CPI Card Group Certified to Produce PIV Cards

CO-based CPI Card Group announced the successful completion of “FIPS 201” independent testing of their card stock for certified PIV cards. The cards are composite based, which gives them a lifespan of more than 5 years. They are compatible with laser engraving and personalization with hot temperature equipment. CPI has been producing ID cards for different institutions in several countries for over ten years. During the last two years CPI has intensively invested in the setup of a US based solution for the manufacturing of the high value PIV cards that are requested within the HSPD 12 environment. CPI Card Group is a manufacturer of plastic cards.

Details

Payment Card Fees Top C-Store Profits in 06

NACS, the association for convenience and petroleum retailing, said that escalating credit card fees had an enormous impact on the drop in C-store industry profits. NACS says credit card fees surged 22%, rising $1.2 billion to reach $6.6 billion in 2006 and for the first time ever top overall industry profits. Credit card fees now are the industry’s second largest expense, accounting for 8.3% of industry gross margin dollars, second only to total labor expenses (33.5%). Despite sales topping the half-trillion-dollar mark for the first time in history, industry profits in 2006 decreased 23.5%, falling to $4.8 billion. NACS also reports that motor fuels gross margins fell 1.7 cents to 14.7 cents per gallon. On a percentage basis, motor fuels gross margins dropped to 5.7%, the lowest level since 1983. Factoring in credit card fees that averaged 4.2 cents per gallon across all transactions, motor fuels margins dipped to 10.5 cents per gallon before including all other operating expenses.

Details

SunTrust Banks Joins NACHA

SunTrust Banks, the nation’s sixth largest originating depository financial institution and the eighth largest receiving depository financial institution of ACH payments, has joined NACHA. SunTrust involvement with NACHA has included participation on the NACHA board as well as the Payments Institution Board of Regents. Currently, SunTrust is also represented on the NACHA Risk Management Advisory Group. NACHA now has 44 direct members, consisting of 25 financial institutions, and 19 regional payment associations representing more than 11,000 depository financial institutions across the U.S. SunTrust had total assets of $182.2 billion and total deposits of $124.0 billion as of December 31, 2006.

Details

mPoria Launches its GoMobile! Service

Seattle-based mPoria has launched its “GoMobile!” m-commerce service enabling retailers to sell physical products via mobile channel. Retailers are able to build their own company-branded mobile shopping site without the need for an in-house development team; merchants simply use a wizard to establish a site and within 30 minutes of set-up, mPoria launches the site to millions of U.S. consumers with mobile devices. Industry research firm Telephia reports in 2006 alone sales from m-commerce jumped more than 40%, increasing from $1.8 billion to $2.6 billion. mPoria is a provider of mobile commerce solutions in North America.

Details

BillMatrix Powers Westar Energy Payments

Westar Energy has announced it is now accepting credit cards for electric bill payments through BillMatrix. Credit card and ATM/debit card payments can be made three ways: online at www.WestarEnergy.com, by contacting a Westar Energy Customer Service Representative or via the third party’s automated phone system. The authorized agent will charge a convenience fee of $2.95 per transaction, with each transaction limited to $600. Westar Energy is the largest electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to about 669,000 customers in the state.

Details

26K Citigroup Employees Brace for Pink Slips

Citigroup this morning confirmed plans to cut 17,000 jobs and transfer about 9,500 to less expensive locations worldwide, affecting about 8% of its total workforce. Citi says it wants to eliminate organizational, technology and administrative costs that do not contribute to our ability to efficiently deliver products and services to our clients. The action is expected to generate total expense savings of approximately $2.1 billion in 2007, $3.7 billion in 2008, and $4.6 billion in 2009. Citi says it will record a charge of $1.38 billion pre-tax, $871 million after-tax, in the first quarter of 2007 and additional charges totaling approximately $200 million pre-tax over the subsequent quarters of 2007. Citi says that it will consolidate some back-office, middle-office and corporate functions to eliminate duplication.

Details

Citi Intros Ecount Health Care Incentives

Ecount has launched “Ecount Health Care Incentives” a comprehensive suite of prepaid health care incentives with a cash reward delivered onto a branded prepaid VISA or MasterCard card. Ecount Prepaid Incentives can be used for one-time and recurring payments. The Ecount Health Care Incentive Suite provides a fully customizable solution with an extensive communication package and implementation support to implement the program in a manner that will achieve the greatest results. Ecount, a Citi company, provides customized prepaid programs for corporations to deliver payments.

Details

Airline Reward Credit Cards Regain Popularity

A new study has found that cash-back cards experienced a 26% decline in market penetration in the past year and a half. During the same time frame, airline cards have gained 17% in market penetration. The research by Auriemma Consulting Group determined that consumers in 2006 were 11% more likely to hold rewards cards than they were in 2005. However, in 2005, 53% of rewards card users said that their card of choice was a cash-rebate card, but that figure fell to 39% last year. In 2005 airline cards were favored by 41% and in 2006, 48% said such cards were their card of choice. According to the ACG study of 500 credit card users, 25% of respondents cited the interest rate as the primary reason that they use a particular rewards card, up 14% from the 2005 survey.

Details

Sub-Prime Mortgages Not Impacting Delinquency

The results of an analysis of consumer payment behavior in the sub-prime lending market shows that, surprisingly, such consumers are paying credit card bills ahead of the mortgage payments. The findings confirm that trend observed by the sub-prime credit card ABS market which shows steady and slightly declining delinquency ratios over the past year. The sub-prime analysis by Experian reveals that the mortgage delinquency rate has grown at 13.2% over the past four years. The same delinquency trends are present across each geographic region in the U.S., however, the western region experienced the sharpest growth in delinquencies rising 15.3% for mortgage and 6.4% for bank credit cards. Experian defines sub-prime as consumers with Experian credit scores of 620 or lower. Historically, consumers have paid mortgage debt over bankcard debt as people traditionally view their home as their most valuable asset which should be protected at all costs.

Details

2Checkout.com Adopts PBT’s ATM Direct

Pay By Touch has announced that 2Checkout.com is adopting its “ATM Direct” service to allow shoppers to use PIN-debit cards online. The “ATM Direct” service is the Internet’s only software-only PIN-debit solution which allows for rapid, no-cost distribution. By adhering to PIN-debit industry standards, the ATM Direct service also enables networks, banks and card issuers that already accept PIN-debit to accept Internet PIN-debit transactions with few to no changes to their infrastructure. 2Checkout.com, Inc. (2CO) is an online reseller for over 300,000 tangible or digital products and services. ATM Direct, a division of Pay By Touch, provides secure payment and authentication services to the Internet economy.

Details

MasterCard Unique Experiences is Unveiled

MasterCard has introduced a new program designed to offer a unique set of benefits to its U.S. “World MasterCard” and “World Elite MasterCard” cardholders. “MasterCard Unique Experiences” offers access to fine dining, plush spas, high-end shopping, live performing arts events, golfing, and other unique experiences. The “Unique Experiences” program is available in major markets across the U.S., including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix/Scottsdale, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. MasterCard’s “Global Premium Collection” has also been updated for this year to include a greater breadth of offers across a variety of merchant categories. featuring more than 100 offerings and experiences.

Details