CREDIT CARD VOLUMES

According to Lafferty Research, credit card use among Turkish
consumers has surged 523% since 2002 with a total volume of
$17.9 billion for 2007 and is showing no signs of slowing growth.
Additional findings show that total debt on credit cards account
for only 20% of consumer spending, affecting 36 million consumers
in 2007, up from 15 million in 2002. Given these findings, the
research group concludes that Turkey is now among the top ten
most profitable global card markets with profits of $1.8 billion in
2007. Lafferty Group’s Turkey research examines trends in the
Turkish consumer finance and the payment cards market.

Details

Pacifica Powers First Hawaiian Rewards

Pacifica Group has agreed to partner with First Hawaiian Bank to expand its “Priority Rewards Program.” All First Hawaiian Bank customers that have a Priority Rewards debit or credit card will earn bonus points when they shop at hundreds of local retailers and restaurants. Currently cardholders earn 1 point per dollar when using First Hawaiian’s Priority Reward credit card and 1 point per two dollars when using the bank’s Priority Rewards debit card. Points can be redeemed for air travel with no blackout dates, gift cards from local and national merchants as well as cash awards. First Hawaiian Bank holds assets of $12.5 billion.

Details

ReadySTATION to Deliver CheckFreePay

Fiserv’s CheckFreePay has signed a deal for its walk-in bill payment service to be deployed at all “ReadySTATION” kiosks in the USA. The kiosks utilize the NCR “EasyPoint Xpress” kiosk platform, which enables easy integration of additional services. All integration of the “CheckFreePay Link” software is being handled securely without service interruption. The ReadySTATION allows consumers to purchase a fully functional “ReadyCARD Prepaid MasterCard”. With the integration of the CheckFreePay walk-in bill payment service, which securely transmits payment information directly to billing companies, consumers will also be able to pay bills with cash at any ReadySTATION. Bill payments made at a ReadySTATION can be processed the next business day for $2.50, or through standard three-business-day processing for $1.50. Stores already featuring ReadySTATION kiosks include Dollar Tree in Atlanta and Houston, Save-A-Lot in Milwaukee, selected stores in the SUPERVALU network, and convenience stores in Minneapolis/St. Paul and El Paso, Texas. Consumers can locate a ReadySTATION by visiting www.readycreditcorp.com.

Details

AIB MERCHANT SERVICES

The joint venture between Allied Irish Banks and First Data for payment card services has been cleared by the European Commission. In November AIB and FDC signed agreements to launch a joint venture to provide merchant acquiring and payment card processing in Ireland, the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. The new firm will be called AIB Merchant Services. This will provide for enhanced functionality for AIB’s 30,000 merchant customers and offer merchant services to enable expansion of the bank’s card acquiring. AIB’s card acquiring businesses is projected to conduct 140 million and 13 million transactions, respectively, before the beginning of 2008. Both companies will participate in daily operations of the venture and have a presence on the board of directors.

Details

CARD SECURITY

According to a report recently released by Financial Insight, the number
of innovations in microfinance technology are rapidly growing. Examples
of this can be seen with technologies such as biometrics and smart cards
deployment growing among the under-served customer segments, no longer
perceived by organizations as unprofitable business ventures. Traditionally
inhibiting financial institutions from serving the under-banked were fears
of high administration costs and high default rates, given the lack of
consumer credit histories. An increasing trend, however, shows microfinance
programs have an increasing potential to generate high returns with low
levels
of loan default. Bank Rakyat Indonesia, for example, granted 60% of its 2007
loans to consumers to whom this demographic applies and projects an
additional 40 million clients in 2008. Financial Insights research and
consulting
addresses issues in banking, insurance and asset management sectors and
is headquartered in Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Details

PUNJAB SMARTCARDS

Punjab Bank has announced plans to deploy biometric smartcards
as a means of providing the illiterate population with banking
products and services. For the establishment of a biometric account,
the bank requires a thumb impression of the account holder for
identity verification and account access. Instead of the customer going
to a traditional banking facility, however, the bank sends a
representative to the customer’s residence to allow them to conduct
traditional bank transactions. Also appealing to the illiterate population,
the bank has established a new Financial Literacy and Credit Counseling
Center, among several it has opened across India.

Details

USAT and Coinmach Introduce eSuds Credit

USA Technologies and Coinmach have teamed to introduce “eSuds Credit,” an online laundry service for the nation’s multi-housing laundry industry that enables users to pay for their laundry services with a credit or debit card. Coinmach Service Corporation is a distributor of eSuds and is the largest laundry equipment services company in North America, operating approximately 875,000 pieces of laundry equipment in approximately 80,000 locations. Coinmach’s customers include leading property management companies, colleges and universities, and the United States Military. The company also leases laundry rooms in apartments and dormitories, and rents machines to apartment residents, laundromats, and management companies. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries.

Details

VERIFONE ISTS

Verifone Holdings has introduced its VeriFone “Integrated Systems
Professional Services” organization and delivery agreement with
ISTS Worldwide delivery corporation. The new service solution has
been implemented for the expansion of the company’s retail IT
delivery capabilities, software and integration. ISTS Worldwide
provides retail and payment solutions and a track record of dealing
with Veifone and customers. Additionally, this partnership will
expand the company’s services capabilities and product integration. ISTS
Worldwide software development provides various retail & payment
technology verticals and allows organizations to maximize profitability
while
VeriFone Holdings provides secure electronic payment solutions to
merchants, processors and acquirers around the world.

Details

DIBL & SUNGARD

Dawood Islamic Bank Ltd (DIBL) has deployed the Sungard “System Access
Customer Service Manager” for the provision of Internet banking solutions.
The solution is designed to provide safe, affordable Shariah-compliant
retail
banking services to allow consumers access to bank services, including
online
payments and financing facilities. Additionally, “System Access Customer
Service
Manager” provides customer information to integrate with back-end
systems and
helps customer retention with integrated marketing campaigns. Dawood
Islamic
Bank initiated operations with an initial capital of 2 billion rupees,
currently has
5 branches in operation and is planning to establish 20 branches throughout
Pakistan for 2008. SunGard has an annual revenue of over $4 billion and
serves more than 25,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

Details

U.S. Consumer Confidence Plummets in January

A monthly barometer has found that consumer sentiment plummeted in January driven by rising food prices and fuel costs coupled with declining housing values. The decline in the overall “Index” has pushed the index to its lowest level since data collection began in 2002. The composite “RBC CASH Index” for January 2008 stands at 56.3, compared to 65.9 in December and 95.3 one-year ago. The “RBC Expectations Index” for January dropped more than eight points after rebounding in December. The “RBC Current Conditions Index” slipped again this month reaching 78.9, down 6 points from December’s level, and down 22 points from October’s high. The “RBC Jobs Index” also dipped to 106.9, compared to 113.9 in December. The “RBC Investment Index” was down another three points to 76.3, compared to 79.7 last month. RBC Financial Group says its research shows no slowing of current economic headwinds and that consumers could pull back further on spending, increasing the risk of a recession.

RBC INDEX HISTORICAL
Jan 07: 95.3
Feb 07: 103.0
Mar 07: 92.3
Apr 07: 85.4
May 07: 87.1
Jun 07: 81.4
Jul 07: 76.1
Aug 07: 89.3
Sep 07: 71.1
Oct 07: 80.6
Nov 07: 64.0
Dec 07: 65.9
Jan 08: 56.3
Source: RBC Financial Group

Details

AmEx Q4 Charge-Offs Rise 80bps Over 4Q/06

Credit card-related stocks took a hit yesterday after American Express reported that delinquencies and charge-offs rose during December as cardholder spending slowed. Earlier in the day Capital One reported that November showed a strong uptick in delinquencies and charge-offs. AmEx reported that delinquencies in its managed U.S. lending portfolio increased to approximately 3.2% in the fourth quarter from 2.9% in the third quarter, and that the charge-off rate in this portfolio increased to 4.3% from 3.7% for the same periods. Charge-offs for AmEx one-year ago stood at 3.5% according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Cardholder spending rose about 16% for the fourth quarter but the growth trailed off to 13% in December with particular weakness in U.S. billings. As a result, AmEx will take a pre-tax charge of approximately $440 million for the fourth quarter. This charge will raise worldwide lending reserves to one hundred percent of past-due loans and increase reserves related to the charge card portfolio. AmEx also is projecting worldwide billed business growth of approximately 8% to 10% for 2008. Charge-off levels in the managed U.S. lending portfolio are projected to average 5.1% to 5.3% for the full year. Capital One reported that its charge-off ratio for U.S. Cards climbed to its highest level in more than four years during November. Delinquency (30+ days) for its U.S. Cards also increased to its highest point since June 2003. (CF Library 1/10/08)

AMEX U.S. CHARGE-OFFS
4Q/06: 3.5%
1Q/07: 3.7%
2Q/07: 3.7%
3Q/07: 3.7%
4Q/07: 4.3%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Details

Rent-A-Center to Deploy NCR ECRs

Rent-A-Center has partnered with Diebold to install seven “Diebold Express Cash Recyclers” as part of an agreement by which Rent-A-Center will purchase 500 units through the next two and a half years. The cash recyclers automatically count, authenticate and securely safeguard cash deposited by clients. That same cash is later dispensed for customer cash withdrawals. Diebold teamed with Arcatech Systems, a supplier of transaction automation components, to design and manufacture ECRs to penetrate the teller market with an automated recycling solution specifically designed for North America.

Details