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February 07, 2008

Credit Cards on Ice

In an article titled 'Credit-Card Pinch Leads Consumers To Rein In Spending', Robin Sidel, Sudeep Reddy and Jane J. Kim write for the Wall St. Journal about how consumers dramatically slowed their use of revolving credit card debit in December according to Federal Reserve data. At the same time, the threat of recession and rising unemployment could drive more consumers to use credit cards for everyday expenditures. 'For consumers who are in financial distress, paying for basic needs with plastic 'is the easiest way out of that box,' says Bryan Derman, a partner at Glenbrook Partners LLC, a Menlo Park, Calif., consulting firm that specializes in the payments industry.'

Fed Reports Revolving Consumer Credit Grew 2.7% in December

The Federal Reserve's latest G.19 Consumer Credit report is out and shows that growth in revolving consumer debt grew at only 2.7 percent in December 2007. For the year, revolving consumer debt grew at 7.8%.

International Payments Framework Initiative Seeks Members

The International Payments Framework (IPF) has announced completion of its first phase. Over the past 12 months, representatives from 30 organizations representing 15 countries around the world have been reviewing the feasibility of an International Payments Framework. Phase I of the project is now complete with the development of the IPF concept paper. Phase II, which will enable interoperability between domestic and international ACH systems, has begun with a 90-day member solicitation period to conclude March 31, 2008.

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Discover Sells Goldfish to Barclays Bank

Discover Financial Services and Barclays Bank have announced that the companies have signed a definitive agreement for Barclays to acquire Discover’s Goldfish credit card business based in the United Kingdom.

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Gartner Says Consumers Prefer PIN-based Debit

Gartner has announced results of a survey of 4,500 online U.S. adults, conducted in August of 2007 that concludes that while banks and credit card issuers have put significant efforts into marketing contactless and signature-based debit card payments, they have failed to win over consumers. Gartner found that "consumers prefer alternative payment types that earn banks less revenue, but which consumers believe are more secure." In, particular, PIN-based debit and not signature debit. Gartner also found little consumer interest in contactless or mobile payments.

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ACI Worldwide, mFoundry Partner For Mobile Banking

ACI Worldwide has announced that it will use mFoundry's Spotlight Financial Platform to offer mobile banking capabilities to users of its online business and consumer banking software.

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Using Gift Cards for Food

The Wall St. Journal's Marketbeat blog picks up on a comment in Wal-Mart's January results where the company noted that "gift card redemptions were below expectations, and customers appear to be holding gift cards longer and using them more often for food and consumables rather than discretionary purchases."

Social Security to Pay via Debit Cards

Leslie Pappas writes for the Wilmington, Delaware News-Journal that later this spring "Social Security recipients in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana will have the option of collecting benefits on a prepaid debit card instead."

A Credit Card You Want to Toss?

In an article titled 'A Credit Card You Want to Toss', Business Week's Robert Berner writes about Bank of America's recent notifications to some of its credit cardholders that the interest rates on their revolving balances were going up - 'based on no apparent deterioration in their credit scores at all.'

paybox, VIVOtech Partner for NFC-Enabled Mobile Payments

paybox and ViVOtech have announced they are partnering "to extend NFC-enabled remote and proximity m-Payments anytime and anywhere, in virtually any e-Commerce or m-Commerce scenario."

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Roger Alexander Named Industry Personality of the Year

Roger Alexander, President of Elavon Merchant Services (Europe) and seasoned payments industry veteran, has been named 'Industry Personality of the Year' at the Card Awards 2008, hosted at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on 31st January 2008.

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Growth Slows on Holiday Spending on Plastic Cards in UK

APACS has reported December 2007 spending figures showing that spending on plastic over the Christmas period reached £32.2 billion, with £5.4 billion spent online. Up four per cent on the 2006 figures, the figure marks the slowest year on year increase over the same period for four years. The increase was due to the rise in spending on debit cards, which grew by 6.8 per cent to £20.9 billion – although this was less than half of the increase between 2005 and 2006 (15.3 per cent).

Credit card spending at Christmas fell for the second year running - £11.3 billion in December 2007 compared to £11.4 billion for the same period in 2006. There was a decrease of 2.8 per cent in the volume of credit card transactions, down from 197 million transactions for December 2006 to 192 million transactions in 2007.

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