Corporate Card Spending Data Can Unlocked Savings

A new report has found that corporate card spending data is the key to lowering travel and entertainment costs. The study, commissioned by American Express and conducted by Accenture, has found that that use of comprehensive corporate card management information for negotiations and expense processing can knock-off up to 9% of total travel and entertainment spending for corporations. Of the top three T&E categories, hotel negotiations provides the greatest incremental savings opportunity, nearly 22%. Automobile expenses can be trimmed by 12.5% and air spend can be reduced by up to 4.0%. The study also estimated that spending on meetings, rail, restaurant, taxis, etc. could also be reduced by 0.3%. The study also found that firms using the latest generation of corporate card program features designed to reduce administrative expenses in managing T&E can realize up to 1.8% savings on their T&E budget in incremental process savings. The “American Express Corporate Card Data Value Study” polled 110 companies by online survey, gathering information on respondents’ expense management practices with a particular focus on accessing and analyzing spending data from their corporate card programs. In addition, Accenture conducted extensive follow-up interviews with 28 companies for qualitative analysis.

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ACH Transactions Reach a Record 2.1 Billion in Q1

NACHA reported that the ACH Network grew during the first quarter at the highest year-over-year growth rate since tracking began in 1997. More than 2.14 billion transactions were conducted during the quarter, worth more than $5.27 trillion, an increase of 20.9% and 7.7%, respectively, over the same quarter of 2003. The five consumer e-check applications (WEB, ARC, TEL, POP, and RCK) combined for 395.4 million payments in the quarter, up 27.3% over the prior quarter and 123% over a year ago. Commercial ACH payments were up 22.4% over one-year ago. The Federal government’s ACH volume increased to 259.1 million payments, which is a 12.7% increase over the previous quarter and a 10.9% increase over a year ago. NACHA noted that consumer E-checks now account for 21% of all commercial ACH payments and 42.8% of consumer ACH debits. The first quarter statistics include commercial inter-bank and Federal government transactions, but not “on-us” transactions.

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Darden Restaurants Opts for a FSV Payroll Card

Darden Restaurants, which owns and operates 1,300 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill restaurants, will give its 140,000 U.S. employees the option of having their pay placed on a FSV Payment Systems “PAYCHEK PLUS!” payroll card. Instead of a paper check, employees who sign up for the program will receive what looks like an ATM card loaded with their weekly salary. The card may be used at ATMs and retail point-of-sale terminals across America. FSV Payment Systems offers a robust suite of unique, host-based stored-value and payroll debit card solutions direct to large employers and to financial institutions through an exclusive agreement with Fiserv Inc.

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Consumers Find Debit Faster and Easier to Use

A new study has found that PIN debit purchasers are the most satisfied with their chosen payment method, followed closely by credit card users and signature debit users. According to the research, when consumers choose debit over other payment methods, it is chiefly because they believe it is faster and easier. The second most frequently cited reason for choosing debit is avoiding credit balances and interest. The option to receive cash back was rated much lower, and sweepstakes and promotions have little impact on the choice of payment among debit users. The study, commissioned by PULSE EFT Association and conducted by Analytica, found that when asked how they would respond if a merchant stopped accepting their debit card, 81.4% of participants said they would be “very unhappy,” and 29.7% said they would stop using the merchant. If merchants began charging to accept debit cards, 79.2% of respondents would be unhappy, and of those, 37.4% said they would switch to a different payment method and 21.2% said they would stop using the merchant. Similarly, if financial institutions began charging a fee for debit card payments, 85.3% of respondents reported they would be “extremely dissatisfied,” and 43.7% said they would change institutions.

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GiftCertificates.com Unveils a New IMS

Seattle-based GiftCertificates.com has launched a new “Incentive Management System.” The Web-based tool was created to provide corporations with a full-service incentive and reward program to meet specific, results-oriented objectives such as driving customer acquisition and retention, increasing sales, and motivating and retaining employees, among others. GiftCertificates.com(TM) provides gift certificates and related products and services to corporations and consumers. The company’s sales organization works with over 20,000 corporate customers in all major industries to implement customer and employee acquisition, incentive, loyalty, reward and retention programs.

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MASTERCARD 1Q/04

MasterCard International reported first quarter worldwide gross dollar
volume (purchases + cash ) of $331.9 billion, an increase of 8.4% over the
first quarter of 2003. Total purchases on MasterCard credit and debit cards
rose 13.6% in the first quarter, with each region reporting double-digit
growth. Purchase volume in South Asia/Middle East/Africa increased 25% and
Latin America rose 24%. In Europe purchase volume rose 16%, compared to 13%
in the USA and Canada. In Asia-Pacific, where total gross dollar volume
declined 3%, purchase volume was up nearly 11%. GDV for worldwide credit
and charge programs grew 8.9% to $270.1 billion, and GDV for offline debit
programs rose 6.7% to $61.7 billion over the same period in 2003. Gross
transactions for credit and offline debit programs increased by 10% in 2004
compared to the first quarter in 2003. MasterCard’s almost 25,000 customer
financial institutions around the world had issued more than 627.5 million
MasterCard-branded cards, a 6.6% increase over first quarter 2003.

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Delinquency Heads South for All Major Issuers

Delinquency (30+ days) among the top prime issuers declined 63 basis points during the first quarter, while delinquency for sub-prime issuers declined 228 basis points, compared to the first quarter of 2003. All of the top issuers posted lower delinquency for the first quarter with Capital One reporting the sharpest decline among prime issuers, and Providian experiencing the steepest decline among sub-prime issuers. The nation’s largest issuer, Citibank, reported that its 90-day delinquency rate for bank credit cards was flat for the first quarter at 1.83%. Capital One’s delinquency dropped from 5.55% for 1Q/03 to 3.99% for the first quarter of this year. Providian’s 1Q/04 delinquency rate of 7.36% compares to 10.31% one-year ago. The average delinquency rate for the nation’s top five prime issuers (excluding Citibank) was 4.76%%, compared to 5.39% one-year ago. The average delinquency rate for the nation’s top three sub-prime issuers was 9.42% for 1Q/04, compared to 11.70% one-year ago. For complete details on first quarter issuer performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

1Q/04 PRIME ISSUER DELINQUENCY
Issuer 1Q/04 1Q/03
Bank One: 5.57% 5.96%
MBNA: 4.27% 4.74%
Chase: 4.43% 4.59%
Cap One: 3.99% 5.55%
BofA: 5.56% 6.09%
AVG 4.76% 5.39%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

1Q/04 SUB-PRIME ISSUER DELINQUENCY
Issuer 1Q/04 1Q/03
Providian: 7.36% 10.31%
Metris: 10.40% 11.50%
CompuCredit 10.50% 13.30%
AVG 9.42% 11.70%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Minneapolis Become Fair Isaac’s Headquarters

Fair Isaac this morning announced that the company has designated its Minneapolis location as its corporate headquarters instead San Rafael, California. Fair Isaac opened a new corporate office in downtown Minneapolis in 2003, building upon a significant Twin Cities presence that began with the acquisition of database marketing company Dynamark Inc. in 1992. The Minneapolis location now includes the offices of the CEO and CFO, as well as numerous other corporate and market-facing leadership positions. Fair Isaac Corporation is the preeminent provider of creative analytics that unlock value for people, businesses and industries.

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Bank One AKC VISA Adds Cardholder Rewards

Bank One and the American Kennel Club have partnered to launch the “AKC Rewards VISA” card. Since 1995, the AKC and Bank One have offered an affinity credit card in which a contribution is made to the AKC after each card purchase. With the new “AKC Rewards VISA” card, a contribution will continue to be made to the AKC after each card purchase to promote and support responsible dog ownership, canine health research, recovery of lost pets, public education and more. Existing AKC cardholders will have the opportunity to enhance their card by opting to participate in the new rewards VISA card program. New cardholders will automatically receive the “AKC Rewards VISA” card. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent in card purchases. Every time 2,500 points are earned, cardholders can redeem them for a $25 check, gift card or gift certificate that can be used at a pet retail store and select merchants including gas stations, restaurants and other retailers.

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Americans Believe Online Shopping is Getting Safer

Fifty-one percent of Americans say the Internet became a safer place to shop in 2003 and 61% believe it will become even safer in 2004. The new ACNielsen International Research survey, conducted during March, reports that 75% of Internet shoppers are aware of potential fraud when shopping online, including the proliferation of fake or “spoof” e-mails. But the survey found that concerns about Internet fraud are not prohibiting Americans from shopping online. Findings show that 53% of online shoppers plan to buy even more on the Internet this year because of the convenience, speed, selection and increased security the Internet offers. The survey was commissioned by PayPal and eBay.

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FTC Shuts Down a Nonprofit Debt Negotiation Network

The FTC has filed a lawsuit and obtained a asset freeze against a group of defendants allegedly masquerading as a nonprofit debt negotiation organization including National Consumer Council, London Financial Group; National Consumer Debt Council, Solidium Credit Recovery Services; J.P. Landis; Financial Rescue Services; Signature Equities; M&L Springfield Trust; PC Hailey Trust; and, Via Lido Trust. The FTC alleges that the defendants, operating a complex web of companies advertised as National Consumer Council, leave pre-recorded messages on consumers’ home answering machines claiming NCC is a nonprofit organization that will stop creditors’ collection efforts and significantly reduce consumers’ debt. According to the FTC, the defendants also violated the TSR by calling consumers who have registered their telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry and by continuing to call consumers who previously have stated that they do not wish to receive calls from the defendants.

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