Advanced Payment Solutions has introduced a pre-paid MasterCard for gap year students. The new “Gapyear.com MasterCard” offers a 10% discount at hundreds of travel partners worldwide. It is also a personalized “Chip & PIN” card and offers purchase protection in line with credit based products, but also includes protection for purchases under GBP 100. It can be topped up at over 20,000 outlets throughout the UK, 15,000 of which are free and, conveniently for parents, by standing order. The card is issued by Broadcastle Bank Ltd.Details
CT-based Affinion Group has launched Affinion Direct Response Group, a new direct response marketing division. The group offers an in-house full-service direct marketing agency, marketing strategies, creative development, database modeling, database analysis, telemedia advancements and direct mail strategy & print production. Affinion Group also has a growing loyalty solutions operation which administers points-based loyalty programs.Details
First Data has acquired the payments software provider, Deecal
International, allowing the electronic commerce service company to expand
in the commercial payments industry. Enhancements resulting from the
acquisition include an enhanced global commercial payments offering and
state-of-the-art management information capability for clients. Furthermore,
Deecal provides a commercial card e-payment solution supporting
commercial, business, purchasing, corporate travel and entertainment cards
for domestic and international organizations. With over 200 client banks,
corporations and government agencies, Deecal brings to First Data direct
connections with such companies. First Data has operations in 38 countries,
serving over 5 million merchant locations for 1,900 card issuers and
customers. Also, the commerce service provider offers PIN-secured debit
acceptance at 2 million ATM and retail locations through its STAR Network.
DE-based payment processing provider Electronic Payment Exchange has joined the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council as a Participating Organization. An independent organization formed in 2006 by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa International, the council is designed to help merchants, payment device and service vendors, financial processors and financial institutions safeguard customer payment data. This mission is facilitated through the broad adoption of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).Details
DQS has awarded Wincor Nixdorf with the certification of its Information
Security Management System. This development recognizes the security
system as compliant with ISO 27001 international standards for
information security management including the introduction, operation,
monitoring and maintenance of systems and processes. The certification
award instills a sense of confidence with Wincor’s clients by ensuring a
corresponding security process is established and is monitored regularly.
Wincor Nixdorf supplies POS and ATM systems in over 90 countries,
has over 7,700 employees and had net sales of $2.5 billion in 2006.
In a bold move Bank of America has re-launched the original “BankAmericard” credit card. The first nationally accepted bank credit card now offers a rewards VISA version. BofA claims its new card is the richest and most flexible rewards programs with no annual fee in the country. The “BankAmericard Rewards VISA” offers 1.25 reward points for every purchase, plus an annual rewards bonus of 25% for maintaining their banking relationship. The card also offers no limit on points and a no-fee concierge service. The “BankAmericard” credit card debuted in Fresno, California, nearly five decades ago.Details
Macau casinos, including Sands, Venetian Macao, Wynn Macao, Galaxy
StarWorld and the MGM Grand Macau have all signed agreements with
Central Credit, a Global Cash Access(GCA) subsidiary, to provide cash
access services in its establishments. A number of the casinos have also
agreed to provide GCA’s “QuikCash” kiosks to provide credit card cash
advances, debit card advances and ATMs with slot ticket redemption.
Also provided by some of the casinos is GCA’s “QuikCashPlus” Web
browser to help cashiers streamline transactions. GCA and Central Credit
provide cash access and services for the gaming industry serving nearly
1,000 casinos around the world.
A new report projects U.S. online retail sales this holiday season to hit $33 billion, a 21% increase over last year. According to Forrester Research apparel and accessories will top holiday shopping lists; a majority of consumers have a continued interest in free shipping promotions; fewer consumers are willing to pay for “frills” like gift wrap or overnight delivery this year; and gift cards promise to be a big winner during the holiday season as 18% of online consumers said that they plan to spend more on gift cards this year, compared with last year.Details
Americans felt more confident in nearly all aspects of their financial security in October. According to the “COUNTRY Financial Security Index” consumers aren’t letting recent news about a credit crunch, changing interest rates and predictions of a recession drive how they feel about their own financial security. The Index rose 1.3 points in October to 69.9 just short of the 70.2 recorded in February. Fifty-one percent of Americans rated their personal level of financial security favorably, up three points from August. About 17% rated their financial security as excellent, marking the most Americans to feel this way since the COUNTRY Index began this year and debt concerns continued to subside in October, as the number confident in their ability to pay all their debts as they come due rose another two points to 81%.Details
MasterCard has released a new a new program offering practical assistance in educating merchants and encouraging broader adoption of the “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.” The new “PCI Merchant Education Program” provides requirements for enhancing payment account data security. There is a series of customizable, interactive modules for financial institutions to develop training sessions and materials tailored to their merchants. The education program offers several training options including: in-person training for acquiring bank members at designated locations; a live Web meeting; and an on-demand Webinar series. MasterCard offers a safe harbor for merchants and service providers who are compliant with the “PCI DSS,” exempting them from fines and other costs if cardholder data is compromised as a result of a breach of their systems.Details
WI-based retailer Kohl’s will implement Experian’s “VantageScore” to score its credit card approval processes. VantageScore, a credit score jointly developed by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, simplifies the credit granting process for businesses by providing a service that applies one, consistent formula to data from all three of the credit bureaus. Kohl’s operates 914 stores in 47 states.Details
Citigroup reported that 3Q/07 profits for its U.S. Cards unit declined 21% year-on-year to $852 million due to increased credit costs and expenses. U.S. card revenues decreased 2% to $3.39 billion. Bank credit card outstandings for the U.S. were flat at $110.1 billion compared to one-year ago. However, private label card outstandings increased 4% to $31.8 billion. Purchase volume for the third quarter rose 6% to $81.6 billion. Citi’s account base at the end of the third quarter dipped 3% year-on-year to 146.4 million accounts, down 1.1 million accounts from 2Q/07. Citi’s charge-offs for bankcard and private label cards declined to 4.41% compared to 4.55% in the prior quarter and 4.26% one-year ago. Overall delinquency (90+ days) rose slightly from 1.47% for 2Q/07 to 1.60% for the third quarter 2007. Citi noted that the managed net interest margin improved 27 basis points to 10.55% primarily due to growth in non-promotional balances. For complete details on Citigroup’s 3Q/07 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
U.S. Credit Card Net Income
3Q/06: $1085 million
4Q/06: $1001 million
1Q/07: $ 897 million
2Q/07: $ 726 million
3Q/07: $ 852 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)