ViVOtech NFC software and systems made available its new POS terminal for payments and NFC mobile commerce that could save eligible merchants more than $2 billion a year in annual PCI-DSS validation costs under a Visa Inc. initiative. ViVOtech’s “ViVOpay 8100” terminals accept traditional swipe cards with magnetic stripes, chip cards, contactless cards, and NFC-enabled mobile phones, as required by the Visa initiative announced last week to accelerate the migration to Eurocard-MasterCard-Visa (EMV) contact and contactless chip technology in the United States. The new ViVOpay 8100 includes ViVOtech NFC checkout technology that enables merchants to accept and process coupons, personalized offers, loyalty programs and payments through the merchant’s proprietary mobile applications.
PVD sputter system provider Oerlikon Systems, has received a multiple tool
purchase order from the world’s largest semiconductor foundry for its
CLUSTERLINE 300II systems. These contracts augment recent orders
received from key semiconductor manufacturers in South Korea and Taiwan
for the same CLUSTERLINE 300mm systems aimed at the packaging market.
The growing success of the CLUSTERLINE 300II, a cluster tool
specifically designed for advanced packaging and backside metallization
(for wafer sizes up to 300mm), is due to key competitive advantages. The
quick qualification processes and better ‘cost of ownership’ parameters
back-up the ‘best in class’ technology claims made by Oerlikon support
teams. Partnership with DKSH Taiwan as additional success factor
Another important factor in the success of the CLUSTERLINE concerns the
local support teams. Since May 2009, DKSH Taiwan has managed all
marketing, sales and service activities for Oerlikon Systems in the
vital Taiwan market. The DKSH Taiwan team works closely together with
the Oerlikon product managers and development teams in order to provide
complete production solutions to existing and potential Oerlikon clients
Alliance Data Systems has signed two, six-year agreements with San Jose-based Orchard Supply Hardware to provide commercial and consumer private label credit card service. Under terms of the agreements, Alliance Data will provide OSH with commercial and consumer private label credit card programs, including account acquisition and activation, receivables funding, card authorization, card issuance, statement generation, marketing services, remittance processing and customer service functions. Orchard Supply Hardware is a chain of home improvement and garden retail stores with 85 locations throughout California. Alliance Data is a leading provider of marketing, loyalty and transaction services.
Alliance Data Systems has signed five-year agreements with Carter Lumber and its 240 stores in 10 states to provide integrated commercial credit card and consumer private label credit card programs, as well as payment processing services. Alliance Data Systems is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services, managing over 105 million consumer relationships. Carter Lumber operates 240 stores in 10 states and has annual sales of $675 million.
Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has signed an agreement with Omaha-based apparel and home fashions retailer Gordmans to provide private label credit card and gift card services. Alliance Data will provide Gordmans gift card transaction processing, reporting, and customer service functions. Rewards can be fulfilled via gift cards, and gift card promotions. Alliance Data Systems provides transaction services, credit services and marketing services and manages over 105 million consumer relationships.
PSCU Financial Services announced four regional meetings to help its member-owners focus on building successful credit and debit card programs with the first scheduled for Honolulu on August 5th. The meetings will discuss “how to” tactics for segment marketing, activation and growth strategies, ways to combat fraud and new technologies that provide enhanced cardholder service. These meetings will be free to member-owners. PSCU Financial Services is the nation’s largest Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO). As a non-profit cooperative, the company is owned by more than 500 member credit unions nationwide.
A new report has found that average expenditures managed via purchasing card programs has grown from $3.1 million to $6.6 million over the past five years. The study also found that annual transactions now average 77,244 per program, representing annual growth of 15% during the same period. “The Purchasing Card Benchmark Report” by AberdeenGroup, says the growth is driven by the diligence of program directors who are deploying card payments in an increasing number of spend categories, with assistance from card issuers, to improve reporting and supplier acceptance. However, the research group also found that many program directors believe their programs have reached a plateau. AberdeenGroup recommends that purchasing card programs challenge program scope and expand the programs by addressing master agreement and contract pricing requirements, examining specific purchase order types that lend themselves to payment via purchasing cards, extending the program to service categories, and proactively exchange electronic payment remittance information on suppliers providing non-traditional, large project or recurring services requirements.
As expected, MBNA posted a sharp decline in net income for the first quarter to $31.7 million as the issuer swallowed a pre-tax restructuring charge of $767.6 million. Without the huge charge for staff reductions, facilities closings, and contract terminations, net income would have been $514.1 million for 1Q/05. MBNA also acknowledged that some of its pricing policies may be backfiring as U.S. cardholders hit with higher interest rates have been making higher payments than normal. The nation’s third largest issuer says the unexpectedly high payment volumes have adversely impacted its yield on managed loans. Managed loans for 1Q/05 were down about 1% year-over-year to $116.6 billion. Domestic credit card loans declined 7.8% from one-year ago to $74.8 billion. First quarter gross charge volume was up 4.6%, compared to 1Q/04, to $49.3 billion. Managed charge-offs continued to improve year-over-year, declining to 4.48%, but increased from the prior quarter’s 4.43%. One-year ago managed charge-offs stood at 4.99%. Delinquency on managed loans increased slightly to 4.17%, compared to 4.13% in 4Q/04. For 1Q/04 delinquency stood at 4.27%. During the quarter, MBNA increased the number of affinity groups to more than 1,500 offering an American Express card. The issuer also began marketing the new AmEx-branded clear card to members of some of our college and university affinity groups and entered into a formal agreement to market AmEx-branded credit cards to customers in the United Kingdom. For complete details on MBNA’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
MBNA TRACK RECORD
1Q/04: $519.7 MM $117.6 B
2Q/04: $660.3 MM $118.2 B
3Q/04: $728.3 MM $117.8 B
4Q/04: $768.9 MM $121.6 B
1Q/05: $ 31.7 MM $116.6 B
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
MBNA yesterday confirmed it would take a one-time $785 million pre-tax 1Q/05 charge, after more employees responded to a voluntary retirement program offer than anticipated. Approximately $500 million of the charge is related to the voluntary early retirement program and voluntary severance program announced in January. Approximately $115 million of the charge is related to the disposition of fixed assets resulting from MBNA’s previously announced review of its operations. In January, MBNA announced it would take a first quarter pre-tax charge of up to $350 million to cut its staffing by 3% through the voluntary early retirement program and a voluntary employee severance program. MBNA indicated it would consolidate some of its facilities in 2005. MBNA also yesterday announced the termination of a marketing agreement with a third party vendor that marketed the Corporation’s products to endorsing organizations. MBNA also terminated a limited number of other agreements. The total exit costs of these agreements for MBNA will be about $170 million. (CF Library 1/21/05)
InfoSpace’s Authorize.net has inked a deal with University of California to be the “preferred” provider to enable the processing of credit card transactions online. The Authorize.Net payment processing platform was also selected by New York Times Digital to facilitate the processing of certain credit card transactions online. Authorize.Net has more than 1,200 resellers and is offered as an IP-based payment platform to both financial institutions and merchant service providers, enabling them to offer payments services under their own brands. The service also has more than 170,000 merchant account sign-ups.
Datacard Group provided a preview of a new high-speed card issuance system code named ‘Project Mercury’ today at CarteS 2001 in Paris. The new system is designed to meet emerging and next-generation card issuance needs of financial institutions, service bureaus and other high-volume card issuers.
The new DatacardÂ® high-speed card issuance system will deliver up to 3,000 cards per hour and offer a full range of card issuance capabilities, including smart card personalization, embossing, indent printing, topping, magnetic stripe encoding, thermal graphics printing and laser engraving.
‘For more than 30 years, Datacard has been the best-selling brand in the card issuance industry and we have been a long-term partner with the world’s leading card issuers,’ said Kent Shields, senior vice president and general manager of Datacard’s hardware division. ‘This new system will complement our 9000 and 7000 series products. These systems combined with Datacard’s smart card solutions and Syntera’ Manufacturing Efficiency System make Datacard an even more valuable partner for card issuers of all sizes.
Shields said the new high-speed system, which will be available in the fall of 2002, will help complete Datacard’s industry-leading portfolio of card personalization solutions.
‘Our intent when we started designing this new system was to anticipate card issuer needs. We considered all the challenges they will face, including issues surrounding smart cards, card security, card functionality, cost control and increasing consumer demand for highly personalized offerings,’ Shields said. ‘This system offers the power and the flexibility our customers will need as they face all of those challenges.’
‘We have designed our card issuance systems portfolio to meet a wide range of needs. We want to make sure our customers get precisely the features, the speed and the power they need for their card programs,’ Shields said. ‘In the next couple of years, many card issuers will face new challenges and they will demand advanced capabilities. By bringing this new high-speed system to market, we will expand our portfolio and be able to provide solutions for every type of program.’
The new high-speed system builds on Datacard’s successful long-term strategy of modularity and flexibility. Customers can choose features and functionality based on their needs. As their programs grow, they will be able to add new features, new modules and increased performance. ‘Datacard wants to provide our customers with real, lasting investment protection,’ Shields said. ‘We understand that every card issuer and each card program has unique needs. The flexible, modular design of this new system will give our customers the ability to buy what they need and upgrade the system as their needs evolve.’ Shields said he expects initial demand for the new high-speed system will come from financial institutions, service bureaus, telecommunication companies, healthcare card issuers and retailers. ‘But other card issuers, such as government agencies and transit providers, will be close behind. We think interest in this new system will come from a number of markets as issuers accelerate their plans to implement smart card programs. With the solid reputation of the 9000 and 7000 series card issuance systems, and the strength and reputation of the Datacard name behind it, we expect this new system will enjoy great success worldwide.’
MemberWorks Incorporated, the leader in bringing value to consumers through innovative membership programs, announced that, as part of its overall campaign to focus on consumer issues, it has created a Consumer Advisory Board.
Consisting of Chairperson Patricia Royer, former Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley, Mary Heslin, Nicholas Willard, Dianne Goss and Robert Marotta, the board will help guide the company as it works to further improve marketing practices and customer service. Combined, the board members bring over a century of experience in consumer advocacy, public service and industry leadership.
“This is a consumer `dream team’ we have been fortunate enough to put together,” said Gary Johnson, president and CEO of MemberWorks. “These individuals have been at the forefront of the consumer movement for decades. Their focus and experience will provide a unique and healthy balance to MemberWorks’ marketing initiatives, taking our ongoing efforts to improve customer service to a higher level.”
The Consumer Advisory Board will work with MemberWorks’ newly created Office of Consumer Affairs to advise senior management on a host of consumer-related issues, including improving customer service and ensuring that the company’s policies are consistent with both legal and industry standards. In addition, the Consumer Advisory Board will advise the company on its implementation of its national Best Marketing Practices.
“We applaud the formation of an advisory board as a positive step toward enhancing the business-customer experience,” said Marzia Puccioni Jones, president of the Better Business Bureau of the Heartland. “The Better Business Bureau hopes the Consumer Advisory Board will assist the company in further responding to consumer-related issues and the ever-changing concerns of the marketplace.”
Chairperson Pat Royer has a rich history as a consumer advocate in both the public and private sectors, having served as the Vice President of Consumer Affairs for leading healthcare company Merck Medco and as the Director of Consumer Affairs for the State of New Jersey. Frank Kelley served as Attorney General for the State of Michigan for over 37 years. During his tenure, he developed an aggressive consumer protection program, which included the creation of the nation’s first Consumer Protection Division within an Attorney General’s office. The board’s other members have served in various leadership roles protecting consumers in the states of Ohio and Connecticut and for such organizations as the AARP.
In addition to their professional experience, the members serve in leadership positions in a variety of national, state and local consumer organizations, including the National Consumers League, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the New Jersey Consumer League, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and the National Association of Food and Drug Officials. Many additional national, state and local organizations have also recognized the members for their devotion to serving consumer interests through the years.
Recently, MemberWorks became the first company of its kind to implement a national Best Marketing Practices. The four point set of standards is aimed at ensuring that all of its customers: (1) are informed of the full terms and benefits of the programs; (2) are aware of the programs’ cancellation and payment terms; (3) understand and consent to the terms of the program before being enrolled; and (4) can receive a no-questions-asked refund for any unauthorized charges.
MemberWorks already contracts with independent research firms to determine how well consumers understand the terms of MemberWorks’ programs and its sales scripts, but will employ the expertise of its board to further ensure that its consumer outreach and written materials are as clear as possible.
“The establishment of this board clearly shows just how serious MemberWorks is about protecting and serving consumers,” said Consumer Advisory Board Chairperson Patricia Royer. “The proactive steps they have taken to improve customer service put them at the forefront of the membership services industry. We on the board are encouraged by this pioneering spirit and look forward to helping propel the company’s consumer efforts even farther ahead. And while we are confident that the Board will positively influence MemberWorks, we hope that our work will bring about change in the entire industry.”
Once they have become familiar with the operations of MemberWorks, the board’s six members will select one additional member, bringing the ultimate total to seven.
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, MemberWorks is a leader in bringing value to consumers by designing innovative membership programs that offer services and discounts on everyday needs in healthcare, personal finance, insurance, travel, entertainment, computing, fashion, and personal security. As of June 30, 2001, 7.9 million members are enrolled in MemberWorks programs, gaining convenient access to thousands of service providers and vendors. MemberWorks is a trusted marketing partner of leading consumer-driven organizations, and offers them effective tools to enhance their market presence, to strengthen customer affinity and to generate additional revenue.