Consumer Card Management No. 2 in Web Usage

New online usage research reveals that 36% of adult online consumers have used the Web for credit card account management purposes over the past six months, ranking it as No. 2 among the U.S. online transaction categories. The No. 1 online transaction category was travel, with 38% of adult online consumers making at least one travel purchase on the Web in the previous six months. Nielsen Online also reported that eBay ranked as the top online retailer for October
while Google ranked as the top parent company and brand for October. Overall, the average sessions/visits per person during October was 59 and domains visited per person was 105. The average Web pages visited per person was 2,372 and the duration of a Web Page viewed was 55 seconds.

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FiCentive to Launch a SwipePay Mobile MC

Prepaid card provider FiCentive has signed an
agreement with SwipePay Mobile to offer the “SwipePay Mobile
MasterCard Prepaid” and “MasterCard Gift Card”. “SwipePay” works with
mobile
operators, mobile publishers and premium messaging aggregators so their
customers have the power to make secure mobile payments without
needing a physical banking presence or traditional Internet connection.
FiCentive is a turn-key prepaid card solutions provider that
quickly and securely delivers customized prepaid card programs for
corporations, financial institutions, affinity groups or any
organization that needs to deliver a financial incentive to their
customers, vendors, or employees.

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Gift Card Displays Must be Accommodating

A new gift card study has found that 82% of users said that a discount for the purchaser’s use when buying the gift card would make them somewhat or much more likely to purchase gift cards. Six out of ten say free specialized gift packaging for cards is a strong purchase motivator as well. The Chase Paymentech research also found that 37% of past year gift card purchasers have entered a store intending to buy a gift card and left without buying it because: they couldn’t find the gift card display (21%); they didn’t care for any of the designs (21%); they changed their mind and decided on another item (20%); and the cards were locked behind the counter (15%). Other Chase Paymentech findings:
55% plan to buy the same number of cards as they did last year, and 21% plan to buy more. Gift card buyers who purchased a gift card within the past 12 months bought 4.7 cards for others, in addition to two cards for
themselves.

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AMEX & VILLA TRASQUA

The Villa Trasqua wine estate is the big winner of the “American
Express 2009 Tower Club Wine Awards”. After the tasting of as
many as 330 red wines from every continent, the Trasgaia 2006 won three
prestigious awards: ‘Gold’, ‘Best of the Best’ and then in the end it was
also elected ‘Champion’ of all categories. The Villa Trasqua wine estate is situated in the south-west of Chianti
Classico, the oldest and best part of the vast Chianti district. Villa
Trasqua covers 120 hectares (almost 300 acres), of which about a third is
planted with grapes. Trasqua has been producing wine since 1968.

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Kount and Chase Paymentech Ink a Deal

Kount has signed a preferred partner agreement with Chase Paymentech that gives Kount an important channel
partner in the competitive card-not-present payment processing service sector.
Under the agreement, Kount will recommend Chase Paymentech
processing services to its merchant customers and work with Chase
Paymentech to provide the latest in fraud detection services to those existing Chase
Paymentech merchants who seek additional fraud protection for their card-not-present
transactions. Kount defends against both traditional and emerging fraud threats such as botnets and
other organized crime using a formidable array of tools including two
patented technologies—device fingerprinting, and proxy-piercing—along with
Dynamic Scoring, geolocation techniques, and real-time data streams from websites all
across the globe. Both Kount and Chase Paymentech support the major card
brands as well as alternative payment services.

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BANRURAL & TRANSTECH

Alternet’s Transtech Sino America has finalized a partnership with Banrural bank under which
Banrural will serve as Transtech’s financial partner
for E-transactions, E-ticketing and mobile payment solution projects in
Guatemala and the surrounding region, with an initial focus on mass
transportation e-ticketing solutions. Banrural’s ATM network will be
used as a recharge point of sale system for prepaid bus fare collection and
the Banrural partnership may provide key financing to
Transtech’s fleet replacement initiative in Latin America, providing
high efficiency and low emission liquid petroleum gas (LPG) buses to
municipalities with aging or inefficient bus fleets. The partnership has
the potential for additional expansion to include utilities prepayment
and municipal services. Through their joint venture Transtech, Alternet Systems is TCPS’
strategic partner in Latin America. TCPS chose Alternet Systems for
their experience in Latin America and for their proprietary wireless
e-transaction capabilities, which are complementary to TCPS’ contactless
card and financial terminals.

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American Airlines to Take PayPal Online

American Airlines is now offering PayPal for ticket purchases made on
AA.com. The new PayPal option on AA.com allows customers to fund purchases from
their PayPal account utilizing their credit card, debit card, bank account, or
PayPal account balance. When purchasing travel on AA.com,
customers simply select the PayPal option. They’ll be temporarily directed to
PayPal’s secure Web site to log into their account and confirm the transaction or to
enroll if they don’t have a PayPal account (enrollment is free). Customers will then be
returned to AA.com to finish their transaction.
Currently, PayPal is designed only for purchasing tickets on AA.com and is available to customers in the United
States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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CURLING MASTERCARD

The popular game of Curling has now joined the credit card game thanks to Capital One Canada. The new “Curling Platinum MasterCard” offers fans the ability to redeem miles for a variety of curling rewards, including the opportunity to be an honorary scorer at an event or have a clinic with a professional curler. Cardholders also will be able to combine their reward miles with other Capital One customers.
The new card offers one reward mile for every dollar spent on purchases, 5,000 bonus rewards miles on the first purchase and no annual fee.
Capital One sponsors the “Capital One Grand Slam of Curling.” The new card is also part of the issuer’s line of “No Hassle Rewards” cards.

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U.S. Affinity Card Market Remains Vibrant

Serverside Group’s CardPartner unit reports that about 100 small and
mid-sized nonprofits, representing an aggregate of more than 500,000
people have turned to the company in the last nine months to launch
affinity card programs to help fund their operations. The Company offers
a free Visa affinity credit card program to nonprofits of nearly any
size. The company shaves expenses by eliminating direct mail, giving
groups their own marketing tools, and operating in the virtual
environment. Groups earn $50 for every new active account, plus a
portion of the monthly charge volume. CardPartner says it is also paying
a $150 bonus to any nonprofit that launches an affinity card program
before the 2008 holidays. CardPartner Visa cards are issued by MO-based
UMB Bank.

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COMMERZBANK AND G&D

Commerzbank has selected Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) as its sole
supplier of its credit and debit cards. As well as issuing cards under its own name, Commerzbank also issues
co-branded cards in partnership with firms such as “Steigenberger”, “TUI,
“Robinson” and “Advocard”. The new debit cards will be based on the latest version of the Secure
Chip Card Operating System, SECCOS 6.1, in accordance with
specifications defined by the German Central Banking Committee.
SECCOS-based cards provide a platform for a multitude of applications,
including EMV debit girocards (ec cash), Maestro (MasterCard), V-Pay
(Visa) and EMV credit cards (MasterCard or Visa). The chip can also be
used for electronic signatures, to generate transaction numbers (TANs)
for home banking and online shopping, as a source of electronic cash
(GeldKarte) and to implement age restrictions for cash dispensers and on
the Internet.

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Small Business Owners Getting Tapped-Out

Another survey confirms that small business owners are tapping personal
assets and credit cards to pay business expenses. The American Express
“OPEN Economic Pulse” found that businesses are feeling the pinch of
tightening credit, with 63% being impacted in October versus 50% in
August. Overall, credit tightening is having the greatest impact on
sales, where almost eight-in-ten business owners indicate a decrease.
Over the next 12 – 18 months, 46% of small business owners believe
economic conditions will worsen, while 34% think the economy will get
better. To manage in the current economic environment, 51% of small
business owners expect to work longer hours; 69% will cut business
and/or capital expenses; 32% cut back staff hours or salary; and 33%
want to raise prices.

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JCB & ICBC PARTNERSHIP

JCB signed an issuing license agreement today with INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL BANK OF CHINA (ICBC)
to develop credit card products with functions and services targeting the Chinese consumer.
ICBC’s nationwide branch and customer network will accelerate JCB card
issuance, further enhancing the JCB cardmember base, and building a stronger
presence in China for JCB as an international brand. For ICBC, in turn, partnering
with the only Japanese international credit card brand will expand its customer
service and create additional value in its product lineup. JCB is looking forward to building new alliances with leading banks and
business partners to further expand the JCB cardmember base and JCB card acceptance
network, providing more convenience and service to JCB customers around the
world. To date, ten Chinese partner banks and financial institutions conduct JCB merchant
acquiring license business, and approximately 70,000 merchants across the nation
accept JCB card for payment. As the China market represents enormous growth potential for the credit card
business, JCB has started to promote JCB card issuance for Chinese
consumers. Six JCB licensee banks in China, BANK OF CHINA, BANK OF SHANGHAI, CHINA
EVERBRIGHT BANK, CHINA MERCHANTS BANK, SHANGHAI PUDONG
DEVELOPMENT BANK, and CHINA MINSHENG BANKING CORP., LTD. have
now issued approximately 1.8 million JCB cards to residents of the country.

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