FTC Nails a Time-Barred Debt Collector

The FTC has settled with a debt collection agency that allegedly used lies and threats to collect debts. Houston-based Whitewing Financial Group agreed to a $150,000 judgment and to refrain from collecting time-barred debts. The complaint alleges that, because there is no legitimate method to enforce payment of time-barred debts, the defendants often misrepresented the status of the debts, leading people to believe that legal proceedings had begun, that lawsuits to collect debts were not time-barred, or that the defendants had documents showing that the debts were valid when, in fact, they did not.

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BICO to Acquire a PIV Solutions Provider

CA-based BICO has signed a deal to acquire MobiClear, a provider of electronic “Personal Identification Verification” solutions in connection with credit/debit card transactions. MobiClear’s multi-gateway solution (U.S. patent pending) offers proactive security in all forms of electronic business environments including internet shopping, business-to-business procurement transactions and retail shopping with credit/debit cards. BICO, Inc. is a public company, headquartered in California and actively trades on the NASD Over the Counter Bulletin Board under the ticker symbol, BIKO. MobiClear, a company incorporated pursuant to the laws of the United Kingdom, offers solutions and services that, MobiClear believes, virtually eliminate credit/debit card and electronic transaction fraud, completely securing these transactions.

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Monthly Payment Rates Collapse in May

Monthly payment rates, the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt, nose-dived in May after setting a new industry record in April. The monthly payment rate declined 260 basis points over the prior month in May. Among credit card-backed bonds, the monthly payment rate was 19.14% in May, compared to 21.74% in the prior month. According to FitchRatings, the payment rate averaged 19.97% during the first quarter and averaged 18.60% for 2005. Five years ago the monthly payment rate hovered around 15%.

Monthly Payment Rate
Dec 05: 18.90%
Jan 06: 19.97%
Feb 06: 20.85%
Mar 06: 19.10%
Apr 06: 21.74%
May 06: 19.14%
Source: FitchRatings

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TNB Payments Conference Lands a Top Author

TNB Card Services’ mid-October “2006 Payments Conference” will feature best selling author, Renee Mauborgne, co-author of “Blue Ocean Strategy”. Mauborgne, a recognized expert on business strategy, innovation, and wealth, will discuss the principles and tools for identifying the strategic moves credit unions can make to capture their own “blue oceans” of untapped market space. TNB Card Services, owned and directed by credit unions since 1976, provides electronic payments processing, as well as an agent issuing solution for credit unions nationwide.

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Chase Launches an ATM U.S. Open Ticket Giveaway

Chase is turning its 1,789 NYC metro-area ATMs into instant-win machines that will dispense receipts good for free tickets to this week’s “U.S. Open”. Anyone using a participating Chase ATM should check the back of their ATM receipt to see if they’ve won. Winning receipts will have a blue tennis ball with the words “Winner!: You’ve Won!” on the back. Chase has 112 million credit cards issued and serves consumers and small businesses through more than 2,600 bank branches, 7,400 ATMs and 280 mortgage offices as well as through relationships with 15,600 auto dealerships and 2,500 schools and universities.

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Bluetooth Technology Raises Security Concerns

Bluetooth technology is raising the risks to financial services institutions. A new report from TowerGroup says the next wave of attacks will focus on corporate LANs and will come through networked devices that leverage a Bluetooth network interface. The implementation of Bluetooth as both an embedded and peripheral capability in a host of consumer and enterprise-class devices has increased at a CAGR of 172% since 2002. Unlike Wi-Fi, Bluetooth presents security risks that have not been considered by most financial institutions. This overall lack of awareness makes institutions vulnerable to possible threats to security associated with the adoption of Bluetooth’s networking capability and availability.

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UK Post Office Expands its ATM Deployment

The U.K.’s Post Office plans to install an extra 500 ATMs in its branches this year. The P.O. has already committed to roll out 1,000 within the next five years under a deal with the Bank of Ireland. The P.O. recently installed a free-to-use ATM service at the Speke branch in Liverpool, replacing a fee-charging ATM. Since installing the free ATM service, use of the cash machine has already increased seven-fold. As a result, the Post Office also confirmed its intention to withdraw from its involvement with third party fee-charging ATM suppliers.

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ATB BUSINESSCARD

Alberta-based ATB Financial has introduced two new business
MasterCard products that offer a rewards program. The “Alberta Gold Rewards BusinessCard MasterCard” and the “Alberta Gold Ag-Rewards BusinessCard MasterCard” offers 1.5 points for every $1 spent on the card. Points may be redeemed for rewards such as a Honda ATV, an Oregon Scientific Weather Station, and QuikAir flight coupons. ATB Financial is the largest Alberta-based financial institution in Canada with more than 600,000 customers.

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WAY Systems Names a New VP/Global Services

Boston-based WAY Systems has hired Bruce Shirey, formerly with First Data/CardService International, as VP/Global Services. Shirey is a pioneer in the Internet Payments Industry where he created an Applications and Software development team that built one of the first and most successful secure payment gateways while at CardService International. WAY Systems is a leading global service provider of mobile phone based Point of Sale solutions designed for millions of unwired merchants worldwide. WAY Systems has gained recognition for its award-winning end-to-end payment solution for acquirers, payment processors and POS resellers that work out-of-the-box, virtually anywhere.

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AmEx Names a New Corporate Treasurer

American Express has named David Yowan, who joined the Company in 1999, as SVP/Corporate Treasurer. As corporate treasurer, Mr. Yowan will be responsible for management of capital resources at American Express, the management of short- and long-term funding, asset securitization, market risk and overall cash management. Prior to joining American Express, Mr. Yowan was senior vice president, portfolio and risk management, for the global consumer banking business of Citigroup. American Express Company (www.americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

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