Q3 Bankruptcy Jumps Nearly 10% Sequentially

Total bankruptcy filings jumped by 9.8% in the third quarter compared to the prior quarter, but, remain well below year ago levels. During the third quarter total filings hit 171,146 compared to 155,833 for the second quarter and 542,002 one-year ago. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts filings for the 12-month period ending September 30th, fell 37.6% to 1,112,542. Non-business or personal bankruptcies fell 37.9% for the same period while business bankruptcies declined 20.1%. The record filings last year were part of the surge in filings prompted by the October 17, 2005 implementation of the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.” However, this week MA-based Global Insight said it expects U.S. corporate bankruptcies to increase by 17% in 2007. The majority of these increases are expected to occur in the metals, mining, and energy sectors, as well as in real estate and closely related industries, such as mortgage banking and residential construction.

QUARTERLY BANKRUPTCY FILINGS
3Q/05: 542,002
4Q/05: 667,431
1Q/06: 116,771
2Q/06: 155,833
3Q/06: 171,146
Source: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

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New Credit Bureau Patent is Issued

An emerging alternative credit bureau that provides an expanded view of a consumers bill payment habits has been awarded a patent for its technology. Pay Rent, Build Credit collects data on recurring bill payments made by individuals and small businesses, and incorporating them in a credit file, credit report, and credit score. The PRBC technology picks up data on rent, private mortgages, non-prime auto loans, utilities, phone, cable, insurance premiums, pay day advances, and rental furniture and appliances. PRBC has partnered with the National Credit Reporting Association to verify trade line accounts and up to three years worth of prior payments that are reported directly by consumers to PRBC. Lenders can purchase a “PRBC Report” depicting a consumer’s bill payment history either on a standalone basis, or merged with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports. Each PRBC Report is accompanied by a “PRBC Bill Payment Score.”

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Dream Dinners Launches a Gift Card

WA-based Dream Dinners has teamed with NBO Systems to launch a gift card program valid for redemption online. Valid for redemption online, these gift cards are sure to delight any hard working parent with a desire for everyday gourmet food and a little extra family time. Take a break from grocery carts, slicing, and chopping. With Dream Dinners, Inc., gift cards, family dinners have never been easier. NBO Systems, Inc. was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. NBO is an innovator and industry leader in developing, marketing, and supporting stored-value prepaid card programs.

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Oyster Smart Transport Card Wins an Award

The “Oyster” smart card transport ticketing system has won a “2006 RFID Breakthrough Award.” The award was presented to
TranSys, the consortium that Cubic and EDS founded to deliver, maintain
and operate the “PRESTIGE” project a/k/a “Oyster” card system. Cubic provides and maintains the system and EDS provides all operational
services. The system was developed by Cubic and EDS. Transport for London awarded the “PRESTIGE” contract to TranSys in 1998 under a Private Finance Initiative. In 2003 the customer, Transport for London, began its roll-out of the “Oyster” smart card to the public. Today more than six million cards have been distributed.

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Rounding-Up Program Spreads to U.K.

The U.K.’s Lloyds TSB is launching a new debit card purchase program that enables cardholders to round-up to the nearest full pound and have the excess automatically swept into a savings account. The new “Save the Change” program mirrors a highly successful program launched in the U.S. by Bank of America one-year ago. The new Lloyds TSB program will begin next year and is a U.K. first. BofA’s “Keep the Change” program has signed-up more than 3 million customers in its first year, including 1.3 million new checking customers and an additional 1.8 million new savings accounts. Over $200 million have been saved by consumers nationwide in the U.S. since then. (CF Library 11/15/06)

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Online Card Personalization Catches-On

Enabling customers to personally customize their payment cards online looks like a new hot button for consumers, especially in Europe. Belgian Bank KBC reported that 120,000 of its customers have uploaded a favorite picture onto their payment cards in the four months after it began offering the service. KBC says 20% of this figure is made up of new cards and 80% replacements of existing cards. The new KBC personalization program is powered by London-based Serverside Graphics which serves 33 major issuers worldwide including Advanta and First National Bank of Omaha in the USA. KBC says it abandoned the traditional direct mail channel altogether opting for online marketing for the new program. KBC has not charged a fee for the new service but has recently begun testing a fee of about $13.

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Trintech Introduces ReconNET 7.3

Dallas-based Trintech has introduced its latest version of “ReconNET” which provides multi-levels of security for handling credit card data. Trintech’s ReconNET 7.3 provides multi-levels of security to protect sensitive data and gives administrators the ability to measure, manage and reduce security risk, and comply with the foremost industry standard – the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. Trintech Group Plc (NASDAQ: TTPA) is a leading global provider of financial software and technology services specializing in transaction verification, reconciliation management, process automation and compliance for commercial, financial and healthcare markets.

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Lloyds TSB to Launch “Save the Change” Program

Lloyds TSB is launching a new debit card purchase program that enables cardholders to round-up to the nearest full pound and have the excess automatically swept into a savings account. The new “Save the Change” program mirrors a highly successful program launched in the U.S. by Bank of America one-year ago. The new Lloyds TSB program will begin next year and is a U.K. first. Lloyds says its research shows that nearly a third of people are using their debit card more often than they were twelve months ago and 36% are using their debit card for smaller
purchases. The bank also noted that 23% of the population confess that they don’t have any savings and of these, one in ten say they have never saved.

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AmEx Acquires Harbor Payments

American Express is launching a suite of “Source-to-Settle” electronic solutions to strengthen its commercial card business and procurement capabilities. The new “S2S” suite will be marketed to corporations in the U.S. beginning in January, with plans to expand on a global basis. To add the new service AmEx is acquiring Atlanta-based Harbor Payments, a technology provider that delivers e-invoice and e-payment capabilities. The product functionality helps companies eliminate paper processing and make their supply chain more efficient. Harbor Payments has approximately 200 clients. The acquisition is expected to close this month.

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RBS Lynk Offers Discover Network Services

Atlanta-based RBS Lynk has completed integration and roll-out of direct Discover Network card processing. As one of the first payment processors to directly acquire Discover Network card transactions, RBS Lynk now offers Discover credit card processing service as part of its standard credit card processing service offerings (along with Visa and MasterCard) for new merchants. RBS Lynk is a leading, single-source provider of electronic payment processing services – including credit, debit, EBT, checks, gift cards, e-commerce, customer loyalty cards, fleet cards, prepaid cards, ATM processing and cash management services. Discover Financial Services LLC, a business unit of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), operates the Discover Card with more than 50 million Cardmembers, and the Discover Network, which is the largest proprietary credit card network in the U.S. with more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations.

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Diebold Hires an Info Security Officer

Diebold has hired Scott Angelo, formerly with SecureState, as VP and chief information security officer. During the past four years, Angelo has been a principal with SecureState LLC in Cleveland, Ohio, where he advised clients in business, government, financial services and other industries regarding many aspects of their security, including compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery and security systems and services.

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More Cardholders are Using Leverage

A new study has found that more than three out of four U.S. cardholders have received an interest rate reduction when they ask for it. However, the research revealed that only 44% of credit card customers that revolve have asked for a rate reduction. The report by Atlanta-based Synergistics Research found that 33% of card users report that they have at some point asked one of their credit card providers for a lower interest rate in order to keep them as customers. Surprisingly, 24% of convenience users have asked for a rate reduction. About one-tenth of all cardholders that did not get a lower rate when requested ended up canceling their card. Overall, 89% of those who asked for a lower rate either got a lower rate or canceled their card. The national Internet survey was conducted in September with 1,000 cardholders age 18 or older.

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