Microsoft has signed a three-year agreement with London-based Informa Research Services for consumer bank product data for the MSN Banking Center. Under the terms of the agreement, Informa Research Services will provide banking data to help consumers increase gains or minimize costs on banking products, identify the best offers for them, and apply directly online. The Informa data feeds represent a significant addition to the MSN Banking Center, which recently underwent the most substantial overhaul since its launch several years ago. Informa Research Services will continuously update the data available on MSN, providing consumers with the most current bank product information available.
Household has signed an agreement to manage the private label credit card program for Furniture Row Companies, and its 250 stores in 29 states, and will launch the “Furniture Row Express Money Card”. Furniture Row brands include Oak Express, Sofa Mart, Bedroom Expressions, Denver Mattress & Furniture Row Outlet. Customers using the new Express Money Card will be able to purchase bedding and specialty home furnishings for their entire home. Household’s retail services business works with more than 70 partners at 63,000 locations across the country to help them attract new customers and build consumer loyalty.
Ireland-based Ryanair announced that as of June 30th it will no longer accept the American Express charge card. In order to continue to offer even lower fares to consumers and as part of its ongoing cost reduction programme, Ryanair will no longer accept the excessive charges levied by American Express. These charges are substantially higher than those of the other major credit card issuers.
VISA International’s president and CEO will step down next March after completing five years at the top spot. Malcolm Williamson, 63, informed the Board of his decision last week and it was disclosed to the VISA International staff late yesterday. Williamson said he wants to pursue a different career course and other interests in the United Kingdom. He also cited his desire to spend more time with his wife and two teenage children as a reason for leaving the Board. In addition to his top executive role at VISA, Williamson is Deputy Chairman, Britannic Group Plc in the UK. Prior to joining VISA, he served as Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered PLC for five years. He was also a non-executive director of the UK’s National Grid Group; a board member of the British Invisibles; a member of the British Council of the Industrial Society and UK chairman of the British Thai Business Group. Under Williamson’s stewardship VISA’s card volume has more than doubled. Williamson said he was satisfied that he achieved three goals: first, to develop a strategy that would enable VISA’s long-term success; second, to shape an effective center organization; and third, to instill a disciplined and transparent approach to managing expenses and reporting. The executive recruitment firm of Spencer Stuart has been commissioned with the search for a new president and CEO. (CF Library 6/25/98)
Experian Consumer Direct reported this week that its family of Web sites, according to comScore Media Metrix, produced first quarter traffic of 26.1 million unique visitors compared to Equifax’s 4.0 million and TransUnion’s 1.6 million. Experian Consumer Direct’s family of sites produced a 22 percent increase in traffic from the previous quarter. Experian Consumer Direct offers consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit histories, to help them better manage their financial lives.
With the final regulations of “Section 326” of the “USA PATRIOT Act” now in effect, and with full compliance required by October 1st, a number of firms have jumped on the bandwagon. Yesterday, Certegy announced the launch of “Patriot Guard” which provides financial institutions of all sizes with an all-inclusive framework for developing and administering a CIP, documentation and recordkeeping requirements, data storage and retrieval. VA-based Vastera also announced yesterday that its “GTM” solutions will help financial companies to monitor, interpret and respond to the requirements of the “Patriot Act.” This morning, Experian announced its offering of customized fraud solutions programs that will assess companies’ vulnerabilities, and help them comply with the new regulations.
Direct mail solicitations for credit cards declined last year after topping five billion in 2001, in the wake of the collapse of the sub-prime market. Response rates have also declined to a record 0.5% as the number of credit card solicitations per credit worthy household averages five per month. According to Synovate’s Financial Services Practice, credit card mail volume declined to 4.89 billion offers for 2002. The research firm says only 20% of the offers during the fourth quarter were received by households with annual incomes of less than $35,000, compared to 32% of offers targeting those same types of household during the fourth quarter of 2001. Synovate also found that the average APR dropped to 11.48% during the fourth quarter of 2002, compared to 13.77% the same time the year before, and over half of all offers were promoting APRs that were actually lower than 11%. Fifty-nine percent of all offers promoted a 0% introductory rate for balance transfers in the fourth quarter, up from 45% in the same period of 2001; and 45% of all offers featured a 0% introductory rate for purchases, which was up from 31% during the same time the year before. According to Mintel Comperemedia, first quarter credit card solicitations hit 915 million, compared to 965 million for 1Q/02, and 883 million for 1Q/01. (CF Library 5/28/03)
VISA and Hilton HHonors have teamed again to offer double points between June 1st and August 31st. Hilton HHonors is giving members double HHonors points for stays booked online and completed by paying with a Visa card.
The pioneer of co-branded reward credit cards has launched a new credit card for small businesses nationwide, and a new personal credit card for GM employees retirees, GM Dealers, qualified suppliers and their relatives. General Motors announced Thursday it has teamed with Chase to offer the business card and has expanded its relationship with Household to develop the new personal card for GM family members. However, both of the new cards feature a pared-down rewards structure compared to rewards offered on the “GM MasterCard” that was first issued in September 1992. Both of the new cards offer a 1% rebate on all card purchases compared to the 5% rebate offered on the current “GM MasterCard.” The new “GM Business MasterCard from Chase” also offers an additional 1% for GM parts and service purchases at authorized GM vehicle dealers. While there are earnings limits on the current “GM MasterCard,” the new cards have no annual limits on earnings, or limits on the amount of earnings that can be redeemed toward the purchase of eligible GM vehicles. Earnings are valid for up to five years. With the new “GM Business Card from Chase” all earnings from employee accounts roll-up to the business owner’s account, for personal or business redemption. GM and Chase are also offering a special promotion on balance transfers. Meanwhile, the new “GM Extended Family MasterCard” from Household permits members of the “GM Family” to combine their MasterCard earnings with the “New Vehicle Purchase Program” discounts and use them toward the purchase or lease of a new GM vehicle. In addition, cardholders will have a cash back option on earnings accumulated on purchases made with the new “GM Extended Family MasterCard.” The “GM Extended Family MasterCard” will be available in July to current GM family members and to new consumers in September.
HSBC has won a five-year contract to provide VISA corporate cards to BT employees worldwide. BT issued a request for proposal to major corporate card issuers in August 2002. The contract covers BT users predominantly in the UK, but also in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the USA. Employing over 100,000 people, BT is one of the worldÂs leading providers of telecommunications services and one of the largest private sector companies in Europe. The BT global corporate card program is the largest in the UK and Europe, with over 35,000 corporate cards in issue, and represents an annual spend of over Â£100 million.
Experian and Global Insight will launch Credinomics, the next generation of portfolio level management tools. The service will give insight to clients into the overall health of their portfolios, and will enable them to make effective decisions by providing detailed explanations of expected market drives and recommended actions.
HSBC has won a five-year contract to provide VISA corporate cards to BT employees worldwide. BT issued a request for proposal to major corporate card issuers in August 2002. The contract covers BT users predominantly in the UK, but also in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the USA. Employing over 100,000 people, BT is one of the world’s leading providers of telecommunications services and one of the largest private sector companies in Europe. The BT global corporate card program is the largest in the UK and Europe, with over 35,000 corporate cards in issue, and represents an annual spend of over $160 million.