Credit Card Solicitations Drop 5% in 2007

The number of credit card solicitations dropped 5% in 2007 to 5.6 billion, compared to 5.9 billion in 2006 and 3.5 billion in 2000. According to CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com), the response rate of mailed credit card offers has dipped to 0.4%. According to Mintel Comperemedia, credit card direct mail volume has fallen steadily since October 2007. From December to January, credit card issuers reduced the number of mailings sent to current cardholders by 30%. Meanwhile, they increased direct mail offers to non-customers by 7%. Of 2007’s top 10 mailers, six increased their direct mailings to non-customers after the holidays. According to Synovate’s “Mail Monitor,” response rates were expected to edge up slightly to 0.6% in 2007, but have since sank. Synovate says the 2007 dip is a continuation from 2006, and mainly due to the Bank of America/MBNA merger and a decrease in direct mail by Chase and Capital One. (CF Library 10/15/07; 2/15/08; 4/3/08)

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Money Movers/Chase Launches Process Pink

Chase Paymentech’s ISO partner Money Movers of America (MMOA) has launched “Process Pink” as part of its merchant payment processing business to make substantial monthly financial contributions to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Every time a consumer makes a credit card purchase at a “Process Pink” participating merchant, a portion of MMOA’s revenue from the credit card processing fees is donated to the NBCF. “Process Pink” grew out of a desire on the part of MMOA’s principals to leverage the core business of merchant processing for the advancement of significant challenges such as finding a cure for breast cancer. As part of this arrangement, MMOA and its customers will be permitted to advertise their support for the NBCF.

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Consumer Spending Index Sinks to 2001 Lows

The Deloitte Research “Leading Index of Consumer Spending” reports that it has reached its lowest level since 2001. The “Index” attempts to track consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending. The “Index,” comprising four components: tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices, fell to 1.3%, from a revised gain of 1.51% a month ago. The tax burden is expected to continue to fall with slowing income growth. This remains the only positive factor supporting consumer spending in the months ahead. Unemployment claims increased 16.1% in March, compared with last year. Real wage growth was negative. The decrease was marginally lower compared to the previous month. This comes at a time when personal income increased 4.4% in the first quarter of 2008 compared to a year ago. Rising food and energy prices continue to be a concern for consumer spending. The fall in house prices intensified further with house prices falling nearly 12% compared with a year ago. The home market shows no sign of bottoming out with residential spending falling 26.7% in the first quarter of 2008. vs. the first quarter of 2007.

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Credit Card Debt Impacts Summer Vacations

A new survey conducted by TransUnion’s TrueCredit reveals that 33% of respondents will not go on vacation this summer while 28% who do will spend less than last year. The cost of fuel for 72% of respondents was cited as a reason while 35% are concerned about credit card debt. Additionally, Americans are taking a long-term view of their finances. Nearly half (49%)say the statement, “I’m a long hauler. I devise and adhere to long-term plans for my money” best represents their personal financial philosophy, while 25% agree with the statement, “I’m a baby stepper. I set short-term plans and stick to them.” Zogby International was commissioned by TransUnion’s TrueCredit.com to conduct an online survey of 8,683 adults.

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NRF Welcomes Card Protection for Retailers

The National Retail Federation and National Council of Chain Restaurants applaud the Senate passage of legislation that would protect retailers and restaurants from frivolous lawsuits over credit card expiration dates printed on customers’ receipts. At issue is a provision in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) intended to prevent credit card fraud. Under FACTA, merchants were told they could no longer print more than the last five digits of a credit or debit card number “or” the card’s expiration date on receipts after December 4, 2006. Many merchants interpreted the law as meaning they could either truncate the card number or leave off the expiration date, but that they were not required to do both. Most truncated the card number but some continued printing the expiration date, reasoning that the expiration date was of no value without the full card number. Merchants have been hit with more than 300 class acts lawsuits contending that FACTA required them to take both steps, and seeking fines as high as $1,000 per incident, the maximum allowed under the 2003 law. FACTA does not allow individuals to sue, instead giving enforcement authority to the Federal Trade Commission, but the lawsuits were brought under state laws citing FACTA. The legislation would protect merchants from lawsuits for expiration dates printed between the time the FACTA rule went into effect and the time the measure is signed into law. But merchants would still be required to both truncate card numbers and leave off expiration dates going forward.

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L.L. Bean Terminates its BofA Card Deal

Retailer L.L. Bean will discontinue its credit card program with Bank of America as of June 30th. Customers will continue to receive free shipping and free monogramming on orders placed with the current L.L.Bean Visa Card through June and continue to earn L.L.Bean Coupon Dollars on all purchases made through June 30, 2008 with your current L.L.Bean Visa Card L.L.Bean Coupons issued to you at any time will remain valid until their stated expiration date. Information about the new card program will be provided in the next few weeks.

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SCNPP & MPS

Focal on reducing PCI: DSS compliance cost, to which the organization is
fully compliant, and replacing the need for organisations to retain
sensitive cardholder data, Logic Group secure transaction management has
introduced its “Secure Card Not Present Payments Service” and its
“Managed Payments Services,” respectively. Having been the first
multi-channel payment service in Europe to gain PCI:DSS certification,
the Logic Group’s “Managed Service” provides businesses with an payment
information storage alternative when achieving PCI:DSS rather than
within in-house databases. In turn, this allows organizations to reduce
operational and compliance costs without having to compromise the
trustworthiness of the payments environment. Meanwhile, the “Secure Card
Not Present Payments Service” accommodates recurring payments and can
integrate easily with consumer-facing online payment pages.

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SMART CARDS

Frost & Sullivan analysis entitled “Strategic Assessment Of The Asia
Pacific Smart Card Markets Outlook” has concluded the Asia Pacific
region is starting to accept new smart card technology. This
demonstrates system integrators are realizing the need for proper
planning/coordination to generate revenue while smart card companies are
looking to establish advantages in countries with untapped potential.
Fast development and implementation of the contactless applications is
credited to most of the countries in the region not having legacy
systems, subsequently leading, however, to issues of standardization and
interoperability across the market. These issues include delays in
project execution. Frost & Sullivan partners with clients to accelerate
their growth through its more than 30 offices across the globe.

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ACI MTS

Following extensive testing on IBM’s System p servers, ACI Money
Transfer System (MTS) has conclusively demonstrated its ready for SEPA
“Direct Debits”. Having been used by many banks globally for years as a
single engine for payments processing and settlement, MTS can
incorporate SEPA messaging formats into one centralized system
processing them as any other payment type and providing comprehensive
monitoring capabilities. The ACI tests spanned a variety of functional
workflows for SEPA “Direct Debits” and related R-transaction processing.
ACI solutions provide electronic payment software to over 800 customer
clients in 88 countries.

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OrbitalPay Combines IPSPs with Accounts

Transaction provider Global Electronic Technology and payment processor EMC2Billing have combined forces to introduce OrbitalPay, specializing in merchant processing. OrbitalPay is a payment solution that combines all the best features of 3rd party payment processors (IPSPs) with the benefits of owning a merchant account. OrbitalPay customers enjoy daily settlements to their bank account, low fee structure, individualized descriptors on customer billing statements, complete ownership and control of the rebilling database and includes full service features like live 24/7 billing support, feature-rich gateway services, comprehensive real time reporting, industry leading scrubbing tools that limit chargebacks, integrated cascading billing and affiliate tools.

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GIVEX AUSTRALIA

The Givex Corporation gift card and loyalty transaction processor has
announced its expansion into the Australian market. Providing gift and
loyalty card programs, Givex intends to expand its Australian market
presence through local retailer partner programs for which the
organization will offer transaction processing power, contstant access
to tracking, support, card marketing, fulfilment services and network
communication methods. Furthermore, the Givex card solution will allow
merchants to use the cards across all aspects of their business and
provides its retention/prepaid technological solutions to partners in
over 35 countries.

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