FDC Names a Petroleum Industry Group Head

First Data has promoted Michele Hanson-Emerson to SVP of its petroleum industry group. Ms. Hanson-Emerson will be responsible for guiding market development, client development, and helping to lead enterprise sales initiatives that will strengthen First Data and its bank alliances and partners’ ability to provide services and solutions to merchants in the petroleum and convenience store industry. First Data Corp is an electronic commerce and payment services leader that makes the purchase of goods and services using multiple forms of payment fast, easy, and secure for people and businesses around the world.

BRIDGET’S FINANCES

A new survey has found that single British women spend approximately a third of their income on socializing in the country’s wine bars. The research, commissioned by Egg, also found that 30-plus single females have, on average, GBP 4,567 in credit card debt and GBP 0 in savings. The poll, released as the new Bridget Jones movie is released, found that more than three quarters of those quizzed drink Bridget’s favorite tipple, white wine. However chardonnay, drunk by the bucket load by the fictitious heroine, is drunk by less than half of our real life Miss Jones’s. Furthermore just under a third admit to smoking and this applies equally across the six cities surveyed. The average income of the Bridgets was GBP 25,000 per annum across the cities, with Londoners having a higher mean salary of GBP 29,000 compared to the others. On average less than half surveyed have a regular saving plan and whilst a large proportion is spending money on going out without considering it to be a problem, 1 in 10 admit they are in financial strife.

MBNA Delinquency & Charge-Offs Rise in Oct

MBNA’s managed consumer credit card delinquency edged upward for the fourth consecutive month as charge-offs headed north. The nation’s third largest issuer posted managed credit card outstandings in October of $98.5 billion, about $300 million less than September, and down $4.6 billion since the start of the year. MBNA’s consumer credit card outstandings peaked in December. Delinquency for consumer credit cards increased to 4.18% during October, compared to 4.15% during September, and compared to a 2004 high of 4.49% in February. Charge-offs rose to 4.36% in October, compared to 4.22% for September. In May, MBNA’s charge-off rate was 4.88%, the high for the year. MBNA recently reported that domestic credit card loans for the third quarter were $79.7 billion, compared to $81.6 billion one-year ago. For complete details on MBNA’s third quarter results and monthly metrics, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

MBNA CONSUMER CREDIT CARD SNAPSHOT
Month Outstandings Charge-offs Delinquency
Jan 04 $103.1b 4.77% 4.34%
Feb 04 $ 99.6b 4.71% 4.49%
Mar 04 $ 99.1b 4.79% 4.27%
Apr 04 $ 98.0b 4.70% 4.21%
May 04 $ 98.5b 4.88% 4.15%
Jun 04 $ 99.4b 4.64% 4.10%
Jul 04 $ 99.5b 4.52% 4.00%
Aug 04 $ 99.7b 4.52% 4.01%
Sep 04 $ 98.8b 4.22% 4.15%
Oct 04 $ 98.5b 4.36% 4.18%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Banking Codes to be Revamped

Recommendations published by Professor Elaine Kempson of Bristol
University include proposals for improving the way banks and building societies handle the relationship with their credit card customers and customers in financial difficulty. The recommendations, some of which were the result of ideas put forward by the industry, and some by consumer groups, are due to take effect from March 1, 2005. Other changes to be introduced following the review include: (1) Basic bank accounts will be more readily available to people who want one. (2) Health warning on credit card statements where customer is making
only the minimum repayment. (3) Summary box to be included on credit card agreements. (4) New commitments to customers if branches close or services are reduced. (5) Better explanation for customers on how to claim balances on dormant accounts. (6) Greater transparency of clearing cycles for electronic payments as well as cheques. The British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and the Association for Payment Clearing Services are the three industry sponsors of the “Banking Code.”

U.K. Chip & PIN Hits 75% Mark; 2 Months to Go

The “Chip and PIN” roll-out in the U.K. has topped 65.5 million cards. At the end of October, 30.8 million cardholders had at least one new “Chip and PIN” debit or credit card in their wallets, according to CardFlash International. The figure represents about 75% if the total cardholders in the country. Furthermore, more than 520,000 tills in the U.K. have switched over to “Chip and PIN.” The latest major firms to roll out “Chip and PIN” include HMV, Selfridges, Shell and Debenhams. “Chip and PIN” recently launched the second phase of its advertising campaign with TV, radio and press advertisements. The campaign, which runs for 13 weeks, aims to ensure cardholders are ready to use their PIN, with specific messages about how to unlock their PIN, remind them they can change their PIN to something they can remember easily, and to encourage them to keep their PIN a secret. The roll-out of “Chip and PIN” began in October 2003 and is backed by the U.K.’s banking and retail industries. The “Chip and PIN” goal is to migrate 42 million cardholders to the new platform by year’s end.

Discover Buys PULSE; Enters the Debit Market

Discover Financial Services has agreed to acquire the PULSE EFT Association for $311 million. The merger will join PULSE’s 4,100 member banks, credit unions and savings institutions with Discover network and its more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations. Discover says the combined entity will provide financial institutions of every size and type with a full-service debit platform and a complete product set, including credit, signature debit, PIN debit, gift card, stored value card and ATM services. PULSE will retain its brand, pricing and operating platform as well as its management team, staff and Houston headquarters.

Fiserv’s IntegraSys Inks 29 Premier Deals

TX-based IntegraSys, a unit of Fiserv, has signed three new credit union customers and renewed 26 other credit unions to its “Premier” credit union service bureau core processing solution. The contracts show Premier’s strong position it has established as one of the most frequently used service bureau core applications among credit unions of all sizes across the nation. Credit Unions that have contracts with IntegraSys at this time period have $3 million to over $620 million in assets. Premier’s design creates navigation that is user-friendly and it allows automatic software updates. It supports the needs of a credit union including ATM support to workflow processing to integrated share, loan, accounting, and payroll processing systems. IntegraSys delivers technology to assist credit unions to compete and win in their markets. Fiserv, Inc. is a provider of industry leading information management systems and services. It serves over 15,000 clients including banks, broker-dealers, credit unions, financial planners/investment advisers, insurance companies and agents, self-funded employers, lenders, and savings institutions.

KAL Offers Two ATM Upgrades

Cincinnati-based KAL has launched ATM upgrades for “Triple-DES” and “Windows XP SP2.” The Kalignite Triple-DES Upgrade meets the needs of banks in regard to introducing the high-security encryption feature into their ATMs. A Triple-DES compliant Encrypting PIN Pad (EPP), a new PC processor with Windows XP SP2 and the multi-vendor Kalignite NDC application are included in the package. According to Steve Hensley, KAL’s EVP for Sales, the Kalignite Upgrade Solutions enable banks to keep existing ATMs in service longer at a significantly lower cost of ownership than buying new ATMs. KAL is a provider of multi-vendor software for ATMs. The company’s Kalignite software offers advanced features and technologies necessary for a great ATM software solution.

Best Western & MasterCard Launch a Q4 Promo

Best Western and MasterCard are launching a promotion next week offering a $25 “Best Western Travel Card” for each stay when a MasterCard is used through year-end. To become eligible for the card, guests have to register online before their first stay and mention offer code MC25. Non-Gold Crown Club International members can sign up for the free program upon registering for the offer. Each GCCI member can obtain up to four, $25 Best Western Travel Cards during the promotion. One or more consecutive nights at the same hotel is defined as a qualified stay. Recipients will get their cards within 6 weeks of each hotel stay. Best Western International is the world’s largest hotel chain with over 4,100 hotels in 80 counties and territories.

GECF Launches a SAM’S CLUB Business Card

GE Consumer Finance has expanded its Wal-Mart relationship with the launch of a SAM’S CLUB business card. The new “Business All-In-One Card” will be offered to the business members of SAM’s CLUB 46 million customer base in the USA. The new card combines the membership and credit card feature, and offers a choice of payment due date, 24-hour online account management, and itemized billing statements. In October 2003, GE and Wal-Mart renewed their partnership through 2009. GE and Wal-Mart also inked a separate deal to launch private-label credit card programs for Wal-Mart and SAM’s CLUB stores in Canada. Wal-Mart operates more than 2,936 discount stores, and more than 532 warehouse clubs in the USA. (CF Library 10/3/03; 10/15/03)

59% Prefer Universal Gift Cards this Xmas

A new survey shows that 83% of Americans will purchase gift cards during the upcoming holiday season because its gives the recipient a gift of choice. The American Express “Gift Card Survey” reveals that 59% prefer a universal gift card, compared to 37% who said they preferred a store gift card. The survey also finds that Americans see gift cards as appropriate for all family members — brothers (17%), sisters (15%), mothers (16%), and fathers (14%). One in ten Americans says they plan to give the gift cards to teens. Interestingly, double the number of men (8% compared to 4% women) plan to give gift cards to their spouse. More than eight out of ten respondents say that if they were to receive a gift card, they would redeem it within the year.

VISA Introduces Light/Sound/Display Cards

DBS Bank of Singapore has become the first to launch the new “VISA Light” card which incorporates a mini-flashlight. The new card is part of a broader VISA initiative utilizing technologies from U.S.-based Innovative Card Technologies (InCard) and U.K.-based Serverside Graphics. Other cards include the “VISA Sound” card and “VISA Display” card. When prompted by a button, the “Sound” card plays a 10-second pre-recorded song, branded jingle, personalized message or virtually any other sound desired by an issuer or cardholder. Designed to enhance single or multi-application smart card functionality, The “Display” card screen can be programmed to show and store a wide variety of information, such as transaction details, card balances (on pre-paid payment products), currency conversions, loyalty points, special messages and a range of other non-financial data. Additionally, using Serverside Graphics’ on-line technology, VISA cardholders can use their own photographic images from family and pets to children or personal artwork – to design and create their own tailor-made Visa credit, debit, pre-paid or gift cards. Taishin Bank in Taiwan is the first VISA member financial institution in Asia Pacific to offer customized graphics.