Merchant Lynx Deploys Amcat Contact Suite

Merchant Lynx has chosen Amcat to provide an integrated call center and customer acquisition system for its customer contact center. Amcat’s “Contact Center Suite” will be the focal point of an integrated and highly coordinated customer acquisition and sales processing system. The Amcat system’s centralized database along with its web-based appointment scheduler and automated outbound contact system provide a complete seamless appointment setting and customer acquisition process. Amcat is a provider of customer interaction management solutions. Merchant Lynx is a national leader in credit card processing services.

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Handelsbanken Offers Card Personalization

For the bank’s VISA and Mastercards, Handelsbanken will be allowing
customers to decide on display images of their choice, the first bank in
Sweden to do so. Images to choose from include those from the bank’s
gallery or the customers own, digital photograph images. This customer
option is currently available in Norway and soon to be in Denmark. The
service is being launched for the “Allkort MasterCard” and
“Allkort VISA” cards.

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SAF-T-PAY Expands its Advisory Board

FL-based SAF-T-PAY has named Victor Nappe of Stored Value Consulting as a new member of its advisory board. Nappe, will be focusing on bridging the gap between SAF-T-PAY’s financial relationships with leading Latin American and European banks and top-tier US merchants seeking to increase their global e-commerce reach. He will be using his experience to establish relationships with top-tier click-and-mortar e-merchants while also developing a mobile e-commerce platform for SAF-T-PAY. E-merchants will be given the opportunity to expand their market reach through SAF-T-PAY to the millions of online banking customers in Latin America who previously had no viable financial mechanism for shopping in the US e-commerce marketplace. Nappe founded DuoCash, the world’s first payments processing and clearing network to enable internet purchases through the use of prepaid calling cards. SAF-T-PAY is a secure e-payment system that allows all online bank customers to make online purchases worldwide directly through their local bank.

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APACS Advises Overseas Travelers

APACS, aside from ensuring that using plastic is the best method of
making purchases while traveling abroad, also provides additional
consumer guidance. In a report, the consumer company also advises
travelers only take cards intended to use on holiday, consider letting
the bank know in advance of traveling, ensure access to the 24-hour
contact phone numbers for the cards taken, treat cards and traveler’s
checks as valuables. Other advice provided includes, to avoid
pickpockets, wear a concealed money belt to hold funds, shielding PIN
with your free hand when typing into a keypad, guard your card and card
details at all times and, upon returning, check card statements
carefully for unfamiliar transactions.

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VISA Launches a Consumer Travel Wizard

VISA USA has introduced an online “Summer Travel Budgeting Center” which features a free, Web-based budget calculator called the “Travel Wizard.” VISA also released a survey showing that American cardholders are planning on spending an average of $1,654 on their summer vacation. VISA found that 15% of respondents won’t be taking a summer vacation this year while 4% said they would be sending over $5,000 on their summer vacation. The “Summer Travel Budgeting Center” and “Travel Wizard” are part of VISA’s financial education program, “Practical Money Skills for Life.”

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FRB Seeks Consumer Council Members

The Federal Reserve Board is seeking nominations for appointments to its Consumer Advisory Council. The Council advises the Board on the exercise of its responsibilities under various consumer financial services laws and on other matters. Ten new members will be appointed to serve three-year terms beginning in January 2008. The Consumer Advisory Council was established in 1976 at the direction of the Congress to advise the Federal Reserve Board on the exercise of its duties under the Consumer Credit Protection Act and on other consumer-related matters. The Council by law represents the interests both of consumers and of the financial services industry.

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Card Delinquency Finally Retreats

Delinquencies for managed outstandings headed south for the first time in nine months after hitting a new high in April. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), delinquency (30+ days) for May slipped to 4.67% of managed outstandings, versus 4.72% in the prior month and 4.13% one-year ago. Chase reported that the first quarter 30-day managed delinquency rate was 3.07%, down from 3.10% in the prior year and 3.13% in the prior quarter. BofA posted a first quarter managed 30+ day delinquency rate of 5.44%, compared to 5.49% in the fourth quarter and 4.48% for 1Q/06. Citi reported that overall delinquency (90+ days) declined slightly from 1.62% for 4Q/06 to 1.57% for the first quarter 2007. (CF Library 4/16/07; 4/18/07; 4/19/07)

DELINQUENCY 2006
May 06: 4.13%
Jun 06: 4.22%
Jul 06: 4.18%
Aug 06: 4.22%
Sep 06: 4.27%
Oct 06: 4.32%
Nov 06: 4.40%
Dec 06: 4.44%
Jan 07: 4.56%
Feb 07: 4.63%
Mar 07: 4.66%
Apr 07: 4.72%
May 07: 4.67%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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CardWizard Offers EMV Instant Issuance

CO-based Dynamic Card Solutions has introduced “CardWizard Chip” and “CardWizard Smart Start.” The two solutions offer EMV instant issuance with full in-branch card personalization. DCS’ “CardWizard Chip” is installed, along with an in-house data preparation system, in the issuer’s central computer room, allowing financial institutions to instantly issue EMV cards to consumers. “CardWizard Smart Start” leverages a remote data preparation service, allowing issuers to delay the investment in an on-site data preparation infrastructure. Both “CardWizard Chip” and “CardWizard Smart Start” options offer all of the benefits found in DCS’ instant issuance and PIN selection software and consist of central and branch level elements.

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HPS Quickly Expands Into Micro-Payments

NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems has acquired the assets of eSecure Peripherals, a developer and manufacturer of technology that enables cashless vending machines. HPS also named Ron Farmer, former CEO of Revenue Technologies, as executive director of Heartland’s new micro-payments division. Allan Brown, the former president and founder of eSecure Peripherals, will join Farmer on the leadership team of Heartland’s new micro-payments division. HPS also recently acquired Debitek and has invested and partnered with Parcxmart Technologies, an electronics payments company. HPS provides card processing to more than 150,000 small and mid-sized businesses nationwide.

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MasterCard Launches Product Graduation

MasterCard has introduced a patent-pending solution that enables issuers to switch cardholders into other card programs without disrupting their 16-digit account number. “Product Graduation” will solve the problem of potentially disrupting the cardholder’s payment relationships, especially for recurring payments. The new solution does not mandate any new requirements for acquirers or merchants. Acquirers are already able to receive the required information, announced in October 2006. Also, merchants do not need to worry about installation requirements or making any changes to their point-of-sale systems. MasterCard says the new capability is the result of enhancements to its technological infrastructure and the design of its core processing systems, reflecting the company’s move toward providing greater functionality at the individual account level.

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Elan Buys Bank of the Sierra Portfolio

Bank of the Sierra has entered into a strategic partnership with Elan Financial Services. As part of the partnership, Bank of the Sierra sold its credit card portfolio to Elan effective June 1, 2007. The credit card portfolio includes consumer and commercial credit card accounts with outstanding balances of $10.5 million. Elan will continue to issue credit cards branded with the Bank of the Sierra name, but will carry the balances on its own books and will ultimately be responsible for all servicing aspects. Elan Financial Services is a provider of complete outsourced solutions with a focus on payments and card processing, with more than 1,600 financial institution partnerships in place. Bank of the Sierra operates as the largest community independent bank with over $1.2 billion in assets and strong performance ratios.

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Tyfone Launches Rhapsody M-Banking

Tyfone has launched the Rhapsody mobile banking platform. The Bank of Oswego has been testing Tyfone’s mobile platform since early 2007. Rhapsody is highly scalable, incorporates load balancing, clustering/failover mechanisms and is capable of seamlessly handling millions of transactions. It currently runs on Enterprise Linux and Windows 2003 servers. A unique, powerful feature of Rhapsody is its ability to integrate predictive analytics derived from a bank’s transaction data to support on-demand services. With Tyfone’s Merchant Relationship Management service, merchants deliver personalized offers to a bank’s mobile customer who opts-in. Tyfone is a provider to mobile financial services.

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