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Merchants Add Mobile Marketing

San Jose, Calif.-based Cellfire announced new partnerships with Dallas and Seattle merchants to provide mobile coupons for meals, entertainment, retail purchases and promotions. The coupons are redeemed at a merchant’s point of sale from the shopper’s phone and applied to the purchase.

In Dallas, Cellfire has exclusive deals with more than 50 Papa John’s and approximately 80 Taco Bueno locations. In Seattle, more than 80 merchants are participating including Alfy’s, Round Table Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery.

Nationwide, more than 2,000 merchants have begun to offer mobile coupons via the Cellfire service.

Outsourcing Private-Label Accounts

Roanoke, Va.-based Advance Auto Parts selected Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. (SCA) to administer the private-label credit-card program for its 35 Western Auto/Advance Auto Parts stores in Puerto Rico. As part of the agreement, SCA, which has its headquarters in Mahwah, N.J., also acquired all receivables for the retailer’s existing private-label credit-card portfolio from FirstBank of Puerto Rico. Under the new agreement, the Western Auto credit card will offer shoppers special extended payment features such as 90-days or six-months same-as-cash.

Best Buy, Minneapolis, extended its alliance with HSBC Finance Corp.’s card and retail services business. HSBC, with North American headquarters in Prospect Heights, Ill., has managed Best Buy’s U.S. private-label credit-card program for the past 15 years as well as the more recently implemented Reward Zone MasterCard program.

Now Playing: Hackers in Retail Cyberspace

The Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) has released an educational video about payment-card industry (PCI) security compliance. Included in the 12-minute DVD are an interview with a merchant who recently experienced a POS security breach, advice from a forensic auditor and legal counsel from a PCI attorney. The video, “Are You at Risk?,” also features a glimpse into the underground world in cyberspace where hackers buy and sell stolen information.

The RSPA, which is dedicated to the retail technology industry and is based in Charlotte, N.C., has adopted PCI security-compliance education as its top priority. Copies of the DVD can be obtained from the association’s Web site, www.GoRSPA.org.

Coke Goes Cashless

MasterCard Worldwide and USA Technologies have installed cashless-payment terminals in approximately 7,500 Coca-Cola vending machines across multiple markets nationwide including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Seattle.

Shoppers will be able to purchase vending-machine items with credit or debit cards, using either traditional magnetic-stripe cards or RFID-enabled PayPass smart cards. Either way, it is a simple tap-and-go transaction, no signature required.

In addition to providing greater speed and convenience for consumers, the G-6 e-Port terminals and MasterCard’s PayPass technology enable vending-machine operators to monitor and manage their equipment online.

Self-Service Promotes Spending

Two unrelated studies indicated how consumers like to personally manage payment transactions.

According to a new study conducted by IHL Consulting Group (Franklin, Tenn.), North American consumers likely will spend more than $525 billion at self-checkout lanes, ticketing kiosks and other self-service machines in 2007. That is about a 20% increase over the $438 billion spent in 2006. IHL predicted that by 2011, the dollar value of transactions made at self-service checkout systems and kiosks will approach $1.3 trillion.

A consumer survey conducted by Ottawa, Ontario-based MODASolutions on behalf of the J.C. Williams Group, Toronto, examined the connection between online banking and online retail. The survey concluded that consumers who bank online spend 117% more money shopping online than those who do not, making them excellent prospects for multichannel and e-commerce retailers.