Green Monday Looms for Online Merchants

A company that monitors more than 14 billion card transactions annually with its card fraud prevention and payment processing services has found that purchase value of goods sold on “Black Friday” was up 83% and up 80% on “Cyber Monday,” year-on-year. The firm also predicts that online purchasing activity will peak for major retailers on “Green Monday” December 10th, between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m (EST). Retail Decisions says that U.S. online shopping activity reveals that the purchase value of goods sold and transaction volume on “Black Friday” lagged slightly behind “Cyber Monday,” but overall transaction volume for “Black Friday” was up 62.25% and Cyber Monday up 54.25%, compared to 2006. The peak online shopping hour on “Black Friday” was 11:00 a.m. (EST) and on “Cyber Monday” it was 9:00 a.m. (EST). ReD also says its data so far shows the hottest selling products to be the Nintendo “Wii,” gift cards, “Xbox 360 Premium Console,” GPS products from Garmin and TomTom and DVD camcorders. MasterCard recently projected that transaction data for historical holiday online shopping data show that “Cyber Monday” fell on December 11th last year and December 5th in 2005. With Thanksgiving falling early this year on November 22nd, this year’s “Cyber Monday” will likely be December 10th. (CF Library 11/20/07)

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XProtean Integrates Mercury Pay’s C-Payment

Retail management solutions specialist,XProtean has integrated Mercury Payment Systems’ “C-Payment.” C-Payment, is an electronic payment processing solution that is integrated with XProtean’s Point of Sale solutions. XProtean offers advanced POS systems, back-office solutions and corporate-level solutions for small format retail businesses.Mercury Payment Systems is an integrated transaction processing company created to enhance point-of-sale systems by offering credit, debit, check, gift card and loyalty processing.

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ICMA ACE-M Accreditation Gets Underway

The International Card Manufacturers Association says its “Advanced Card Education” program has accredited its first members including Gemalto, Perfect Plastic Printing and Production Associates. The ACE designation is only awarded to people who demonstrate a broad and detailed knowledge of the card manufacturing and processes by successfully completing a rigorous exam. ACE accreditation validates expertise and distinguishes employees as motivated experts in the card manufacturing industry. Applicants must be working for an ICMA member company and have a minimum of three years industry experience.

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BMO FINANCIAL 3Q/07

BMO Financial Group reported that third calendar quarter card revenues fell 25% compared to 3Q/06 and 32% compared to the prior quarter. Card revenues were affected by an US$185 million pre-tax adjustment to increase the liability for future customer redemptions related to its credit card loyalty rewards program, offset by a US$107 million pre-tax gain on sale of MasterCard International shares and a US$43 million recovery of prior years income taxes. BMO’s credit card loan portfolio also declined sequentially from US$4356 million to US$4503 million for the quarter ending October 31st, but rose more than 33% from 3Q/06. One-year ago BMO’s card portfolio stood at US$3371 million. BMO noted that consumer spending was sustained by solid gains in employment and income, supporting growth in personal loans including credit cards. For complete details on BMO’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Heartland Takes On MICROS/Merchant Link

NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems has filed an antitrust lawsuit against three firms alleging they have caused increased processing prices for table-service restaurants through an anti-competitive tying arrangement. The lawsuit was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey naming MD-based MICROS Systems, TX-based Chase Paymentech and its MD-based Merchant Link subsidiary as defendants. The suit alleges that the tying arrangement forced independent competitors to pay for the use of Merchant Link’s gateway in order to process credit and debit card payments on the MICROS POS platform. The complaint further alleges that when selling its POS systems, MICROS did not disclose all the costs associated with the Merchant Link tie to restaurateurs. HPS says that the arrangement makes it nearly impossible for many restaurant owners to use any other card processor and has resulted in inflated card processing costs for restaurants. Heartland says it will seek recovery of its litigation expenses and damages to re-establish a level competitive playing field in the table-service restaurant industry.

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GLOBALPLATFORM WHITE PAPER

GlobalPlatform’s latest white paper has been published for government
officials, managers and consultants explaining how its specifications bring
value to government ID programs and defining the advantages of its card
management infrastructure. Additionally, the white paper defines the
overview and effect of how the company’s technology is applied to these
programs. The sheet has been published as an informational source, rather
than a technical source, is a reflection of GlobalPlatform’s effort to
educate
on the value of its smart ID programs and assists in first-time deployment.
GlobalPlatform is a member driven association with cross-industry
representation from around the world and has accomplished numerous
marketing advances with its smart card infrastructure.

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Kroger to Offer Blackhawk’s Gift Card Mall

OH-based Kroger has inked a deal to offer Blackhawk Network’s “Gift Card Mall” program in its 2,491 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states. Kroger plans to support the launch of the new “Gift Card Malls” with aggressive and innovative marketing campaigns that include television, radio and in-store promotions. Kroger will display Blackhawk Network’s gift cards on end caps and at check stands. Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway Inc., is a prepaid and payments network that includes more than 82,000 store fronts and reaches more than 165 million consumers each week.

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TIO & PCI DSS

TIO Networks has announced its achievement of PCI DSS compliance.
This standard ensures a certain level of payment card data security for the
prevention of card fraud and was originally implemented to promote secure
practice among merchants and service providers. First deployed in 2004
by the card association, which is composed of American Express, Discover
Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa International, the
PCI DSS standard will protect the TIO network with high security standards.
TIO Networks operates cash accepting ATMs for bill payment, prepaid
services, processes bill payment services to POS sale systems and web
enabled PCs.

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ID Theft Impacts Cards of 3MM U.S. Adults

A new FTC survey has discovered that 3.2 million Americans experienced misuse of their existing credit card accounts in 2005. About 1.8 million victims found that new accounts were opened or other frauds were committed using their personal identifying information. Overall, 8.3 million American adults, or 3.7% of all American adults, were victims of identity theft in 2005. The FTC also found that 10% of victims spent at least 55 hours resolving ID theft issues, and half of those spent at least 130 hours. Approximately 10% of all victims reported out-of-pocket expenses of $1,200 or more to resolve the problem. Where the theft was limited to the misuse of existing accounts, the median value of goods and services obtained by the thieves was less than $500. Where the thieves opened new accounts or committed other frauds, the median value of goods and services they obtained was $1,350. Eighty-five percent of all ID theft victims reported that one or more of their existing accounts had been misused, including credit card, checking, or savings accounts; telephone service accounts; internet payment accounts; e-mail and other Internet accounts; and medical insurance accounts.

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POS ID CHECK

Legal Age ID and Chase have signed collaborative agreements to
incorporate age verification software with retail POS terminals to
help merchants prevent sales of alcohol and tobacco to underage
consumers. The POS software verifies customer age with a swipe
of the driver’s license, to read and determine authentic information,
and relays to the clerk whether or not to complete the sale. The
verification solution is compatible with more than 270 government-
issued cards from across both the Canada and U.S., of particular
importance in border and tourist towns. Legal Age ID Systems
provides age verification for establishments and outlets across North
America and is compatible with POS terminals from such designers
as Hypercom, VeriFone and Ingenico.

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IdeaEdge Gift Cards Lands a New CFO

San Diego-based gift card specialist IdeaEdge has hired Jonathan Shultz as CFO. Shultz has more than 20 years of diversified business and financial management experience spanning both Big 4 public accounting and private industry. He began his career as an auditor and computer specialist with Ernst & Young, serving seven years in the firm’s San Diego office. Subsequent to his tenure with Ernst & Young, Shultz served as vice president of finance and CFO for several public and private sector companies, with responsibilities for finance and accounting, IT, HR, and legal affairs. IdeaEdge develops innovative gift card programs based on high-equity entertainment brands and has obtained commitments for gift card distribution with grocery, drug, and specialty chains comprising over 10,000 retail outlets.

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CARD TRANSACTIONS

According to the Bank of Korea, credit card transactions are currently
skyrocketing while cash advances are adversely plummeting. The bank’s
statistics show that over 11 million card transactions are conducted daily
and has increased by 12.7% during 3Q07 while card spending rose
7.9%. Meanwhile, the number of cash advances fell
7.6 % during the same period, in comparison to the 3Q06 decline of 2.4%. The first 3 quarters of 2007 saw a total of W63.7 trillion in cash advances, despite the dwindling frequency of this type of transaction. However, this figure pales in comparison to the credit card cash advances in 2002 of W357.47. At this rate, the total volume of advances is expected to drop to W85 trillion by 2008.

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