Thursday, February 5, 2009

UATP Processes Record $12 Billion in 2008

UATP Announces Record Charge Volume for 2008
UATP Announces Record Charge Volume for 2008
PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Air Travel Plan, Inc. (UATP), the low cost payment network privately owned by the world’s airlines, today announced record charge volume and profits for calendar year 2008. UATP CEO Ralph Kaiser stated, "UATP continues to prosper even in today’s economic environment. While we see challenges from an overall decrease in travel spending in the upcoming year, there are enough growth drivers in our business to continue to be optimistic about our performance in 2009."

UATP processed approximately US$12 billion in 2008, all with just 38 staff worldwide.

UATP has also been working hard to diversify its product offerings beyond its core corporate travel charge card business with great success. "UATP’s alternate form of payment processing business has taken off in 2008 much like our USS business did after its launch a few years back. Both lines of business are posting impressive growth rates," added Kaiser.

UATP’s alternate form of payment processing includes work for such online payment brands as Acculynk, BillMeLater, HomeATM, Moneta and PayPal.

USS is UATP’s in-house, proprietary settlement system which allows travel agency and low-cost air carrier payment processing to be conducted outside of normal channels. In 2009, in addition to offering air travel payment, with its industry leading data, UATP plans to expand its merchant base via USS to include hotels and rental car companies. This is expected to add significant charge volume to the network and greatly enhance the core product offering.

"Notwithstanding the current economic climate, 2009 will be a growth year for UATP. We are a dynamic and hungry company and we’re always looking for ways to save money for the airlines and their corporate customers while enhancing profitability for our shareholders," concluded Kaiser.

About UATP

UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by airlines and travel agencies worldwide. UATP accounts are issued by: Air New Zealand (ANZFF.PK), American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), Austrian Airlines (AUALF.PK), Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), Japan Airlines (JALSY.PK), Northwest Airlines (NYQ: NWA), Qantas Airways, Ltd. (QUBSF.PK), United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA), and US Airways (NYSE: LCC). AirPlus International issues the UATP-based Company Account for: British Airways (LSE: BAY.L), Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL), and Lufthansa German Airlines.

UATP Corporate Communications
Wendy Ward,
+1 202 626 4077


Paradigm Shift E-vidence Continues to Stack Up

In a continuing series of Paradigm Shift posts, I bring you this.   Earlier this week, Macy's announced they were cutting 7000 jobs amid reorganization.  Meanwhile, Amazon had it's best quarter ever. Something's going on here.  Let's take a closer look.

Yesterday Internet Retailer reported:

"Growth for the 110 e-retailers that have reported 2008 sales, so far, has reached 21.8% over 2007.  That's $33.50 billion for those same e-tailers in 2008 vs. $27.46 billion in 2007"

Let's just say that the bricks and mortar circuit didn't quite fare so well, and leave it at that. 

I was only joking back in December when I said that one November Thursday we'll turn on our TV to watch the Amazon Thanksgiving Day fact, if I remember correctly, I think I may have even called that the "Parade-igm" shift.  Maybe I wasn't so off-base.

Speaking of shifts, there's an article out of the U.K. saying that more shoppers are preferring e-commerce over bricks and mortar.  It also says consumers prefer to "let their fingers do the shopping."  That's true, and there's a preponderance of mounting e-vidence pointing to that being fact, rather than speculation.

Apparently the Yellow Pages were way ahead of their time with their "let your fingers do the walking slogan, and that all well and good...

...until checkout time.  It's at that point whereby you should be taking out your card and putting those fingers on hold. Because if you are tempted to touch any keys when they ask for your card number, then here's  7 "key "words: 

"You Should be SwipePIN' instead of Typin'."

As the Paradigm Shifts into second gear, on the Internet Autobahn originally dubbed the information highway,  HomeATM will be there with our End Encrypted, Dually-Authenticated PIN Debit solution for the web.  (Did I forget to mention that by "SwipePin" instead of "Typin" we morph the transaction from "card not present" into a "card present" transaction?")  I didn't think so.

The Internet was originally called the  Information Highway for a reason.  When you "type vs. swipe", someone's going to be there to commit highway robbery...the information is out there  to be had.  If you don't want to be the one being "had, then simply stop being that "type" of online shopper. 

Would you not agree that if someone's going to be SwipePin' your card information, it should be you instead of the bad guys? 

Recent breaches/hacks at CardSystems, TJX, RBS Worldpay, and Heartland aren't a whisper...they're a shout!  Are they an anomaly?  If so, which one?  Sure, I understand that the V/MC, and EFT networks won't make as much revenue per transaction, but at whose expense are they making it anyway? 

I would suggest they take a closer look at the bigger picture...on the flip side, they just may save money by incorporating a PIN Debit approach to the web.  How you say?  Here's how...maybe, they'd avoid a 100 million card holder breach, which has the potential (at $202 per compromise) ,to put a major dent in the money they're making by keeping security low and interchange high. 

The inherent nature (and value) of PIN Debit's built-in security , when swiped, (what you have=card and what you know=PIN) would empower e-tailers to process transactions at rates up to 100 basis points lower than they are currently paying.  

Do the math on $33.50 billion dollars, (the figure Internet Retailer is reporting with only 22% of the results in, from last year) and multiply that  figure by 100 basis points.  That's money that would go back into the economy instead of into the coffers of lawyers defending Visa and MasterCard in court for Antitrust Violations

So, in my humble opinion, the time has arrived for the inevitable to occur.  We need to protect consumers and we need to protect e-merchants.  A more secure transaction via dually-authenticated end to end encryption shouldn't be "explored", it's the way it should be done...and HomeATM has been doing it that way, with $0 fraud since January '07.  
Oh...BTW...I almost's the story providing further e-vidence of that Paradigm Shift...

Retailers lacking e-commerce likely to perish - CBR

Retailers who do not provide an online sales option to their customers are going to lose out on their business, as more shoppers are preferring e-commerce to high street shopping.

Businesses which do not invest in e-commerce are 30% more likely to fail, says Tenon Recovery, a turnaround, restructuring, recovery and insolvency specialist. Online retail sales in the UK rose from £46.6 billion in 2007 to £53.2 billion in 2008.

The rise in online sales was simultaneously marked by the closure of several high street stores. According to Tenon Recovery, the high street casualties are increasing as the businesses are investing more in brick and mortar buildings but not in e-commerce sites.

Carl Jackson, national head of Tenon Recovery, says that the new-age consumers like to go shopping with their fingers rather than their feet, as it is easier for them to compare prices online than move around the high street. Businesses which do not enable their consumers to shop 24 hours a day are at a disadvantage.

Tenon Recovery’s estimates are in line with the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index for 2008, which has found that the online sales in the UK in December last year increased by 14.2% from 2007.

In an excerpt from a related story, "Online Sales to Jump Next Christmas" the e-vidence in the shift from retail, bricks and mortar, high street, call it what you will, to online is also mounting...
"...of the 2,000 consumers surveyed, 37% did more than half of their shopping online, while 59.9% spent more online this Christmas than last year.

Research undertaken by Capgemini, as part of the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, also observed that online sales have been increasing in spite of a fall in the growth of high street, as shoppers are turning to e-tailers to beat credit crunch.  (Editor's Note:  You can replace "credit crunch" with Snow, High Price of Gas, Time, etc.)

Matthew Tod, CEO at Logan Tod, said: “With 53% of those surveyed intending to increase online purchases for Christams’09, online retailers can look to see a sustained growth level as consumers continue to adopt the habit of online shopping.”

continue reading original story at CBR eCommerce

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Visa/MC Shares Rise Worldwide
Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- MasterCard Inc., the world’s second- largest credit-card network, rose 6.3 percent in New York trading after the company beat analysts’ profit estimates by raising the price of processing international purchases.

Profit excluding a settlement charge was $1.87 a share in the fourth quarter, beating the $1.62 average estimate of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue rose 14 percent to $1.2 billion, MasterCard said, and price increases mostly tied to cross-border transactions made up more than half of the rise. The network climbed $8.81 to $148.96 at 9:42 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Selander is cutting expenses to reach profit targets jeopardized by the U.S. economic slowdown. MasterCard, which collects fees to shuttle payments between financial institutions, may miss a 20 percent to 30 percent net income growth goal this year after the effect of a stronger dollar is factored in, the company said in November.

“Despite the significant economic turbulence around the world, we were able to achieve excellent fourth-quarter operating results while maintaining a healthy balance sheet,” Selander said today in a statement.

Visa Inc., the largest credit and debit card network, rose 8.6 percent to $53.34 in New York trading after saying yesterday fiscal first-quarter profit rose 35 percent to $574 million.

MasterCard had 36 percent of the U.S. credit and debit-card market in 2007, compared with San Francisco-based Visa’s 51 percent and 12 percent for New York-based American Express, according to the Nilson Report, an industry newsletter based in Carpinteria, California.

Click Here to Read the Entire Story at

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Citibank Launches Online Money Transfer

On 12/30, in a post entitled RBI to Allow Outward Remittances, I covered the fact that the central bank (Reserve Bank of India) had been approached by a number of players to enable outward remittance facilities on their money transfer channels.  It looks like Citibank was one of Citibank has announced the launch of Citi Online Remit.

The new online money transfer service provides Non Resident Indians (NRIs) the possibility to transfer funds to India from any US Checking/Savings account.

Money transfer in the system is also possible through a US Credit/Debit Card as a direct transfer into the beneficiary’s Bank account or as a draft couriered to the beneficiary’s mailing address in India. The platform is powered by the
QuikRemit platform from Citi’s Global Transaction Services.

At the times when the average value of remittances is increasing, Paul Galant, CEO of Citi’s Global Transaction Services, highlighted that the service is aimed at offering “a fast, safe, and secure platform for cross-border money transfers.” This is being achieved through a wide range of built-in security features, including Online Identity Verification, Multi-Factor Authentication, Global IP tracking and Account authentication. Besides, an online tracking system enables NRIs to follow their transaction at every stage of the transfer process. Regular 24/7 customer service on phone and online are also offered.

The Citibank NRI Business offers a wide range of money transfer services globally with eight major regional hubs in USA, Canada, UAE, UK, Australia, Kenya, Singapore, and Bahrain. The service manages assets exceeding US$ 6 billion and has 200,000 customers. The NRI Business account domiciled in India is denominated in Rupees, under the aegis of Reserve Bank of India. To ease the life of global Indians who have been customers of Citibank NRI Business for more than two decades, the bank offers such services as the Citibank Rupee Checking Account, international ATM and Debit cards and an unparalleled service in draft delivery to beneficiaries in India. 

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H&R Block Signs Exclusive w/Debit MasterCard

MasterCard has signed an agreement with H&R Block Bank, owned by H&R Block Inc., on a contract extension and five-year Debit MasterCard signature and PIN brand exclusivity. According to the conditions of the agreement H&R Block Bank will participate exclusively in the MasterCard network.

H&R Block Bank is the issuer of the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard® that provides H&R Block’s retail tax clients with a convenient and secure access to tax refunds, payroll funds and other direct deposits. It has been declared that the H&R Block Bank has issued over 2.6 million cards last year and is planning to increase the number to 3 million this tax season. The cards are available mainly through the company’s network of 13,000 offices. Cardholders can reload cash to their cards at more than 40,000 retail locations across the country. Moreover, the card supports direct deposit of payroll funds.

H&R Block Inc. is the world’s preeminent tax services provider.
 Source: Company Press Release

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