CardTrak.com Beefs-Up Consumer Card Services

MD-based Cardweb.com, Inc. has spun-off its consumer credit card business into FL-based CardTrak LLC. As a result of the transaction CardTrak LLC has re-launched the “CardTrak(R)” Web site, adding more free features and easier navigation to help consumers better understand credit cards and locate the best credit cards for their personal or business needs. Among new features are: “Professor Cardworthy’s(TM)” tip of the day” and question of the day”; a monthly online consumer poll; weekly rotating list of the latest credit card incentives/perks; weekly graph on the latest debt, spending, cards and APRs rates; access to free weekly and monthly “CardTrak(R)” newsletters & alerts; and a “Card Smarts Sweepstakes” with daily winners and a grand prize. CardTrak has been providing services to consumers since 1986 and moved to the Internet in 1995.

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Sub-Prime Mortgage Problems are Widespread

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys released the findings of a national survey of nearly 650 bankruptcy attorneys showing a sharp rise in sub-prime mortgage-related problems concurrent with controversial 2005 changes to federal bankruptcy laws. The NACPA along with the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Responsible Lending are calling for Congressional action on the issue. The group is wants end the Bankruptcy Code’s special treatment of home mortgage loans; remove time-consuming credit counseling requirements; curb excessive fees during bankruptcy; end mandatory arbitration in bankruptcy; create a minimum homestead exemption for the elderly; and amend chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.

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ADS Signs Orchard Supply Hardware Card Deal

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.

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NIDR Adds Edentify’s IDAlert in its Database

Edentify’s “IDAlert” is now included in GA-based National ID Recovery’s proprietary data breach solution. NIDR provides low-cost ID recovery plans to individual subscribers. Through the partnership, individuals or businesses sign a contract with NIDR for its fraud protection services. If an NIDR customer’s identity is stolen, NIDR notifies the victim and gives them a toll-free number to help resolve the breach. Edentify’s “IDAlert” monitors the victim’s name and Social Security number to determine whether their identity has been compromised. If no criminal activity is detected, IDAlert reruns the victim’s identity every 30 days for the length of their NIDR contract, or until criminal activity occurs. Edentify develops and deploys data analysis technology solutions for preventing identity theft and fraud. National ID Recovery is a provider of managed identity theft recovery solutions.

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MEGAMART VISA

ICICI Bank and Megamart have teamed to introduce a co-branded “VISA Gold” credit card. The new card earns six reward points for every Rs 200 spent at any Megamart clothing outlet. Points can be redeemed for Megamart vouchers. New cardholders receive a bonus gift voucher of Rs 200 upon making their first purchase. Other card benefits include 90-days free financing on purchases above Rs 1500, plus free
alteration of garments and access to special promotions. Megamart has 54 outlets in 16 cities across the country.

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AmEx Enhances Green/Gold Card Features

American Express Middle East has enhanced features of its “Green”
and “Gold” card for members. On top of the standard features of
charging no interest and no payment limit, AmEx offers travel accident
insurance of up to US$ 350,000 for the Gold Charge Card and
US$ 100,000 for the Green Charge Card, covering travel inconveniences,
such as missed flights and lost luggage, in full. Additionally,
cardmembers can take advantage of the “Selects program”, giving
them access to a wide range of special offers across 50 countries.
Complimentary access is also given to exclusive airport lounges,
assured reservations at hotels, companion tickets and upgrades through the
“International Airline Program”, travel services from 2,200 locations
around
the world, free Emergency Card Replacement 24-hour Customer Care,
Global Emergency Assistance and Express Cash facility.

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Bills Seek to Ban Interchange on Sales Tax

A survey of state legislative activity shows that nine states have introduced a total of 15 bills over interchange fees and/or merchant discount fees. The Merchants Payments Coalition says its research showed that most of the bills seek to ban interchange fees on the sales tax portion of transactions. Such bills have been introduced in Florida, Kansas, Nevada, New York and Washington. Kentucky, Nebraska and Texas have introduced bills requiring credit card companies and issuing banks to be more transparent in disclosing rules and fees. A bill in Tennessee would cap interchange rates at 0.75 percent. Some states have multiple bills pending that would address various aspects of interchange.

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Bank Negara Launches AKPK Debt Program

In its Kota Kinabalu branch, Bank Negara has introduced Agensi
Kaunselling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK), an agency to provide
credit counseling and money management. The agency provides clients
with financial education and debt management plans using one-to-one
counseling. Representatives give advice to cover financial budgeting, money management and credit issues and provides assistance with analysis of the clients’ financial situation and identification of all possible options. Approximately 3,000 customers have benefited from AKPK’s Debt
Management Program since April 2006, when it was introduced.

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ICICI and enStage Deploy Verified by Visa

ICICI Bank and enStage have partnered with VISA for the
deployment of their 3-D secure solution, “ACCOSA 3-D”. The
new solution will provide protection to its cardholders for online
transactions. “ACCOSA 3-D” secure software initiates a verification
software at the bank using ‘Verified by VISA’, the program enables
the bank to intercept transactions to verify identity and requests
the cardholder to enter a PIN. Experts say this will prevent consumer
fraud and theft.

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Yucheng & CMB Launch POS Merchant Acquiring

Yucheng Technologies Ltd. has announced a partnership with China
Merchant Bank(CMB) for the introduction of its POS merchant-
acquiring service for banks in China. Yucheng will focus on merchants
of all sizes across different retail markets including restaurants,
shopping
malls, and bars. The company provides outsourced solutions to
Chinese Banks such as POS machines and maintenance, merchant
acquisition, authorization and capture of transactions, merchant billing
and training and has an acquiring team of over 70. Yucheng currently
services more than 550 merchants and, by 2008, expects to be
operational in 8 cities with 7,000 merchants.

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