Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Visa Forms Joint Venture with Yalamanchili

Visa looks to expand worldwide presence with payments processing JV

Visa has formed a payments processing joint venture with India-based Yalamanchili Software Exports in a bid to tap fast developing regions like Asia Pacific and Latin America.

The card network holds a controlling interest in Visa Processing Service (VPS), which is headquartered in Singapore and begins operations this week serving existing clients.

The firm will specifically target business outside of Europe and the US, notably Asia Pacific, Latin America, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Initially, it will focus on providing financial institutions, processors and other payment companies with pre-paid and debit processing. However it will also offer credit, ATM, money transfer and private label processing, as well as a range of payments services, including risk and fraud management, mobile applications, loyalty and cardholder support.

As part of the agreement Yalamanchili will provide its suite of Narada software products - a multi-currency, multi-language platform for debit, prepaid and credit payment transactions, gateway services for international and domestic networks, and acquiring applications, including ATM terminal driving.
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E-Commerce in US Drops 4% in November

US e-commerce registers first year-over-year drop: down 4% in November 2008 - study

US online shopping dropped 4 percent to $8.19 billion during the first 23 days of November as compared to $8.51 billion posted during the corresponding period of the previous year, according to a study.

This is the first-ever year-over-year drop in e-commerce spending in US since the e-commerce category was established, the same study reveals. Such a drop is the result of low consumer confidence in online shopping, as well as a "tight disposable income". For this holiday shopping season, the study predicts that online retail spending is to be in line with the holiday sales during November-December 2007, namely $29.2 billion.

The research firm which conducted the study, comScore, says that holiday online retail spending for the last months of 2008 is to remain flat as a result of a volatile stock market, declining housing prices, inflation and the instable job market.

According to a second survey conducted by the same company between 21 and 24 November, 33 percent of US consumers claim they have not started to make purchases yet. The respondents who are willing to make online purchases this holiday season have expressed their intention to reduce holiday spending by taking advantage of various promotions or free services (39 percent), spending more time looking for deals on the internet (37 percent), making use of online coupons or those received via emails (31 percent), turn to comparison shopping engines (25 percent) or make purchases on online auction sites (21 percent).

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Faster Payments Reaches £25 Billion Fast!

Launched last May, after six months, FPS can process 717 transactions per second and is "fast" approaching 60 million total transactions...
Faster Payments reach GBP 25 billion in only six months

UK Faster Payments Service (FPS) has processed GBP 24.9 billion of transactions in its first six months. The Faster Payments Service enables electronic payments, typically made via the internet or phone, to be processed in hours rather than days.

Two thirds of all phone and internet payments are now processed through the FPS, announces UK payments association APACS. FPS can process 717 transactions per second, according to VocaLink, UK payments processor which supplies the central network for the FPS. Since it was launched in 27 May 2008, VocaLink has processed 59.7 million faster payment transactions.

The types of payments that can be made through FPS include single immediate payments, forward-dated payments and standing orders. At present, 13 banks and building societies are utilising the new service. FPS was developed in response to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) calling for an alternative to the existing systems Bacs and CHAPS. FPS is a joint project between VocaLink, APACS and the UK banks. The financial institutions involved in delivering the system account for 97 percent of all payments made.
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Montreal Men Arrested in London Card Scam

Police are urging London businesses to be cautious after arresting two Montreal men from "a very organized group" tampering with debit-card pads and ATM machines.

On Nov. 11, police said a local business discovered the store's debit pad had been tampered with and called police. The next day, police arrested two suspects at the Greyhound Bus terminal on York Street as dozens of people and media waited for the demolition of the Brunswick Hotel.  Police handcuffed and searched the suspects, who were taken away in a police van.  A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a third suspect.

"This is a very organized group which travels between cities targeting unsuspecting victims by compromising their debit and bank cards at ABMs and retail terminals," said Const. Amy Phillipo.  "This is accomplished by installing additional readers to capture the information on the magnetic stripe on debit cards and the PIN number used by the consumer."

Meanwhilie, Phillipo said merchants can help by treating debit-card pads like cash by ensuring they are secure and not left unattended.

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81% of UK to Use Internet for Xmas Shopping

Over 80% of UK buyers to make purchases on the internet for Christmas

A study indicates that 25.17 million customers across UK representing 81 percent of the UK's online population (which stands at 33.06 million) have expressed their intention to make online purchases for Christmas.

The main reasons online shoppers give for their decision are the ability to make purchases at any time of the day and smaller prices.

The number of those willing to purchase at least one Christmas gift online reaches 29.09 million, accounting for 88 percent of the UK online population, while over a quarter of those involved in the study announced plans to buy eleven or even more gifts on the internet.

Price is the main reason which prompts UK online adult males to buy products online instead of from a brick-and-mortar shop, while for women, the most important factor is the fact that they can buy online at any hour of the day or night. The same study reveals that 96 percent of UK online customers aged between 18 and 24 are planning to buy one or more Christmas gifts on the internet in 2008.

Online shoppers' greatest fear is that of never receiving the products, followed by security concerns and being exposed to online fraud when buying from a website they have never used before.

The study was conducted by GfK NOP on behalf of Ivobank, among 1,000 UK adults.

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Mayaysia Airlines Selects WireCard for Internet Payments

Malaysia Airlines selects Wirecard payment services for ticket sales on the internet

Malaysia Airlines selects German electronic payment services provider Wirecard's platform for airline ticket sales on the company's website.

Customers who do not own a credit card can use the Wirecard internet payment service, which allows them to make internet purchases via a virtual MasterCard-branded card. The online payment service Wirecard allows consumers to make payments at millions of locations across the world which accept MasterCard. In addition, registered users can receive or send money orders to one another.

Wirecard has partnered with more than 10,000 companies active in various industries to automate their payment processes.


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CRYPTOCard's Two Factor Auth/Pay Card

CRYPTOCard launches combined two-factor authentication & payment card|

Canadian two-factor authentication technology developer CRYPTOCard launches its new CD-1 Credit Card Display token, a combined two-factor authentication (2FA) payment card aiming to secure card-not-present online and telephone transactions.|

The CD-1 combines authentication and payment card technologies into a credit card-sized device which generates one-time passwords, thus allowing customers to log into their online or telephone banking accounts. CRYPTOCard representatives indicate that the new CD-1 Credit Card Display token seek to help users fight online banking fraud by securing card-not-present based transactions via an integrated device for consumers combined with an integrated software service for banks.

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Black Friday Sales Up 1% Over 2007

US online shoppers spend USD 534 million on Black Friday, up 1% as compared to 2007

Statistics indicate that US online spending during Black Friday hit USD $534 million in 2008, which represents a 1 percent increase as compared to the USD $531 million reported in the corresponding period of 2007.

For the first 28 days of the November - December 2008 period, online buyers have spent USD 10.41 billion, a decline of 4 percent over the same period of the previous year, when e-commerce spending reached USD 10.83 billion. During Thanksgiving Day, online sales have grown by 6 percent from USD 272 million in 2007 to USD 288 million in 2008.

Data released by internet marketing research company comScore reveals that the busiest part of Black Friday as far as online sales are concerned was the period between 12:00 hrs and 16:00 hrs, when the highest share of Black Friday online sales was recorded, namely 24 percent, while between 8:00 hrs and 12:00 hrs the share of money spent reached 23.1 percent.
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UK Card Fraud 14 Times Higher Overseas

Fraud on UK cards 'higher overseas'

Fraud losses on UK credit and debit cards are 14 times higher overseas than they are in this country, a report claims.

The introduction of anti-fraud measures in the UK, such as chip and pin, has pushed card fraud into countries where the system has not yet been introduced and fraud protection is weaker.  A similar pattern is being seen in other European countries, such as France and Spain, according to a report by industry consultant Peter Welch.

He said losses from overseas fraud accounted for 40% of total losses on UK credit and debit cards in 2007, rising to 43% in France and around half of all losses in Spain.

But he said because international card usage is much lower than domestic usage, overseas fraud losses are far higher as a proportion of the amount being spent, with international losses on UK cards actually 14 times higher than ones in this country relative to turnover.

Figures from payments group APACS show that card fraud rose by 25% in the UK to £535 million during 2007, despite the introduction of chip and Pin leading to a 67% fall in losses on the UK high street during the past three years to £73 million.

Counterfeit fraud rose by 46% last year to £144.3 million, mainly due to fraudsters copying UK cards and then using them abroad.

Mr Welch said card providers were also facing a growing threat from so-called card not present fraud, with the fraudulent use of credit and debit cards to buy items over the internet, telephone or by post accounting for three-quarters of domestic losses in the UK in 2007, compared with only around a third in 2004.

Overall, credit and debit card fraud losses in the UK are far higher than in France and Spain at 0.094% of card turnover in 2007, nearly twice as high as France's 0.049% and almost four times greater than Spain's 0.024%.

The higher losses in the UK are likely to reflect the fact that more cards are in issue in this country and there is also a greater use of credit cards.

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David (Discover) Nelms at Executives Club of Chicago

Credit Card's in a Credit Crisis?

Mr. Nelms will address Discover's strong position in the current state of the economy and the credit crisis. Prior to the downturn, Discover was reinventing itself with changes to its business model, a strategic acquisition strategy and a revised risk-management philosophy. He will also address positive steps the company has taken during this crisis and offer his observations on employee relations and customer service during these challenging times.

David W. Nelms is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS). He is responsible for all Discover® branded financial services, including credit cards and banking products; the Discover Network, a comprehensive payments network that supports multiple card produces, issuers and processors; PULSE, one of the nation?s leading PIN debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network. He is also Chairman of Discover Bank, the issuing bank for the Discover Card brands.

WHERE: Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Drive ? Chicago, IL
WHEN: Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Networking, 7:30am Breakfast, 8:00am

About The Executives Club of Chicago

The Executives Club of Chicago (ECC) is a business forum for thought leadership, education and best business practices. Founded in 1911, the ECC is one of the oldest and most prestigious business organizations in the Midwest. The Club serves the community by providing information and resources needed to establish effective global partnerships, enhance intellectual exchange, develop future diverse business leaders and promote Chicago as a world class business center.
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Retail Gift Card Association is Born

In what looks to be a very good move, several major US retailers led by founding members Amazon, Best Buy, Home DepotKohl's, Marriott International, Nike and Subway have announced they are joining together "to create an industry group whose goal is to ensure shoppers have only positive experiences with the gift cards they buy and use.   Gift Card growth has been phenomenal over the last few years, but there is certainly an air of uncertainty on the part of consumers due to recent press regarding bankruptcies and their effect on gift card redemption.   It also provides, from a marketing standpoint, a move designed to provide more of a consistent flavor.  Some gift cards have no fees or expirations, some do.   Membership will be limited...you can read about the formation of the RGCA in a PDF file here.

New Retailer Gift Card Group to Protect Consumer Interest

The Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA) formed in October with a mission to create consumer-centered policies and procedures for members that will let consumers continue to confidently buy and use the cards that have become the #1 gift choice over last several years."
As gift cards have increased in popularity, many new product offerings have fallen under the gift card label; not all of these are consistent with stringent guidelines proposed for member retailers. Some gift cards have policies with respect to fees and expirations that are clearly not in the best interests of the consumer. Membership in the RGCA is limited to premier retailers with strong brands and longevity in the market, who place particular emphasis on their customers' satisfaction and agree to abide by a set of principles that place the consumer first. The RGCA will be calling on
ALL retailers to follow a strict standard that will protect consumers.

In addition to strong, consumer-oriented guidelines for merchants, the Association will investigate new initiatives that will provide increased security against fraud and greater protection in the event of business reorganization or bankruptcy. "The RGCA is committed to working with consumers, interest groups and the media to make sure that customers receive products that are effective, safe and still exciting to use," said Leigh Anne Ambrose, Sr. Director Global Incentives and Gift Cards for Marriott International, one of the founding members of the organization.

Dan Horne, a professor at Providence College who has been studying American gift giving for more than 20 years says that gift cards work well and that recent research confirms that they continue to be consumer favorites. "Data shows that gift cards have extremely high levels of satisfaction because they really fill a need," said Professor Horne. "Consumers love to give people the opportunity to go shopping, enjoy a meal out, or experience a night away. In difficult economic times, giving the ability to go out and buy or do the things that are most highly valued is better than taking a guess that someone needs a new sweater or pair of pants." For the top retailers to put together a consumer-focused group makes sense to Horne. "Their success as retailers depends on creating a positive experience and a long term relationship with their customers."

RGCA membership is limited to gift card retailers who have demonstrated commitment to customer friendly practices and significant longevity in the marketplace. For further information about the changing gift card marketplace or the Retail Gift Card Association please contact Carman Wenkoff at 786-270-1276 or carman.wenkoff@TheRGCA.org.

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