American Express has unveiled a new benefit that enables “Membership Rewards” members to earn two points for every dollar spent with major online retailers. The “Bonus Points Mall” features more than 100 top online retailers across 23 categories, such as apparel, books, electronics, home and sports. AmEx also redesigned the “Membership Rewards” Web site. Some of the key enhancements include a user-friendly format; a beefed-up search engine tool; personalization capabilities; rich media applications through “Flash;” and a customer support and education section. Last month, AmEx announced it was dropping double points on everyday purchases on the “Green,” “Gold” and “Platinum” charge cards but will continue the bonus points on its credit cards. AmEx is also introducing a new insurance feature to reimburse “Gold,” “Platinum” and “Centurion” cardholders if they unexpectedly miss an entertainment or sports event. (CF Library 8/1/06)
A new survey has found that even though 82% of respondents regularly make purchases online with a credit/debit card, 31% admitted to not protecting their laptops while almost 60% admitted to storing sensitive or confidential information on them. The study by Trend Micro also found that 63% store bank/credit card information on their laptops. Only about a quarter of the consumers believe that their current security software on the laptop will adequately protect their sensitive information from being used if their laptops were stolen. Over a third of respondents are very worried about data theft and identify theft in the cyberspace, while only 14% of participating consumers indicated that they are very worried about car theft.
The “Travelocity MasterCard” has been re-launched with a new and improved rewards program that has no blackout dates or travel restrictions and can be redeemed online for travel on any airline, hotel, car rental company, or flight + hotel package available on Travelocity at any time. The “Travelocity Rewards MasterCard,” issued by Barclays Bank Delaware, offers double or triple points for travel purchased on Travelocity with the MasterCard, in addition to points on everyday purchases. Cardholders can redeem as few as 5,000 points for $50 off their travel booking or 7,500 points for $100 off a travel booking. A free flight worth up to $400, or $400 off flight + hotel packages, hotel stays or car rentals is available for 20,000 points. New cardholders receive either 5,000 Travelocity points or $50 statement credit with their first purchase plus up to 5,000 bonus points for balance transfers.
Minneapolis-based Ready Credit and Palm Desert National Bank have launched the “ReadySTATION” self-service kiosk that issues a prepaid MasterCard card.
The first “Near Field Communication” pilot in North America has been completed in Atlanta showing that participants overwhelmingly embraced the technology. Starting in December, 150 Atlanta Thrashers and Atlanta Hawks season ticket holders with both a Chase-issued VISA credit account and a Cingular Wireless account made payments at contactless readers supplied by ViVOtech at concession stands throughout Philips Arena. Participants indicated that they would like to use their mobile devices for payment at a variety of merchant locations, for any purchase size, and see value in accessing multiple payment accounts on their mobile devices in the future. The trial was a collaboration between Chase, Cingular Wireless, Nokia, NXP, VISA USA and ViVOtech, along with Atlanta Spirit.
CA-based Obopay has hired Christian Delay as VP of business development for mobile; Ramy Mora as VP of consumer marketing; and Sam Shawki as VP of customer operations. Christian Delay joins Obopay from Yahoo!. At Yahoo!, Delay led such marquee mobile business development initiatives as Yahoo! Go Mobile with Cingular, Yahoo! SMS Search, and the “Pepsi Cool Tones and Motorola Phones” promotion. Ramy Mora brings to Obopay a wealth of consumer marketing experience and domain expertise, having driven consumer marketing at such established industry leaders as Clorox, Microsoft, and Yahoo!. Obopay will bring to market the first complete mobile payment service in the U.S.
OH-based Nationwide Bank has joined the Allpoint surcharge-free ATM network. This new agreement joins Allpoint’s surcharge-free ATM network to Nationwide Bank’s existing relationship with Visa(R)/PLUS(R) ATM, a network with more than 1 million ATMs in 162 countries. Customers who use an Allpoint ATM will not pay the terminal fee — typically charged by the owner of the ATM — for their transaction. Nationwide Financial Services, Inc. received approval from U.S. regulators to expand the powers of its limited purpose federal thrift, and to operate as Nationwide Bank.
Discover is unveiling a new national advertising campaign this weekend. The campaign will focus on Discover Card’s commitment to clarity, control, rewards and service for its 50+ million cardholders. The new campaign will include integrated broadcast, print and online advertisements that begin by asking a series of “What if” questions that encourage consumers to consider what it would be like to have a credit card from a company that understands their needs and is committed to giving them more of what they want and less of what they don’t. The advertisements will feature animated scissors cutting up credit cards tossed to them by consumers who are relieved to get rid of them and move to a new relationship that puts them first. The advertising was developed in collaboration with The Martin Agency, and represents Discover Card’s first project with the firm since the agency’s selection in April.
H&R Block has joined the Green Dot Financial Network to enable customers to add funds to H&R Block’s prepaid debit cards. The multi-year agreement allows H&R Block to increase the retention of its prepaid cardholders while giving H&R Block customers a powerful financial tool. The year-round program is set to launch in mid-August. Green Dot Corporation is America’s first and largest provider of retailer-sold prepaid debit cards. Green Dot Corporation is America’s first and largest provider of retailer-sold prepaid debit cards.
FL-based Cash Now has launched a “Virtual Terminal” Web-based platform for processing electronic payments for the payday loan industry. Virtual Terminal is by far the most advanced web-based platform for processing electronic payments available today. With its easy-to-use, yet powerful user interface, Virtual Terminal enables Cash Now licensees and system users to schedule a single transaction or a series of recurring transactions with a few simple keystrokes. Cash Now Corporation is developing the most comprehensive menu of services in the cash advance industry, all centered on the Cash Now brand.
Los Angeles-based Cash Technologies has signed a five-year sales and licensing agreement with Topline Solutions to integrate “Claim-Remedi’s ProIdentify” insurance verification software into Topline’s patient payment management system. The agreement also allows Topline to market ProIdentify as a stand alone product through existing and future customers. Topline Solutions, Inc. was formed to address the problem of steadily rising patient receivables in medical practices and institutions. Cash Technologies, Inc. develops and markets innovative data processing solutions in the healthcare and financial services industries.
Denver-based PaySimple has added a partner program for business software providers looking to add payment processing functionality to their products.