ACE Cash Express and the State of North Carolina have settled a legal dispute over payday loans after ACE agreed to withdraw its lawsuit against the State over a federal preemption matter and the State agreed to end its suit against ACE. ACE will continue to provide check cashing, bill payment, wire transfers and money orders to meet the needs of consumers. The Company will continue to operate its check cashing business in compliance with the state law as it has in the past.
Dublin-based FreeStar Technologies and its Rahaxi Processing
subsidiary have signed a processing agreement with Settlement Services
Limited for US$200 million in monthly transaction volume. Rahaxi Processing
Oy, acquired by FreeStar Technologies from Heroya Investments in September,
is a payment service provider based in Helsinki, Finland, offering full,
card present, payment processing; transaction authorization, data capture
and settlement facilities for VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Diners
Club and all bank-issued domestic debit cards. Rahaxi also provides
specialist value-added processing applications for fleet, fuel and loyalty
card schemes. Approximately US$10 million has been invested in the
development of Rahaxi’s hardware, software and brand name, to date.
FreeStar says the deal will contribute approximately US$1.6 million to
FreeStar’s gross revenues per month.
Borders Books & Music has introduced a “SpongeBob Squarepants” electronic gift card in custom denominations from $5 to $500. The gift cards are available at more than 400 Borders Books and Music stores or online.
The board of directors of Metris Companies (Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank) announced over the weekend the termination of Ronald Zebeck, former chairman and CEO of Metris. The board also announced the appointment of David Wesselink to the position of chairman and CEO. Metris has been struggling in the wake of the acute fallout in the sub-prime credit card market. For the third quarter, Metris reported a net loss of $1.3 million following a second quarter loss of $36.4 million. The managed net charge-off rate was 15.1% for the third quarter, compared to 15.0% for the prior quarter and 10.7% for the third quarter of 2001. The managed delinquency rate was 10.8% for the third quarter, compared to 10.2% at June 30th, and 8.9% one year ago. Before joining Metris, Wesselink was with Advanta, which he joined in 1993 as SVP/CFO. Prior to Advanta, he spent more than 20 years at Household. He was named HFC’s CFO in 1982 and a SVP in 1986. Zebeck was named Metris chairman in May 2000. He became President and CEO of Metris Companies when the company went public in October 1996. Prior to joining Metris, Zebeck created and launched the General Motors credit card in 1992. Before General Motors, he served as director of marketing at Advanta Corporation and Colonial National Bank USA, and spent 10 years with Citicorp in New York. Metris’ stock has collapsed to $3 per share from its year ago price of $28 per share. For complete details on Metris’ latest financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]). (CF Library 5/10/00)
First Data announced this morning that Charles Fote will take over as Chairman of the Board on January 1st, replacing Ric Duques, who will remain a member of the board. Fote currently serves as President and CEO of FDC. He joined the company in 1975 and was named president and COO in 1998. He was named CEO in January of this year. Duques has served as chairman of the First Data Board of Directors since the company’s IPO in 1992. First Data reported 13% revenue growth in the third quarter, and a doubling of earnings per share compared to last year. Last week, Morgan Stanley raised its long term growth forecast for FDC from 12% to 15%. The company’s stock is trading around $36 per share, in the middle of its 52-week high and low. First Data serves approximately 2.8 million merchant locations and 1,400 card issuers. For complete details on FDC’s latest financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
MasterCard and VISA asked Judge John Gleeson on Friday to dismiss the Wal-Mart antitrust litigation asserting the retailers’ claims are legally and factually deficient, and do not merit being presented to a jury. The card associations provided evidence to show they have not conspired nor stunted the growth of online debit in the USA. The networks also asked the court to throw out the retailers’ request for billions of dollars in damages saying it is not based on any facts. VISA and MasterCard cited recent statistics which show the number of PIN pads in U.S. stores has grown by more than 30% each of the last two years, and the number of times consumers used PIN debit grew by 32% from 2000 to 2001, and by 39% from 2001 to 2002. VISA and MasterCard say the STAR, PULSE and the other PIN debit networks now handle more than 40% of debit card sales. A trial is set for April 2003 before Judge John Gleeson.
The banks in Cyprus decided to stop all card transactions, regardless of
brand, following a labor strike at JCC Payment Systems Ltd. MasterCard
said it does not know when acceptance will resume. MasterCard said the
stoppage is due to a continuing labor strike within the data center of JCC.
MasterCard cardholders only will still be able to access cash at the 19
National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) ATMs that are available throughout the
country since NBG does not have its card transactions processed by JCC.
Cardholders with MasterCard and Maestro cards, issued by Bank of Cyprus,
Popular Bank, Hellenic Bank, National Bank of Greece (Cyprus), Federal Bank
of the Middle East will also be able to withdraw money from the ATMs of
A new study has found credit card loyalty programs have outpaced airline rewards offerings and that half of Americans participate in loyalty programs. The survey of 500 Americans conducted by InsightExpress, revealed that loyalty and affiliate programs can be the deciding factor on where people choose to shop, as 56% of those who belong say that membership influences their buying behavior. More than one out of four participate in a credit card loyalty program while 19% participate in an airline loyalty program. The study also found the top factors as to why consumers join loyalty programs. These include the benefits of being rewarded for products and services frequently used (54%), greater discounts on products and services (49%) and special member-only perks (42%). For merchants to make their programs most effective, they also need to make the process of joining as convenient as possible by providing multiple sign-up methods. Consumers’ most preferred way to join is online (63%), followed by in-store (15%) and mail (14%).
Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S. has inked a deal with JCB International Co.
to represent the JCB brand in merchant acquiring operations and processing
in Turkey, beginning this month. JCB has had an agreement with Anadolu
Kredi Karti Turizm since 1993, and through this new partnership with
Turkiye Garanti Bankasi the number of merchants accepting the JCB card will
eventually increase by 38,000.
Turkiye Garanti Bankas has 297 branches, and is number one in terms of
volume of international credit card transactions and number three in
affiliated merchants with a total of 60,500 POS terminals. JCB’s merchant
network includes 9.28 million merchants and spans 189 countries and
territories. JCB cards are now issued in 18 countries and territories, with
42 million cardholders.
Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S. has inked a deal with JCB International Co. to represent the JCB brand in merchant acquiring operations and processing in Turkey, beginning this month. JCB has had an agreement with Anadolu Kredi Karti Turizm since 1993, and through this new partnership with Turkiye Garanti Bankasi the number of merchants accepting the JCB card will eventually increase by 38,000. Turkiye Garanti Bankas has 297 branches, and is number one in terms of volume of international credit card transactions and number three in affiliated merchants with a total of 60,500 POS terminals. JCB’s merchant network includes 9.28 million merchants and spans 189 countries and territories. JCB cards are now issued in 18 countries and territories, with 42 million cardholders, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com]).
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore was officially
presented with the “2001-02 MBNA/MasterCard Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award.”
As part of the award, MBNA/MasterCard is donating US$12,500 each to the
Saku Koivu Foundation and Centraide Montreal in Theodore’s name. The
charities were selected by Theodore. Theodore finished the 2001-02 regular
season with a .931 save percentage (1972 shots, 1836 saves) in 67 games.
The promotional award is presented to the goaltender with the NHL’s best
save percentage during the regular season. The award is named for Roger
Crozier, one of the League’s top goaltenders throughout his career. Crozier
joined MBNA America Bank in 1983 as director of facility management, and
passed away in January 1996. MBNA and MasterCard sponsor this award
annually in Crozier’s name.
Gift card convenience comes to the wireless industry just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. Cingular Wireless announces the availability of gift cards in more than 950 retail locations across the country. This is the first known nationwide gift card offering by a wireless provider, continuing Cingular’s record of innovative consumer marketing programs.
In stores in time for the busiest shopping day of the year, gift cards can be purchased in denominations of $25, $50 and $100 at participating company- owned Cingular Wireless stores and redeemed for accessories, cellular phones and related services.
“Gift cards are a growing trend in retail and we are very excited to be able to offer our customers another way to take the hassle out of shopping for wireless, said Chris Penrose, executive director, consumer acquisition & retention, Cingular Wireless. “The gift cards will also make wonderful holiday gifts that allow friends and family members to pick exactly what they want to best fit their needs.”
Gift cards continue to be a hot commodity for retailers because of consumer demand. Of all the types of plastic cards used by U.S. consumers, gift cards now rank fourth (39 percent), according to a recent survey conducted by Fiala, Inc. According to the survey, 69 percent of all gift cards are given during the holidays.
Cingular’s gift cards will be processed through existing point-of-sale equipment and immediately activated and redeemable for consumers.
Lynk Systems, Inc., a leading electronic payment processor, is powering Cingular’s gift card program on their ShopLynk platform that allows funds to be stored on the gift card and redeemed in real time at participating stores.
“We are pleased to have been selected as Cingular’s partner in such an innovative opportunity,” said Ron Wiggins, vice president of e-commerce products and services at Lynk.” Cingular’s vision in providing this service to their customer base is another example of how they set themselves apart in the marketplace.”
Lynk is a proven leader in electronic payment, cash dispensing and e- commerce services. The company processes transactions initiated by credit and debit cards, checks, and other access cards from merchant point-of-sale terminals, ATMs and Websites. Lynk also provides related services such as the issuance of stored value cards that facilitate electronic funds distribution.
Lynk controls the entire processing sequence, including sales, merchant payment equipment, hosting of Internet store fronts, transaction authorization, capture, settlement and customer service.
Founded in 1991, Lynk has received Visa’s Service Quality Performance Award, and has continually earned recognition as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc magazine and Deloitte & Touche. For more information, please visit .
ABOUT CINGULAR WIRELESS
Cingular Wireless, a joint venture between SBC Communications (NYSE: SBC) and BellSouth (NYSE: BLS), serves more than 22 million voice and data customers across the United States. A leader in mobile voice and data communications, Cingular is the only U.S. wireless carrier to offer Rollover, the wireless plan that lets customers keep their unused monthly minutes. Cingular provides cellular/PCS service in 43 of the top 50 markets nationwide, and provides corporate e-mail and other advanced data services through its GPRS and Mobitex packet data networks. Cingular offers customers advanced technologies in simple, cost-effective ways that permit them to tap the creative potential of wireless through their own self-expression. Details of the company are available at .