American Express Business Travel and Rearden Commerce have launched an “Intelligent Online Marketplace”. Rearden Commerce, Inc., the new Web-based marketplace for services brings together inventory from more than 135,000 suppliers to provide a one-stop-shop where employees can find, purchase and manage both traditional travel (flights, hotel stays and car rentals) and a growing list of other services, such as airport parking, dining, ground transportation, event tickets, package shipping and audio/web conferencing. American Express Business Travel, a division of the American Express Company, is dedicated to helping its clients realize the greatest possible value from their investment in travel through increased cost savings, outstanding customer service and greater spend control.
Discover has launched a new online shopping portal, “ShopDiscover,” offering its cardholders a 5% to 20% “Cashback Bonus” year round on purchases. Cardmembers simply need to log into the Account Center at www.discovercard.com, link to a retailer’s site through ShopDiscover and make their purchase. There is no spending limit, and the additional Cashback Bonus will be applied automatically to their Cashback Bonus account. Discover Financial Services LLC, a business unit of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), operates the Discover Card with more than 50 million Cardmembers, and the Discover Network with more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations.
American Express has launched a boutique-style rewards program exclusively for its “Platinum” and “Centurion” cardholders. The special “Membership Rewards” program offers 50 high end rewards in four categories: lifestyle, jewelry, watches and travel. “First Collection” rewards range from 20,500 points to 93 million points. Examples of rewards include a Steinway grand piano for 7 million points; Mikimoto pearl and sapphire necklace for 13 million points; and Chopard “Ice Cube Collection” 18K white gold and diamond watch for 93.2 million points. Initial partners include: Baccarat, Chopard, Davidoff, Eos Airlines, IWC, Lamborghini, Mikimoto, Monarch Billiards, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Piaget and Steinway & Sons.
MasterCard is giving away two homes and has added a “Daily Instant Win Game” to its annual “A Home for the Holidays” sweepstakes. Each day, consumers can tour the “Room of the Day” and play for a chance to instantly win featured Best Buy prizes to fill their homes. More information on the promotion can be found at priceless.com. MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide.
PA-based USA Technologies reported that its third calendar quarter revenue rose 47% as profits nearly doubled. The results were largely due to accelerating sales of the Company’s “e-Port” cashless payment product. For the third quarter revenue totaled $2.0 million compared to $1.4 million for 3Q/05. Gross profit was $615,536, an increase of 95% over gross profit of $314,927 for the three months ended September 30, 2005. The Company recently launched “e-Port Generation Six” which integrates contactless card capability with mag-swipe card technology. The first 1,000 vending machines equipped with the “G6” were jointly deployed in Philadelphia by MasterCard, Coca-Cola of Philadelphia, and USA Technologies. The Company also added three more patents during the quarter, two for cashless vending and one for energy management for a total of 65 patents issued. For complete details on USAT’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Target reported that its pre-tax credit card profits for the quarter ending October 28th increased 63% over the year-ago quarter. Credit card outstandings for the quarter increased 11% year-on-year, remaining above $6.0 billion. Target’s third calendar quarter pre-tax credit card profits were $176 million, compared to $168 million in the prior quarter and $108 million one-year ago. Target reported that its total credit card receivables, which include its VISA and “Guest” cards, were $6.148 billion as of October 28th, compared to $5.544 billion one-year ago. Delinquency (90 days+) for 3Q/06 increased to 3.9%, compared to 3.4% in the prior quarter and 3.2% one-year ago. Charge-offs rose 5.5% for 3Q/06 compared to 4.6% in the prior quarter and 8.1% one-year ago. Target’s credit card unit had revenues of $279 million in 3Q/06, a 20% increase over 3Q/05. For complete details on Target’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
TARGET CARD LOAN HISTORICAL
(Excludes Mervyn’s & Marshall Field’s)
3Q/05: $5.544 billion
4Q/05: $6.177 billion
1Q/06: $5.844 billion
2Q/06: $6.041 billion
3Q/06: $6.148 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
VISA’s new “Lunch” TV spot may be the best commercial in the current “Life Takes Visa” campaign. The ad, which broke this weekend, will run through January. “Lunch” shows consumers smoothly and quickly moving through a busy deli at lunchtime until someone decides to pay with cash. The spot will be supported by ads in 11 markets utilizing traditional billboards, bus sides and shelters, coffee sleeves, phone kiosks, and window clings at convenience stories. VISA also released findings from a new poll by Surveys Unlimited which showed that the majority of respondents cited payment cards as their top choice for “fastest payment method” and, when asked what they would change about waiting in line, 56% said they would add more checkout lines, and 14% said create a payment card only line. About one-third said they have left without purchasing anything when there is too much check-out line frustration.
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ME-based fleet card specialist, Wright Express, has signed a 10-year fleet card agreement with ExxonMobil. Under terms of the new deal, Wright Express will likely purchase the existing ExxonMobil fleet card portfolio near the end of the year. Wright Express has been providing ExxonMobil with outsourced proprietary fleet card transaction processing, marketing, and other ancillary support services since 1999. As the issuer of the ExxonMobil fleet card, Wright Express will continue to process the fleet card transactions and provide funding for future receivables. Wright Express also will provide private label fleet card services including marketing services, sales, credit approval and management, card authorization, private label credit card issuance, statement generation, customer services functions, and online services.
Britons are expected to spend GBP31.8 billion on plastic during December for the holidays, with approximately GBP20.4 billion on debit cards and GBP11.4 billion on credit cards. Overall, payment cards will account for 61.6% of the predicted total holiday spend of GBP51.6 billion in December, up from 58.8% in 2005. Credit card spending in December is predicted to remain close to December 2005 levels at GBP11.4 billion virtually unchanged from a figure of GBP11.5 billion in December 2005. Debit card expenditure in December 2006 is expected to rise 20.4% to GBP20.4 billion, compared to the year ago period. However, APACS, the UK payments association, predicts that credit cards will continue to dominate in the online arena, making up 67% of the expected GBP3 billion total of plastic card spend online at GBP2 billion, compared to GBP2.2 billion in 2005. Holiday volume on debit cards exceeded credit cards for the first time in 1999.
Gemalto has launched an end-to-end solution for secure Internet design of personalized EMV payment cards. The new “CardLikeMe” system enables users to upload a picture of their choice on a bank Web site and transfer it to a card. Once the picture is loaded on the bank Web site, users can visualize the card appearance in real time and adjust the photograph as they wish. The image is approved by the bank before the order is placed. Users may also choose a picture from a wide range of attractive background visuals offered on the bank’s online gallery. “CardLikeMe” has already gone live with several European financial institutions.
The top provider of EFT testing software and consultancy services to the French banking sector, GALITT and Level Four Software have formed a partnership. The alliance enables GALITT and
Level Four to jointly target banks in France with Level Four’s flagship
“ATM TrueTest” product to deliver a comprehensive solution for testing
open standards-based ATM networks. GALITT’s “KaNest” host testing product is used by almost every bank in France to test the messaging protocol used between acquiring devices and transaction processing systems.