MOVE FROM CREDIT TO DEBIT CARDS A BOOST FOR VISA - New figures released by Visa this morning show a 17% rise in spending on its various cards by Irish consumers in the past year to a record €15.5 billion. The company has reported a 43% increase in cards to 4.9 million and a 26% increase in the number of transactions to more than 200 million.
Marc O'Brien, the managing director of Visa UK and Ireland, says that 2012 was a good year for Visa as it recorded €1.3 trillion worth of deals in Europe for the first time. In Ireland, last year saw a 43% increase in the number of Visa cards. This came mainly on the back of growth in debit cards with the main banks - AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB - migrating their customers from laser cards to debit cards. He says the company is seeing a shift from credit to debit cards as more and more people are spending money which they have today and not borrowing for tomorrow. The growth of Visa cards is also being attributed to the growth of contactless payments. Bank of Ireland and AIB both offer Visa debit contactless cards, which allow customers to pay for transactions of €15 or less by simply touching their Visa card to the contactless terminal in the shop. Mr O'Brien says this is much faster than paying by cash or by ''chip and pin''.
MORNING BRIEFS - Up to 300 jobs are under threat at HMV stores in Ireland following the announcement that the company is poised to go into administration in the UK where 4,000 jobs are at risk. The music, film and games retailer has 16 stores in the Republic and ten in Northern Ireland. The business has seen a slump in sales in the face of online competition. It warned about debt issues before Christmas and it Is reported this morning that HMV had asked its suppliers for a £300m in financing to help pay off its bank debts which seems to have been refused. The UK and Ireland trading company is the same entity according to HMV so the whole thing is being put into administration. We have seen this happen with a number of chains in the past. Zavvi, another music retailer, fell by the wayside a number of years ago, ironically with HMV picking up some of its shops out of administration. Game, the video game and console retailer, has also been hit by the same trends that are now affecting HMV.
*** HMV has said that is not honouring vouchers. If you have bought vouchers as a gift for someone on a credit card or debit card and if HMV does not honour those vouchers in administration - or indeed liquidation if that should come to pass - you may be able to obtain a refund. Contact your credit card issuer, the bank you have the card with, explain the situation and ask them about the procedure for getting a chargeback.
*** Dell Inc is in talks with private equity firms on a potential buyout involving the company's billionaire chief executive and founder Michael Dell. He already owns about 14% of the company, which has lost about 40% of its value. The market moved and Dell has failed to move with it in recent years but it is still a $19 billion company and any buyout would be a very large deal indeed.
*** New grocery market share figures show German chain Aldi as the big winner over the crucial Christmas trading period. Its market share surged by 30% over the past year - 1.3 percentage points - and now stands at 6%. Dunnes, Tesco and Lidl all showed gains according to the figures from Kantar Worldpanel but it seems they came at the expense of Supervalu and Superquinn.