RI-based Citizens Financial Group is offering Citizens Bank and Charter One Bank customers with MasterCard “PayPass” payment technology on their debit cards. This month, customers receiving reissued cards are also being given the “PayPass” feature. In March, Citizens and Charter One will begin replacing all other existing customers debit cards with PayPass-enabled debit cards. MasterCard “PayPass” is now accepted at approximately 25,000 merchant locations in the U.S. at retailers such as McDonald’s, CVS, Duane Reade, 7-Eleven, Regal Cinemas and Wawa. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA has also installed PayPass readers at all of its concessions. Citizens has more than 1,600 branches and approximately 3,100 ATMs in 13 states.
HSBC USA reported net income of $976 million for 2005 compared to $1,258 million for 2004. The reduction in pre-tax income includes two meaningful inter-HSBC accounting events, both of which are eliminated upon consolidation. About $451 million of pre-tax premium amortization costs were recorded in 2005 on the private label credit card portfolio purchased from HSBC Finance Corporation at year-end 2004. Also, 2004 results included gains from the sale of credit card relationships to HSBC Finance Corporation of approximately $99 million. These transactions comprise the most significant factors in the year-to-year reduction in pre-tax income. The addition of the private label credit card portfolio significantly increased year-over-year revenues, provisions for credit losses and operating expenses. For complete details on HSBC’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Icelandair and Barclays have teamed for the first time to launch a frequent flyer MasterCard. The new “Icelandair MasterCard” offers two pricing options, one with an annual fee and one without. The $39 annual fee card offers 10,000 bonus points for the first usage, two points for every dollar spent with Icelandair and one point for every dollar spent on other purchases. The no annual fee card offers 5,000 miles for the first transaction, one point for every dollar spent on Icelandair and one point for every $2 spent elsewhere. The APR for both cards starts at 13.99%. With six U.S. gateways, Icelandair’s primary destinations include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik and Stockholm.
Icelandair and Barclays have teamed for the first time to launch a
frequent flyer MasterCard. The new “Icelandair MasterCard” offers two
pricing options, one with an annual fee and one without. The $39 annual fee
card offers 10,000 bonus points for the first usage, two points for
every dollar spent with Icelandair and one point for every dollar spent
on other purchases. The no-annual fee card offers 5,000 miles for the
first transaction, one point for every dollar spent on Icelandair and
one point for every $2 spent elsewhere. The APR for both cards starts at
13.99%. With six U.S. gateways, Icelandair’s primary destinations
include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg,
Helsinki, London, Manchester, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik and Stockholm.
Egg announced that Paul Gratton, its Chief Executive, will leave Egg
Egg’s delisting from the London Stock Exchange. Mark Nancarrow has been
appointed CEO and will assume executive responsibility effective
immediately. Kieran Coleman has been appointed Chief Financial Officer.
In December 2005, Prudential announced the terms of a recommended offer
for the whole of the issued and to be issued shares of Egg not already
owned by Prudential Group, representing approximately 21.7% of
the existing issued share capital of Egg. On January 23 2006, Prudential
announced that the Group’s share ownership of Egg had risen to 95.7% of
the entire issued ordinary share capital and that it had applied
to delist Egg on February 20th.
Cardpoint has released trading results for the first quarter of its
financial year, having achieved annualised savings of GBP 2.4 million
through headcount reduction following the acquisition of Moneybox.
Conversion of the cash machines acquired from HBOS to the charging model
has now been successfully completed with the migration of almost
300 machines with progress being made on the integration of Moneybox. The company expect further growth in Germany and The Netherlands.
Experian launched “Collection Triggers” which enables clients to proactively monitor accounts for public record, civil action, tradeline and demographic events to help prioritize and segment their collection strategies. Collection Triggers is a robust and flexible collections solution that monitors a company’s portfolio of collections accounts. When new information on one of these accounts becomes available, indicating the possibility of recovering the debt, the organization is notified within 24 hours and can then resume efforts to contact the consumer and collect the outstanding debt. It allows clients to proactively monitor accounts for public record, civil action, tradeline and demographic events to help prioritize and segment their collection strategies.
Clydesdale Bank has joined with PrePay Technologies to
create, deliver and service prepaid MasterCard debit cards for a wide
range of applications. The alliance has already resulted in the launch
of the Western Union Travel Cash Card. The product is a secure, pre-paid
and reloadable cash card available in euros, US dollars and sterling,
which is protected by a personal PIN and is available at independent
travel agents or can be ordered online. PrePay Technologies designs and
delivers host-based stored-value card solutions including prepaid debit,
retail gift, corporate incentive and insurance claim cards.
For the second month in a row, the “Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index” survey finds consumers have increased optimism regarding their overall credit situation. Now at 92, the index is up seven points from last month and 18 points from a low of 74 in November. Consistent with their expectations about reducing their debt, 65% of consumers say they are “very likely” to reduce their credit card debt in 2006. Another 19% say they are “somewhat” likely to do that. Other steps consumers are “very” or “somewhat likely” to take in 2006 include checking their credit score at one of the three major credit reporting companies (48%), cutting back on entertainment spending (45%), reading a book or taking a course on personal finances (36%) and among consumers with credit cards, cutting down on the number of credit cards they have (35%).
Experian has named Gary Kearns, formerly with Bank Austria Creditanstalt American, FleetBoston, Mellon and Chemical Bank, as president of Experian-Scorex Americas.
Maharashtra-based Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company and Citibank have launched a credit card that offers free medical insurance, special hospital benefits, pharmacy discounts, plus a rewards program. The rewards program for the new “Royal Sundaram Citibank VISA” offers (per Rs. 125) five points of insurance premiums billed to the card account, three points for hospital, pharmacy and utility bill payments made with the card and one point for all other spending. Each “Rewards Point” is worth Re 1 and is redeemable against either Royal
Sundaram insurance premium or Citibank’s reward program. Royal Sundaram has one million customers. VISA has more than 33 million cards in India.
The U.K.’s largest software company is acquiring a U.S. credit card
processor that focuses on small and medium-sized businesses.
London-based Sage Group has signed a deal to buy Nashville-based Verus
Financial Management for GBP 184 million in cash. Verus posted 2005
revenues of GBP 36 million compared to GBP 29 million in 2004. Operating
profit, before depreciation and amortization was approximately GBP 12
million compared to GBP 4 million in the prior year. At the end of 2005,
Verus had gross assets of approximately GBP 14 million. Verus was found
in April 2002 by Rich Roberts. Roberts was the previous founder and CEO
of PMT Services which was sold to NOVA for $1.3 billion in 1998. Verus
acquired Network 1 in July 2002. Sage says Verus will form the core of
its North American Merchant Services Division, complementing Sage’s
existing North American Payroll Services.