource Corporation (CYBS) as Authorize.Net’s Inside Sales Manager,
and more recently as a Business Development Manager helping develop,
grow and manage Authorize.Net’s Affiliate Reseller program. England will
now be
responsible for managing the Recurring Revenue Reseller program, which
provides merchant accounts for the clients of
software developers, billing systems, mail order management solutions,
shopping carts and technology partners. Merchant Focus Processing,
focuses on two unique market segments, each of which has special
requirements and challenges. Merchants
transacting $250,000 or more annually in credit card sales qualify for
Interchange-Plus pricing with no monthly fees of any kind through
Established Merchants Only.com, and brand new businesses encounter
special merchant friendly terms and low Two Tier pricing through
Merchant Focus.com.


U.S. Bank’s Q4 Acquiring Volume Drops 12%

U.S. Bancorp reported that its fourth quarter merchant acquiring volume
slipped by 12.4%, compared to the third quarter and is down 6.1% from
the fourth quarter of last year. Also, fourth quarter credit card
charge-offs rose 33 basis points sequentially and are now up 189 basis
points from one-year ago. U.S. Bancorp’s Payment Services contributed
$235 million of the Company’s net income in the fourth quarter, a
decrease of 25.2% from the same period of 2007 and a 12.6% decrease from
the third quarter of 2008. The decline was due primarily to an increase
in charge-offs, higher delinquency rates and changing economic
conditions. Merchant acquiring volume for the fourth quarter was $58.6
billion, compared to $66.9 billion in the prior quarter and $62.4
billion for 4Q/07. U.S. Bancorp currently processes for 843,388
merchants. Credit card charge-offs rose to 5.18% for the fourth quarter,
compared to 4.85% for 3Q/08 and 3.29% for 4Q/07. Average credit card
loans grew from $12.2 billion in the third quarter to $13.0 billion. For
complete details on U.S. Bancorp’s 4Q/08 performance, visit CardData

4Q/06: $56,007,000,000
1Q/07: $57,839,000,000
2Q/07: $62,853,000,000
3Q/07: $63,882,000,000
4Q/07: $62,382,000,000
1Q/08: $64,853,000,000
2Q/08: $66,940,000,000
3Q/08: $66,941,000,000
4Q/08: $58,630,000,000

4Q/07: 3.29%
1Q/08: 3.93%
2Q/08: 4.84%
3Q/08: 4.85%
4Q/08: 5.18%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)


Fiesta Mart Expands Walk-In Bill Pay

Texas-based grocer Fiesta Mart is offering the “CheckFreePay” walk-in bill payment service.
Using the CheckFreePay service, customers can conveniently pay hundreds
of bills and receive a receipt as proof of payment.
With the new suite of bill payment processing options now offered,
Fiesta customers can opt to use the “NextDay” bill payment option to have bill payments
delivered by the next business day. NextDay walk-in bill payments cost $2 each.
Standard walk-in bill payments at any Fiesta location typically cost $1 to $1.50 per bill
payment. To make a bill payment, customers just need to bring their bill stub to the
Courtesy Booth at any Fiesta Mart location.


The Cabela’s CLUB Visa Gets Upgraded

Outdoor sports retailer Cabela has introduced the “CLUB Visa” card with
a loyalty program that gives cardholders 5% back in “CLUB” points. This
new loyalty program offers CLUB Visa cardholders with a minimum
annual spend of $25,000 and excellent credit history a card with no
annual fee and rewards elite
cardholders by giving back 5% in Cabela’s CLUB points for
purchases from Cabela’s and 1% for all other purchases.
Cabela’s CLUB points can be redeemed at Cabela’s for products of the
cardholder’s choosing with no limit to the number of points
cardholders can earn. The program has been praised for its ease of point
redemption through Cabela’s retail stores, catalogs and Web site at


Heartland Uncovers a Security Breach

NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems reports it was the victim of a
security breach within its processing system last year. The intrusion
was discovered last week, but the processor believes it is contained.
After being alerted by Visa and MasterCard of suspicious activity
surrounding processed card transactions, Heartland uncovered malicious
software that compromised data that crossed its network. However, no
merchant data or cardholder SSNs, unencrypted PIN, addresses or
telephone numbers were involved in the breach. Nor were any of
Heartland’s check management systems; Canadian, payroll, campus
solutions or micropayments operations; “Give Something Back Network”; or
the recently acquired Network Services and Chockstone processing
platforms. Heartland says it plans to implement a next-generation
program designed to flag network anomalies in real-time.


Q4 Volume Drops 13% for the Big 3 Issuers

Volume among the nation’s top three credit card issuers sank nearly 13%
in the fourth quarter, compared to 4Q/07 and dropped nearly 7%, compared
to the prior quarter. Bank of America posted a 17.3% decrease, Chase
reported a 7.6% decline and Citibank showed a 15.2% decline in fourth
quarter volume, compared to the year ago quarter. According to CardData
(www.carddata.com), the nation’s top three issuers posted $220.5 billion
in fourth quarter volume, compared to $236.4 billion in the prior
quarter and $253.2 billion for 4Q/07. BofA’s purchase volume for global
credit cards was $56.6 billion for 4Q/08, compared to $62.7 billion for
3Q/08 and $68.4 billion for 4Q/07. Chase reported fourth quarter charge
volume of $88.2 billion, compared to $93.9 billion for 3Q/08 and $95.5
billion for 4Q/07. Including WaMu Chase’s volume was $96.0 billion for
4Q/08. Citi’s purchase volume for North American cards was $75.7 billion
for 4Q/08, compared to $89.3 billion for 4Q/07 and $80.3 billion for
3Q/08. For complete details on fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

(year-on-year growth)
BofA Chase Citi
1Q/08: +7.7% +5.0% +4.2%
2Q/08: +5.2% +6.4% +0.3%
3Q/08: -1.3% +4.6% -3.4%
4Q/08: -17.3% -7.6% -15.2%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)


Fees Continue to Carry the Day for Banks

While overall bank fee income, as a percentage of total revenue, has
increased from 49% in 2000 to 53% in 2008, credit card-related fee
income has grown from 28% to 40% during the same period. It is now
projected that credit card fee income will surpass interest income
within five years, the first time in history this will have occurred.
According to research by payment card industry expert R.K. Hammer,
credit card interest from revolving loan balances, while the larger
proportion of revenue at present, is falling each year in significance
to total income compared to fee income, which while proportionally
smaller at present is rising in significance each year. Those lines are
seen to intersect by 2014, with fee income on cards being a greater
portion of revenue than interest income at that time. Hammer noted that
banks have certain fees which prime and super prime credit cards
typically do not charge, such as loan origination fees, up front
mortgage points, investment banking fees, stop payments fees, checking
and savings account fees, ATM fees, among others, which help account for
the higher percentage of total revenue attributable for bank fees than
for cards.

Year Bank Credit Card
2000: 49% 28%
2001: 50% 31%
2002: 50% 32%
2003: 50% 33%
2004: 51% 37%
2005: 51% 38%
2006: 52% 38%
2007: 52% 39%
2008: 53% 40%
Source: R.K. Hammer