Comdata Names a New HR Executive

Payment platform provider Comdata has named Tracey Power as SVP of human resources. Power formerly held the position of vice president, performance management at Comdata. Prior to joining Comdata in 2006, Power served as manager for HR, training and internal communications at Affinion Group/Cendant where she was responsible for implementing human capital management strategies. She also served as assistant vice president, training manager for J.C. Bradford & Co. (now UBS), where she began her career in futures trading and marketing. Power holds a BA in political science, magna cum laude, from the University of Tennessee and a M.Ed. in human resource development from Vanderbilt University.

Details

Merchants Say Visa’s Rate Cut is a Rate Hike

The Merchants Payments Coalition says Visa’s announcement that it will reduce fees on gasoline transactions may actually result in higher fees for gas station owners. The National Association of Convenience Stores says the changes will raise fees for those transactions under $60 for those customers using regular Visa credit cards without a rewards program. The MPC says that on debit card transactions, the cap on interchange may only apply to gasoline purchases of more than $97.50. That is a small number of transactions, especially because Visa banks reserve the right not to give gasoline retailers anything more than $75 on a sale.

Details

Small Business Economic Confidence Sinks

Nearly eight out of 10 small business owners think the U.S. economy is getting worse, a significant increase from the prior month. The latest Discover “Small Business Watch” has decreased to 71.8 in June from 81.1 in May. Confidence indicators were down in June in every category of the “Watch” survey, including cash flow issues and plans to spend on business development. About 53% of owners say that economic conditions for their business are getting worse, compared to 47% in May. Three out of four owners say they will be decreasing or making no changes in what they spend over the next six months on business development activities such as advertising, inventories, and capital expenditures. Forty-five percent plan to decrease spending, 30% are making no changes, and 23% plan to increase spending. Only 8% of owners have plans to hire in the next few months, while 79% are making no changes and 10% plan to lay off workers.

Details

Card ABS Performance Expected to Worsen

Economic conditions continue to contribute to the continued deterioration of credit card portfolio performance. Fitch Ratings reports that among credit card-backed securities, credit losses have approached, and in some cases surpassed, five-year historical averages. While Fitch believes card issuers have taken steps to manage the near-term pain, Fitch expects the credit quality picture to get worse before it gets better. According to a Fitch special report, credit card asset-backed securities transactions completed this year exhibit higher spreads and shorter durations. The decline in base interest rates has offset a portion of the wider spreads, but the all-in cost of issuance has increased as issuers have largely retained notes rated below ‘AAA’, which requires a higher capital commitment to account for the higher-risk asset on the balance sheet.

Details

Pioneer Telephone to Use EPX’s PINless Debit

DE-based end-to-end payment solution provider Electronic Payment Exchange has signed a multi-year agreement with ME-based Pioneer Telephone to process its customers’ payments. In addition to traditional credit and debit card payment processing, Pioneer will begin using EPX’s PINless Debit product to process their customers’ payments who choose to pay for services using their debit cards. Merchants who are eligible to accept the PINless Debit transactions for payment recognize a significant reduction in the overall expense associated with non-face-to-face payment acceptance. EPX enables their clients to take advantage of this payment type with less expense than traditional card interchange fees.

Details

RETAIL PURCHASING

The latest Bloomberg Eurozone Retail “Purchasing Managers’ Index” posted the second-fastest rate of decline in the survey’s four-and-a-half year history and exceeded by April’s record fall.
The Index fell fell from 53.1 in May to 44.0 in June. Italian sales showed by far the strongest rate of decline among the three largest euro countries. Eurozone retail sales also fell sharply on a year-on-year basis in June, posting the second-steepest fall in the past twenty-seven months and representing a marked contrast to the thirteen-month peak in growth seen in May. The year-on-year sales index dropped from 56.1 to 43.6. On average, year-on-year sales over Q2 as a whole showed the steepest fall for three years.

Details

ABA Tackles Student Credit Card Concerns

Citing recent findings of a study by Student Monitor, representatives of the American Bankers Association has testified in Congress before the House Financial Services Committee to advocate against legislative proposals to limit certain categories of students from obtaining credit cards. Student Monitor has published its findings reflecting the vast majority of students manage their credit obligations well with 65% of college student credit card customers paying their bills in full each month and an average account balance for the remaining 35% only being $452, supporting ABA’s argument. Additionally supporting its position, the ABA holds that credit cards are a valuable means for establishing and building credit.

Details

GIANT CITIBANK CARD

Giant and Citibank have launched the “Giant Citibank” credit card,
providing consumers a 2% rebate on all purchases made at Giant stores
nationwide and up to 1% rebate on all other purchases. The new card
additionally provides cardholders member prices, discounts, no annual
fee for the first year, a 10% rebate for first spend to those applying
before July 15 on purchases made before Aug 31. This partnership is part
of Citibank’s regional strategy of establishing and promoting
co-branding partnerships with strong brands that influence their
markets, such as Giant, and was attractive to Citi considering 50% of
its customers use their card to purchase groceries. Giant stores provide
over 8 million Malaysians per month throughout the country with
groceries and essentials.

Details

CANADIANS AND TRAVEL INSURANCE

A new survey commissioned by RBC Insurance and Ipsos Reid indicate that
the cost of fuel is impacting Canadian travelers who chose to not to
protect themselves with travel insurance. Many Canadians assume they
are covered through existing travel plans. For example, the survey shows
43% of travellers feel they
don’t need to buy travel insurance because they have sufficient coverage
through
work or their credit card and 37% of Canadians never purchase travel
insurance when travelling on vacation to the United States, a country where
medical costs are among the highest in the world. These Canadians are left
potentially exposed to the high costs of the U.S. healthcare system.
The survey also reports that 55% of Canadian travellers never
purchase travel insurance when they travel outside their home province but
within Canada and 62% of Canadians believe they don’t need to
purchase travel insurance when travelling to another province within Canada
because they believe their provincial health plans will cover their medical
costs. In fact, government health insurance plans may limit
reimbursement for
expenses such as land and air ambulance services and X-rays. An air
ambulance with a full medical team travelling from Calgary to Toronto, for
example, can cost $28,000 and is not covered by a GHIP.

Details

BANKWAY INTERNATIONAL

China Banking Corporation, Metavante Bankway International client since
1995, has extended its core banking relationship with Metavante. With
this, Metavante’s “Bankway International” technology software will be
deployed in China Bank’s network of over 200 branches and 286 ATMs
located throughout the Philippines and will continue to support its
nearly 750,000 accounts. Established in 1920 with assets now exceeding
$4 billion, China Bank is the fourth largest Philippine bank by market
capitalization.

Details

Visa Caps Gas Interchange & Raises Limits

In response to the current frustration of consumers and merchants at the gas pump, VISA announced a change in its consumer interchange and transaction limits. Effective July 18th, interchange for Visa consumer debit cards will be capped at $0.95 per transaction. Effective in October, or sooner for some fuel merchants, Visa credit interchange applied to fuel transactions has been restructured into a single, lower rate across all consumer credit card transactions. This fall, Visa will also implement “Real-Time Clearing” which will enable fuel transactions to be processed immediately instead of at the end of the day and eliminate the holds generally placed on consumer debit card transactions. Until the new processing changes are implemented in Visa’s October systems upgrade, Visa is allowing consumer fuel transactions up to $125 to qualify for its best-available interchange rates. This interim step is effective July 18th and will remain in place through October 2009. Once gas stations and their financial institutions migrate to “Real-Time Clearing,” consumer fuel transactions up to $500 can qualify for Visa’s best available interchange rates.

Details