HSBC and GPN Form a Processing JV

HSBC has agreed to create a joint venture with Global Payments to provide payment processing services to merchants in the Asia-Pacific region. Under the terms of the agreement, GPN will pay HSBC $67.2 million in cash to acquire a 56% ownership interest in the joint venture. HSBC will control the remaining 44% and will contribute its existing Asia-Pacific merchant acquiring channel in ten countries and territories to the joint venture. HSBC’s merchant acquiring channel in the region provides services to more than 40,000 merchant outlets. In addition, the bank has agreed to a ten-year marketing alliance in which HSBC will refer new merchant customers to the joint venture for payment processing services. The agreement will cover merchants in Brunei, the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region), India, the Macau SAR, mainland China, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.

NFCC Expects Counseling Sessions to Double

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling says the new federal bankruptcy law will require its members to provide twice as many counseling sessions. The nonprofit credit counseling organization says its agencies must expand their infrastructure, develop new course materials and hire and train more than 1,050 additional financial counselors. The NFCC delivers services through more than 1,000 community-based branch offices nationwide. According a recent internal survey, the NFCC agencies expect to provide about 780,500 pre-filing counseling sessions to individuals who are considering bankruptcy and another 536,300 pre-discharge education sessions to individuals who have filed for bankruptcy but are waiting for their debts to be discharged. Those sessions would be in addition to NFCC member agencies non-bankruptcy counseling sessions, which totaled nearly 800,000 in 2004.

Checkgateway to Promote TransFirst Services

Arizona-based Checkgateway, an ACH specialist, has signed an agreement for NE-based TransFirst to provide card processing services to its clients. TransFirst is a provider of transaction processing services and payment enabling technologies and processes approximately $20 billion in annual sales volume for more than 160,000 merchants and more than 760 financial institutions. Checkgateway has been an ACH service bureau since 1993 and is an affiliate member of the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), an organization charged with making operational rules for the ACH network.

AMEX & BANCO PATAGONIA

Banco Patagonia and American Express have launched a credit card
denominated in both in pesos and U.S. dollar denominations. The new
“Banco Patagonia American Express Card” will be available as a
standard and a gold card. The card will be designed, issued and managed by
Banco Patagonia. Banco Patagonia ranks fifth among the Argentine
financial system’s privately held domestic banks. American Express
Global Network Services has entered into 91 strategic alliances to issue
cards in over 104 countries. In Latin America, American Express GNS has
25 alliances in 19 markets, therefore ensuring the successful growth for
the business in the region.

Katrina Relief Gets More Industry Support

VeriFone has donated 500 counter top and wireless payment systems to assist merchants impacted by Hurricane Katrina. VeriFone is donating the systems through NOVA Information Systems to facilitate the FEMA debit card disbursements to impacted families. Wells Fargo announced it has increased its team member matching program for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief to $500,000, up from $250,000 announced last week. This will bring Wells’ total contribution for relief efforts up to $1.5 million. The Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security says it is working closely with the Department of the Treasury as well as with Federal and state financial regulators to both support implementation of solutions to the most immediate problems and create a plan of action to resolve long-term issues. State Farm Bank is waiving late fees and deferring payment with no interest on State Farm credit card accounts. Chicago’s Harris Bank announced it will waive the surcharge fee at its more than 500 Harris-branded ATM machines for Hurricane Katrina survivors who were issued a debit card by FEMA.

Desjardins Lowers POS Ceiling on Debit Cards

Banco Patagonia and American Express have launched a credit card
denominated in both in pesos and U.S. dollar denominations. The new “Banco Patagonia American Express Card” will be available as both a standard and gold card. The card will be designed, issued and managed by Banco Patagonia. Banco Patagonia ranks fifth among the Argentine financial system’s privately held domestic banks. American Express Global Network Services has entered into 91 strategic alliances to issue cards in over 104 countries. In Latin America, American Express GNS has 25 alliances in 19 markets, therefore ensuring the successful growth for the business in the region.

BankWest and First Data Team for Merchant Acquiring

BankWest and First Data have formed an alliance for
merchant acquiring services in the Australian market. BWA Merchant Services combines the benefits of BankWest’s local market
knowledge and existing merchant relationships with First Data’s
extensive merchant services experience and expertise. BankWest’s decision to form this alliance reflects the growth strategy
of its UK-based parent, HBOS. First Data has a long-standing
relationship with both BankWest and HBOS. It is anticipated that the business will move to First Data’s merchant processing platform over a period of eight months. The financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Fair Isaac Releases Debt Manager 6.0

Fair Isaac has released “Debt Manager 6.0,” an end-to-end collections and recovery software, now featuring daytime account processing through “Routers,” the system’s rule-based workflow engine. Debt Manager is a flexible workflow management platform capable of managing delinquent accounts at both the customer and account level. It addresses all phases of the debt lifecycle. Fair Isaac Corporation provides predictive modeling, decision analysis, intelligence management, decision management systems and consulting services.

NEW VISA CARDS

Korea’s Woori Bank, Lotte Card and Korea Exchange Bank have become the
first in the world to issue the newly-branded VISA card. VISA first
announced the change in its brand identity in March and it is now being
implemented globally, with the first signage starting to appear in shop
windows, on the Internet, on mobile phones and at major sponsored events
worldwide. Under the changes, VISA relocated its dove hologram to the
back of the card. The dove hologram, which was adopted in 1984, is now
being integrated with the magnetic stripe. The “CVV2” code will be moved
off the signature panel. The “V” in VISA has been enhanced with a gold
color to highlight the VISA wordmark’s unique serif, the size of the
VISA logo has been increased, and the banners used as borders in the
current design have been eliminated. “Visa Electron” will share the same
new VISA identity on the card and at the point-of-sale but will be
identified by the word “Electron” below the VISA logo. In some European
areas, “V” will be used on its own with a different brand name, such as
“V PAY.” The worldwide transition to the new VISA brand identity will be
completed by 2010.