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.

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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.

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Credit Card ABS Delinquency Hits a 07 High

Credit card delinquency, among “prime” credit card-backed securities, rose for the fourth consecutive month, hitting a new high for 2007. However, charge-offs headed down in October for the third straight month, largely due to fewer collection days. Delinquency (60+ days), which is an indicator of future charge-offs, rose by 14 basis points in October. Charge-offs declined 25 basis points, but remain 72 points higher than one-year ago. According to FitchRatings, “prime” charge-offs for October were 4.50% compared to 4.75% in the prior month and 3.78% for October 2006. The “prime” 60-plus day delinquency index for October was 2.74%, compared to 2.60% in September and 2.40% one-year ago.

CREDIT CARD ABS METRICS
CHARGE-OFFS DELINQUENCY*
Jan 07: 4.31% 2.57%
Feb 07: 4.13% 2.66%
Mar 07: 4.36% 2.69%
Apr 07: 4.51% 2.64%
May 07: 4.63% 2.61%
Apr 07: 4.51% 2.64%
May 07: 4.63% 2.61%
Jun 07: 4.60% 2.57%
Jul 07: 4.52% 2.51%
Aug 07: 4.88% 2.57%
Sep 07: 4.75% 2.60%
Oct 07: 4.50% 2.74%
* 60+ day
Source: Fitch Ratings

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NCO Group to Acquire Outsourcing Solutions

PA-based NCO Group has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Outsourcing Solutions for $325.0 million in cash. OSI is a provider of business process outsourcing services, specializing primarily in accounts receivable management services. OSI produced about $441.5 million in annual revenue in fiscal 2006. The acquisition is currently expected to be accretive to NCO’s earnings in 2008 and beyond. NCO Group recently reported that third quarter revenue was up about 2% to $307.2 million. After the completion of the acquisition, the combined company will have over 29,000 employees operating in 10 countries. NCO is a portfolio company of One Equity Partners, a private equity investment fund. (CF Library 11/15/07)

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RBS Lynk to Power an E-Philanthropy Card

Software developer edatanetworks USA has signed a multi-year agreement with RBS Lynk to develop and launch a VISA gift-card program that will operate within the “Automated Cause Marketing” technology. The first implementation of the gift-card program will be at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, where edatanetworks recently launched its ACM technology branded St. Joseph’s “allRewards”. The “allRewards gift card” will be marketed to hospital staff, friends and supporters. In addition, the gift card will be available for purchase at the hospital and selected events by consumers who care and recognize that their everyday spending can support life-saving programs at St. Joseph’s. When consumers use their new VISA gift card at Joseph’s allRewards Merchant Partners, additional donations will be generated to the St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center; visit www.stjosephsallrewards.com for more details. RBS Lynk is a leading, single-source provider of electronic payment processing services.

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IRS Extends OPC E-Payment Tax Contract

The Internal Revenue Service has extended its electronic tax payment processing contract with VA-based Official Payments through November 2008. To date, the company has processed over $7 billion in federal taxes. Through this service, individual taxpayers can make secure tax payments for a variety of federal tax types including Balance Due, Estimated, Extension, Installment Agreement, Prior Year, Advance Payment of a Determined Deficiency and Trust Fund Recovery Penalty for both Prior Tax Periods and Installment Agreements. In addition, businesses can make credit card payments for business returns on Form 940 (Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return) for the Current Tax Year, for Prior Tax Years and for Installment Agreements, Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) for the Current Tax Year, for Prior Tax Years and for Installment Agreements and Form 944 (Employer?s Annual Federal Tax Return). Official Payments charges a convenience fee for the service, however taxpayers using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn reward points, airline frequent flyer miles or cash back for paying their taxes. Official Payments Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tier Technologies, is a provider of electronic payment processing services to governments, businesses and consumers throughout the United States.

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Consumer Spending Index Falls Sharply

Falling home prices continues to dampen consumer spending. The Deloitte “Leading Index of Consumer Spending” fell sharply in December to 2.64%, from an upwardly revised loss of 3.47% a month ago. The “index” tracks tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices. Real home prices saw their largest fall this month in 2007 and the news from housing continues to remain grim. Existing home sales, an indicator of housing demand, fell 1.2% over September and were down 20.7% as compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, the “Credit Manager’s Index” fell for the third consecutive month in November as all four components of the “Index” declined for the first time in five years, also indicating a contraction.

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U.S. Bank Provides SmartPay 2 P-Cards

The U.S. Department of Transportation has selected U.S. Bank to provide purchasing cards under the new GSA “SmartPay 2” contract. Under the GSA contract, each government agency issues a task order to solicit proposals from the four card issuers who qualified for a contract under GSA SmartPay 2. U.S. Bank has served federal agencies since the inception of the purchase card program in 1986, making it the single most experienced payment provider to the federal government. It was the sole provider of purchase cards during the International Merchant Purchase Authorization Card (I.M.P.A.C.) program from 1988 to 1998, and is one of several providers participating in the current GSA SmartPay program, which ends in 2008. U.S. Bank is the first issuer to be awarded a tailored task order from a federal agency under GSA SmartPay 2, which was issued in June and takes effect November 30, 2008. U.S. Bancorp holds $228 billion in assets.

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PayPal Lands Four Seasoned Card Executives

PayPal has hired four seasoned card industry. The online payment company has hired Jack Stephenson, SVP/Strategy and New Ventures; Mary Anne Gillespie, VP/Sales; Barry Herstein, chief marketing officer; and Robert Mansell, VP/Product Development. The new hires come from Avon, American Express, McKinsey & Company, Oracle and VISA International. PayPal had 164 million total accounts at the end of the third quarter, a 34% increase from one-year ago. Total payment volume also rose 34% to a record $12.2 billion which includes payments initiated through the PayPal system but excludes its payment gateway business. The number of active accounts hit 37.5 million as of September 30th, its highest level to-date. (CF Library 10/18/07)

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Card Activation Patents Target 500 Firms

Chicago-based Card Activation Technologies reported that it has sent out 500 letters of notice to retailers, petroleum companies, and other companies that are potential licensees of the Company’s patented POS technology. This technology is designed for the activation and processing of transactions related to debit styled cards, which include gift cards, phone cards and other stored value cards. These letters are important in that, should companies ignore them and/or choose not to respond to a request to negotiate a license agreement, Card Activation Technologies may take legal action to enforce its rights. Once Card Activation Technologies prevails in this action, the damages are determined based on the date of the letter of notice. The company is actively seeking to license its technology to the thousands of current users and believes that many retailers, gas stations, phone companies and others that utilize those stored value cards, such as gift and debit, infringe on its patent, for which the company is now seeking damages.

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Loyalty Specialist Lands a Card Veteran

Los Angeles-based loyalty specialist Source has named Roger Van Scoy, formerly Managing Director for TSYS and First Data, as COO. Van Scoy began his career at First National Bank in Texas and eventually was part of the LBO that formed First USA. Mr. Van Scoy moved into banking technology at EDS in 1991, where he served as Operations Manager for the landmark launch of the GM Card. He directed the team that helped the GM Card reach 2 million members in less than two months. During the launch of TSYS in Europe, Mr. Van Scoy oversaw the formation of the operation from the ground up while supporting the conversion of over 9 million accounts for the Royal Bank of Scotland and five other banks. In 2005, he joined Kanbay International as a Managing Director heading up Credit Services and Banking, which led him to Capgemini, where he served as Industry Consultant.

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