San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has acquired a new patent portfolio for additional biometric payment solutions, including a U.S. issued patent for biometric authentication for check cashing. The newly acquired portfolio includes a U.S. issued patent for biometric authentication for check cashing and adds to Pay By Touch’s more than two dozen issued U.S. patents. Pay By Touch is a free consumer payment service that allows shoppers to pay for purchases and cash checks using a finger scan linked to their financial accounts and loyalty programs. With Pay By Touch, the checkout process is faster, more convenient, and more secure than other payment methods.Details
Commercial card specialist, Paymetric, has moved to new headquarters in Houston and picked up $7 million in new funding, led by Austin Ventures. Paymetric will use the funds to support continued product innovation, sales growth and market expansion. Austin Ventures has been working with talented entrepreneurs to build valuable companies since 1979. Paymetric enables organizations to benefit from payment cards by integrating payment card buying and selling functions directly into the financial supply chain.Details
First Data confirmed yesterday it has signed a contract to process transactions for the new “Wal-Mart Discover” card. FDC becomes the first certified third-party credit card processor to process transactions utilizing the Discover network. FDC will provide authorization and settlement as well as producing and mailing cards and statements. Last week, Wal-Mart announced it has teamed with GE Consumer Finance and Discover Financial Services to launch a new credit card on the Discover Network. This is Discover’s first credit card issuing partnership outside its network. The new “Wal-Mart Discover” cards will be available by March. Under the program the card will carry no annual fee and offer up to 1% back from GE on all purchases. GECF says the deal will expand its Wal-Mart relationship, enabling it to offer both a Wal-Mart store card and a general purpose “Wal-Mart Discover” card. GECF’s current private label card contract runs through 2009.Details
WI-based Fiserv reported that processing and services revenues rose 20% in the fourth quarter to $866.1 million. Net income for the quarter rose 19% to $97.5 million. Revenues for financial institution outsourcing, systems and services hit $596.7 million in the fourth quarter compared to $566.1 million for 4Q/03. During the fourth quarter Countrywide Bank chose Fiserv CBS as its new core processing platform and WA-based Columbia Bank chose Fiserv for a technology package including the “PCS Vision” system from Information Technology and electronic funds transfer services from Fiserv EFT. Fiserv closed four acquisitions last year including CheckAGAIN. The Company is currently negotiating a 12-year contract with three Australian banks for electronic check settlement services. For complete details on Fiserv’s fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Consumer bankruptcy filings during December were flat compared to one-year ago following a sharp decline in the prior month. However, for the fourth quarter, filings were down 7.4%, and for the full year, filings declined nearly 4%. During December, 113,957 consumer Chapter 7 and 11 filings were made, compared to 113,383 for December 2003. During the fourth quarter, there were 364,313 consumer bankruptcy filings, compared to 393,348 for 4Q/03. In the third quarter there were 366,837 consumer bankruptcy filings. Year-to-date bankruptcy filings were 1,552,967. The decline for 2004 is the first drop in consumer bankruptcy filings since 2000.
Monthly Filings Historical
Dec 03: 113,383
Jan 04: 114,737
Feb 04: 124,719
Mar 04: 152,567
Apr 04: 145,543
May 04: 136,509
Jun 04: 127,742
Jul 04: 133,390
Aug 04: 125,783
Sep 04: 127,664
Oct 04: 133,404
Nov 04: 116,952
Dec 04: 113,957
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
Premiums paid for credit card portfolios with less than $5 million in assets rose slightly last year while deals in the $10 million to $20 million bandwidth now command premiums as high as 27%. Smaller portfolios tend to be high quality, home grown, and stable with charge-offs under 2% and with more than four years of seasoning. According to R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers, “micro” portfolios with less than $1 million in assets produced premiums between 5% and 10%. “Mini” portfolios in the $1 million to $5 million range draw a 6% to 16% premium, while “small” portfolios in the $5 million to $10 million bandwidth command premiums ranging from 7% to 17%. “Midi” portfolios in the $15 million to $20 million range pull a 10% to 27% premium. Hammer says that some premiums paid are misleading since many smaller portfolio deals include an earnings-sharing provision based on future activity, which dilutes the effective premium figure at time of sale. Overall, of the 200+ portfolios changing hands last year, premiums ranged from 5% to 41%. The industry average premium for 2004 was 18.75% above book value.
SIZE 2003 2004
Micro (<$1MM) 4-9% 5-10% Mini ($1-5MM) 5-15% 6-16% Small ($5-10MM) 8-16% 7-17% Midi ($10-20MM) 11-26% 10-27% Source: R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers
FL-based Global Axcess Corp has launched the “EasyGreen Cash Card,” a payroll stored value/prepaid card. Global Axcess’ stored value/prepaid card platform provides a feature-rich, reliable, scalable, and secure solution for small, mid-sized, and large companies. Customers have on-line, real-time access to instantly issue payroll cards, load value, view balance information, transaction history, and manage employee “virtual accounts.” Global Axcess Corp was founded in 2001 with a mission to emerge as one of the nation’s leading network-based electronic commerce and transaction processing companies.Details
American Express and Priceline.com have launched the “Cruise Bonus Days” promotion through February 21st, offering an “American Express Gift Card” worth up to $300 and double “Membership Rewards”. To make a 2005 cruise even more irresistible, major cruise lines are tossing in their own bonuses, which range from shipboard credits to free airfare, upgrades, complimentary wine and additional savings. Customers are not required to book an oceanview stateroom in order to qualify for cruise line-specific bonuses. Priceline.com is a travel service that offers leisure airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, network, and financial services provider founded in 1850.Details
NY-based SMART System Technologies has named Michael Richardson as President/COO and Raymond Garcia as CTO. As President and COO, Michael Richardson will be primarily responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. Formerly the Chief Technology Officer, Richardson brings over 25 years of experience in a variety of senior management and entrepreneurial positions with leading-edge technology companies to his new role. Richardson is also a former Vice President of Enterprise Technology for InterWorld Corp, which he helped guide from the launch of the company through a successful initial public offering (IPO) in 1999. SMART System Technologies, Inc. (SST) is a leading provider of contactless payment and loyalty solutions.Details
Card dollar volume on American Express cards outside the U.S. rose nearly 23% in the fourth quarter, compared to a 15% gain for U.S. cards during the same period. The number of non-U.S. cards-in-force at year-end 2004 was 21 million, a 5% gain over the previous year. Card volume outside the U.S. was $32.1 billion for the fourth quarter, and $111.3 billion for the full year. AmEx says Global Network Services volumes rose in excess of 40% in the fourth quarter due to continued strong growth in non-U.S. partner volume and the addition of MBNA-related volumes in the U.S. For the year, GNS volume was up about 30%. During the fourth quarter, AmEx launched its first American Express-branded credit card in China, denominated in both local Chinese
currency and U.S. dollars, through its network relationship with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. AmEx also supported the entry of Credomatic into the Mexican marketplace during 4Q/04 with the launch of American Express-branded credit cards in Guadalajara, Mexico, which included a co-branded card with Farmacias Guadalajara, one of MexicoÃ¢ÂÂs largest drug and supermarket retailers. For complete details on American Express fourth quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).
NCR reported that its Financial Self Service or ATM segment produced record fourth-quarter revenue of $451 million, a 15% gain from the year-ago period. Operating income of $88 million increased 14% from 4Q/03 due to higher volume and expense reductions. For the full year, ATM revenues hit $1.3 billion, a 19% gain over 2003. Retail Store Automation generated $270 million of Q4 revenue, up 15% from the fourth quarter of 2003. Retail Store Automation generated $18 million of operating income in the quarter, an increase of 29% from the prior-year period, due to increased volume, expense reductions and the positive effect of currency fluctuations. NCR’s Teradata Data Warehousing segment reported fourth-quarter revenue of $412 million, up 14%, and operating income of $72 million, up 18%. For complete details on NCR’s fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com])