Discount airline, Jetsgo, has partnered with National Bank of Canada to launch a co-branded gold, rewards credit card. Besides awarding one air mile for each dollar spent, the new “Jetsgo Gold MasterCard” is offering the first 500 cardholders, who charge $5,000 in purchases to their card, a free roundtrip flight to any Jetsgo destination. The card is also awarding 3,000 “Welcome Jetsmiles” upon approval. Free flights can be earned for as little as 7,000 miles for flights under 500 miles. Medium haul flights (500-1000 miles) require 9,000 “Jetsmiles,” and cardholders need 11,000 “Jetsmiles” for flights over 1,000 miles. “Jetsmiles” features no blackout periods, no advance booking requirements, and no booking fees or surcharges when using reward travel. The new MasterCard carries an annual card fee of $99, which is discounted to $59 for the first year. A 1.9% interest rate will apply to all cash advances and balance transfers for a period of three months, after which a 19.5% interest rate applies. There are over 300,000 current Jetsmiles members. Jetsgo offers scheduled discount air service to 17 Canadian and seven U.S. destinations. National Bank of Canada also issues the following MasterCards: Syncro Card, Ovation Gold Card, Escapade Card, Les Ailes Card, Gold Edition Card, Regular Card, Ultramar Card, Sunoco Card, Husky/Mohawk Card, and a Platinum Card.
Cleveland-based KeyCorp has added eight financial institutions in the state of Ohio to its list of agent bank relationships for fee-free access to Key’s ATM network. These institutions now provide their respective customers and members with fee-free access to Key’s network of automated teller machines. Through these agent bank relationships, each financial institution provides a cost-effective way to enhance customer service, allowing customers and members to perform transactions using Key’s network of 534 ATMs in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $84 billion.
MasterCard yesterday blitzed sixteen St. Louis Schools to teach 2,400 students financial responsibility as part of the “JA in a Day” program. The massive event comes at a time when children have more impact on the economy than ever before. According to a YouthPulse Study by National Harris Interactive, American kids, teen-agers and young adults (aged 8 to 21 years) have annual incomes totaling $211 billion – most of which they spend, rather than save. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs.
Vista, CA-based Cybertel Communications reported it has signed-up 8,000 charitable organizations to be recipients of the “Giving Card” rebates. The card, launched in mid-January, is an affinity product that enables credit card holders from MasterCard, VISA and American Express, who are members of affinity groups, to contribute to their affinity group or favorite charity by registering their currently held credit cards on “The Giving Card” Web site and using their credit cards at selected merchants. Cybertel says the participating organizations to-date, range in size from family foundations with only a few supporters to mega organizations with international influence and supporters from coast to coast. Cybertel is a fully integrated telecommunications service provider.
PA-based NCO Group, one of the nation’s largest debt-collection firms, this week agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle FTC charges that it violated the FCRA by reporting inaccurate information about consumer accounts to credit bureaus. It is the largest civil penalty ever obtained in a FCRA case. The FTC charges that NCO reported accounts using later-than-actual delinquency dates. “Section 623(a)(5)” of the FCRA requires the actual month and year the account first became delinquent to be noted, in order to measure the maximum seven-year reporting period the FCRA mandates. Violations of this provision are subject to civil penalties of $2,500 per violation. Under terms of the settlement, NCO is also required to implement a program to monitor all complaints received to ensure that reporting errors are corrected quickly.
Australia and Detroit-based Catuity yesterday confirmed it will begin to either sell or exclusively license its patented off-line smart card loyalty technology as the company focuses solely on the growing market for online loyalty and other retail POS software and service solutions. The developer of loyalty software for retailers and their partners was significantly affected by Target’s recent decision to phase-out its smart card loyalty feature on its VISA program. Despite the setback, Catuity expects to achieve profitability by 2006 or sooner, if a merger occurs. Catuity plans to leverage its experience in developing POS-focused applications to tap into existing budgets of retailers for loyalty and other applications which are managed from the point of sale. For the first quarter, the company reported revenue of $479,000, compared to first quarter revenue in 2003 of $1,475,000. The Company posted a net loss of $604,000 for the first quarter, compared to a profit of $305,000 for 1Q/03. For complete details on Catuity’s 1Q/04 performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).
Since surpassing the $1.4 billion in credit card outstandings milestone in the second quarter of last year, Canadian Tire Financial Services reported that card loans were up 26% year-on-year to $1.7 billion for the first quarter of this year, and up 64% since the first quarter of 2002. More than 95% of CTFS’ card portfolio is now comprised of “Options MasterCard” accounts. Financial Services’ goal for 2004 is to achieve gross ending credit charge receivables of $2.0 billion. CTFS reports it had $19 million in adjusted earnings before income taxes for the first quarter, a 22.6% increase over 1Q/03. CTFS says that increasing average balances represents the most significant opportunity to improve Financial Services’ earnings this year. The industry average balance at the end of 2003 for standard bank credit cards was $1,347. The average CTFS balance is running at $970 for the first quarter of 2004, compared with $789 for the first quarter of 2003, and $598 for the first quarter of 2002. In the first quarter of 2004, the average number of credit card accounts with a balance increased by 2.4% and average balances per account were 23% higher compared with the same period of 2003. For complete details on Canadian Tire Financial Services’ 1Q/04 performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).
Wendy’s International has chosen Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions as its preferred credit card processor for its corporate and franchise locations throughout the USA with Hypercom also offering its terminals to Wendy’s business locations. Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions is currently processing Visa(R), MasterCard(R), American Express(R) and Discover(R) credit card transactions for more than 4,200 Wendy’s restaurants in the United States. Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions processes over nine billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 200,000 retail locations and 1,550 financial institutions worldwide, including The Kroger Co., AutoZone, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nordstrom, Inc., and The Finish Line. Wendy’s International operates and franchises more than 6,300 Wendy’s restaurants worldwide.
Target reported that the pretax yield for its credit card segment rose to 11.2% for the quarter ending May 3rd, compared to 11.0% in the prior quarter, and 10.4% one-year ago. The retailer’s credit card pre-tax profits were up 10% to $166 million for the first quarter year-on-year, but $2 million lower than the fourth quarter, due to the seasonal contraction in outstandings. Target’s “smart VISA” portfolio posted 1Q/04 outstandings of $3.99 billion, a 6% increase over 1Q/03. At the end of the first quarter, Target’s private label outstandings were $698 million, compared to $783 million for the fourth quarter, and $734 million one-year ago. Target’s net charge-off rate for its VISA program was 9.4%, compared to 9.2% in the previous quarter and, compared to 8.5% one-year ago. Net write-offs for its store credit card program were 6.9% for 1Q/04, compared to 7.3% for the fourth quarter, and compared to 8.1% for 1Q/03. The 90-day+ delinquency rate for the “smart VISA” was 3.4% for 1Q/04, compared to 3.6% for the fourth quarter, and 3.3% for 1Q/03. For its “Guest Card” program the figure dropped to 4.5%, compared to 4.7% for 4Q/03, and compared to one-year ago’s 5.1%. In March, Target announced it plans to remove the smart card feature from all of its VISA cards over the next twelve months. Target was the first major retailer to embrace smart cards on a national basis, launching its “smart VISA” card in November 2001 with plans to deploy smart card terminals in its stores nationwide. For complete details on Target’s 1Q/04 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]). (CF Library 3/1/04)
Certegy has promoted Larry Towe from EVP/COO to President/COO. Towe has served as Certegy’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since June 2001. He previously held the positions of Executive Vice President/Group Executive of Equifax Payment Services and Senior Vice President/General Manager of Equifax Card Solutions, International. Certegy provides credit and debit processing, check risk management and check cashing services, merchant processing and e-banking services to over 6,500 financial institutions, 117,000 retailers and 100 million consumers worldwide.
MasterCard has created a “Co-Brand Hall of Fame” to honor excellence and innovation among its 9,500 North American co-brand payment card programs. The first year winners are the “Marathon Platinum MasterCard,” the “Universal Entertainment MasterCard Card from Chase,” and the “Citi/AAdvantage Card” program. The “Marathon Platinum MasterCard” received the “Best Launch in 2003.” Launched by Marathon Ashland Petroleum and Chase in August, the card allows card members to earn rebates for purchases at more than 3,900 Marathon brand locations. MasterCard says the launch fully engaged its dealers and employees in efforts to inform consumers about the new card, including targeted direct mail, comprehensive signage kits, employee sales training and contests, and television spots. The “Best Usage/Expansion Program in 2003′ was awarded to the “Universal Entertainment MasterCard Card from Chase.” Cardholders earn one point per dollar on all everyday purchases and two points per dollar on select Universal Parks and Resorts purchases. Points can be redeemed for movie and concert tickets, DVDs and CDs, Hollywood experiences, and online auctions of unique movie memorabilia. Chase also recently added instant card issuance in Universal Studios Theme Parks. The “Long Term Achievement Award” was given to the “Citi/AAdvantage Card.” The card, launched in 1987, was among the first co-branded airline programs and today is one of the largest co-brand programs in the world. The card offers a network of more than 1500 participating companies where cardholders can earn rewards. The awards were judged and selected by author Jack Trout; John Grund, a partner, general manager of Retail Services at First Annapolis; and, Michael Capizzi, general manager and executive editor of Colloquy, a periodical serving the loyalty marketing industry since 1990.
Los Angeles-based Cash Technologies has executed a definitive asset purchase agreement for Heuristic Technologies, a financial data processor. Closing of the transaction is subject to several items, including but not limited to the assignment of various customer and trade agreements, the completion of necessary funding, final approval of the Board of Directors of Cash Technologies, the completion by Cash Technologies of its due diligence investigation and other customary closing conditions. Cash Technologies, Inc. develops and markets innovative data processing systems, including the BONUS(TM) and MFS(TM) financial services systems, EMMA(TM) transaction processing software and PrISM(TM) security system.