Vesdia Taps Holmquist as Chief Marketing Officer

Atlanta-based Vesdia has named Lars Holmquist as Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to TSYS, Holmquist was the VP/Loyalty Consulting Services for MasterCard. His responsibilities included their U.S. business development and client management areas, where he again successfully partnered with financial institutions to maximize the growing demand for customer loyalty solutions. Holmquist also spent two years with Brierley & Partners, a targeted marketing and loyalty agency, and nearly nine years with American Express, in both Sweden and the U.S. In his new role at Vesdia, Holmquist will focus on business development within the financial services industry, specifically optimizing the growing demand for Vesdia’s turnkey merchant-funded reward solutions.

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CreditCards.com Inks Yahoo! and LendingTree

TX-based CreditCards.com and Yahoo! Finance have signed a deal to give access to a credit card search engine. The deal follows a similar one last month with LendingTree and its sister site, GetSmart.com. In 2007, over 12 million visitors used CreditCards.com to search for their next credit card. The search engine, which is updated daily with current credit card offers, provides potential customers a means to compare hundreds of current credit card offers in order to find the best deal for them.

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HPY & COLLECTIVE POS

New Jersey-based Heartland Payment Systems has acquired a majority interest in Collective Point of Sale Solutions. Heartland will add CollectivePOS’ 5,000+ Canadian customers – processing in excess of $1 billion annually – to its growing portfolio of small and mid-sized businesses. CollectivePOS’ management team, led by President and CEO Michael Back, will maintain its leadership of the company, and
its customers’ payments transactions will continue to be processed and
serviced by the company. As such, operations will continue seamlessly,
and CollectivePOS merchants will not need a system conversion.

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U.S. Spending Monitor Finally Flattens

The Discover “U.S. Spending Monitor” held steady in February as spending intentions flattened, while pessimism about the economy increased. After sharp spending cutbacks in December and then January, following the end of the holiday season, consumers steadied their spending, but were cautious about any increases. Even lower expected pressures on household expenses and the announced economic stimulus package did not encourage a rebound. Record pessimism about the economy and personal finances seems to be constraining consumers’ willingness to spend more. The Monitor was essentially unchanged in February, up just .3 to 86.4. Less than 19% of consumers rate the economy as good or excellent these days, a new Monitor low and a sharp drop from 32.5% in October. Outlook ahead also hit a new low with 70% expecting economic conditions to worsen.

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FSV Payment Systems to Offer PayVox

Houston-based prepaid card processor FSV Payment Systems says it will now offer Aliaswire “PayVox’s” phone and Web-based bill payment capabilities to its card programs and cardholders. “PayVox” was designed to meet the needs of prepaid cardholders, who are highly mobile and prefer the phone, CSR, and wireless channels in addition to Internet interfaces. “PayVox’s” voice recognition and wireless capabilities enable cardholders to provide bill payment instructions via personalized commands as simple as “Pay Comcast” or “Pay Verizon.” Aliaswire has a network of over 13 million end customers.

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E-Shoppers Prefer Debit & Credit Cards

A new study reveals that two-thirds of consumers prefer online stores that offer multiple payment mechanisms. Furthermore, 61% of online shoppers choose sites that offer both credit and debit card payment options. The study by JupiterResearch and PayPal study also revealed that consumers value payment security and payment choice more than rewards when making purchases online. About 55% of consumers think about payment methods they will use before they click on the checkout button; 48% of all online adult shoppers prefer the convenience of alternative payment methods; one third of online shoppers want to avoid filling out name, address and credit card details; and one in eight consumers thinks about how he or she will pay even before deciding what to buy.

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Boost Mobile Selects Vesta Corp

Vesta has been selected by Boost Mobile to manage phone- and Internet-based recharge transactions for the operator’s entire product line. The collaboration streamlines Boost’s current credit recharge model by eliminating the need for customers to register over the phone with a live agent. Additionally, new capabilities will be introduced that enable Boost customers to utilize debit cards and electronic checks as payment options, expanding customers’ options for replenishing via phone, WAP, or Internet. Boost will also introduce a feature allowing customers to receive a “gift” of “Re-Boost” dollars. This proprietary Vesta feature allows a subscriber’s friends and family to add funds to an account in real time.

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VeriFone V(x) Clears Givex Gift Cards

Givex has received certification of its gift card and loyalty programs for VeriFone’s “V(x)” Solutions. Merchants using the “V(x)” series of VeriFone payment systems are now able to process Givex gift card and loyalty transactions. In addition to processing real-time Givex gift card and loyalty transactions, merchants will benefit from a full range of support services, including 24/7 support, online reporting, program administration, card production and marketing, and more.

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B2B Markets Projected to Reap a 7% CAGR

A new report from Aite Group reports that the global wholesale payments market will grow from $18 billion in 2008 to $25 billion in 2012, a 6.8% CAGR. Aite says the most successful vendors in this market will be those whose solutions are flexible, configurable, and easily integrated with other external systems. The market will act as building blocks with standard connections, allowing disparate offerings to connect to each other and creating the ability to add more blocks at any time in order to meet the needs of the client.

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Travelex and MC Launch the Cash Passport Card

Travelex has teamed with MasterCard and West Suburban Bank to create the “Cash Passport MasterCard.” The new card is available in Euros and British Pounds. Because Cash Passport is denominated in foreign currency, the exchange rate is locked in at the time the card is loaded. The “Travelex Cash Passport” card will be available at local banks, travel agencies and Travelex retail locations in North America in the second quarter of 2008. “Cash Passport” will be available in Pound Sterling or Euros and the card is re-loadable up to 24 times.

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uTANGO VISA LifeStage Reward Card Is Introduced

uTANGO has enhanced its program by introducing the “uTANGO VISA Card.” The loyalty rewards program is designed specifically to help consumers leverage their existing daily spending to earn over $1 million in lifetime cash rewards. “uTANGO” pays members up to $800 per year in annual cash rewards and once married, uTANGO pays “LifeStage Cash Rewards” up to $10,000 at 10 years, $100,000 at 20 years and $1 Million at 30 years of plan participation.

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New Survey Shows Rewards More Valued Than Perks

A new JupiterResearch and PayPal study revealed that consumers value payment security and payment choice more than rewards when making purchases online. PayPal partnered with independent research firm JupiterResearch to develop a series of survey questions focused on how the U.S. population uses payment methods when shopping online. According to the research, when consumers are confronted with two merchants who offer the same product at the same price, the two most influential factors when choosing where to buy are payment security and payment choice. The study showed that security influences online shopping behavior more than typical merchant incentives like rewards and discounts. In fact, more than half of the survey respondents consider the security of their financial information as the deciding factor when they make purchases. An additional two thirds of shoppers feel more secure when they don’t have to enter financial information at all, even at merchant Web sites they trust.

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