Perfect Plastic Printing this week announced it has received two additional patents on its transparent/translucent card technology. The newest patents provide additional claims and protection for Perfect Plastic’s interest in clear cards, as well as the interest of its customers.Details
VISA has introduced the first financial metric to standardize how business and government spending is tracked within the USA, assisting its members measure and forecast the actual and future penetration of commercial payments products. The new “Commercial Consumption Expenditure” is comprised of four key data elements including intermediate inputs, wholesale and retail purchases, private fixed investment and government spending. “Intermediate inputs” calculate the annual dollar value of purchases made from one business to another by capturing the money spent to acquire the materials and services used in production, as well as most business expenses. “Wholesale and retail purchases” are added to the CCE equation because they are not captured through intermediate inputs as these industries are handling final goods and not intermediate goods. “Private fixed investment,” or capital business expenditures such as computers and office equipment that are not captured through intermediate inputs or purchases. “Government spending” is split into two categories to account for both durable and non-durable goods. VISA will update its “CCE” forecast once a year, with the next analysis to be published in July. Using “CCE,” VISA estimates that total business and government spending will reach $14.3 trillion by the end of 2004, a more than 13% increase over 2000 spending.Details
The Buckle, a specialty retailer, has renewed its long-standing agreement with Alliance Data for the next five years. Under terms of the five-year renewal, Alliance Data will continue to provide an integrated private label credit card program for Buckle’s multi-channel business operations, which include more than 320 retail locations nationwide and a website. Alliance Data Systems is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services. The Buckle, Inc. is a leading specialty retailer of medium- to better-priced casual apparel, footwear and accessories for fashion-conscious young men and women.Details
Minneapolis-based Cash Systems reported that first quarter revenue increased 57% to $11 million from the first quarter of fiscal 2003. Income before tax increased to $507,000, compared to $482,000 in the prior year’s period. The Company recently closed a private placement which raised approximately $9.2 million. For 2004, the Company currently expects revenues of $46 million to $47 million, a 39% increase over 2003. The Company is one of four cash access companies serving the gaming industry. Last month, CO-based Equitex and its subsidiary, Chex Services, signed a “Settlement Agreement” with Cash Systems in regard to its termination of a stock purchase agreement signed in July, as well as termination of a contract to provide cash access services to the Seminole Tribe of Florida casinos. In December, MN-based Cash Systems terminated its deal to buy Chex Services from CO-based Equitex and has filed a lawsuit against both firms. In January, Native American Cash Systems of Florida abruptly kicked Chex Services out of its casinos and invited MN-based Cash Systems in. For complete details on Cash Systems’ first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Experian Consumer Direct has discovered that the average credit score for consumers with at least one open mortgage is 716 versus 667 for consumers who do not have an open mortgage. The Index is formulated using Experian’s consumer credit score model, called the “PLUS Score.” Experian’s score is a numeric representation of financial behavior, which ranges from 330 to 830. Experian also found that the average mortgage amount is approximately $136,000 for U.S. consumers, with only 10% of consumer mortgages exceeding $250,000. Also, the average number of credit inquiries for home loans is highest in the month of July.Details
CT-based Higher One has launched its comprehensive university-branded multi-purpose card under a contract with the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. The new “Tower OneCard” offers primary bank access, ATM cash access, POS on and off campus, EFT, and online account monitoring. Additionally, the “Tower OneCard” will enable students to choose any of three options to receive their financial aid and other refunds and sign up for payroll direct deposit with two-clicks. The choices for refunds include deposit to the “OneAccount” checking account, ACH to another bank checking account, or a paper check. Higher One’s services include “OneDisburse,” a completely new way of handling refund disbursements to students, and “OneFinance,” a suite of financial services including the “OneAccount” free checking account, the “OneCard,” and the “OneRewards” program that earns points for purchases at participating local merchants. In the first semester of 2004, Higher One processed over $50 million in financial aid and other refunds eliminating over 30,000 checks for its university clients. Higher One’s customers currently represent a community of over 150,000 students.Details
The latest government report indicates that check transaction volume declined by 4.7% last year to 39.5 billion checks, the steepest of the past four years, more than doubling the 2002 rate of decline of 1.9%. By contrast, signature debit card transaction volume increased 19% last year, from 2.7 billion to 3.2 billion transactions. In its “90th Annual Report to Congress,” the Federal Reserve System reported that it processed 15.81 billion checks in 2003, compared to 17.0 billion in 2002. The Federal Reserve’s commercial ACH volume increased by 12.1% last year to 5.59 billion payments. Commercial ACH payments include Direct Deposit of payroll, Direct Payment of consumer bills, business-to-business payments, and e-check payments such as online bill payments and accounts receivable check conversion. The unit cost to the Fed to process a check in 2003 increased by 13.3%, from 4.5 cents in 2002 to 5.1 cents in 2003. The Fed’s unit cost to process an ACH payment decreased by 15.4%, from 1.3 cents in 2002 to 1.1 cents in 2003. In 1995, the Fed’s unit costs for checks and ACH payments were virtually identical. In 1995, there was a record 49.5 billion checks written in the USA.Details
Hypercom and Tekserve POS announced that Tekserve will install Hypercom’s high speed, EMV-approved “ICE 6000Plus” with “HyperSafe” operating system security features in all 650 of The Children’s Place stores nationwide. The Children’s Place, a leading specialty retailer of high quality, value-priced clothing and accessories for children ages newborn to 10 years will use the Hypercom-Tekserve card pa6yment solution for a variety of customer benefits including the acceptance of debit, credit and gift cards. Tekserve POS is a leading supplier of POS hardware and services from IBM, NCR, Symbol, Epson and others. Hypercom Corporation is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers.Details
Oxnard, CA-based International Card Establishment reported first quarter net revenues of $3.4 million, as compared to net revenues of $281,133 for the quarter ended March 31, 2003. For the quarter, the Company reported net losses of $344,723 compared to a new loss of $87,410 one-year ago. The Company is projecting revenue of $22 million for this year, its first full year as a public company. In March, the Company announced it is acquiring Irvine, CA-based gift and loyalty card provider, Neos Merchant Solutions, for $5 million in stock. I.C.E. establishes merchant accounts for businesses that enable them to accept credit cards, debit cards and other forms of electronic payments; supplies point-of-sale systems; facilitates processing; and markets a proprietary “Smart Card”-based system that enables merchants to offer store-branded gift and loyalty cards. For complete details on International Card Establishment’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
TX-based Fujitsu Transaction Solutions has introduced two new models in its “U-Scan” line of self-checkout systems, including the new “U-Scan Kiosk” and dual-belt “U-Scan Max.” Fujitsu will demonstrate its U-Scan Kiosk at the Retail Systems 2004 show at McCormick Place in Chicago, May 18-19, Fujitsu booth 719. The U-Scan Max self-checkout is equipped with a dual takeaway belt that enables two shoppers to use a single unit at different stages in the self-checkout process. Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited and the IT “lifecycle solutions” provider for retailing technologies.Details
NJ-based American Cash Exchange has rolled-out the first POS foreign-denominated money transfer product to offer a newspaper-published interbank exchange rate. The new “Poni Cards,” which include the “Poni Cash Card” and the “Poni PIN Card,” are being sold this month in $1000, $2000 or $3000 pesos values. There are no hidden or back-end fees charged and no bank account is required to transfer the funds. Also, no statements are issued and no ID is necessary. However, the recipient of the funds is required to provide their name and address in order to receive their free “Poni Cash Card.” ACE’s technology controls and monitors the flow of funds through a system of endemic heuristics developed and implemented for the purpose of addressing the “USA PATRIOT Act” and other money laundering issues. The cards also include a free call to Mexico used to disclose the “Poni PIN,” a numeric string found under a scratch off. The new cards can be purchased this month at 100 retail locations in the launch markets of Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson. In Mexico, over 150,000 “Poni Cash Cards” have already been freely distributed in migrant communities in seven states. American Cash Exchange is the only non-bank, non-credit card company authorizing withdrawals from over 19,000 ATMs in the Mexican ATM network.Details
Russian Standard Bank is set to launch the first “MasterCard M/Chip 4(1)” smart credit/debit cards. Gemplus International delivered the new “GemShare” smart cards to RSB, in association with long term partner IVK Systems (the personalization solution) and TietoEnator (the host system.) The new cards will handle point of sale debit or credit, as well as pre-authorized debit payments, which enable secure off-line debit transactions. “M/Chip 4” is the most recent specification for debit and credit applications for smart cards set by MasterCard. This new version contains a range of features designed to tackle many of the industry’s most pressing needs and takes full advantage of the benefits brought by EMV 2000. Russian Standard Bank has issued more than 460,000 credit cards. Charge volume was 114 million rubles last versus 35 million in the previous year. RSB focuses on Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Kazan, Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Samara, Cheljabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Barnaul, Ufa, Perm and Nizhni Novgorod.Details