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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 28, 2008 • Issue 08:01:02

Industry Update

The Green Sheet, Inc.NEWS

Consumers want universal mobile accounts

According to ABI Research's Mobile and Contactless Payments survey, U.S. consumers only want one credit/debit account for making payments from their mobile handsets. The survey collected opinions from more than 1,000 respondents in the United States, ranging in age from 14 to 59. Participants were put into five age categories and five income levels.

Aite Group analyzes prepaid

A report from Aite Group LLC on branded prepaid cards in the United States found that card issuers are generally happy with the performance of their prepaid card operations. The survey comprised nine issuers, and the report reviewed topics such as key product, distribution channel and technology issues.

One-quarter of respondents were dissatisfied with their current performance in the prepaid domain. Sixty-seven percent stated regulatory pressures were their biggest challenge. And a majority of those surveyed viewed an effective marketing tool for prepaid cards as imperative to their success.

Seventy-eight percent focused on selling prepaid cards to consumers through their own channels and 44% focused on issuing prepaid cards to employers and government agencies. A minority of those issuers surveyed currently use retail stores as a distribution channel.

Fed reports consumer credit increase

Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 7.5% in November 2007, according to a Federal Reserve report. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 11.25% and nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 5%.

The report covers most short- and intermediate-term credit for individuals and loans for automobiles, mobile homes, boats, trailers, education or vacations. The report does not include loans secured for real estate purchases.

Korean bank to dispense ICT cards

Industrial Bank of Korea will distribute 12,000 Innovative Card Technologies Inc.'s ICT DisplayCards to its employees to authenticate internal systems logon. ICT DisplayCards are a security device for e-banking, e-commerce and data access.

IBK joins other global financial institutions that accept the ICT DisplayCard for multifactor authentication and is receiving cards through ICT's reseller Innet, which has gained approval from the Korean government's Financial Security Agency to distribute.

Pay By Touch gets cash infusion

Biometrics firm Pay By Touch Inc. received a $9 million, three-month emergency loan from three investors.

Lawsuits, bankruptcy filings and an intervention by a Delaware court have beleaguered Pay By Touch. In October 2007, four employees filed involuntary bankruptcy against the company, claiming they were owed more than $60,000 in back wages. In November 2007, payments industry insiders reported Pay By Touch was backing off on its innovative pay by fingerprint technology.

Pay By Touch has finger scan devices in 2,400 locations nationwide including SuperValu Inc.'s Albertsons; Chicago area grocery stores SuperValu's Cub Foods and Jewel-Osco; Piggly Wiggly Co. stores in South Carolina and Georgia; and Hy-Vee Inc. stores in the Midwest.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ANNOUNCEMENTS

Glenbrook workshop on payments value chain

Linda Elliott and Carol Coye Benson of Glenbrook Partners LLC will host a special focus, one-day workshop called Card Payment Processing: The Value Chain. The event will take place Feb. 21, 2008, in Santa Clara, Calif.

The workshop will provide an analysis of the functions of the networks, issuing banks, acquiring banks or merchants, the value added functions and which entities stand to profit as electronic transaction volumes continue to rise.

To register online for the workshop go to www.glenbrook.com/bootcamp-payment.html, e-mail bootcamp@glenbrook.com or call Benson directly at 541-301-0139.

Strawhecker recognizes ISO/MSPs

The Strawhecker Group, a U.S. management consulting firm for the acquiring sector of the electronic payments industry, has begun to develop a way to recognize small but growing ISOs. They want to acknowledge the emerging ISO/MSPs of the United States.

ISOs that wish to participate in the free survey should e-mail ISOlist@thestrawgroup.com for details. Completed surveys will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2008. The survey asks for basic company information and transaction numbers such as processed card volume and processors utilized.

Capital One gets personal with cards

Capital One Financial Corp. customers now have the option of visiting the Capital One Web site at www.capitalone.com/imagecard to upload personal images - family, friends, pets and so forth - to be printed on cards.

The free service, available for new and existing Capital One customers, also provides the option of choosing an image from the card company's online gallery. Once the image is approved, a new card will be mailed and account terms will remain intact.

Global trots out new processing gateway

Global Payments Inc., an electronic transaction processing service, introduced Global Transport, the next generation payment processing gateway designed to simplify and speed up integration with the merchants' debit, credit and EBT transaction services.

Global Transport will expand Global Payments' ability for integrated POS payment processing and reduce the difficulty in integrating the merchants' systems with Global's processing capabilities.

NationalCard gets new digs

NationalCard Processing Systems LLC, an electronic payment processing company, is moving to larger corporate offices by the end of January 2008. NationalCard's move is an important step in meeting the needs of an expanding company. The new, larger location within its current Sherbrooke Office Center complex facilitates the company's rapid growth and its ability to increase its market share.

The new facility will also accommodate HealthCard Systems LLC, a sister company focused exclusively on health care card processing.

Visa wins travel award

World Travel Awards issued Visa Inc. the World's Leading Credit Card award for the 10th consecutive year. World Travel acknowledges achievement in all areas of the travel and tourism industry. The award was based on an online poll of travel agencies and agents. Evaluation of companies and organizations was determined by distribution, convenience and best services.

VÚB partners with Hypercom

Slovakian bank acquirer VÚB (Vseobecna uverova banka in Slovak) is installing Hypercom Corp.'s Optimum dial-up, Internet protocol and wireless card payment terminals at retail locations throughout the central European Slovak Republic. The choice to do so follows the implementation of a nationwide electronic payments network by Hypercom's network access controllers.

The Green Sheet, Inc.PARTNERSHIPS

Chase, Office Depot team up

Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Office Depot Inc. have collaborated to launch the new Office Depot Worklife Rewards Visa Signature Card for business owners and consumers. This card offers the chance to earn rewards with purchases.

The new rewards card provides Office Depot customers a wide variety of benefits, including rebates, rewards, contactless payments, and no caps, limits or expiration dates.

Fleet One makes inroads at Casey's

Fleet One LLC, a fuel card and fleet-related payment provider for private businesses and government agencies, signed an agreement with Casey's General Stores to allow Fleet One Local fuel cards to be accepted at its convenience stores in nine Midwestern states.

Nearly 1,450 convenience stores in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin will now accept the card.

ORNL, 1st Federal, Citadel connect with CO-OP

ORNL Federal Credit Union joined CO-OP Financial Services Network, a credit union for EFT Network Inc., with 25,000 surcharge-free automated teller machines (ATMs). ORNL members will gain surcharge-free access to CO-OP Network-branded ATMs, including 146 machines in Tennessee.

"CO-OP has been working closely with the Tennessee Credit Union League to build ATM deployment throughout Tennessee for nearly 10 years," said Stan Hollen, President and Chief Executive Officer of CO-OP.

"ORNL FCU joined CO-OP Network because of our partnership with the league and, as a result, helps us bolster network growth in the Southeastern U.S. by bringing 41 ATMs to CO-OP Network."

Also, 1st Federal Credit Union and Citadel Federal Credit Union joined CO-OP. Their members will now have access to 626 CO-OP Network ATMs in Pennsylvania and 25,000 ATMs nationwide.

PayPass accepted at Paradies

Airport concessionaire The Paradies Shops will accept MasterCard Worldwide's PayPass contactless payment transactions at its 500-plus retail locations in the United States and Canada by late 2008. Paradies expects to offer travelers quicker transactions and payment convenience by accepting PayPass.

PayPass is currently accepted in many retail sectors where speed and convenience are factors such as restaurants, sports venues, vending machines, movie theaters, supermarkets and taxis.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ACQUISITIONS

Metavante gains Nomad

Metavante Technologies Inc., a provider of banking and payments technology, purchased London-based Nomad Payments Limited, provider of prepaid and debit card processing and licensed software, for approximately 58 million individuals. Nomad will now operate as Metavante, part of the Metavante International Group.

This acquisition is anticipated to add approximately 1% to Metavante's 2008 revenue and have no significant impact on the company's profitability.

Nomad provides processing services for gift cards, money share cards, studying and traveling abroad, and general purpose prepaid cards that can be used as an alternative to a bank account.

The Green Sheet, Inc.APPOINTMENTS

Alpha Card introduces Biogiatzis

Anna Biogiatzis was selected to serve as Alpha Card Services Inc.'s Vice President of Financial Institution Alliances. Alpha Card is a payment solutions company geared toward small and medium-sized merchant markets.

The adding of Biogiatzis kicks off the company's Agent Bank Program, designed to educate its sales offices and strengthen relationships with its merchants.

CrossCheck hires Clark

CrossCheck Inc., a check approval and guarantee company, added Harry Clark to its partner relations division.

As Director of Partner Acquisition, Clark will oversee the acquisition and development of new bankcard partners and ISOs to sell CrossCheck's check processing and conversion services nationwide.

Douglass named CEO of Vesdia

James Douglass has been named CEO of Vesdia Corp., a loyalty marketing services provider. Douglass is a current member of Vesdia's Board of Directors.

Douglass previously served as CEO of Visionary Systems and, before that, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at CheckFree Corp.

TransFirst selects Krasnosky as COO

TransFirst Holdings Inc., a provider of credit card processing and payment technologies, named Don Krasnosky as Chief Operating Officer of TransFirst LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TransFirst Holdings.

With more than 18 years in the payments industry and serving as a consultant for companies like MasterCard and 7-Eleven Inc., Krasnosky joined TransFirst in 2005 as President of Shared Services.

CardWare taps Lay

Merchant support provider CardWare International appointed Gregory Lay to Vice President of Sales, where he will have responsibility for CardWare's national sales development and will manage CardWare's extensive revenue-sharing programs throughout the United States.

The Green Sheet, Inc.BOTTOM LINES

  • According to a study conducted for Shop.org by Forrester Research Inc., approximately 27% of online retailers feature live chat, and 33% plan on adding it within the next year.

  • Of the 1,052 men surveyed by Harris Interactive Inc., 45% said they would consider wearing rings over any other piece of jewelry. The vast majority (86%) said they would likely wear a piece of jewelry given to them by their significant other.

  • The National Restaurant Association's performance index stood at 99% in November 2007 - the U.S. restaurant industry's lowest level of activity since 2003.
end of article

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