MasterCard International has asked an Australian Federal Court to review the new credit-card regulations proposed by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Friday’s action followed VISA International’s action on Thursday. The association say the Reserve Bank of Australia hasn’t complied with its obligations under the Payment Systems Act, and that the proposed changes don’t meet the public-interest test required under the act. In August, the Reserve Bank of Australia released its final reforms on credit card programs which include dropping average interchange fees by 40% and lifting the restriction imposed by credit card programs which prevent merchants from recovering from cardholders the costs of accepting credit cards. Under the new RBA rules, interchange fees will decrease from around 95 basis points to approximately 55-60 basis points by July 1, 2003. The Reserve Bank’s standard on merchant pricing will come into force on January 1, 2003. The RBA also announced an end to restrictions imposed by credit card networks which limit the entry of new competitors. Specialist credit card institutions authorized and supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will now be eligible to apply to participate in credit card programs. All the reform measures will apply to the credit card networks operated in Australia by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA, which were formally designated by the Reserve Bank as payment systems subject to its regulation under the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998. American Express and Diners Club have each indicated to the Reserve Bank that they will remove their restrictions on merchant pricing. (CF Library 8/27/02)
ActivCard has introduced “ActivCard Identity Management System” (AIMS) to
manage the complete lifecycle of multi-function identity smart cards
including the credentials and applications on them.
By integrating with existing user identity infrastructure components, AIMS
minimizes the time and costs associated with maintaining and supporting a
digital identity infrastructure. AIMS allows companies to easily issue and
manage security tokens, smart cards, credentials (PKI and SKI), passwords,
biometrics and even custom data and card applications through AIMS’ single,
integrated Web interface. AIMS is based on an ActivCard technology platform
currently licensed and implemented at the U.S. Department of Defense to
manage its deployment of 4.3 million smart card-based IDs known as the
Common Access Card. AIMS is based on open standards and is interoperable
with leading smart cards, certificate authorities and LDAP directories. Two
different editions are available, depending on the size and requirements of
Bank One and Amazon.com have released the “Amazon.com Platinum VISA” card. As part of an introductory offer, individuals who apply for the new Amazon.com card and use it at Amazon.com before November 15th, will earn a $20 promotional certificate toward a future Amazon.com purchase. Cardholders also earn three points for every dollar spent on Amazon.com purchases and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. Each time cardholders accumulate 2,500 points, they will automatically receive a $25 reward certificate to use toward Amazon.com purchases. Go-to interest rates are 8.9% fixed, 10.9% fixed, or 12.9% fixed.
iDine Rewards Network has elected Samuel Zell as Chairman to succeed Sheli Rosenberg. Mr. Zell is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Equity Group Investments, L.L.C. (EGI) a private investment company.
Microsoft has deployed ActivCard’s new “Identity Management System” for a smart card-based identity badge for more than 25,000 employees. Microsoft employees, contractors, and authorized users will carry the ID smart card for physical access to on-campus facilities and remote access to Microsoft’s corporate network.
UBICS UK Ltd. has completed a custom software application for Graphic
Data Online. GDO approached UBICS to automate the credit card application
process for one of their blue-chip customers.
In the past GDO utilized a diverse range of specialized software products
to support the process of converting paper forms (with hand written
content) into data streams for mainframe-based operations. GDO was
developing individual software for individual products, resulting in
separate software programs to process credit card, pension, insurance and
loan submissions. In order to solve the costly problem of making changes
to each processing system, the UBICS Project Team decided to simplify the
entire process by creating a program that allowed GDO to make changes
quickly and easily. Ultimately, the result was a customized solution
designed specifically to work with GDO’s existing system and no longer
required the use of expensive technical resources to solve the needs of
changing customer requirements. The system has also been `web-enabled’
permitting GDO’s customers secure access to their data processes in
real-time. This has had a significant improvement in the process on
exceptions, previously handled by postal mail. The new system
allows customers to instantly handle exceptions and update the system
directly from their desks, leaving GDO to get on with the next order process.
American Express this morning rolled out the “Rewards Green,” “Rewards Gold,” “Preferred Rewards Green,” and “Preferred Rewards Gold” cards which have the “Membership Rewards” program as a core feature. The four new “Rewards Cards” enable cardholders to earn two points for every dollar charged to the card for purchases at stand-alone supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, home improvement stores, the U.S. Postal Service and wireless phone bills. Cardholders will earn one point for every eligible dollar charged for all other purchases.The “Rewards Green” and “Gold Cards” will include traditional AmEx services such as: Purchase Protection; Buyer’s Assurance; Return Protection; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Global Assist Hotline; Travel Accident Insurance; and Year End Summary. “Gold Cards” will also offer free shipping and handling on select Internet and catalog merchants and the “Best Value Guarantee” program. In addition to these reward options, the upgraded “Preferred Rewards Green” and “Preferred Rewards Gold Cards” are designed for the frequent travelers interested in more air, hotel and vacation rewards. The annual fee for the new cards ranges from $65 to $130. AmEx will launch a new marketing campaign that includes three new television spots featuring spokesperson Jerry Seinfeld.
Global Cash Access has signed UK-based Gala Group Ltd. to use GCA’s “QuikCash” cash access terminals in 26 Gala casinos. QuikCash cash access terminals employ the latest technology to provide casino customers with every access option available for cash advances on major credit cards and local bank debit. The touch screen, smart card-ready transaction terminals feature multilingual capabilities and can be installed virtually anywhere in a casino property.
National Processing Company has signed a multi-year credit card processing agreement with ShopKo Stores for its 365 ShopKo and Pamida store locations in 23 states. ShopKo Stores operates 365 retail stores in 23 states, primarily in the MidWest, Western Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions.
ASK S.A. has rolled out a new universal contactless smart card
reader that makes it possible for transit operators to include a broad
range of smart card standards from different suppliers in automatic fare
collection systems. The “GEN 325” is the latest in the “GEN 300” family of
electronic interfaces designed to read and write contactless smart cards
and tickets. ASK has shipped more than 10,000 “GEN 300” series contactless
smart card readers for use in transit AFC systems, highway toll collection
and other applications. The “GEN 325” couplers are compliant with the
leading standards and contactless smart card products for AFC applications:
“ISO 14443/1-2-3-4 Type A & B cards,” “Calypso,” “Venus,” and “Mifare”
cards. In addition, the full range of contactless and dual interface ASK
cards is supported including GTML, GTML2, CD97, CT2000 and the paper-based
C.tickets. The “GEN 325,” which is available immediately, targets OEMs and
transit system integrators.
Western Union Financial Services is offering its employees the “E-Duction Clear MasterCard.” The voluntary employee benefit enables employees to purchase products and services from MasterCard merchants and pay for them over two months, interest-free through payroll deduction. In July, E-Duction introduced its first payroll deduction card. Last month, E-Duction introduced “Clear Alliance”, a channel reseller program designed to provide insurance brokerages, employee benefit brokers, consultants and payroll processors with an array of strategic tools for marketing and implementing “Clear.” (CF Library 8/16/02)
First Annapolis Consulting has hired Jeff Given, formerly with DaimondCluster International and Capital One, as a Senior Consultant. Jeff also worked at Capital One where he managed the business development team for co-brand and affinity partnerships. While with Capital One, he also managed the launch of a new card product which targeted underserved customer segments.