A leading indicator of economic conditions affecting the accounts receivable management industry has reached an all-time high. The latest “Kaulkin Ginsberg Index” reached 1303.1, a 16.4% increase over the past year. Since its inception in January 2000, the Index has added more than 30% to its original value for the first time. Kaulkin Ginsberg says it has been at least five and a half years since overall economic conditions were more friendly to collection agencies, debt buyers and collections law firms.Details
Experian’s Consumerinfo.com unit has settled FTC charges that it deceptively marketed “free credit reports” using a negative-option for consumers. Under terms of the settlement Experian has agreed to refund up to $950,000 to consumers who enrolled in Consumerinfo’s credit monitoring program between 2000 and 2003, canceled the monitoring service and received a partial refund or filed a complaint about the charges for the service. Experian says the FTC first expressed concern in July 2002 that certain terms of that program were not fully understood by consumers. Experian says many of the changes announced yesterday were completed in September 2003, based on initial discussions and approval by FTC staff. ConsumerInfo.com has marketed free credit reports for ten years.Details
Arizona-based YP Corp, a provider of Internet-based Yellow Pages services,has signed an agreement with MBNA to promote the “MBNA Platinum Plus for Business” credit card and to offer MBNA customers “Preferred Listings” on YP.Com at a special rate. YP Corp. is a longstanding member, exhibitor and sponsor of the Yellow Page Association and the Association of Directory Publishers.Details
Sonae Distribuicao has signed an agreement with TSYS for closed-loop
gift-card services. Earlier this year, Sonae launched pre-denominated
gift cards available for purchase in its Continente and Worten stores.
The cards are available in more than 280 stores across seven store
formats, allowing for Sonae to capitalize on the growing popularity of
gift cards in Portugal. Sonae’s gift-card program will be supported
entirely through TSYS Europe in York, England.
A forthcoming research report has found that less than 1% of fraud losses in the ATM and POS channels actually come from phishing- based fraud. TowerGroup says that based on recent discussions with the largest card-issuing U.S. banks, it found that on average one out of 15,600 ATM and POS debit transactions today are fraudulent, almost all of which originates from stolen cards and card skimming. Given an annual ATM and PIN-based POS transaction volume of just over 17 billion in the U.S. last year, this means there were just over 1.1 million fraudulent debit transactions in 2004. TowerGroup believes that withdrawal and debit purchase limits on retail accounts helped to restrict total ATM and POS fraud losses to not more than $990 million in the U.S. in 2004. TowerGroup estimates that over 90% of the top 100 banks in the U.S. check for “CVV” and “CVC” today.Details
MasterCard is planning to hold three “Global Hospitality Forums” this year. The events will take place in London on Sept. 13, in Miami on Sept. 27, and in Singapore on Dec. 7. Presented in partnership with Zagat Survey, the “2005 MasterCard Global Hospitality Forum” will focus on building loyalty and maximizing customer potential. Each one-day event will bring together more than 200 hospitality industry leaders including hotel chain executives, general managers, restaurateurs, chefs, and operations staff to discuss the most important issues and developments affecting their businesses and profitability. In addition to leading industry speakers, panel discussions on best practices and maximizing new opportunities will be held at each session. MasterCard will also present consumer research and trends specific to each region.Details
A new survey suggests the impact of higher minimum credit card payments may only affect 10% of U.S. cardholders. The study also found that nearly half of consumers prefer to use credit/debit cards over cash/checks at the point of sale. The research, commissioned by the American Bankers Association, showed that 42% of cardholders pay-off their credit card balances in full each month. Approximately one-third revolve card balances and pay more than the minimum amount. Six percent of customers on occasion make minimum payments. And just 4% pay only the minimum due each month. The study of 1,000 consumers, conducted in late July, also found that 31% of consumers chose debit cards and 18% prefer credit cards at the point of sale. Thirty-seven percent of consumers choose cash more often and 14% still use checks. The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid.Details
Massachusetts-based Pipeline Data has acquired IL-based World Products, d/b/a AIRCHARGE, for $200,000 in cash, $525,000 in the form of a promissory note and 900,000 shares of Pipeline’s stock. An additional one million shares of Pipeline Data common stock will be granted subject to performance incentives. Pipeline Data Inc. provides integrated transaction processing services for all major credit cards. World Products, Inc. provides wireless payment products and value-added services to the credit card and check-processing marketplace.Details
Peppercoin has secured $8 million in funding and has named Mark Friedman as president and CEO. The financing round, led by venture capital firm Wall Street Technology Partners includes previous investor Pod Holding. Wall Street Technology Partners LP invests in mid-to-late stage US-based technology and media companies with $125 million of capital under management. Pod Holding is a private equity firm that invests in leading Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies.Details
Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies'”e-Port” is now compatible with “ScanPlus,” ARAMARK’s proprietary stored-value card, enabling college students to purchase snacks or beverages from vending machines using their student ID card in addition to commercial debit and credit cards and cash. ARAMARK Education provides a wide range of food, facility and other support services to approximately 600 colleges and universities in the U.S. USA Technologies provides networking of wireless non-cash transactions, associated financial/network services and energy management.Details
Hypercom is now shipping the first handheld PIN entry device to meet the new “Payment Card Industry” security standards established by VISA and MasterCard. The new “P1300 PIN Pad” integrates with all Hypercom card payment terminals and many other electronic cash register systems. Besides “PCI PED” certification, the new device also offers “Triple DES” encryption, “DUKPT” key management and “Message Authentication Code.” The “P1300” also has an alphanumeric LCD screen, large, hard-rubber keys and tamper-proof construction.Details
Iran’s Management and Planning Organization has requested that all banks issue credit cards. The government also wants state and private banks to expand ATMs and Internet-based transaction systems.
Iran wants its electronic banking system to be fully operational by 2007. Under the plan, up to 12 million cards will be issued by 2010. ATMs will increase to 4,000 and POS locations will rise to 60,000 by 2010. The government also wants all state employees to receive salaries through electronic cards by March 2006.