Sovereign to Offer AmEx Business Cards

PA-based Sovereign Bank has agreed to offer American Express business cards to its small business customers. Beginning in late spring, “OPEN from American Express” will issue three new co-branded cards to Sovereign’s small business customers via more than 650 branches throughout the Northeast. The cards include the “Business Gold Rewards Charge Card” and the “Business Platinum Charge Card,” which are linked to the “Membership Rewards” program. The “Platinum Business Cash Rebate Credit Card” offers up to 5% cash back annually on purchases. The agreement marks OPEN’s first strategic bank partnership in the Northeast region.

GECF & AmEx Launch the Dillard’s Card

The newly formed partnership between American Express and GE Consumer Finance has launched its first card product. The new “Dillard’s American Express Card” will award two “Dillard’s Reward Points” for every $1 spent at Dillard’s, and one point for every $1 spent elsewhere. The new Dillard’s card represents AmExs’ Global Network Services division’s first entry into the retail co-brand card market. Under terms of the relationship GECF will be responsible for issuing the card, managing the customer relationship and providing customer service, billing and credit management. Dillard’s is among the nation’s largest fashion apparel and home furnishings retailers with 330 stores in 29 states. GECF is the seventh U.S. partner for American Express. AmEx has now established nearly 100 card-issuing partnership arrangements in close to 110 countries. (CF Library 1/18/06)

OTS Gives H&R Block Bank its Blessing

Kansas City-based H&R Block has been granted a federal savings bank charter by the OTS allowing it to provide banking products and services through H&R Block Bank. The bank will offer traditional banking products including checking, savings, certificate of deposit accounts and IRAs, as well as a full range of services including direct deposit, debit card and stored-value card services. The bank also plans to offer prime loan products such as fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage loans. H&R Block received approval from the FDIC last year. In early 1999, H&R Block sold its “WebCard VISA” portfolio, with credit card account balances of approximately $181 million, to Providian Financial.(CF Library 1/26/99)

TeleCheck Services Acquires ClearCheck

First Data’s TeleCheck Services has acquired the assets of ClearCheck, a full-service provider of return check management systems for major U.S. retailers and supermarkets. The acquisition of ClearCheck will allow for significant enhancements to TeleCheck’s existing check processing and collections technology. The ClearCheck services include web-based products and tools that provide clients easy access to view and analyze their check collection portfolio and a streamlined process to handle returned checks.

GCA Beefs-Up its Company Web Site

Las Vegas-based Global Cash Access has beefed-up its Web site to make it more visually appealing and easier to navigate. GCA’s Web site has significant content improvements, with new information on some of the company’s newest cash access products for the gaming environment, including the 3-in-1 enabled QuickJack(TM) Plus redemption kiosk and its cashless gaming kiosk, EDITH. More detail about key employees and their involvement with the company also have been added. In an effort to make information more accessible for the growing investor interest in GCA, the Web site features an in-depth investor relations section with company presentations, stock price and financial and corporate governance information.

Debitman Card Lands Sales Executive

Debitman Card, Inc., creator of The Retailer’s Network debit card payment system, announced the appointment of financial services industry veteran Anthony Ruebner as vice president of sales and relationship management. As vice president of business development at Dun & Bradstreet, Ruebner directed alliance and product development initiatives, including a joint product initiative with Visa U.S.A. As vice president of financial services with Dun & Bradstreet, he led an organization that consulted with leading financial institutions on risk management best practices.

Regions Financial Offers Free VISA CheckCards

AL-based Regions Financial Corporation is now offering a free “Regions Access VISA CheckCard” to customers who purchase one of the four new checking product packages. The Regions’ debit VISA offers 10,000 “VISA Extras” bonus points, double “VISA Extras” points for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases, and up to four times the “VISA Extras” points per dollar spent on signature transactions by frequently using their Regions debit card. Regions operates 1,300 offices and a 1,600-ATM network across a 16-state geographic footprint in the South, Midwest and Texas.

Major Credit Bureaus Adopt a Uniform Score

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have introduced a credit scoring methodology that is more uniform across the three consumer credit reporting companies. Under the new “VantageScore” scoring system credit score variance between the companies will be attributed to data differences within each of the three consumer credit files and not to the structure of the scoring model or data interpretation. VantageScore will range from 501 to 990. An “A” score will range from 901 to 990; “B” score from 801 to 900; “C” score from 701 to 800; “D” score from 601 to 700; and “F” score from 501 to 600. VantageScore is being independently marketed and sold separately through each of the three national credit reporting companies via licensing agreements with VantageScore Solutions.

RBC Cash Index Sinks in March

After an upturn in February, consumer confidence dropped in March, reflecting the uncertainty American consumers have about future economic conditions, according to the most recent results of the “RBC CASH Index”, which shows a score of 86.2 for March, compared to 96.1 in February. Expectations for local economies have worsened. However, opinions regarding purchases remain stable with 38 per cent of those surveyed reporting they are more confident in making a major purchase like a home or a car and 45 per cent stating they are comfortable making other household purchases and confidence in job security has remained basically stable with 41 per cent of Americans reporting they are more confident about their job security than six months ago. As a result, the RBC Jobs Index for March stands at 118.5 – virtually unchanged from 119.3 in February.

ADS Renews URG Card Deal Through 2012

Dallas-based Alliance Data has inked a renewal through 2012 with United Retail Group to continue to provide a comprehensive private label credit card solution for URG’s “AVENUE” stores. Alliance Data will continue providing services including account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; customer service functions; and marketing services.

Credisson Choses First Data Processing

Credisson International has chosen First Data to provide a full range of
processing services in support of the company’s MasterCard card portfolio.
First Data International will provide an extensive range of card
production, personalization, authorization and processing services for
Credisson, as well as call center services, risk monitoring, dispute
management and POS terminal account handling services. Credisson
International is a leader in the Romanian consumer credit market, with a
20% market share. Credisson has granted financing at the point of
sale to over 750,000 customers, with total sales exceeding 300 million