OCC’s Dugan Concurs on Disclosure Rules

Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan told Congress that current credit card disclosure rules should be changed to improve consumers’ ability to make well-informed decisions. According to the Controller, disclosures have not kept pace with the changes and complexities of credit card terms and practices. Many consumers do not understand sophisticated features like “universal default” and “double cycle billing” because current rules do not provide adequate disclosure of these practices. Changes to Regulation Z, which establishes rules for credit card disclosures, would set new standards that apply to all participants in the credit card industry, and uniform standards help to ensure equal protection for consumers across the credit card industry. The OCC does not have the legal authority to issue regulations under the primary consumer protection statutes that govern credit card lending, and it faces limits on what it can accomplish alone to reform disclosure practice. According to the Government Accountability Office, the credit card market has grown to provide unsecured, open-end credit to more than 691 million consumers as of 2005. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was created by Congress to charter national banks, to oversee a nationwide system of banking institutions, and to assure that national banks are safe and sound, competitive and profitable.

UATP Signs US Helicopter for Corp Cards

US Helicopter has joined the Universal Air Travel Plan network, making it the first helicopter service to accept all UATP corporate cards. US Helicopter offers the “Eight-Minute Shuttle Service” operates from 7 in the morning to 8 at night between Manhattan, JFK and Newark Liberty. US Helicopter operates 285 weekly flights to/from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, Atlantic Metroport at East 34th Street, JFK International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, as well as service to/from Downtown Manhattan Heliport. US Helicopter provides scheduled, reliable, fast and affordable helicopter transportation designed to meet the needs of time-sensitive business travelers. UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by airlines and travel agencies worldwide.

MC Intros Worldwide Centers of Commerce

A new “Index,” developed by a panel of economists, has identified London as the top commerce hub in the world followed by New York, Tokyo, Chicago and Hong Kong. The MasterCard “Worldwide Centers of Commerce” program, which is designed to provide insights and knowledge on how leading cities influence the global economy, says that New York City, once considered the unchallenged financial capital of the world, cedes the “Financial Flow” category to London primarily because bond market regulations in New York affect the volume of listed sales. New York’s score is also impacted by the less stable US economy and the more volatile US dollar. Complementing the “Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index,” MasterCard also released the “Worldwide Centers of Commerce Insights” report titled, “The Dynamics of Global Cities and Global Commerce.” The report includes additional, in-depth expert commentary on the vital role cities play in connecting networks to enable global commerce and is available at mastercardworldwide.com. In the coming months, subsequent reports will be released as part of this initiative, including a growth index that measures the pace and scope of changes taking place within each city identified in the “Centers of Commerce Index,” and an additional index that will identify and track emerging Centers of Commerce in the developing world.

COMMERCE HUBS

A new “Index,” developed by a panel of economists, has identified London as the top commerce hub in the world followed by New York, Tokyo, Chicago and Hong Kong. London offers a flexible operating environment for business, strong global financial connections and exceptionally high levels of international trade, travel and conferences. The MasterCard “Worldwide Centers of Commerce” program, which is designed to provide insights and knowledge on how leading cities influence the global economy, says that New York City, once considered the unchallenged financial capital of the world, cedes the “Financial Flow” category to London primarily because bond market regulations in New York affect the volume of listed sales. New York’s score is also impacted by the less stable US economy and the more volatile US dollar. Complementing the “Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index,” MasterCard also released the “Worldwide Centers of Commerce Insights” report titled, “The Dynamics of Global Cities and Global Commerce.” The report includes additional, in-depth expert commentary on the vital role cities play in connecting networks to enable global commerce and is available at mastercardworldwide.com. In the coming months, subsequent reports will be released as part of this initiative, including a growth index that measures the pace and scope of changes taking place within each city identified in
the “Centers of Commerce Index,” and an additional index that will identify and track emerging Centers of Commerce in the developing world.

VISA Takes payWave to New York Taxis

VISA USA has launched a new TV spot showing New Yorkers making small ticket purchases via “Visa payWave” and swipe transactions. The new commercial coincides with a partnership with Creative Mobile Technologies that will enhance the payment experience for New York taxi passengers. The Taxi & Limousine Commission has mandated that beginning October 1st all 13,000 medallion yellow taxicabs are to install an interactive electronic passenger map and information screen, and credit/debit card acceptance. To date, there are approximately 7.3 million “payWave” cards issued worldwide and more than 31,000 merchant locations in the USA accept “Visa payWave.” VISA says its research shows that increasingly consumers want to use a payment card for purchases under $25 for convenience (73%), efficiency (44%) and speed (39%).

Chase Lands Texas Unemployment Card Deal

The Texas Workforce Commission has selected Chase to provide debit cards for unemployment insurance benefits. Chase will supply TWC with up to 290,000 VISA debit cards a year. The JPMC-TWC debit cards will be funded electronically through accounts created to hold the unemployment insurance benefits. Once activated, the card accounts will automatically receive the approved funds every two weeks. Claimants can also check their balances via a 24X7 toll-free number or via the Internet. There are more than 800 Chase ATMs in Texas.

ACI Worldwide Extends Processing Agreement With JCB

ACI has announced that JCB, in addition to increasing card processing
capacity, has extended their processing contract for 5 years. Using ACI’s
“BASE24” software, JCB has migrated their payment system to function
in the United States and Japan. This software is also accommodating to the
company’s expected capacity growth. JCB has a merchant network of
14 million and spans 190 countries and territories. The company issues in
20 countries and territories, has over 59 million card members and
allegiance with 350 financial institutions. ACI processes payments for more
than 800 customers in 84 countries.

Heartland Payment Systems CTO Steps Down

Heartland Payment Systems announced that CTO Brooks Terrell will be leaving to pursue other interests. In addition to his many accomplishments at Heartland, Brooks built a technology organization of talented innovators dedicated to operational excellence. Today, the team is focused on building new systems and functional enhancements that will support the business for the next 10 years and beyond. Heartland Payment Systems is a provider of credit/debit/prepaid card processing, payroll and payment solutions to more than 150,000 small and mid-sized businesses nationwide.

Esprit Teams With IEXPay

Esprit and International Express Payments Co (IEXPay) have recently
been in discussions regarding interest in the company’s services. There
have been suggestions of IEXPay’s interest in “Cash Now Worldwide
EFT+”, a clearing service, on a pilot project basis. This provides
check clearing, rather than in a number of weeks, in 3-4 business days.
Initial analysis suggest the revenue potential from this service alone
could
reach USD $12 – $15 million. Because of traditional practice, the name
of potential bank clients are not being released until the results of
the pilot
project are evaluated. Esprit offers a variety of online financial services.

PayPass Comes to Major Airport Parking

The leader in large airport parking systems announced that its airport parking applications in North America will begin accepting “MasterCard PayPass” contactless payments. Affiliated Computer Services has more than 20 current installations at the nation’s top airports. PayPass readers are anticipated to be installed in four to six airport sites by the end of this year. ACS’ airport revenue control solutions will continue to accept traditional magnetic-stripe payment cards along with this contactless payment technology and will continue to work with all payment card providers. As of March 31st, there are over 14 million “PayPass” cards and devices in the market, and “PayPass” is currently accepted globally at 51,000 merchant locations.

STAR-ACHATS to Distribute BankServ Software

STAR-ACHATS has inked agreements to distribute BankServ’s
“TurboSwift” international payment software. The software is used by
hundreds of banks in nearly 50 countries and settles cross-border
transactions on the SWIFT Network. The solution automates data-entry,
routing functions for international payment messages, and lets remote bank
branches initiate payments through a central server. BankServ has been
developing electronic payments technology for banks since 1996.

TNB Picks-Up Four More CU Portfolios

TNB has purchased four more credit card portfolios, netting . more than $3.7 million in outstanding balances. They include APEX Community FCU of Stowe, PA; NorthRidge Community Credit Union of Hoyt Lakes, MN; West Virginia Central Credit Union of Parkersburg, WV; and Westminster FCU of Westminster, CO. Apex Community Credit Union has assets of $34 million. NorthRidge Community Credit Union has assets of $34.5 million, serving 6,190 credit union members and CUSO clients. West Virginia Central Credit Union has more than $57 million in assets and 16,000 members.