AmEx Named Among the Most Ethical Companies

American Express has been selected by The Ethisphere Institute as one of 2008’s “World’s Most Ethical Companies.” The process included reviewing the companies’ codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers; and working with consumer action groups for feedback. The 2008 World’s Most Ethical Companies advisory panel included Ethisphere editors and researchers, as well as attorneys, government officials, professors and other leaders from their respective fields who care about ethical and honest business practices. The research-based Ethisphere Institute and associated membership group, the Ethisphere Council, are supported by more than 100 institutions and corporations, including the Practising Law Institute, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Global Reporting Initiative and Corpedia. The Institute is dedicated to the research, creation, and sharing of best practices in ethics, compliance, and corporate governance among its membership companies.

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STARBUCKS & PAYWAVE

Starbucks and Visa have sigbed an exclusive partnership
whereby Starbucks customers can pay for their purchases with their “Visa payWave”-enabled card or mobile phone. “Visa payWave”-enabled cards are available through 12 major Korean credit card issuers including Shinhan, Samsung, Hyundai, BC, Lotte and are accepted at various merchant locations including CGV, Homeplus, Primus, 7-Eleven, Lotte World, Red Mango, Michaa, Kyobo Books and SK gas stations. In South Korea cardholders are able to make purchases of less than KRW30,000 by
simply waving their card or mobile phone in front of a point-of-sale
terminal. In September Visa reported that “payWave” had 41 issuers in 11 countries, including seven of the top ten Visa issuers in the USA.

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CheckFreePay NextDay Payment Service Doubles

Fiserv reports that its “CheckFreePay NextDay Payment” service has recently doubled the number of companies accepting the payment service to over 300. Faster payments are becoming more available in response to a growing demand, as reflected with this development, through Fiserv’s nationwide network of over 12,000 agents which offer “Standard” “CheckFreePay” payments-delivered electronically in two to three business days-and the “NextDay” payment service. Statistics show the under-banked population in the United States represents 40 million households and are frequent users of walk-in bill payment services such as the new Fiserv solution. Mostly, these bills consist of power, phone and cable bills to such organizations as Wisconsin Electric and Georgia Power. Additionally, a “CheckFreePay” same-day payment option is available for select bills thanks to prearranged agreements with select organizations.

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RIGHTSHORE & HSBC

Capgemini consulting, technology and outsourcing services has extended
its relationship with HSBC applying its “Rightshore” global delivery
model to support the HSBC’s global financial services business. The two
organizations have had existing relations for 17 years prior to this
development and, with the “Rightshore” offering, Capgemini is projected
to have contributed 4,500 man-years of resources to HSBC by the end of
2010. This contribution is most prevalent in HSBC’s Consumer Lending,
Credit Cards, Group Consumer Finance, and Insurance businesses on
various technology platforms, including legacy systems and Web-based
systems. HSBC Holdings plc serves over 128 million customers worldwide
through around 10,000 offices in 83 countries and has assets of nearly
$2,354 billion while Capgemini reported 2007 global revenues of EUR 8.7
billion and employs over 83,000 people worldwide.

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AT&T and Citi Beef Up Small Biz Card Offering

Citi has introduced the “AT&T Universal Business Rewards Card.” Cardholders can earn five points for every dollar spent on eligible AT&T products and services; three points for every dollar spent at participating office-supply retailers, gas stations and professional services providers, such as accounting and legal firms; and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. Cardholders can earn up to 100,000 points each calendar year. To support the launch AT&T is offering a free one-hour online seminar discussing payment and funding for small businesses. As part of an ongoing series of instructional Web-based seminars and training courses available on AT&T’s small business Web site, the June 12th seminar is titled: “Getting the Most from Payment Solutions: How Credit Cards and Other Tools Can Drive Efficiencies for Your Business.”

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Consumer Confidence Surveys Show Mixed Results

While some recent surveys have pointed to some stabilization in consumer confidence, another “Index” is showing an all-time low for June. The “RBC CASH Index” for June, now stands at 22.5, dropping nearly 17 points below last month’s level. RBC says that despite economic stimulus checks, Americans are under extreme and growing financial pressure from falling housing prices, rising food and energy prices and a softening job market. The monthly survey found that more than one-third of Americans believe that their local economy will weaken in the coming months. The only bright spot is that consumers’ expectations about their personal finances show signs of stabilizing. Currently, 31% of consumers report they believe their personal finances will be stronger in six months, compared to 26% in August.

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Shift4 and Retail Pro Signs a Partnership

Secure payment processor Shift 4 has partnered with POS provider Retail Pro to focus on business development. “Retail Pro v9” is a retail store management system with integrated POS and back-office functions. The system supports the entire lifecycle in the store through receiving, sales, inventory management, merchandising and replenishment. Retail Pro is currently developing a class “A” interface with Shift4’s “DOLLARS ON THE NET” with Tokenization for acceptance, settlement, archiving, retrieval, and reporting of payments including credit, debit, and gift cards. It is marketed and sold via a network of business partners in 73 countries, is available in 18 languages and has been localized to meet the needs of each market in which business is conducted. Shift4 is a developer of secure financial transaction processing software and services, provides web-based, real-time enterprise payment solutions for leaders in the hospitality, retail, foodservices, auto rental and e-commerce markets.

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Survey Says – Branded Gift Cards Offer Freedom

Branded gift cards are no longer thought of as a “convenience” or “utility” gift as recipients express high levels of emotional value when receiving the cards. The latest survey of 8,000 consumers by the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association found that more than 90% of respondents expressed enjoyment at the freedom to choose their perfect gift and 75% suggested they prefer to pick out their own gifts when given a choice via a VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover-branded gift card. More than 64% of respondents suggested that gift cards are better than traditional gifts and 50% thought that gift cards are better than receiving cash. Over 80% of branded gift cards are given among family members and friends, as 75% of respondents appreciate the gift because of their close personal relationship with the giver.

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U.K. Credit Card ABS Remains Stable in April

While most metrics for credit card-backed securities in the U.K. remained stable in April, the “Monthly Payment Rate” increased by 70 basis points. Over the past six months the “MPR” has oscillated between 16.60% and 18.40%. According to FitchRatings the “Monthly Payment Rate” rose to 18.00% in April, compared to 17.70% in the prior month and 17.90% six-months ago. Fitch reports that “MPR” increased for most of the trusts in April, with the largest increase coming for the Turquoise trust, which experienced a 240 basis point rise. Only Pillar and Cumbernauld registered a month-on-month drop, both of 40 basis points. The Fitch “Charge-Off Index” in April was 6.5%, a 10 basis point drop from the March value. The “Delinquency Index” remained stable in April at 3.6%.

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Intel Capital Funds Accertify

Chicago-based fraud prevention solution provider Accertify has received funding from Intel Capital. Accertify will use the funds to expand its growing channel partners, marketing capabilities and continued focus on delivering Interceptas, an end-to-end solution for combating CNP fraud. Interceptas helps merchants reduce their total cost of fraud by simplifying and combining all processes and procedures for fighting fraud into a single, easy-to-use platform. Interceptas automates manual processes and provides unmatched features and functionality, enabling retailers to gain control of their transaction data and stay a step ahead of fraudsters. As a result, merchants are able to scale their e-commerce businesses without fear of fraud and maximize revenues through improved fraud detection, fewer rejections of valid transactions and reduced charge-backs.

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Affinion’s ID Secure Adds New Features

Affinion Security Center has boosted the features of “ID Secure” identity theft solution. ID Secure is a next-generation identity theft solution that helps members monitor, detect and resolve the rapidly growing crime of identity theft. The enhancements are designed to help prevent increasingly sophisticated identity thefts. The service now includes enhanced features such as increased access to public records to monitor for any criminal activity committed in a member’s name, and a more robust data sweep of Internet data, including monitoring of underground chat rooms. Each enhanced feature is designed to address the greatest identity theft threats facing consumers today. ID Secure includes proprietary technology and expertise from Affinion’s CardCops division which alerts members if the service detects their personal data has been compromised and is being traded in the criminal cyber underground. Now CardCops can also monitor for a member’s Social Security number, in addition to monitoring for credit and debit card numbers.

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Visa Announces 2007 Quality Performance Awards

The 16th annual “Visa Service Quality Performance Awards” have been announced for 2007. The awards are issued in recognition of exceptional card operations performance by issuers, acquirers and processors in the U.S., using peer categories based on annual Visa sales volume rankings. The 2007 winners include (in alphabetical order): America First FCU; Applied Bank; Arvest Bank; Bank Of America; BB&T; Boeing Employees’ CU; BOK Financial; Chase; Chevy Chase Bank; Federal Savings Bank; Citibank; Comerica; Commerce Bancshares; Compass Bank; Credit One Bank; EDS; Fifth Third Bank; First Citizens; First Data Resources; First Hawaiian Bank; FirstBank of Colorado; FirstMerit Bank; First National Bank of Omaha; Fulton Financial; GE Capital; INTRUST Bank; J.C. Penney Company; KeyBank; Marshall & Ilsley; M&T Bank; Merrill Lynch; National City; Nordstrom; Old National Bank; PNC; Regions Financial; State Farm Financial; SunTrust Banks; Synovus; Target National Bank; TCF Financial; TIB – The Independent BankersBank; Total System Services; UMB Financial; Union Bank and Trust Company; U.S. Bancorp; USAA Savings Bank; Wachovia; Wells Fargo; Western Corporate FCU; Whitney National Bank; and World’s Foremost Bank.

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