VISA reports that travel and entertainment spending volume on its payment cards from January 1st through mid-May has increased by 15%, compared to the same period in 2004. During the first quarter, VISA racked up approximately $58.8 billion in US T&E spending, about 17% of the network’s overall volume. The VISA T&E gain comes amidst a general decline in the average ticket price in most categories. Dining volume on VISA payment cards increased 21% this year, but the average ticket price has dropped 10% to $24.36. Airline tickets on VISA cards is up 11% and car rental card volume is up 9%, however the average individual transaction for both airline tickets and car rentals declined 3% to 7% across the board. Unlike the other major T&E categories, the average lodging ticket has increased almost 4% this year to $195.76. VISA’s lodging volume is up 9% year-to-date. VISA predicts a strong gain in T&E volume during the summer.
Longview, Washington-based Weyerhaeuser Employees’ Credit Union and MBNA have signed a credit card partnership with the assistance of Kessler Financial Services to issue a VISA card and an American Express card. Weyerhaeuser Employees’ Credit Union was founded in 1937. MBNA is the leading credit card partner for credit unions, with over 85 partnerships to date.
The Payment Systems Task Force has asked British banks to create an infrastructure to speed up Internet payments, phone payments and standing order payments by 2007. The Payment Systems Task Force expects to set up a working group to examine issues relating to cheques starting in October. In response, APACS has established an Implementation Group to ensure the technology is suitably robust, secure and efficient with the capacity to meet longer-term requirements, and to seek agreement with the participating banks, who inevitably will need to undertake significant work to make their own systems compatible. Internet payments, phone payments and standing order payments currently make up 7% of all automated payments.
As of March 31st, there were 901.3 million credit and debit cards in circulation carrying the VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover brand. With 109 million American households, the average breaks out to 8.3 per household, according to CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com]). The latest census estimates show a U.S. population of 296 million. The card figures include consumer and business payment cards. Besides the 901.3 million general purpose payment cards, there are an estimated 636.5 million limited use, or store and gas payment cards. Dividing the 1537.8 million total cards by the same numbers computes to about 14 cards per household or 5 cards per person.
San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has hired John Morris, a 23-year veteran at IBM, as president and COO. Most recently, Morris led the distribution sector for the Americas at IBM, where his division generated annual revenues of $5 billion. His responsibilities included operations and product development for clients in the retail, consumer products, travel, transportation, hospitality, and gaming markets. Morris has also held strategy, marketing, and product roles in IBM. Through an existing agreement, Pay By Touch and IBM are engaged in a joint sales and marketing partnership. Pay By Touch is a biometric payment service free to consumers that allows shoppers to quickly and securely pay for purchases or cash checks using a finger scan.
Baghdad-based Trade Bank of Iraq this week issued its first VISA payments cards. The state-owned bank plans to issue about 30,000 “VISA Classic” and “VISA Electron” cards by the end of this year, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. The TBI also announced plans to install Iraq’s first network of ATMs which will enable VISA cardholders to withdraw Iraqi dinars or US dollars from their accounts. The bank will initially deploy 10 ATMs in the greater Baghdad area. UK-based Card Tech Limited is providing the TBI with card issuing and acquiring processing services. In March Iraq’s Central Bank announced the formation of the National Company for Limited Financial Services. The Basra-based firm will specialize in issuing the “Al-Fayhaa” credit card via a partnership with another Middle East Bank, according to CardFlash International. (CFI Library 3/4/05; 5/10/05)
Ontario-based DXStorm says it is creating a “loyalty credit” card. The new card enables cardholders to be rewarded for their
purchase history by allowing them to complete purchases that exceed the amount of funds available on their card. The loyalty credit capability will be compatible with magnetic stripe cards as well as RFID cards featuring smart card technology. DXStorm is an e-Business Applications Service Provider and Developer.
Boston-based Arthur Blank has signed a deal to integrate Infineon’s packaged RFID chips into its card production process. The entire range of advanced production processes, including high quality six-color presses, high-speed laminators, and punch presses are available to any size RFID card order. Arthur Blank & Co., Inc.specializes in custom printed plastic cards. Infineon Technologies AG, with sales of Euro 7.19 billion, offers semiconductor and system solutions for automotive, industrial and multi-market sectors worldwide.
Barclays Group’s Juniper Bank has chosen Acxiom’s information management solutions to reduce processing time and increase speed-to-market for more effective target marketing. In addition, Juniper will leverage Acxiom’s grid-enabled CII architecture to enhance Junipe’s analytics capabilities and marketing support infrastructure to determine the business impact of marketing campaigns, promotions and customer preferences. Juniper Financial Corporation, a member of the Barclays Group, is a full-service credit card issuer and provides co-branded credit cards and credit card services. Acxiom Corporation is a solutions provider for Customer Data Integration (CDI) technology, data, database services, IT outsourcing, consulting and analytics and privacy leadership.
Hypercom’s “Optimum T2100” card payment terminal has joined the “Visa Smart Breakthrough Acceptance Device Program” to facilitate EMV migration in Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Optimum T2100 includes high-speed transactions based on a 32-bit RISC processor with 12 megabytes of memory, stringent security achieving EMV 4.0 certification with secure casing, Visa PED certified and Triple DES and RSA cryptographic support. Hypercom’s card payment terminal, network and server solutions enable the processing of electronic payments in more than 100 countries.
Baghdad-based Trade Bank of Iraq has issued its first VISA payments
cards. The state-owned bank plans to issue about 30,000 “VISA Classic”
and “VISA Electron” cards by the end of this year. The first batch of
cards were distributed this week to ministers, government officials and
financial professionals in a ceremony at the TBI headquarters. The TBI
also announced plans to install Iraq’s first network of ATMs which will
enable VISA cardholders to withdraw
Iraqi dinars or US dollars from their accounts. The bank will initially
deploy 10 ATMs in the greater Baghdad area. UK-based Card Tech Limited
is providing the TBI with card issuing and acquiring processing
services. In March, Iraq’s Central Bank announced the formation of the
National Company for Limited Financial Services. The Basra-based firm
will specialize in issuing the “Al-Fayhaa” credit card via a partnership
with another Middle East Bank. The TBI was founded in 2003 and
capitalized at $100 million. (CFI Library 3/4/05; 5/10/05)
MasterCard reports that gross dollar volume on its prepaid programs has increased 34% year-to-date, compared to one-year ago. Last year, MasterCard and its partners launched nearly 800 new prepaid programs in the USA. The card network says prepaid represents one of the fastest growing segments in the payments industry. MasterCard estimates that the prepaid opportunity in the USA will reach $2.5 trillion by 2008. MasterCard this morning opened its third annual “Stored Value Forum” attended by about 300 payment industry professionals.