EM MICROELECTRONICS & NFC FORUM

EM Microelectronics integrated circuit developer has joined the Near
Field Communication (NFC) Forum to contribute initiatives in technology
products and services. Joining the forum, EM is now among existing
member companies from the mobile communications, consumer electronics,
computing and media sectors. The forum implements its solutions and
collective opinions through working groups that promote NFC adaption
and interoperability testing for contactless payment expansion. EM
Microelectronics produces low-power circuits for battery, battery-less
operating devices and RFID products in the smart card market. The
organization also produces LCD modules and offers bumping services
while the NFC Forum,a non-profit industry association is focused on advancing
the use of NFC technology by developing specifications and interoperability
with the contribution of over 130 global member companies.

Details

FNBO Direct Introduces Pay Yourself First

Internet bank FNBO Direct has announced the new “Direct ExtraEarnings VISA Card” credit cards linked to its “Online Line Savings Account and issued a “Pay Yourself First” challenge to consumers. The FNBO “Direct ExtraEarnings VISA Card” rewards consumers for everyday purchases by giving them 2% cash back for every dollar spent for the first 12 billing cycles after an account is opened. Consumers can redeem their cash back by requesting a $25 deposit into their FNBO Direct account for every $1,250 in purchases during those first 12 billing cycles. After that, rewards are redeemable in $25 increments for every $2,500 in purchases. These cash back rewards are directly deposited into consumers’ high-yielding FNBO Direct Online Savings Accounts, which currently offers consumers a 5.05% APY1 with no fees or minimum balances required.

Details

ID THEFT

Capital One has released the results of its latest annual identity theft
survey
providing insight on how Canadian consumers habitually protect themselves
from identity theft. Among these habits, the Capital One survey has
revealed
that 65% of consumers do not regularly review their own credit reports,
52% believe all credit bureaus share all information and 33% felt that
alerting
the police is not necessary in the event of identity theft.
Subsequently, the
bank is recommending several measures be taken to protect themselves.
Among these recommendations, Capital One suggests not leaving the
signature box on the back of their cards blank, secure account numbers,
secure PIN numbers, keep all receipts, purchase retail goods from only
secure websites and maintaining paper account statements for future
reference.
If a consumer does find that they have already become a victim of ID
theft,
the bank encourages the consumer to contact all credit bureaus to receive a
fraud alert, file a police report and to cancel any card for which a
criminal
may have information. Capital One has provided consumers with Mastercard
products since 1996.

Details

Equifax to Publish Debt-to-Credit Ratios

Equifax announced an enhanced online version of its personal credit reports. Under the new format, the front page of the credit report will now provide a detailed summary of a consumer’s credit history, including accounts, debt-to-credit ratios, account age, and potential negative credit histories — all on one page. Each section also contains a brief explanation for consumers to help them better understand the information. The new format is available on the Equifax Credit Report (a new version for the Equifax 3-in-1 Credit Report, which includes credit information from all three national credit reporting companies, is due in early 2008).

Details

INCOMBANK & JCB

The Vietnam Industrial and Commercial Bank (Incombank) has signed
payment contracts to implement payment for JCB cards in Vietnam. With
this, JCB cardholders will be able to conduct transactions at over 750
Incombank ATMs and 1600 POS terminals. In addition to this payment
cooperation agreement, JCB has recently signed agreements with the State
Treasury and general Department of Taxation to allow customers to pay
taxes through banks and ATMs.

Details

October Payment Rates Drop 190 Basis Points

Monthly payment rates, the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt, nosedived to its lowest level in seven months. After hovering between 20% and 21% for most of this year, the MPR dropped 190 basis points between September and October. Among credit card-backed securities, the MPR declined to 19.09% in October after rising to 20.99% in September. The MPR has remained fairly stable in the first three quarters of this year and remains consistent with historical levels since the new FFIEC minimum payment rules went in effect in 2005. According to FitchRatings, the gross yield also decreased in October to 18.83% from 19.61% in September and was up 125 bps above year-ago levels. Fitch says gross yield in 2007 is significantly higher than 2006. The difference between the first-quarter average gross yield in 2006 and the first-quarter average in 2007 was 25 bps, compared to 73 bps between the second-quarter averages of 2006 and 2007 and 1.30 bps between the third-quarter averages.

ABS METRICS
YIELD MPR
Oct 06: 17.58% 19.30%
Nov 06: 17.96% 19.82%
Dec 06: 17.78% 19.32%
Jan 07: 18.28% 19.27%
Feb 07: 17.70% 20.80%
Mar 07: 18.21% 18.76%
Apr 07: 19.23% 21.09%
May 07: 18.23% 19.58%
Jun 07: 18.94% 20.17%
Jul 07: 18.46% 20.46%
Aug 07: 19.27% 20.88%
Sep 07: 19.61% 20.99%
Oct 07: 18.83% 19.09%
Source: FitchRatings

Details

MADE Secures mWallet, mTransfer and mPayments

Dallas-based Affinity Mobile has announced the commercial availability of the “Mobile Application Delivery Enablement” platform. The “MADE” platform delivers true mWallet, mTransfer and mPayments capabilities to mobile network operators, retail merchants and financial institutions. The Company says that most mobile banking services provide only closed, intra-bank transactions, while its new platform takes the next step and enables secure mobile money transfers, mobile bill payments and mobile wallet accounts. Affinity’s “MADE” applications run on a wide variety of mobile devices from entry mobile phones to high-end smart phones. The applications are developed, tested and certified with carriers by Affinity Mobile and supported across Java, Brew, Symbian and other messaging technologies. Trumpet Mobile is the first to embrace “MADE,” providing prepaid mobile services targeted towards the U.S. Hispanic market and other consumers who are underbanked. Trumpet Mobile is distributed via RadioShack.

Details

2008 May Develop as Year of the Smart Card

Oberthur Card Systems is predicting that for 2008 the popularity of smart cards in the USA will be explosive. Americans have been true laggards in the adoption of smart card technology due to the huge investment in its magnetic stripe infrastructure. Oberthur notes that the first large-scale adoption of smart cards was for French pay phones in 1983. Then in Europe in the early ’90s, MasterCard, VISA, and Europay agreed to develop specifications for the use of smart cards in payment cards. The Company also says that currently 17 of its top 20 customers, as well as the federal government, have embraced microprocessor chip cards. But, Oberthur says this summer it had two key concerns: whether banks with pilot projects would adopt contactless cards and if banks already using contactless cards would re-issue. The Company says both of these things are happening — pointing to a robust smart card next year. JupiterResearch predicts that microprocessor chip cards are likely to be in more than 75 million American wallets or cell phones before the end of 2008 and more than 128 million will be in circulation by 2009.

Details

Apple’s Wozniak to Speak at CO-OP’s Think 2008

CO-OP Financial Services has slated its “Think 2008” conference for April 14-16 in Rancho Mirage, California. Speakers addressing “The Best of Ideas, Insights and Innovations” conference theme include Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.); Barry Gibbons, former CEO of Burger King Corporation; John Moore, Director of National Marketing for Whole Foods Market and former Retail Marketing Manager of Starbucks; and Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff International. Wozniak, who’ll discuss the importance innovation plays in a business model, will draw from his experience shaping the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products. Gibbons will tell the “David and Goliath” story of how he turned Burger King from a failing corporation into a direct competitor with McDonald’s. Moore, a brand marketing expert, will share advice on how to become the next Starbucks. And Putnam will talk about how he created Southwest’s service culture, helping it become the only airline to remain profitable every year for more than three decades. Additional speakers will be announced at a later date.

Details

Gender Divide in Impulse Buying is Revealed

PA-based GSI Commerce has released an online survey showing that a gender divide exists when determining the factors that influence impulse buys (comparing male and female adults ages 18+). Results indicate that 55% of women, ages 45-54, are more likely than men of the same age to make an impulse buy online based on a limited time offer, whether it’s a sale, rebate, or offer of free shipping. Free returns are less likely to sway men, ages 45-54, than 51 % women in their age group to make an impulse buy online. While 59% of both men and women are somewhat or very likely to impulsively buy something online that is “perfect” for someone they know, 65% of women are more likely to do so. Additionally, 34% of men and 34% of women consider a well-known site/brand to be a very important and 46% of women versus 47% of men indicate a professional site design is an important or very important feature.

Details

Cognizant Wins a Pegasystems Partner Award

NJ-based business process outsourcing specialist Cognizant has been selected to receive Pegasystems’ “Systems Integrator of the Year” award for the second consecutive year. This award recognizes the system integrator for outstanding work in deploying process related solutions using “Pegasystems SmartBPM” Suite to deliver on customers’ business objectives. Cognizant is a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services.

Details