Chase Launches 3 Wakefern Food Cards

Wakefern Food, which operates ShopRite and PriceRite stores, and Chase, launched the new “ShopRite Rite-Rewards MasterCard,” “ShopRite Private Label Credit Card” and “PriceRite Private Label Credit Card,” all enabled with “blink”. “The ShopRite Rite-Rewards MasterCard” and the “ShopRite Private Label Credit Card” include all the benefits of the “ShopRite PricePlus” membership built directly into the card. All cards will have cardmembers’ PricePlus membership numbers printed on the back of their cards, which ensures that cardmembers receive special savings every time they shop with the card. ShopRite Rite-Rewards MasterCard cardmembers will earn three points per dollar spent on all ShopRite branded goods; two points per dollar spent on all other products purchased at ShopRite; and one point per dollar spent everywhere else. To use Chase cards with “blink”, cardmembers simply hold their cards near a point-of-sale terminal at checkout, instead of swiping their card or handing it to a store employee. Wakefern Food Corporation is a retailer-owned cooperative with stores located throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware.

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CITI INTL 1Q/07

Citigroup reported that its international card business first quarter
net income soared by 33% to a record $388 million from one-year ago and
up 68% from the prior quarter. The growth was driven by a 25% increase
in purchase sales, a 28% increase in average loans, and improved net
interest margins. Revenues increased 36% to $1739 million.
Citi noted that the first quarter results include the integration of
Credicard in Brazil and the acquisition of Grupo Financiero Uno in
Central America. Revenues also include a $66 million pre-tax gain on the
sale of MasterCard shares. Credit card outstandings as of March 31st
were $32.2 billion, up 34% year-on-year. The account base grew 19%
year-on-year to 31.7 million compared to one-year ago. Purchase volume
for the first quarter was $21.7 billion. Delinquency (90+ days) was flat
sequentially at 2.29%, but up slightly from 1Q/06. Charge-offs were
4.99% compared to 5.39% in the prior quarter and 3.64% for the year ago
quarter. For complete detail’s on Citigroup’s international cards
performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com.)

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MonVia Launches MobiBucks

MonVia has launched “MobiBucks”, a mobile payment solution that offers free and secure cashless transactions on everyday purchases. Features of MobiBucks include the ability to convert cash into electronic payments using a cell phone even if the cell phone may not be on-hand, using a customer’ s mobile phone number as a unique identifier and a secure PIN to conduct commerce. Merchants keep their existing payment systems. MonVia is a specialty firm that provides investor, consultant and outsourced operations for early stage start-ups.

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APACS Introduces Consumer Credit Card Guide

To help consumers understand their credit card statements, APACS
has introduced a guide called “Understanding Your Credit Card
Statement”. The guide addresses features, terms, gives advice and offers
hints to understanding various vocabulary. Also, the guide advises
regular monitoring of statements for fraudulent activity. The company
has found that 47% do not thoroughly monitor the activity on their
account while 4% pay no attention at all. APACS has also quoted
research from a Plastic Cards Omnibus Survey from June of 2006
that reveals the percentage of people, by region, who do not check
their statements. This survey found that 9% in Yorkshire & Humberside
pay no attention, 5% in London, 5% of Welsh, 4% in North West,
4% of Scottish, 4% in South West, 3% in North East, 3% of Northern
Irish, 3% of South East, 3% of the West Midlands, 2% of the East
Midlands, and with the best statistic, 1% in East Of England.

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AmEx Launches the Platinum Office Program

American Express and the Regus Group have teamed to create another “Platinum” card benefit. The new “Platinum Office Program” gives “Business Platinum” cardholders complimentary access to more than 950 Regus business lounges and savings on fully furnished and equipped offices worldwide. AmEx’s “OPEN Business Platinum” small business customers also receive two complimentary months on all 12-month fully furnished and equipped office rentals. Additionally, “Platinum Card” members receive preferred rates on “Regus Virtual Office” service packages, including personalized telephone answering services, mail forwarding, and the use of local phone numbers and addresses for their businesses. Regus Group serves more than 100,000 clients per day through its facilities.

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Regulation On Popular Pasmo Fair Cards

According to the Japan Times, due to the high demand of Pasmo
“Rechargeable Integrated-Circuit Transit-fare Cards”, the company has
announced the cards will only be sold to those purchasing commuter
passes. The company will also stop selling Pasmo cards to commuters
who want to have their credit cards automatically debited. The popularity
of the transit card has caught Pasmo by suprise, selling 1 million units
over what was expected in less than a month. With only 1 million units
left, a new supply of 3 million of the cards is not expected until August,
at which time the company plans to lift the restrictions.

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ACH Payments Grow 14.5% Last Year to 16B

Nearly 16 billion ACH payments were made last year, a 14.5% increase over 2005, as ACH payment volume doubles every five years. NACHA estimates that as many as 8 billion consumer bills were collected via the ACH Network in 2006, including pre-authorized debits, Internet and telephone payments, and checks converted into ACH payments. Annual volume for Accounts Receivable check conversion grew by an estimated 700 million payments to 2.8 billion, an increase of 32%. Internet-initiated ACH payments grew by an estimated 35% to 1.8 billion. NACHA estimates that 85% of Internet-initiated ACH payments are to pay bills via companies’ or billing services’ Web sites, and 10% are to transfer funds. The number of pre-authorized, automatic bill payments or Direct Payment increased by 6.1% to 3.3 billion payments. The total number of these business-to-business ACH payments grew to 2.3 billion in 2006, up 10.9% over 2005.

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INSIDE Contactless & Mobile Distillery Team for NFC

INSIDE Contactless has announced its partnership with Mobile
Distillery for the development of “Java Me Solution” and “Near
Field Communication” interoperability. This partnership
will focus on designing a prototype software solution
supportive of a portable NFC/Java Mobile Applications
to be used on multiple NFC phones called “Celsius
architecture”. “Celsius Architecture” enables the optimization
and porting of mobile Java applications across more than 550
Java handsets. By next year, the two companies plan to
release a complete set of Java and NFC tools. Mobile Distillery
specializes in mobile Java and Brew technologies and develops and
sells “Celsius” software.

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BofA’s Keep the Change Tops $400MM

Bank of America has a “START” spring cleaning checklist that includes its “Keep the Change” program. Consumers who are looking for a way to organize their finances can consider the following five steps as a perfect START: Simplify, Track Everything, Automate, Reduce Clutter and Take Small Steps. Bank of America launched the “Keep the Change” and consumers have saved a total of more than $400 million in “loose change”. Bank of America will also match 100% of “Keep the Change” savings transfers during the first three months after enrollment and five percent thereafter, up to a maximum of $250 per year.

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Vivonet Meets Level 1 Security Requirements

Vivonet announced the compliance of its POS terminals with
“Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard” and the
“Level 1 Visa Cardholder Information Security Program.” “Level 1” is the
highest security certification of the payment card industry. In 2004, the
CISP requirements were integrated with PCI Data Security Standards
for the elevation of security in the industry. To maintain the “Level 1”
status, Vivonet is subject to regular audits to prove adherence to these
standards. Vivonet provides on-demand enterprise management,
point-of-sale, payment processing and performance benchmarking
solutions.

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3M Unveils MicroTouch ToughTouch II

3M Touch Systems announced the availability of “MicroTouch ToughTouch II” capacitive touch screens for ruggedized self-service kiosks and ATM applications. “ToughTouch II” is a highly responsive, reliable touch screen, but with a much higher level of impact resistance against breakage from accidental or malicious activity. “ToughTouch II” is 3M’s most rugged capacitive touch product and its construction combines a “MicroTouch ClearTek II” capacitive touch screen with a 4mm glass layer optically laminated to the back.

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du Introduces Mobile Payments

du Telecom Operations has introduced mobile payments for recharging
mobile accounts with the use of a credit card through SMS for
customers of both monthly plans and pay-as-you-go plans. The service
is offered free of charge to customers and offers optional alerts
when balances are low and an automated payment draft. The company plans
to make available the ability to pay utility bills in the future.

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