The FTC released its annual top 10 consumer complaint report Wednesday which showed identity theft as the #1 complaint. As in 2000 and 2001, identity theft topped the list, accounting for 43% of the complaints lodged in the FTC’s “Consumer Sentinel” database. The number of fraud complaints jumped from 220,000 in 2001 to 380,000 in 2002, and the dollar loss consumers attributed to the fraud they reported grew from $160 million in 2001 to $343 million in 2002. “Sentinel” currently provides about 630 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Canada and Australia with access to one million complaints.Details
ERG Transit Systems and Northrop Grumman Information Technology has been
selected by the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to
install and operate a new customer service center for the “SmarTrip” smart
card-based fare collection system. The project also involves card
management and the clearing/settling of smart card transactions across 17
transit agencies in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the Washington DC area.
The new ERG system will interface with existing installed hardware such as
gates and readers. The project calls for ERG to operate the system for a
period of five years, with two subsequent one-year options. The initial 5
year contract is worth approximately $20 million comprising the supply,
installation and operation of the system. Northrop Grumman IT will be
responsible for the distribution of smart cards and operation of the
customer service center in the Washington DC area as a subcontractor and
partner to ERG. Work is expected to begin within several weeks.
A blue ribbon panel of banking economists predicted yesterday that national economic growth will pick up from the less than one percent annual rate last quarter to 3.5% in the second half of the year. The American Bankers Association Economic Advisory Committee also projected that inflation will remain tame at under 2.5% this year. The economists predicted that mortgage rates will rise to 6.75% by year end, partly in response to the Fed’s less accommodative policy. As a result, the EAC sees mortgage refinancing ebbing from its record pace. Although credit quality has deteriorated over the past year, the EAC expects an improvement in business credit quality in 2003.Details
GZS Gesellschaft fÃ¼r Zahlungssysteme have announced an upgrade for crediting air time to prepaid cards of Vodafone. The “Cash & Go” upgrade allows GZS’s contractual partners to load the cellular phones of the subscribers of Germany’s two largest mobile network operators. Together, T-Mobile and Vodafone have approximately 23 million mobile users and a market share of about 80%. GZS is announcing a special offer for its business partners to coincide with the launch of the new Vodafone product.Details
TouchNet Information Systems has joined with Electronic Clearing House to introduce the “VISA POS Check Service” program to its customers in the higher education market. he new service will significantly help TouchNet customers reduce risk and processing costs associated with accepting checks by utilizing Visaâs real-time authorization network, VisaNet. Other existing check acceptance systems typically rely on a variety of historical databases or negative files to electronically process check transactions. Using TouchNet solutions, checks accepted via the Internet and/or at the point of sale can be immediately converted into electronic items.Details
Toronto-based Datawire Communication Networks has named James Meenan to
the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors. Following a 30-year
career with AT&T in the USA in various executive, financial and operating
roles, Meenan successfully established AT&T’s presence in Canada in 1995 as
President and CEO and served in this capacity until 2000. He continues to
serve on the Board of Directors of AT&T Canada and as Chairman of Castek, a
rapidly growing enterprise software company based in Toronto serving the
property and casualty insurance industry. Datawire Communication Networks
offers the “VXN,” an Internet-based Transaction Delivery Network.
Fair, Isaac yesterday reported revenues of $146.7 million for the quarter ending December 31st, compared to $85.1 million one year ago, a 73% increase. It was the first full quarter to reflect the merger with HNC Software. Net income for the quarter was $19.8 million, a 46% increase over the same period one year ago. Results for the quarter included $2.0 million in merger-related charges resulting from the August 2002 HNC Software acquisition. According to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com]), VISA International European Union has signed a deal to offer Fair, Isaac’s “Falcon Fraud Manager Version 5” and “Fraud Predictor with Merchant Profiles” solutions to all VISA members in 26 European countries, reaching potentially 208 million payment cardholders. Fair, Issac’s stock continues to trade near its 52-week high of $46.33 per share. For complete details on Fair Isaac’s latest earnings reports and past performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
The new Sitebank A.S. has signed a contract for Euronet Worldwide’s ATM
and debit card management software. Sitebank is a new financial institution
set to open in Istanbul in May with the backing of Banco Comercial
Portugues. Euronet “ATM Management” allows Sitebank to control its ATM
network in real time with ATM driving, ATM monitoring and reporting.
Euronet “Debit Card Management” enables Sitebank to deploy and manage debit
cards and to provide customer assistance, online transaction authorization
and offline posting.
Citigroup has launched a new credit education program and Web site called: “Use Credit Wisely.” Use Credit Wisely, accessible at http://www.UseCreditWisely.com, advances Citi’s long-standing commitment to credit education and providing consumers with the latest resources to help them achieve peak financial health.Details
Ottawa-based Precidia Technologies has joined TELUS Mobility’s “Data
Alliance Partner Program” to provide a new wireless IP solution to the
Canadian ATM industry. Monthly communications fees can be significantly
reduced by using Precidia’s “CellDial” in conjunction with TELUS Mobility’s
“always-on” digital “Mike” network. Additional savings are realized by
eliminating telephone installation and administration costs.
According to Interac and the Canadian Banking Association, there are
currently over 20,000 “white label” or generic ATMs in Canada. Precidia
says many of these ATM operators are looking to decrease the costs
associated with machine deployment. The new Precidia/TELUS ATM wireless
solution is available now across Canada.
More evidence has emerged that 2002 was a very sluggish year for growth in credit card outstandings and dollar volume. Based on a sampling of top issuers and mid-level issuers, outstandings grew 5.4% last year while dollar volume edged up 3.2%. However, profits continue to be strong due to the lower cost-of-funds and improving credit quality. First National Bank of Nebraska and BB&T posted solid gains while Household and FleetBoston reported modest portfolio growth, according to CardData’s 4Q/02 portfolio data. Earlier this week, Citigroup reported a 6% increase in outstandings for 2002, and Wells Fargo posted a 6.7% gain in outstandings last year. For complete details on the latest 4Q/02 information on the nation’s top issuers visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
4Q/02 OUT 4Q/01 OUT CHNG 4Q/02 VOL 4Q/01 VOL CHNG
Household $16,984,702,000 $16,101,954,000 +5.5% $10,087,783,000 $ 9,631,188,000 +4.7%
FleetBoston $16,151,000,000 $15,644,000,000 +3.2% $ 6,818,000,000 $ 6,799,000,000 +0.3%
First Natl NE $ 4,303,320,013 $ 3,822,869,273 +12.6% $ 1,680,080,000 $ 1,520,043,000 +10.5%
BB&T $ 880,272,000 $ 780,479,000 +12.8% $ 517,253,746 $ 462,954,000 +11.7%
SouthTrust $ 349,563,531 $ 324,093,455 +7.9% $ 166,605,418 $ 156,829,237 +6.2%
TOTAL $38,668,165,000 $36,673,395,000 +5.4% $19,269,722,000 $18,670,014,000 +3.2%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
VISA International European Union has inked a contract to offer Fair,
Isaac’s next-generation fraud management technology to all VISA members in
26 European countries. VISA EU will offer Fair, Isaac’s
“Falcon Fraud Manager” and “Fraud Predictor with Merchant Profiles”
solutions. “Falcon” and “Fraud Predictor” offers a leap in fraud detection
through the Falcon patented neural network technology and cardholder
account information, leveraging “Fraud Predictor’s” merchant-specific data
and patented profiling technology to better identify multiple types of
payment card fraud. The VISA EU solution will be deployed utilizing the
newly released “Falcon Fraud Manager Version 5” technology architecture,
which now provides a thin-client Graphical User Interface. VISA EU members
manage more than 208 million payment cardholders.