Asta Funding Lands a Biz Development Exec

NJ-based Asta Funding has landed Rob Knight, a credit and collection veteran, as VP of Business Development. Mr. Knight has 12 years of financial services experience including acquisitions of distressed assets, account collection, loan origination, and loan servicing. Mr. Knight will further complement Asta’s existing team which includes Ms. Nan Beilinson, an industry veteran, who joined Asta Funding in early 2005. Asta Funding, Inc., is a leading consumer receivables asset management company that specializes in the purchase, liquidation and management of performing and non-performing consumer receivables.

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MasterCard to Cut Fuel Interchange Fees

In response to complaints from gasoline retailers MasterCard Worldwide announced yesterday it will soon establish a cap on interchange fees on fuel purchases at petroleum retailers. The cap will apply to consumer credit and debit cards and will provide benefits to gasoline retailers on credit card transactions of about $50 or more. For example, on a $60 gasoline transaction the reduction in interchange could be as much as 21%, according to MasterCard. One year ago the National Association of Convenience Stores issued a report that found credit and debit card usage at the pump increased from 54% to 70% since 2004. The report said its puts additional pain on retailers, who are already paying higher credit card fees as gasoline prices increase. (CF Library 8/25/05)

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Fifth Third Processing Signs Three Deals

OH-based Fifth Third Processing Solutions has signed Federated Department Stores, hhgregg and USA Drug for merchant processing services. Federated Department Stores, Inc. has corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York and operates more than 850 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. hhgregg is one of the nation’s leading retailers of home appliances and consumer electronics with 72 locations throughout Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. USA Drug, a Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy, Inc. company, operates over 170 stores throughout Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas under the names of USA Drug, Super D Drugs, May’s Drug Stores, Drug Warehouse, Med-X Drugs and Ike’s Discount stores. Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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BannerDirect Names a New Regional Director

NY-based BannerDirect has hired Bill Lawrence, who held a variety of roles in acquisitions and risk management at NationsBank and Bank of America, as regional director. Mr. Lawrence will generate client relationships in new business categories, as well as manage existing clients from BannerDirect’s roster. Mr. Lawrence received an MBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in Huntersville, North Carolina, with his wife and two children. BannerDirect is a full-service direct marketing agency recognized for the development and execution of direct response marketing programs for clients in the financial, entertainment, telecommunications, associations, retail, medical and publishing industries.

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FDC and UMB to Power Lighthouse1 Cards

First Data Healthcare Services has inked a deal with Minneapolis-based Lighthouse1 to provide debit card and transaction processing services for subscribers using Lighthouse1’s healthcare programs. “Lighthouse1 OnDemand” provides automated management of employer benefits plans such as FSA, HRA and HSA accounts. UMB Healthcare Services has agreed to work with First Data to support debit card access, investment programs and transaction processing.

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Pay By Touch’s Paycheck Secure Expands

Solidus Networks’ Pay By Touch reports that Lowe’s Pay and Save has introduced its “Paycheck Secure” biometric check-cashing to 78 stores in the panhandle of Texas and into New Mexico. The solution uses finger-scanning technology to enable customers to quickly and securely cash government or payroll checks. Last month, Pay By Touch beefed-up its “Paycheck Secure” product to new version 8.0 which offers significant time savings, more secure transactions and faster access to funds. Pay By Touch says more than $8 billion in checks have been cashed using “Paycheck Secure.” Salt Lake City-based Zions First National Bank recently introduced Pay By Touch biometric check-cashing in 12 locations throughout Utah and Idaho. Pay By Touch acquired BioPay earlier this year for $82 million in stock and cash. BioPay is the developer of the biometric check cashing system. To date, more than 2.9 million consumers have used the system to cash checks. (CF Library 1/17/06; 7/5/06; 7/11/06)

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i2c Signs with the First Bank of Delaware

CA-based i2c has signed a processing agreement with First Bank of Delaware for its stored value card management and processing solution, “MCP.” MCP is a secure, cost-effective, flexible and scalable processing platform that provides multi-institution, multi-currency, and multi-lingual capabilities. First Bank of Delaware is a full-service, state-chartered commercial bank, whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). i2c is a leading, global technology provider of electronic payment processing solutions.

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E-monee GETS to Target Cruise Line Biz

FL-based E-monee is expanding its relationship with WildCard Systems to bring its “GETS” stored-value products to the cruise line industry. In the first initiative under the agreement, WildCard Systems will provide a secure technology and services platform to help power the new E-monee Crew Pay program slated towards the maritime industry. E-Monee is a Florida based company with its core product being a hybrid which integrates technology and telecommunications with banking. WildCard Systems is the global solutions leader in turnkey host based prepaid cards and custom stored-value products.

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CMI Finds Macroeconomic Indicators Soften

The seasonally adjusted “Combined Credit Manager’s Index” fell in August from 57.6 to 57.3. The National Association of Credit Management says all three of the indexes experienced sharp drops in the sales and amount of credit extended components. The NACM says the declines in these top-line oriented measures bode poorly for continued growth, and confirm other softening macroeconomic indicators such as a weak job market, sluggish retail sales, an easing of inflation, and a housing market that until recently had been widely described as “cooling” and might now be better characterized as “frigid.” The CMI, a monthly survey of the business economy from the standpoint of commercial credit and collections, was launched in January 2003 to provide financial analysts with another strong economic indicator.

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EDS & VISANET

EDS and Sao Paulo-based Visanet have tacked ten more years onto their relationship, inking a $209 million contract extension. EDS will continue to provide information technology and business process outsourcing services to manage and support Visanet’s merchant processing in the country. Visanet processes more than two billion VISA transactions per year and supports about one million merchants in Brazil. Visanet and EDS also jointly manage the company’s call
center, which handles more than 450,000 merchant calls per month to provide merchant services. Under the newly signed agreement EDS will also provide help desk services to assist Visanet merchants with
POS equipment technical support. Visanet is responsible for 58% of the transactions made with credit cards in Brazil.

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CardSmith Launches the Generals Cash Card

CardSmith is issuing the “Generals Cash Card” for students at NY-based Herkimer County Community College. The Generals Cash Card is a new digital photo ID card being issued to all students, faculty and staff this semester for access to campus facilities and events and for cashless payments at the campus bookstore, food service locations, stadium concessions and off-campus businesses. Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill near the campus will accept the Herkimer Cash Card Account for payment this fall. CardSmith is a card technology and management company dedicated to making it easy and affordable for any campus to provide advanced campus card services.

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Contactless to Grab a Big Slice by 2011

A new report projects that the number of contactless devices has nearly doubled in the last year and will capture 15% of the prime market by 2011. However, the average consumer may have security concerns and merchants must also be convinced of the benefits of accepting contactless payments. The research by San-Francisco Celent says the proliferation of similar technology in other industries is a double-edged sword. The familiarity that accompanies such widespread use will help some understanding the basics of contactless transactions but worry some others when they improperly compare the two. Celent notes that much of the growth will be attributed to issuers that equip existing cards with contactless capabilities rather than require consumers to sign up for a new credit or debit account. American Express launched the first contactless pilot in July 2002.

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