Australian Charge Volume Takes a Breather

Consumer purchase volume on credit cards slowed during April to a 13% annual growth rate, as balances grew 12.6%, and credit lines edged up 12.0% per annum. During April, Australians charged A$11.2 billion in purchases on credit cards compared to A$9.9 billion one-year ago. At the end of the April, consumers owed A$26.9 billion on credit cards versus $23.9 billion for April 2003. The ratio of credit card balances to card credit limits increased slightly during April, from 37.4% to 37.5%, compared to one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. One-year ago, consumers owed A$23.9 billion with total credit lines of A$64.0 billion. Card credit limits reached A$71.7 billion at the end of April.

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Pago Tackles Chargeback and Fraud for CNP Transactions

Cologne-based Pago has launched “Pago Fraud Screening” to minimize fraud risk and charge-backs associated with online credit card transactions.
Both credit card data and the other customer information are analyzed in real-time and the fraud risk is assessed using the five-tier “ebitGuard” system. The five tiers include: the transaction is checked against fraud detection rules specific to the shop’s business processes and/or industry; neural networks detect fraudulent behavior and fraud patterns; the credit card number is compared to negative lists of the card organizations and merchant-specific databases; pattern detection engines that detect specific fraud patterns are utilized; and, charge-back and other historical data are used as feedback for ongoing development of rules and models. Pago eTransaction Services GmbH was founded January 1999 and is jointly-owned by Deutsche Bank and Beisheim Holding Schweiz.

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Rewards Network Tops 10K Participating Hotels

Chicago-based Rewards Network has added 3,000 new hotel properties to its credit card-based loyalty and rewards program. Rewards Network members now have a choice of more than 10,000 hotels and resorts nationwide. The Company also introduced this week the “US Airways Dividend Miles Dining & Hotels.” Under the program, “Dividend Miles” members earn five miles per U.S. dollar spent on room rates, and through September 30, an additional five miles for a total of 10 miles per U.S. dollar spent on room rates for every qualifying stay at select bonus hotels. Rewards Network has 3.4 million active members and more than 10,000 restaurants participating in its rewards programs.

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Broad Loyalty Patent Issued to SCTN

Canadian-based Smart Chip Technologies last week announced that the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has issued a patent for “Method and System for Allocating and Redeeming Incentive Credits between a Portable Device and a Base Device,” which is an expanded version of the patents owned in the United States, Mexico, Australia, and Japan. The broad SCTN patents cover the business process of allocating, storing, and redeeming any type of loyalty, rewards, or incentives between devices such as smart cards, mobile phones, merchant point-of-sale terminals, ATMs, PCs, satellites, or mainframe computers.The Company says the patent not only adds value to our end-to-end loyalty solution, but licensing Smart Chip Technologies” patent will also provide protection for its Canadian customers from other industry patents. John R. Thompson of Stoel Rives” Intellectual Property practice group is SCTN counsel for patent filings in North America and the Asia Pacific regions, working with the Canadian intellectual property legal firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.

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Regulatory Burdens Work Against Consumers

OCC Chief Counsel Julie Williams told a Senate panel yesterday that unnecessary regulatory burden has significant adverse consequences for consumers. She said that over the years, regulatory requirements have accreted, and in the disclosure area, in particular, consumers receive disclosures so voluminous and so technical that many simply don’t read them or when they do, don’t understand them. Williams says unnecessary regulatory burden also can become an issue of competitive viability, particularly for community banks, where bankers face competitors that offer comparable products and services but are not subject to comparable regulatory requirements. She said regulatory burden is an issue that must be confronted on three levels. First, she said, regulators have a responsibility to ensure that regulations are effective to protect safety and soundness, foster the integrity of bank operations and safeguard the interests of consumers. In addition, she said, some regulatory burden initiatives require action by Congress in the form of federal legislation. And finally, she added, it is important to recognize that some regulatory requirements that bankers have highlighted involve requirements set by Congress.

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PayPal SDK for Microsoft ASP.NET Introduced

PayPal has introduced a new software development kit for 2.5 million Microsoft .NET developers worldwide to build secure and cost-effective e-commerce applications that easily integrate with the PayPal platform. Available today as a free download to members of the PayPal Developer Network, the PayPal SDK for Microsoft ASP.NET is compatible with all languages and tools that run on the Microsoft .NET Framework. It includes controls, scripts and sample applications that help developers fully integrate PayPal Website Payments, PayPal’s Instant Payment Notification (IPN) service, and Payment Data Transfer (PDT). PayPal, an eBay Company, enables any individual or business with an email address to securely, easily and quickly send and receive payments online.

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