CONSUMER INTERNET SHOPPING

Nielsen Research has recently shown that over 85% of the global population
has used the Internet to make a purchase at one point or another, 50% of
Internet users have made an online purchase between December 2007 and
January 2008 and those whom participate in online shopping has increased to
875 million, 40% greater than the 2006 figure of 627 million. Moreover,
South Korea led with 99% of users having shopped on websites, followed by
97% of British and 97% of Germans. Correspondingly, South Korea led with
79% of users having shopped online since the beginning of December
followed by 76% of British. However, 67% of Swiss ranked third on the
global arena of consumers whom have shopped online since early December.
Among hot items, books were the most popular accounting for 41% of
purchases,
clothing accounting for 36% while Videos, DVDs and Games accounted for 24%.
Nielsen Research operates in over 100 countries, providing survey
research and
consulting services.

Details

OCC Demands Kill ADS-Blackstone Deal

Alliance Data Systems’ stock dropped nearly 40% this morning after Blackstone Group said it was backing out of a deal to acquire the payment card processor for more than $6 billion. Blackstone informed ADS that it does not anticipate the condition to closing the merger relating to obtaining approvals from the OCC will be satisfied. Blackstone’s notice stated that the OCC is “demanding that extraordinary measures be taken by ADS, Holdco and various Blackstone entities in connection with the Change in Control Notice” that “represent operational and financial burdens on ADS, Holdco and Blackstone that cannot be reasonably assumed.” Blackstone stated that it is unwilling to satisfy the requirements specified in the OCC letter. Blackstone also expressed its belief that alternative solutions that would be acceptable to Blackstone would not satisfy the OCC, and therefore that further negotiations with the OCC would be futile.

Details

DECEMBER VOLUME

Statistics New Zealand has released figures that show during December 2007, merchants processed 95 million electronic card
transactions for a total volume of NZ$2.6 billion. These findings were
fundamentally the same for November of 2007 and were compiled
with the help of New Zealand-based merchants to include all
card transactions processed within the country. Moreover, transactions
conducted by overseas card-holders in New Zealand are included while
transactions by New Zealand card-holders conducted overseas are
excluded.

Details

GSA SmartPay 2 Cards Coming in November

The U.S. GSA has announced that the DOD has chosen the GSA “SmartPay 2” program to serve 1.2 million DOD travel cardholders. The estimated value of DOD’s travel card order from “SmartPay 2” contractor Citibank South Dakota is $40 billion over 10 years, based on projected travel card spending. DOD’s Defense Travel Management Office’s (DTMO) order with “SmartPay 2” contractor Citibank signed January 14th, starts immediately. The goal is to activate the new DOD travel cards by November 30th. DTMO provides program management and oversight for DOD’s travel card users.

Details

PAYZONE & BLACKHAWK

The Payzone payments network and Blackhawk prepaid solutions have
signed collaborative agreements. With these developments, the
organizations plan to tap the European gift card market for the distribution
of Payzone products through the Blackhawk network and Blackhawk
products through Payzone retail outlets. This will support Blackhawk’s
European expansion of its prepaid and payments network to nearly
170,000 Payzone retail locations across the continent. The Blackhawk
Network is composed of 80,000 store fronts, targeting 165 million
consumers weekly while Payzone has operations in 21 countries across
Europe, processes over 630 million per annum with a value of
approximately EUR13 billion and operates a total of 240,000 points of
service.

Details

Attitude POSitive Releases a New AccuPOS

CA-based Attitude POSitive has launched its latest version of AccuPOS retail point of sale software. AccuPOS Retail gives small-to-medium retailers more control over their business with the only solution that separates the front-end POS functions with the back-end accounting functions, providing a much cleaner, secure and more detailed accounting process. Unlike other POS software, AccuPOS is a pure POS solution, protecting critical financial information more effectively. AccuPOS only collects sales data and populates the accounting program ensuring that all inventory, sales and customer data are rightfully located in the accounting program. This eliminates the many common accounting duplication errors. AccuPOS is easy to implement with all popular accounting programs i.e. QuickBooks, Peachtree, MAS. Attitude POSitive is a provider of POS, inventory management and time clock software for the retail and hospitality industries.

Details

FRAUD SCIENCES & PAYPAL

eBay’s PayPal has signed a deal to acquire Fraud Sciences for about $165 million. Fraud Sciences is a specialist in online risk tools. The acquisition is expected to enhance eBay and PayPal’s proprietary fraud management systems and accelerate the development of next generation fraud detection tools. Key personnel from Fraud Sciences, including Yossi Barak, Fraud Sciences’ COO, and founders Shvat Shaked and Saar Wilf, will join the company’s technology and fraud management teams. Gadi Maier, Fraud Sciences’ President and CEO, will provide strategic and operational support to the company during the integration period.

Details

Wachovia Promotes Pope to Head Retail Credit

Wachovia has promoted David Pope to president of its Mortgage and Retail Credit division. Pope will be responsible for leading the daily sales, fulfillment, retention, service and operational aspects of the mortgage and retail credit businesses. He has served in a variety of roles over the course of a 20-year career with Wachovia. Prior to his most recent role, Pope was head of Wachovia’s Business Banking group for three years. He has also held roles as co-head of the Retail Bank, region executive for Metro Washington, D.C., and retail executive for Virginia.

Details

SYSCOM INVESTMENTS

Sagem Orga subsidiary, Syscom Ltd, will be investing significantly in the
Indian smart-card market over the duration of the next 2 years. The
Syscom organization provides SIM card solutions to Indian companies
and merchants with a nearly 45% market share. Across the country, the
number mobile telecommunication subscribers is growing at nearly 70%
annually, are expected to require nearly 250 million smartcards for 2008
and 500 million for 2010. In response to these statistics, Syscom is
investing in the establishment of a new, 8,000 sq meter, smart card
manufacturing facility to generate 200 million SIM cards annually with
capacities of up to 256 KB. Syscom Corporation provides SIM cards
and solutions for most of the regional mobile operators.

Details

Debt Resolve Names a New CEO & President

NY-based collections solution provider Debt Resolve has appointed Kenneth Montgomery, previously with Pentegra, as its new CEO and promoted CFO David Rainey to President. Montgomery has over 25 years in the financial services industry. From March 2003 to March 2006, he held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Pentegra Retirement Services, where he managed assets totaling over $4B and successfully transformed the culture to accelerate growth. From April 2001 to January 2003, Mr. Montgomery was Head of Sales and Business Development at CIGNA Retirement Services. Rainey has been Chief Financial Officer at the company since March 2007. He has over 19 years of experience in public company accounting and finance roles, corporate governance, Sarbanes-Oxley issues, and mergers and acquisitions. Before joining Debt Resolve, Mr. Rainey served as the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Hudson Scenic Studio, where he was responsible for finance and accounting. Debt Resolve provides lenders, collection agencies, debt buyers and utilities with a patent-based online bidding system for the resolution and settlement of consumer debt.

Details

CREDITZ DIGI CURRENCY

Creditz will be providing its customers with a Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) payment card application. The new RFID
application is set for introduction at the Electronic Transaction
Association
(ETA) annual convention in April of this year to provides account holders
with a convenient payment solution at participating CREDITZ retailers.
The new solution is supported with IBM “Series I Technology” and is free
to account holders.

Details

PSCU Names a New Chief Debit Officer

PSCU Financial Services has hired Tom Gandre, previously SVP at First Data, to serve as Chief Debit Officer. Gandre was First Data Corporation’s Senior Vice President of Product Development and Management, responsible for new development product management for the Debit Services division. This division encompasses PIN and signature debit products, prepaid products, fraud and risk solutions, ATM products and the STAR Network. Gandre oversees the organization’s debit services unit, which continues to report strong year-over-year growth in transactions, ATM placements and the participation of new credit unions. PSCU Financial Services’ debit group currently services over 200 credit unions, 700 ATMs, and processes more than 7 million accounts that generate over 500 million transactions annually.

Details