Personal Advantage Card Ready to Roll

Los Angeles-based Direct Card Service has completed an approved sales program for a bankcard under the trademark “Direct Card Services- Personal Advantage Card”. The bankcard will work in existing bankcard networks as well as existing ATM networks. The bankcard will be coupled with DCS’s proprietary DirectTrak System. DRFL will market the combined products to various media groups. Direct Response Financial Services, Inc. makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card, electronic check at the point-of-sale, or over the Internet.

Shift4 Completes Debit Testing

Shift4’s “$$$ ON THE NET” product has been certified to authorize and settle both credit and debit card transactions directly to Fifth Third Bank. The debit PIN pad machines are connected to $$$ ON THE NET via Shift4’s Universal Transaction Gateway (UTG), which is also used to support signature capture and check verification. Shift4’s UTG ensures successful integration to merchants, regardless of the point of sale or property management systems they are utilizing, without requiring programming at the point of sale. Shift4, a leading developer and provider of financial transaction processing software and services, provides enterprise e-payment solutions for leaders in the hospitality, retail, foodservices, healthcare and e-commerce markets.

Concord EFS Sets Record Date of Jan. 16

Concord EFS has set a record date of January 16th for the upcoming special shareholder meeting to vote on a proposal to merge with First Data. Concord will send a definitive proxy statement/prospectus to shareholders of record, which will contain important information about the merger with First Data Corporation. Shareholders are urged to read the proxy statement/prospectus when it becomes available. Concord EFS, Inc., a vertically integrated electronic transaction processor, provides the technology and network systems that make payments and other financial transactions faster, more efficient, and more secure than paper-based alternatives.

TransUnion Acquires Visionary Systems

TransUnion has acquired long-time partner Visionary Systems, an Atlanta-based provider of enterprise decisioning solutions. Atlanta-based Visionary Systems has been delivering flexible, reliable enterprise decisioning solutions for nearly a decade. TransUnion and Visionary Systems have collaborated to deliver powerful decision solutions to the marketplace for years. TransUnion is a leading global information solutions company that customers trust as a business intelligence partner and commerce facilitator.

Strong Fourth Quarter Indicated So Far

Early fourth-quarter results indicate strong receivables growth compared to the third quarter, but year-over-year the results are not so impressive. For example, the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union reported a 10% increase in outstandings from the prior quarter, but the annual growth rate was a mere 3%. The pickup in the fourth quarter may be attributed to overall economic recovery which apparently began late in the third quarter.

Penna. Employees CU $217,932,734 +9.8% +3.0%
FirstMerit Corporation $146,737,752 +3.5% +2.4%
Randolph Brooks FCU $ 95,239,420 +6.3% +4.4%
MacDill FCU $ 45,409,476 +3.9% +6.3%
Citizens Financial $ 23,916,513 +3.0% +34.3%
Source: CardData (

Eufora MasterCard Awards 5th Car

AZ-based Eufora MasterCard has awarded its fifth $30,000 car in a special monthly sweepstakes for cardholders. Hinton was the fifth winner of the Eufora Monthly New Car Sweepstakes. Eufora has been giving away a car per month since August 2003. The sweepstakes begins on the first day of each month and ends on the last day of the month. Eufora was founded in late 2002 as a co-branded MasterCard¨ credit and pre-paid card company.

Fair Isaac Gets New Business Strategist

Fair Isaac has hired Gresh Brebach, formerly of McKinsey & Co., as VP/Corporate Development. Brebach is a recognized authority on transforming businesses by aligning corporate business strategies with organizational structures, operating processes and IT infrastructures. Formerly a Director in the New York office of McKinsey & Co., Brebach led the North American IT/Systems practice and served several multinational clients in the development and rationalization of corporate strategy on a global basis. Fair Isaac Corporation is the preeminent provider of creative analytics that unlock value for people, businesses and industries.

BMO Bank of Montreal Renews AIR MILES for its MasterCard Programs

BMO Bank of Montreal has inked a multi-year renewal to continue offering “AIR MILES” on its “Mosaik MasterCard” and “AIR MILES MasterCard Business Card.” More than 60% of Canadian households actively collect “AIR MILES” reward miles at more than 100 sponsors representing over 12,000 retail and service locations across the country. The Canadian “AIR MILES Reward Program” is operated by The Loyalty Group, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems. BMO Bank of Montreal has been a part of the “AIR MILES Reward Program” since its inception in 1992. In 2002, BMO Bank of Montreal extended its “AIR MILES” program under its retail banking banner.


Barclaycard has taken its Manchester United credit card into Ireland. The issuer secured the global rights to issue “ManU” cards in April of last year, except in Britain and Singapore. In August, Johannesburg-based Standard Bank partnered with Barclays to form a new division to issue “Barclaycards” in South Africa. “The Manchester United Barclaycard” was the first of four new credit card products to be introduced. There are 3.8 million registered Manchester United supporters in South Africa. The “ManU” card offers the “RedRewards” loyalty program. Barclaycard was set up in 1966 and was the UK’s first credit card. Barclaycard is now Europe’s leading issuer of credit cards with 10.4 million customers and 12 million cards in circulation worldwide. Barclaycard operates in 62 countries across Europe and Africa. In the UK, Barclaycard has over 9 million customers. Barclaycard can be used to pay for goods and services in more than 22 million places in over 200 countries and to withdraw cash from over 600 000 ATMs and banks worldwide.

Cash Systems Moves to the AMEX

Minneapolis-based Cash Systems has moved from the OTC BB to the American Stock Exchange, and also announced it has signed a multi-year deal for gaming cash access solutions with Native American Cash Systems of Florida. The Company’s products will be installed in a total of five Seminole tribal casinos in the State of Florida plus the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, which is expected to open in the spring of 2004. Cash Systems, Inc. has grown from a regional ATM provider to one of four cash access companies serving the gaming industry.

2003 Portfolio Sales Impact 75 Million Cardholders

The record number of credit card portfolios that changed hands last year impacted as many of 75 million consumers, a six-fold increase over 2002. More than $40 billion in credit card assets were sold during 2003, involving nearly 200 portfolios, a 60%+ increase over 2002. According to R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers, 3% of all U.S. bank cards, or 12 million cardholders, were affected by portfolio acquisitions in 2002. During 2001, 4.8 million card accounts changed ownership, compared to 9.5 million accounts in 2002, and 60.0 million accounts in 2003.

Annual Acquisition Effect
2001: 4.8MM 6.0MM
2002: 9.5MM 12.0MM
2003: 60.0MM 75.0MM

Source: R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers