Exclusive Resorts Offers 1MM AmEx Points

Exclusive Resorts is offering new customers up to one million American Express “Membership Rewards” points for the purchase of the $425,000 “Elite Membership” package which offers up to 45 days of access to hundreds $3 million private residences in dozens of the world’s top destinations. Cardmembers will receive the standard Membership Rewards points with their purchase, and through January 31, 2007, will receive additional bonus Membership Rewards points to their account – for a total of one million points. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. The Membership Rewards program from American Express has more than 140 redemption partners.

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Consumers Prefer General Purpose Gift Cards

A new survey has found that 38% of gift recipients would prefer to receive general purpose cards compared to 25% who prefer store-specific gift cards. The research also found that 57% of all respondents said they would be more likely to purchase a gift card if they could personalize it. Specifically, the ability to select a custom denomination appealed to 31% of respondents. Twenty one percent said they would like to have the recipient’s name embossed directly on the plastic. The second annual “Gift Card Survey” from Discover Card also found that for long-distance giving, gift cards were favored by more than half of the respondents as the gift of choice, while only 31% said they prefer to send a check or cash. When asked how they would use their general purpose gift card, respondents revealed that: 70% would buy something special for themselves; 44% would go out to dinner,; 37% would use gift cards to buy a gift for someone else; 36% would buy groceries or other things they need; and 20% would use general purpose gift cards to pay bills.

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Consumers Want More From Their ATM Experience

A new report reveals that 72% of consumers say the use of biometrics with ATMs would create a positive or very positive feeling toward their bank or credit union. The study by Diebold also found 68% think more positively of their financial institution when offered a receipt/no receipt preference. About 41% think more positively of their financial institution when an ATM can remember user preference settings and 42% want to customize their ATM preferences via their online banking channel. Women in general and the younger demographics of both genders react the most favorably to advanced ATM features such as paying bills and ordering checks. Purchase features that could influence positive views included selling postage stamps, sending money, selling movie or event tickets, selling certificates of deposit and selling prepaid phone minutes. Buying postage stamps and movie or event tickets was the most popular purchase features.

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Fiserv Processing Extends American FINCO

Fiserv Credit Processing Services announced the early renewal of its contract with American FINCO Financial Services thru 2013. American FINCO provides consumer financing programs to both independent and brand-based dealers of home improvement products. The company credits a strong cooperative plan for the product’s initial success. The Fiserv PLUS System unites the VisionPLUS credit processing software the industry’s leading credit-processing solution with decades of information-processing expertise and a comprehensive suite of value-added products and services from Fiserv.

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GMAC/FIA Launches the ditech.com MasterCard

GMAC’s ditech.com has launched the “ditech.com Equity Rewards MasterCard” credit card. The credit card is issued and administered by FIA Card Services. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar in net retail purchases charged to the card. Each time a cardholder accumulates 2,500 points, that cardholder qualifies for a $25 reduction of principal on the cardholder’s mortgage with ditech.com. There are no annual limits on points or on how many rewards can be applied to reduce mortgage principal. Points are redeemed automatically, and rewards are applied once a quarter. The card is offered at a 7.9% APR and includes a 0% intro APR on cash advance checks and balance transfers for the first twelve billing cycles, plus credit lines of up to $100,000.In 2004 the “GMAC Mortgage Equity Rewards MasterCard” credit card was introduced.

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DEBIT SEPT

Debit card EFT/POS volume slowed down in September sequentially, but rose at a per annum growth rate of 10%. During September, Australian
consumers used debit cards for A$7.8 billion in transactions, compared
to A$7.9 billion for August and A$7.1 billion one-year ago. Over the
past five years debit card volume has grown 59%. During September,
Australians used debit cards for A$6.3 billion in purchases with 97.1
million transactions. Total EFT/POS transactions were 112.3 million for
September according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. There were 26.1
million debit card accounts in the country at the end of September,
compared to 25.3 million one-year ago.

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Holiday Spending May Increase by 7%

The “21st Anniversary Holiday Survey” of retail spending by Deloitte & Touche predicts holiday sales will increase 7% during the November-to-January period, compared to 7.8% last year. However, the outlook is well above the average of the past decade, and at the high end of forecasts for this year’s holiday season. Refuting conventional wisdom about Americans’ attitudes toward debt and credit cards, 63% of total holiday purchases will be paid for using cash, checks, or debit cards, according to the survey respondents. Further, 38% of individual consumers surveyed say they will not use credit cards at all for holiday shopping. Deloitte & Touche says nearly three-fourths of Northern California consumers planning to buy at least one gift card. Holiday shoppers in the region are planning on buying an average of 4.3 cards.

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ADS Signs a Card Deal with Dunlap Company

Alliance Data Systems has signed a six-year agreement with The Dunlap Company to provide private label credit card programs for its department store brands. Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will provide a full suite of services including account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; marketing services; and customer service functions. Dunlaps is a privately-held, regional department store chain, currently operating 38 stores in eight Southern and Southwestern states, including Texas (21), Arkansas (4), Colorado (3), New Mexico (3), Arizona (2), Kansas (2), Oklahoma (2) and Alabama (1). Alliance Data (NYSE: ADS) is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services, managing over 105 million consumer relationships for some of North America’s most recognizable companies.

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BofA and Aetna Launch a Healthy Platinum VISA

Bank of America and Aetna have teamed to launch a new credit card that promotes healthy living. The new “Aetna Healthy Living Platinum Plus VISA” offers bonus rewards and redemption discounts on certain health-related purchases with rewards deposited to a “Health Savings Account” if desired. The credit card is currently available to Aetna’s “Small Group” customers and will be expanded to other customer groups in 2007. Cardholders earn 3 points for every $1 spent hospital treatments, doctor and dentist charges, sporting goods stores, fitness and weight loss centers, vitamin stores and and 1 point on all other purchases. Cardholders also an exclusive 10% point redemption discount on gym equipment, spa set, bicycles, blood pressure monitors and other health-related items from the “WorldPoints” catalog.

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VISA to Test Mobile Phone Payments at Headquarters

VISA USA is now testing the delivery of mobile payment coupons and rewards via text message, graphic and bar code images direct to consumers’ mobile devices. The pilot, to be launched this month, will involve 500 VISA employees at its California headquarters. Pilot participants will receive payment coupons and rewards that can be redeemed at on-site cafes located on VISA’s corporate campus. The California trial follows a large-scale U.S. mobile payment test at Philips Arena in Atlanta. A recent online survey conducted by VISA found that 61% of respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 are interested in making mobile phone purchases. There are currently more than 225 million mobile phone users in the U.S.

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