A new survey indicates that stability in the U.S. credit markets is not likely to return until the third quarter or later. Fitch Ratings says stability in the housing market is likely even further off. The latest “Fitch Ratings/Fixed Income Forum Survey” of institutional investors also found that ‘home price stabilization’ and ‘further fed easing’ were important, but ‘government driven remedies’ were viewed as potentially harmful or simply not important. Viewed as most critical to restoring stability to the credit markets was ‘confidence in financial disclosure of mark-to-market losses.’ Respondents were nearly unanimous in their belief that the risk of a U.S. recession is either moderate or high, while fully 100% of respondents expect the default rate to increase at least moderately in 2008, with about half of these expecting the rate to move significantly higher.Details
At the recent “Cards Awards 2008”, held in London, the Newcastle Building
Society has been awarded for having the “Best Prepaid Card Marketing
Campaign” with its “Tuxedo Blue Diamond” card campaign, beating-out 5
other nominees. Launched in February of 2007, with the help of Tuxedo
Money Solutions, Newcastle Building Society marketed the reloadable
open loop prepaid product with innovative packaging and a well-designed
media campaign. Recognizing excellence and best practice in the cards
payment industry, “The Cards Awards 2008” marked the first year
nominations were given to prepaid card offerings in different categories.
Also included in the ceremony was recognition to credit, debit and charge
card issuers on such topics as commercial success and customer experience
improvement. Newcastle Building Society has assets of over GBP4.4billion,
more than 60 live card programs and is planning 50 more in the months to
Targeting the 75 million Chinese cardholders, the 99Bill Corporation
has introduced its “cross bank bill payment” card payment solution.
With this new solution, 99Bill users can now pay credit card bills over
the Internet with debit cards issued by any bank and because most
Chinese consumers are required to make cash payment at physical
bank branches, 99Bill’s “cross bank bill payment” has been introduced
as a matter of convenience, as a means of reducing foot-traffic at
branch offices and possibly improving customer loyalty. Currently however, the service only applies to consumers of the 8 major
card-issuing banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of
China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and China
Merchants Bank. The 99Bill Corporation electronic payment services
provider has 20 million registered accounts, 100,000 client merchants,
1.1 billion debt cards issued and 75 million credit cards issued.
TSYS and Telrock have partnered to introduce integrated mobile solutions
in North America in response to a successful collaboration in Europe
and an increased demand for the mobile phone account service in the
former market. The SMS mobile phone services which the 2 organizations
will be introducing include fraud alerting, account notifications, customer
inquiries and payments. Telrock provides mobile development and
integration solutions while TSYS offers outsourced payment services in
consumer-finance, credit, debit, healthcare, loyalty and prepaid service
around the world.
Hypercom yesterday confirmed it has executed a share purchase agreement to purchase Thales’ e-Transactions business. Hypercom previously made a $10 million deposit when it entered into a binding offer in December. Hypercom expects to close the transaction by March 31st. The acquisition will provide Hypercom with increased capabilities in Europe, making the Company a formidable global competitor. Hypercom also announced that after discussions with Ingenico this week, it became clear there was no path acceptable to the parties to pursue a merger with Ingenico at this time. Earlier this week Ingenico offered to buy Hypercom for $332 million after trying to block the Thales transaction. (CF Library 2/12/08)Details
Scotiabank’s “ScotiaStar Network” has partnered with Mazda Canada
to provide Mazda customers savings and rewards, including a program
designed to provide 5X the rewards when the “Scotiabank VISA” is
used for the purchase of certain Mazda parts and services. With this
development, Mazda Canada joins a network of hundreds of Scotiabank
partners, such as restaurants, retailers and online shopping services, whom
provide their Scotiabank VISA customers and clients with similar benefits.
Existing Scotiabank VISA cardholders need enroll their account to activate
the rewards feature, which provide users with automatic rewards.
Mazda Canada has a nationwide network of 160 dealerships, providing
Canadians with Mazdas, parts and services, while Scotiabank employs over
60,000 and serves nearly 12.5 million in over 50 countries around the
Hypercom has executed a share purchase agreement to purchase Thales’ e-Transactions business. The move has squashed a potential merger between Hypercom and Ingenico. Hypercom expects to close the transaction by March 31st. The acquisition will provide Hypercom with increased capabilities in Europe, making the Company a formidable global competitor. Hypercom also announced that after discussions with Ingenico this week, it became clear there was no path acceptable to the parties to pursue a merger with Ingenico at this time. Ingenico also said that it does not see any way to proceed. Ingenico noted that it learned earlier this week that under the terms of Hypercom’s agreement with Thales, they were not free to enter into a transaction with Ingenico that does not include the Thales assets. The Company says it was disappointed that it did not have a genuine opportunity to move forward with the offer it put before the Hypercom board and shareholders. Last week Ingenico offered to buy Hypercom for $332 million, a 52% premium over last week’s share price, as well as an approximate 83% premium over Hypercom’s current enterprise value.Details
CO-based Springbok Services has received “SAS 70 Type II” certification. The SAS 70 Type II certification provides industry-standard assurances to Springbok Servicesâ customers whom use their secure personalization and fulfillment solutions and is issued under guidance established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). SAS 70 Type II assurance means that Springbok Services’ infrastructure and processes have passed rigorous, third-party testing and have independently validated these processes to effectively exchange customer corporate/financial information.Details
Halifax Credit Card research on Valentines 2007 spending reveals the average man spent GBP44 on flowers and GBP82 on dining.
Additional research also shows the average cost of an anniversary is
between GBP40 and GBP60 while 20% spend over GBP100, 32%
spend on dining, 19% on flowers and 20% on jewelery for their loved
ones. Moreover, when “popping the question”, 69% of men spend
between half a month and a month’s salary on an engagement ring and
9% spend more than this proportion. In conjunction with this research,
Halifax is marketing its “Plus Credit Card”, offering 0% on balance
transfers for the first 13 months and 0% on purchases for the
introductory 6 months.
The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has signed a deal with Official Payments Corp for electronic payment services. New Mexico constituents can pay their personal income taxes, motor vehicle payments, weight distance permit payments, and Combined Reporting System (CRS) payments electronically through Official Payments. Official Payments charges a convenience fee for some services. Citizens and businesses using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn reward points, frequent flyer miles or cash back for paying their taxes and fees. New Mexico’s Taxation and Revenue Department processes approximately $7 billion annually in revenue.Details
According to The Bank of Thailand, credit card and consumer loans
were reflective of economic conditions and consumer confidence toward
the end of 2007, having noticeably slowed. Throughout Thailand, credit
cards totaled 12,003,369 in 4Q07, up 145,158 in 3Q07, while loan
volumes totaled Bt179.28 billion, up Bt5.38 billion over the same period.
Moreover, credit card spending for December ’07 totaled Bt79.76 billion,
up Bt4.41 billion from 3Q07.
Yet another survey indicates that consumption has entered the “Red Zone.” The latest Deloitte Research “Leading Index” plummeted to a new low in December. Four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — comprise the index which fell to 1.78% from last month’s index of 2.55%. Deloitte Research said that housing prices fell by 9% on a year-on-year basis but there was a substantial increase in mortgage loan applications. However, with a tight credit market, it is not clear yet if a revival in housing demand is underway. There was no substantial reduction in inventory of new houses which would take 9.6 months to unwind at the current sales pace.Details