The City of Boston has awarded Arthur Blank the 2007 Boston Green Business Award for the introduction of the industry’s first non-PVC, corn-based card. The Boston Green Product Award is given each year to a company that “produces or distributes a green product.” With the introduction of its “Green Line” of environmentally friendly products, Arthur Blank & Co. is working with retailers and other companies who are looking for “greener” solutions to meet the needs of their customers. Arthur Blank has the capacity to print over 1.4 billion cards per year.Details
The Department of Justice, the FTC and 15 additional federal departments and agencies released a report this week on behalf of President Bush’s “Identity Theft Task Force”. The Department’s identity theft prosecutions have ranged from simple theft of financial data and documents to credit-card “skimming” operations and high- tech “phishing” schemes and schemes to use others’ online brokerage accounts to manipulate securities markets. In FY 2006, the Department charged 507 defendants with aggravated identity theft, up from 226 defendants in FY 2005. Additionally, in FY 2006, the Department charged 1945 defendants in cases involving both identity theft and aggravated identity theft charges, up from 1571 defendants in FY 2005. Other prosecutions have included: FEMA Fraud; “phishing” schemes; card skimming; offshore “hijacking” of brokerage accounts; misuse of social security numbers and “carding”, the sale of stolen credit card numbers.Details
The proposed KKR acquisition of First Data continues to create more questions than answers. This week FDC says there has not been any up-front discussions about KKR selling-off some of its operations. In response, TowerGroup released a “ViewPoint” titled, “KKR Bids for First Data Corporation: Is the Sum of the Parts Greater than the Whole?” The report says the deal clearly indicates the demise of FDC’s monolithic posture as the one company in the world that was able to process any consumer payment anywhere. TowerGroup questions whether KKR’s buyout effectively ends FDC’s ambitions relative to global expansion, or simply signals that this vision will be fulfilled only with serious retrenchment and investment. TowerGroup also says KKR will have to quickly determine whether to spin off components of FDC, align it with a complementary business, tightly integrate operating units, or invest in and improve it, the strategy will set a new course for the payments industry. Additionally, whether KKR chooses to maintain the business, as it has done with many prior acquisitions, or divest specific components remains to be seen. FDC’s substantial market components will be of interest to a wide audience in either event. Yet no matter what path KKR ultimately chooses, the strategy surrounding First Data is likely to set a new course for the global payments industry.Details
Paris and Los Angeles-based Oberthur Card Systems reported that its payment smart card volume rose more than 48.5%, compared to one-year ago, to $51.2 million, with 27.5 million units delivered in the first quarter. Overall, first quarter revenues increased 15% to $182.5 million. During the quarter, Oberthur delivered over 80 million microprocessor cards, a 44.5% gain over one-year earlier. The strong European activity performance in payment cards was offset by a significant reduction in the gift card personalization demand in the USA. The whole payment segment, which represented 53% of Oberthur Card Systems for first quarter sales, amounted to $96.8 million, a 13.7% increase compared to 1Q/06. The conventional card business slowed down as expected with total sales amounting to $19.2 million. Oberthur notes that average selling prices seem to have entered a stabilization phase in all market segments. For complete details on Oberthur’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com])
1Q/06: $158.5 million
2Q/06: $159.8 million
3Q/06: $161.5 million
4Q/06: $201.6 million
1Q/07: $182.5 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
KS-based Euronet Worldwide’s reported that its profits for the first quarter rose 2% year-on-year after more than doubling in the prior quarter. The Company posted first quarter revenues of $170.4 million, an 16% increase over 1Q/06. Net income increased to $9.6 million, compared to $9.4 million for the first quarter 2006. “EFT Processing” posted revenues of $42.0 million, compared to $36.0 million for 1Q/06. Transactions processed were 130.7 million, compared to 103.1 million transactions in the same period last year. The EFT Segment completed the quarter with 9,182 ATMs owned or operated. “Prepaid Processing” reported revenues of $128.4 million, compared to $111.0 million for the first quarter of last year. Transactions processed were 139.5 million, compared to 96.4 million transactions in the first quarter 2006. The Prepaid Processing Segment processes electronic point-of-sale prepaid transactions at more than 356,000 POS terminals across more than 186,000 retailer locations in Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the U.S. On April 4th the Company announced the completion of the acquisition of Ria Envia. Euronet also announced that it expects adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter 2007 to be approximately $0.21 to $0.22 per share. For complete details on Euronet’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
For the production of reverse vending systems, Wincor Nixdorf
has announced it will implement a 5 million euro expansion with a
new facility in Germany. The company’s retail reverse vending
systems have achieved a 30% share of the market and recently
received an order for 500 units. The Free State of Thuringia
will be providing funds of 1.4 million euro toward the project.
Operations in this retail sector have nearly doubled its personnel
in development and quality management from 80 to 150 in the
past four years. In addition, a new call center with 25 staff
members has been established. The expansion is projected to
be complete by the fall of 2007.
Advanta Corp. reported first quarter 2007 net income of $21.4 million or $0.72 per diluted share for Class A and Class B shares combined. This includes a $0.01 per share asset valuation gain associated with the Company’s venture capital portfolio.
“We had a very good start to 2007,” said Dennis Alter, Chairman and CEO. “Strong earnings, low credit losses and delinquencies, and the addition of new high credit quality customers continued to mark our performance.”
Ending managed receivables grew to $5.6 billion at March 31, 2007 with ending owned receivables totaling $1.1 billion. During the quarter, approximately 97,000 new customers were added and transaction volume of $3.4 billion reflected growth of 24% over the comparable quarter of 2006. The managed net credit loss rate decreased 32 basis points to 3.3% and the owned net credit loss rate decreased by 43 basis points to 3.1%.
Advanta is the only credit card issuer (through Advanta Bank Corp.) exclusively focused on the small business credit card market. As one of the nation’s largest issuers of business credit cards, Advanta is differentiated from other issuers by its size, experience in this market and commitment to developing meaningful product offerings and a high level of service tailored to the needs of small businesses. Founded in 1951, Advanta has long been an innovator in developing and introducing many of the marketing techniques that are common in the financial services industry today. Learn more about Advanta at www.advanta.com.
For complete details on Advanta’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Al Rajhi, a Saudi Arabian Bank, has collaborated with Malaysian
e-Kencana to create a funds transfer system to comply with Islamic
financial principles, including no interest-based gains and no links to
companies involved with tobacco, alcohol, or gambling. This funds
transfer is the first of its kind, known as Islamic Payment Switch (IPS),
and will first be introduced in the form of a debt card. This will be
marketed to Malaysians making the Mecca pilgrimage and migrant
workers in Saudi Arabia. The Debt card can be used at ATMs in Saudi
Arabia and plans to expand to other banks in Muslim countries.
DialPro Northwest has contracted with Pemco Technologies to design and install a corporate wide unified communications system. The DialPro solution will provide employees with a choice of how they access their business messages, from voice, fax or email, using a single interface. The system will feature a unified messaging solution that integrates into the company’s Microsoft Exchange email system and will include a voice portal that will provide key workgroups with seamless access to critical communication tools and business applications throughout the day, no matter where they are Ã¢Â at work, at home or on the road. The solutions are expected to boost Pemco’s worker productivity. DialPro Northwest is a leading provider of enterprise voice messaging and unified communications solutions. Pemco Technologies provides payment solutions to the financial industry.Details
New borrowing on credit cards contracted for the eighth time over the past year, dipping by GBP 84 million in March. For the past six months credit card lending has declined by an average of GBP 169 million per month. The British Bankers Association reports that total net lending rose by an underlying GBP 4.927 billion in March, compared to GBP 4.887 billion in February and GBP 5.474 billion in March 2006. Of the total rise, mortgage lending accounted for an underlying GBP 5.084 billion. Consumer credit fell by GBP 164 million overall and personal loans/overdrafts fell by GBP 47 million compared to February’s fall of GBP 236 million. The BBA collects data from Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, Bradford & Bingley, HBOS, HSBC Bank, Lloyds TSB, Northern Rock and The Royal Bank of Scotland.Details
Citi has introduced a personal finance guide, “The Citi Commonsense Money Guide for Real People” The Citi Commonsense Guide for Real People shows readers how to achieve financial health by tackling the various aspects of money management through a series of simple yet effective steps. The guide is divided into three easy- to-follow sections, which together teach consumers how to avoid the financial pitfalls that life can present. In section one, “Get Back on Track,” Citi takes a look at several situations where people find themselves in turmoil, such as running out of money before the next payday, keeping credit in check, falling behind on a mortgage payment or covering college costs. Once a plan is set in motion, section two, entitled “Basic Training,” addresses the fundamental building blocks of financial responsibility. The final section addresses potential “Curveballs” such as losing a job unexpectedly, or becoming a victim of identity theft. This section goes back to the basics of education as the most efficient and effective method of making the right choices and getting back on track. Citigroup will donate all profits from book sales to not-for-profit organizations and programs that support and teach financial education.Details
Lightbridge Inc. and Payment Services Interactive Gateway Corp
(PSiGate) have signed a non-binding letter of intent(LOI) stipulating that
Lightbridge will acquire PSiGate’s outstanding shares, currently at
10,554,469 common shares. Also in the agreement is the transaction will
be all cash and valued at approximately C$1.55 per share with maximum
consideration of C$17.825 million and is subject to customary closing terms
and conditions. PSiGate will provide e-commerce solutions allowing
Lightbridge the means of expanding transaction processing beyond U.S.
borders. Total revenue for PSiGate was approximately C$4.2 million in