Electrical retailer Comet Group has chosen Dione’s “Xtreme” payment terminal and PIN pad as part of its “Chip & PIN” implementation program. Installation will take place between May and July equipping over 245 stores with 2,200 “Xtreme” terminals each linked to an IBM EPoS using “Retail Logic” software. The popular “Xtreme” handset has already become the most widely deployed PIN pad in the UK, connecting to existing EPoS systems and EFTPoS devices and operating both as an EMV level 1 card reader and PIN pad. Compact and comfortable in the hand, it can read magstripe and chip cards, is fully PIN enabled and approved to the VISA PED (offline PIN) standard. Dione has a unique range of EMV solutions and is currently involved in over 50 “Chip & PIN” implementation program throughout the UK. Comet has more than 245 stores throughout the UK.
Prudential’s Egg credit card and personal loan business in Europe cut its losses substantially in the first quarter from $27.8 million one-year ago to $8.7 million. The issuer says it managed discretionary expenditures tightly and is still in the process of unloading its credit card business. CardFlash International this morning reported that MBNA and Egg and close to signing a deal. In the UK, Egg posted first quarter profits of $26.6 million, and in France the loss for the quarter reduced to $28.3 million. Egg says it added 148,000 net new customers in the UK during the first quarter. Unsecured lending balances in the UK grew by $421 million to quarter end balances of $8.9 billion. In France, card balances increased $222 million, up 9% on the prior quarter. At the end of the quarter, Egg France had 71,000 cards in issue with 85% of card balances revolving. For complete details on Egg’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Atlanta-based NOVA Information Systems, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, made a major expansion into Europe last week with deals to purchase Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank’s merchant acquiring business, euroConex Technologies, and CardPoint. The Alliance & Leicester deal, announced Friday, gives NOVA more than 27,000 merchants in the UK. On Thursday, NOVA purchased the remaining 50% shareholding position of euroConex from Bank of Ireland. The previous Friday it purchased Polish card processor CardPoint from Bank Zachodni WBK, a subsidiary of AIB Group. In addition to the three European deals, NOVA signed a deal to acquire Union Bank of California’s merchant accounts and will provide processing services, customer service and support operations to the bank’s 10,000 merchants. NOVA provides credit and debit card processing services, software applications, electronic check conversion, gift card solutions and other value-added services to more than 650,000 merchant locations in the USA and Europe. The processor handles about $110 billion in annual credit and debit card transaction volume. (CF Library 4/28/04; 4/29/04)
Munich-based Giesecke & Devrient has licensed the “Jewel” low-cost contactless smart card chip for mass transit ticketing from Innovision Research & Technology. “Jewel” is the smallest and lowest-cost chip ever produced for smart card applications. With a very small silicon area, the “Jewel” chip is inexpensive to produce and compatible with international standards – including ISO 14443A, the new UK transport standard ITSO version 2.1 and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s Regional Interoperability Standards Limited Use fare card specifications. It enables production and deployment of contactless tickets compatible with existing ticket types in smart card-enabled public transportation systems.
HID this week demonstrated its full line of “iCLASS” 13.56 MHz read/write contactless smart card technology including its open and interoperable capability to read Mifare DESFire, Picopass, TI-RFid contactless smart cards. HID also demonstrated its proximity, combination magnetic stripe/proximity readers, OEM modules, multi-technology contactless smart cards and HID’s card custom card service used to create custom credentials in various form factors that can include anti-counterfeiting features for added card security. HID’s “bioCLASS” product family offers 13.56 MHz contactless smart card technology combined with an LCD keypad reader providing users with new options for supporting biometric capabilities and multi-identity authentication.
London Bridge Software is being acquired by Fair Isaac for about $299 million. London Bridge has more than 1,600 clients worldwide and provides a comprehensive portfolio of software and e-Commerce solutions including customer and enterprise management software, banking software, and credit management software. Fair Isaac intends to incorporate London Bridge’s core expertise and leading software and systems for collections and recovery into a solutions portfolio that already includes the industry-standard platforms for account management and fraud detection. Fair Isaac believes it can leverage London Bridge’s installed base of customers for collections and recovery to deliver collections-focused scoring solutions, giving businesses access to customer decision strategies powered and influenced by analytics at the critical revenue recovery stage.The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
Household has signed an agreement to manage the private label credit card program for Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture, the largest privately owned furniture retailer in Massachusetts. Bernie & Phyl’s credit cardholders will be able to purchase brand name furniture and accessories for their entire home. In addition to receiving opportunities for special financing, cardholders will also receive exclusive money-saving offers. Household International, Inc., based in Prospect Heights, Ill., is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., one of the top 10 financial services holding companies in the United States.
HSBC North America has named Bobby Mehta as vice chairman of Household, responsible for Household’s consumer lending and mortgage services businesses, HSBC Group’s worldwide credit card operations, and HSBC Bank USA’s first mortgage operations. Household Vice Chairman Bobby Mehta will be responsible for Household’s consumer lending and mortgage services businesses, HSBC Group’s worldwide credit card operations, HSBC Bank USA’s first mortgage operations, and strategic planning, corporate marketing and corporate development for HSBC North America Holdings. HSBC Bank USA has more than 400 branches in New York State, giving it the most extensive branch network in New York.
Experian Consumer Direct reported that consumers in only 10 U.S. cities have above average scores. Minneapolis topped the list at 707, followed by Boston at 705, and Washington, DC at 693. The average credit score for the U.S. is 678, according to Experian. The credit scores were compiled from the “Experian National Score Index,” which is based upon a nationwide sampling of three million consumer profiles. The Index is formulated using Experian’s consumer credit score model, called the “PLUS Score.”
Metropolitan Areas Credit Scores
Washington, D.C. 693
New York 688
San Francisco 686
HSBC North America has named David Gibbons, former deputy comptroller for special supervision for the OCC, as SVP/Chief Risk Officer. In this newly created position, Gibbons will be responsible for the risk profile of HSBC’s North American operations and will report directly to William F. Aldinger, chairman and chief executive officer of HSBC North America Holdings Inc. HSBC’s North American businesses serve more than 60 million customers in five key areas: personal financial services, consumer finance, commercial banking, private banking, and corporate investment banking and markets.
Direct mail credit card offers declined 12% last year to 4.3 billion after peaking at 5.0 billion two years ago. Over the past five years, Americans have received 20.5 billion solicitations, responding to about 125 million of the offers. Synovate’s “Mail Monitor” reports that during 2003, U.S. issuers sent 1.27 billion reward offers and 900 million cash rebates offers to consumers. In 2002, 810 million rewards offers and 680 million cash rebate card offers were sent. Response rates remained at 0.6% compared 0.7% in 2000. Synovate says that, on average, each month 69% of U.S. households received 4.8 offers during 2003 compared to 75% of households receiving 5.1 offers during 2002. The researcher says that 90% of credit card direct mail comes from the 10 largest card issuers. Half of those issuers cut back last year causing the overall decline in mail volume.
Canada’s leading package holiday company has entered into a six-year agreement with Moneris Solutions for MasterCard and VISA online credit card payment processing. Signature Vacations chose “eSELECTplus” because it provides travel agents access to a web-based tool on their desktop, enabling real-time processing of credit card orders and quick end-of-day batch processing. More than 350,000
merchant locations rely on Moneris to process and streamline their card payment processing..