FL-based nFinanSe has unveiled its “People’s Choice” line of instant issue “nFinanSe Discover Network Gift Cards.” The cards have English or Spanish packaging as well as English or Spanish speaking customer service agents. nFinanSe launched its line of instant issue cards earlier this month, which will be sold at retail locations. Its features will include instantly issued Discover Network cards for immediate use, a $5.95 suggested retail price, $2.95 monthly fee, free first load, no hidden transaction fees or gimmicks and are reloadable at 80,000 nFinanSe Network locations. (CF Library 2/8/07)
Over the holiday season, LINK, UK’s main ATM operation, disclosed record
ATM use over the 2006 holiday season. Despite dismal predictions regarding
consumer spending, over GBP 9,767,000,000 was withdrawn from LINK machines,
2,774,000,000 withdrawn during the week prior to Christmas, with
transactions. Compared with the 2005 holiday season, the number of
was up 7.3 % and averaged a GBP1 more per withdrawal (GBP 64). LINK network
most of the UK’s 60,600 cash machines. During the past 5 years, the
grown from 36,000 to over 60,600, of which 34,200 have no usage fee.
over 130 million LINK cards in circulation from around 38 issuers.
U.K. credit card issuers have been cutting their default fees. The OFT says the majority have done so by almost half. In April, the OFT stated that credit card default charges had been generally set at a significantly higher level than was considered fair and set a GBP 12 threshold for OFT intervention unless there were exceptional business factors. The OFT says a fair credit card default charge should not exceed a reasonable estimate of certain limited administrative costs which the credit card issuer reasonably expects to incur as a result of default. However, many card issuers have stated that they do
not agree with the OFT’s view of the law and that they believe that
their default charges were fair.
Fitch Ratings has hired Les Scharfstein, formerly a VP in American Express’ Corporate Treasury group, as a Director focusing on credit cards. While at American Express, Scharfstein was key in developing Amex’s securitization strategy and helped to establish Amex as one of the premier ABS issuers. Scharfstein will be joining the Consumer ABS Group, headed by Managing Director Claire Mezzanotte, where he will focus on various consumer assets, particularly credit cards.
PaySquare and China UnionPay have signed an exclusive partnership wherein PaySquare becomes the exclusive provider for acceptance of the “CUP” credit card brand in the Netherlands.
Clients from Belgium, Luxembourg and other parts of Europe can also contact PaySquare if they are interested in accepting credit cards from China UnionPay as a means of payment. In 2005, the number of outbound
Chinese travelers amounted to 31 million exits. Over 150,000 Chinese
visited Holland last year with total expenditures of US$40 million.
PaySquare is one of the largest players in the Benelux for the
acceptance of international means of payment.
MasterCard Worldwide reports it has seen a 55% increase in the issuance of its payment card and other payment devices, such as the “PayPass 3-D Soccer Ball Key Chain” and the “PayPass Watch” during the
first five months of 2006 in the Asia-Pacific region. To-date more than 7 million “PayPass” cards and devices have been issued worldwide. As of the end May, MasterCard has introduced eight significant “PayPass” pilots, programs and collaborations in the Asia-Pacific region. In April, MasterCard launched its first “PayPass” pilot program in Australia with Commonwealth Bank; while in Korea, MasterCard collaborated with Samsung Card and three mobile phone companies, SK Telecom, LG TeleCom and KTF to pilot the use of mobile phones as contactless payment devices. Additionally, in Japan, MasterCard announced its first full scale roll-out of “PayPass” in collaboration with Orient Corporation and IKSPIARI, and celebrated the launch of a pilot program with Pocket Card and ITOCHU Enex in Japan. In February, MasterCard collaborated with Fransabank in Lebanon to pilot a smart credit card enhanced with “PayPass.” In June, MasterCard in conjunction with Chinatrust Commercial Bank announced the launch of the world’s first watch equipped with MasterCard “PayPass.”
Fitch Ratings announced it is changing its rating methodology for U.S. credit card asset-backed securities due to consumer confidence coupled with recent regulatory and industry developments. Refinements include new USD LIBOR scenarios, and compensation for basis risk between the prime rate used to price most variable credit card lending and USD LIBOR. The firm will also place more focus on purchase rate and servicing fee levels. Although Fitch has always evaluated the seller/servicer associated with credit card ABS, the process has been formalized and will augment its credit card collateral analysis and cash flow modeling when determining credit enhancement.
NTT DoCoMo and Hutchison
Telecom Hong Kong have formed a strategic partnership to bring “i-mode”
services to Hong Kong and Macau. With the signing of this agreement, there will be
16 “i-mode” operators in 24 countries and areas around the world. Under terms of the deal, DoCoMo will provide the technology and
marketing expertise to the partnership, enabling Hutchison Telecom Hong
Kong to offer “i-mode” services via its territory-wide networks. The
“i-mode” platform allows service providers to readily integrate their
Internet content and applications for mobile i-mode usage. The
“i-mode” service is provided on an open platform based on de facto
Internet standards. NTT DoCoMo serves more than 51 million subscribers.
VISA Europe has launched “VIS”, an information management solution that
will enable companies of all sizes to make better business decisions.
“VIS” is a comprehensive web-based reporting and expense management
solution that helps companies monitor expenditure and streamline
The decision to launch “VIS” in Europe follows extensive research into the
business market by Visa Commercial Solutions that indicated of the 20.5
million small to medium sized businesses in the region, over 50% consider
on-line data reporting and expense management tools to be attractive
features of a commercial card offering.
The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals says it intends to analyze the FTC’s “2006 Annual Report” to Congress on the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” ACA was instrumental in developing the FDCPA nearly 30 years ago, because its members support strong consumer protection and continues to work with policymakers to ensure that consumers’ rights and collectors’ responsibilities are clearly defined in an ethical and highly regulated collection industry that serves credit grantors and consumers alike.
VASCO has announced that HSBC
Bank will use its “Digipass GO3” strong authentication device for corporate
banking. HSBC will start the roll out of “GO3” to 180,000 UK Business
Internet Banking customers in May 2006. “Digipass GO3” is a lightweight, low cost strong user
authentication token, especially designed for the large volume banking
market and is easy to use. The customer generates a unique one-time
password with a touch of a button. “Digipass GO3” also supports a host
(website) authentication functionality.
The U.K. Court of Appeal has ruled that local credit card issuers must guarantee purchases made on international transactions.
According to guidelines by the Office of Fair Trading, such guarantees can cover single purchases worth between GBP 100 and GBP 30,000, even if the card is only used for a deposit. The court’s decision overturned a November 2004 High Court ruling that “Section 75” of the “Consumer Credit Act of 1974” did not apply to overseas purchases. “Section 75” covers foreign transactions including where a consumer uses a U.K. credit card to buy goods while abroad; a consumer orders goods from a foreign supplier while abroad for delivery into the U.K.; a consumer in the U.K. buys goods which are delivered to a U.K. address from overseas by telephone, mail order or over the Internet; and there is face-to-face pre-contract dealings with a foreign supplier temporarily in the U.K., or with a U.K. agent of a foreign supplier, but the contract is not completed in the U.K. Brits spent almost GBP 123 billion on domestic credit card transactions in 2004, and a further GBP 12.5 billion on overseas transactions.