Monday, October 27, 2008

E-Commerce in Spain - Up 71.4%

E-commerce in Spain has climbed 71.4 percent in 2007, with a turnover of EUR 4.7 billion, according to a study by the National Observatory for Telecommunication and Information Society.

The growth is attributable to the sharp increase in the number of online shoppers, which surpassed 8 million in 2007. Of the overall internet user base, the number of online shoppers aged 15 and over increased from 27.3 percent to nearly 40 percent in December 2007. Throughout the year, each online shopper made nearly 4.9 purchases on average, reaching almost EUR 595.

More than 93.7 percent of those who made purchases over the internet were satisfied with their buying experience. The study also shows that online shoppers make more intensive use of the internet. Two-thirds access the network daily, versus 42.1 percent of non-buyers, and 77 percent of online shoppers use an ADSL connection, versus 62 percent of non-buyers. Clear information about consumer rights (78%), the sales contract (72.6%) or the product to be acquired and expenses related to the purchase (75%) are significant aspects for individuals who made online purchases during 2007. Other important aspects for them are the clear communication of security mechanisms (76.4%), or if the company is fully identified (77.3%).

Around 84.3 percent of the overall Spanish online shoppers make their online purchases from home, and the majority (54%) prefer to use their bank card as payment method.

The tourism and leisure sectors still lead the e-commerce market, with transport tickets, concert tickets and booking accommodation being the most purchased items via the internet, followed by electronics products, clothes and accessories, books, DVD, music or video games.

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In UK Debit Grows 14% in 2008, Credit Card Use Drops

In 2008, transactions via credit, debit cards to hit GBP 594 billion in value in UK, up 11% Monday 27 October 2008 | 02:40 PM CET

Estimates indicate that debit and credit card spending in UK is to reach GBP 594 billion by the end of 2008, a growth by 11 percent over GBP 536 billion which was registered at the end of 2007.

The increase is attributable to consumers' tendency to use other payment methods less frequently including cash and checks. During H1 2008, transactions made via plastic cards rose by seven percent from the corresponding period of 2007.

The increase in the card payments sector is mainly due to the use of debit cards which have gained in popularity as consumers prefer to pay for small purchases by means of a card instead of cash.
In this context, the value of debit card transactions is expected to grow by 14 percent in 2008.

The use of credit cards is to drop by 1.1 percent
, while during H1 2008 the value of credit card transactions declined by 0.5 percent.

Research was conducted by Datamonitor.

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58% of "Over 50" British Adults Manage Finances Online

58 percent of British adults over 50 manage their finances online - study

A recent study conducted in the UK shows that a large percentage of adults over 50 rely on the Internet to perform a wide variety of financial tasks, from money transfers to family members to online bill payments. Thus, 58 percent of British over 50s manage their finances online, with a further 41 percent also engage in e-commerce activities such as booking their holidays online.

Despite the popularity of the Internet in this age sector, security is nevertheless seen as an important issue. As a result, while 59 percent of survey respondents have no problem with making online purchases, 51 percent stress they will only shop from websites they regard as secure while 27 percent of interviewees declare they only choose to shop from British websites.

Location is also an important factor when it comes to using the Internet for personal finances management. 64 percent of adults over 50 report they feel safe accessing their online accounts and engaging in financial transactions at home, however only 5 percent of respondents are willing to check their bank balance from their computer at work and an ever lower percentage (2%) would feel safe accessing their online banking account from a public or shared computer.

When it comes to people over 70, the situation is somewhat different, as 31 percent of them admit to having “no confidence” in online banking, compared with 21 percent of those aged between 50 and 59 who share their opinion. What is more, a larger percentage of people over 70 are willing to pay online only with a credit card – 35 percent compared to 27 percent of people aged 50 to 59 who would do the same.

Finally, the survey also points towards the existence of an age divide when it comes to online banking and online shopping. Thus, 30 percent of women over 50 believe online banking is unsafe, while 70 percent of men do not share their opinion and feel comfortable banking online from home.

Also, only 29 percent of women over 50 are confident enough to input their credit/debit card details when making online purchases.

The data was gathered and centralized by UK financial service provider Alliance & Leicester.

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CashEdge Introduces "Me to Me" Transfers

CashEdge has announced the launch of Small Business Me-to-Me Transfers, an online funds transfer product designed specifically to help financial institutions meet the needs of small businesses.

Small Business Me-to-Me Transfers, part of the TransferNow(TM) for Small Businesses Product Suite, enables financial institutions to offer secure inter-institution funds transfer services to their small business customers. This allows financial institutions to enhance their online offering to small businesses, improve customer satisfaction and generate incremental revenue streams. The product provides automated identity authentication and funding account verification processes that satisfy all business, risk and compliance requirements, enabling small business customers to safely transfer money between their accounts held at over 23,000 banks, brokerages and credit unions via the ACH network.

Small Business Me-to-Me Transfers leverages the Company's industry leading funds transfer platform, TransferNow, which has been adopted by more than 600 financial institutions and processed more than $38 Billion in online funds transfers in 2007. It is a direct extension of CashEdge's flagship retail banking product, Consumer Me-to-Me Transfers, which has been available to consumers for more than eight years and is currently used by five of the nation's top ten financial institutions.

"Today, more than 60 percent of small businesses bank online, and these business owners are looking for online capabilities that provide greater control over their cash management activities," said Sanjeev Dheer, CEO and President of CashEdge. "CashEdge has successfully leveraged its online funds transfer expertise to create a product that enables financial institutions to better serve this traditionally underserved market segment. Me-to-Me Transfers enables small businesses to seamlessly move money between business and personal accounts - providing greater flexibility and improved cash management. Financial institutions that offer small business customers these types of services are able to grow their customer base and generate new fee revenue through an extremely profitable service."

Small Business Me-to-Me Transfers enables small business owners to choose between different transfer options. These include next-day funds transfers for urgent cash flow needs and one-time, recurring and future-dated transfers - for improved overall cash flow management.

This product is one of several stand-alone modules that make up the TransferNow for Small Businesses Product Suite. The TransferNow for Small Businesses Product Suite also includes an Invoicing and Payments module, which enables small business to send electronic invoices and receive electronic payments from customers, and Employee Payments and Vendor Payments modules, which enable direct electronic payments to these third parties. All of these modules are designed to help small businesses better manage their cash flow activities.

To learn more about CashEdge's Small Business Me-to-Me Transfers, visit

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Identity Theft: More Likely if You Speak English

SAN JOSE, Calif. - (Business Wire) Online consumers in English-speaking countries are the most frequent victims of identity theft, twice the rate of France, Germany and Spain, according to a new study released by PayPal. With the holiday season fast approaching, three quarters of online shoppers worldwide are concerned about online scams or identity theft. The research, conducted by Ipsos, examined online security fears and habits in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The survey found that 10 percent of online shoppers in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. had experienced identity theft. This compares with only five percent in France, Germany and Spain. Approximately 25 percent of online shoppers in the three English-speaking countries knew friends or family who had their identities stolen.

This survey shows that while concerns about ID theft form a universal language, more identity theft tends to occur in countries where a higher percentage of e-commerce is concentrated,” said Michael Barrett, chief information security officer for PayPal. “But e-commerce is growing in prominence around the world, and fraudsters will likely follow the money. Consumers everywhere can stay one step ahead and better protect themselves online by following a few simple tips.”

While choosing and safeguarding passwords is one of the most important factors to online security, attitudes and behaviors vary greatly between cultures. German consumers are the most vigilant with passwords. Only about one in four (28 percent) has ever shared an account password with a family member or friend. This compares with 60 percent of Americans and 56 percent of French consumers who shared passwords. Consequently, Germans also experienced the fewest problems with identity theft -- only three percent of German consumers have experienced identity theft, and fewer than one in 10 knows someone who has.

Almost half of consumers in all countries surveyed use important dates, family member names, nicknames or pets’ names as their online passwords. French and Spanish consumers are most lax when it comes to updating their passwords. Sixty-one percent of French consumers and 63 percent of Spanish consumers change their passwords less than once per year or only when required to do so.

The survey found that about 40 percent of consumers in all six countries use social networking sites, and some of these consumers display personal information that they also use for passwords. More than one in four French consumers display their birth dates on social networking sites and also use birth dates as online passwords. Less than 10 percent of consumers in the UK and Canada do the same.

Other Global Findings

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Elavon (NOVA) Introduces International Processing Platform

Atlanta and London, Oct. 24, 2008 -- Elavon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) and formerly known as NOVA Information Systems, is the first pan-European acquirer to successfully convert its merchant services business onto one international processing platform.

Where competitors may operate as many as 26 authorization and settlement platforms, Elavon's European conversion of multiple, disparate legacy processing systems into a single, international processing platform lends new meaning to the phrase, "economies of scale." As a result of rapid expansion via acquisitions, strategic alliances and joint ventures, Elavon - like many of its pan-European competitors - utilized multiple IT processing platforms to support its cross-border and multi-currency international business and its domestic businesses in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

By replacing multiple processing platforms obtained through acquisitions with one consolidated international processing platform, Elavon is better able to provide seamless support to global retailers and other customers with multi-jurisdiction businesses.  With the successful systems migration of over 210,000 European merchants, virtually all of Elavon's international acquiring volume is now processed on a single platform.

"Now Elavon owns the entire payment process, end-to-end. That means our merchants are supported by global presence and capabilities with local market support," said Stuart C. Harvey, Jr. CEO of Elavon. "We are the one source for all merchant needs from processing and settlement to underwriting, risk services, customer support, reporting, voice authorization, and assistance with chargebacks."

The creation of IPP enables Elavon to more quickly respond to emerging technology initiatives like mobile commerce, industry regulations, like SEPA, security requirements such as PCI-DSS and domestic scheme standards. The efforts associated with system design, development, testing, certification and maintenance are now supported through one development and release cycle, reducing the margin of error and speeding time to market. "Beyond the bottom-line impact, our international processing platform enables Elavon to provide better service to partners and customers across the globe," said Harvey. "It has already proven to be a differentiating factor in competitive situations, lending us competitive edge to offer global organizations a single-source provider of payment services, regardless of where they operate their business."

The foundation for Elavon's continued global expansion, the development of the international processing platform also enables Elavon to capitalize on the growth of electronic transactions in emerging markets, as well as the emerging globalization of the payments industry overall.About Elavon: Elavon's Global Acquiring Solutions organization is a part of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB).

Elavon provides end-to-end payment processing services to more than one million merchants in the United States, Europe, Canada and Puerto Rico. Solutions include credit and debit card processing, electronic check services, gift cards, dynamic currency conversion, multi-currency support, and cross-border acquiring. Elavon's services are marketed through multiple alliance partner channels including financial institutions, trade associations and ISOs.

Elavon has solutions to meet the needs of merchants in specialized markets including small business, retail, hospitality/T&E, health care, education and the public sector. Elavon represents the former brands of NOVA Information Systems and its affiliates FHMS and euroConex.

For more information about Elavon visit .

About L'Occitane: Since 1976 L'Occitane has drawn inspiration from Mediterranean art de vivre and traditional Provencal techniques to create natural beauty products devoted to well-being and the pleasure of taking care of oneself. Nurtured by encounters and journeys, the brand has grown and developed. While it continues to focus on authentic products, it also chooses to work with committed producers who set rigorous standards. There is a story behind all of our products, most often related to the land of Provence: an ancient technique (essential oils), an AOC controlled-origin label (lavender, olive), a forgotten traditional cultivation (almond) or, as in Burkina Faso, Africa, a sustainable development program (shea butter). For more information about L'Occitane visit .

Source: Company press release.
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