EuroConex and Card Commerce Target Gift Cards

EuroConex and Card Commerce have teamed to target the retail gift card market which is estimated to become a GBP 13 billion industry by 2011. Under terms of the deal Card Commerce’s “PayPlus OnDemand” giftcard service will be made available to euroConex’s network of merchants across Europe. The deployment of PayPlus OnDemand will allow merchants using euroConex point of sale card terminals through their banking partner, to sell and redeem giftcards and other types of prepaid debit card. The system will initially be available through Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank and Bank of Ireland, euroConex’s partner banks in the UK and Ireland, before being rolled out into the broader European network in 2007.

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VISA Introduces a Signature Business Card

VISA has beefed-up its “Business Card” adding premium “Signature” benefits on top all of the benefits currently offered with its “Business” card. The no preset spending limit “VISA Signature Business” card includes an issuer rewards program with a minimum value of 125 basis points on qualifying spend. Cardholders also have access to “VISA Information Source Select,” an online reporting solution. Additionally, the “VISA Merchant Offer Program” provides small businesses with the purchasing power of large companies through promotions and savings presented by VISA’s merchant partners, such as office supply, travel and wireless providers. Other card benefits include “VISA Signature Access”; “VISA Signature Dining”; and “VISA Signature Concierge. “VISA Signature Business” has an interchange rate that is comparable to the existing “VISA Commercial Solutions” interchange rate. For the four quarters ended June 30th, “VISA Signature” grew 17%, surpassing $125 billion in sales volume. For the same period, spending on “VISA Business” cards totaled more than $103 billion, representing a year over year growth rate of 32%. Chase is expected to be the first issuer of the new upgraded business card.

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MASTERCARD CHAIRMAN

MasterCard Worldwide continues to rebuild its Board after becoming a publicly traded company in May and changing its governance structure. Richard Haythornthwaite, managing director of Star Capital Partners in the Europe, will now serve as the non-executive chairman of its board. MasterCard also elected Steven Freiberg, chairman and CEO of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group, and co-chair of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group, as a director. Freiberg is one of the three directors elected by banks to the board. With the election of Mr. Freiberg, the MasterCard board now consists of 10 members: two Class M directors; seven Class A directors who are independent; and MasterCard President and CEO Robert Selander, also a Class A director. The independent directors include: Bernard S. Y. Fung who is Chairman and CEO of Aon Asia Pacific Region; Manoel Amorim of Brazil’s Telefonica International; David Carlucci of Connecticut-based IMS Health; Richard Haythornthwaite of the UK’s Star Capital Partners; Marc Olivie of Belgium’s Agfa-Gevaert Group; Mark Schwartz, formerly of Soros Fund Management; and Edward Suning Tian of China’s China Netcom Group. (CF Library 5/4/06; 6/16/06)

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The Responsible Credit Partnership Moves

The Responsible Credit Partnership is moving to The Center for Financial Services Innovation in January. RCP will continue to represent consumer as well as industry and government concerns in the lending area, and to promote the responsible issuing and use of credit cards. Current RCP corporate partners include Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, Experian, Fair Isaac, Target Financial Services, U.S. Bank, VISA, and Wells Fargo. Chicago-based CFSI, an affiliate of ShoreBank, provides funding and resources, enables partnerships, and identifies, develops and distributes authoritative information on how to respond to the needs of the underbanked profitably and responsibly. Kimberly Gartner will continue as the partnership’s director in Chicago.

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The Compliments Card is Launched

Capital Incentives & Motivation has launched the “Compliments Card” with the help of PrePay Technologies. The new card is a gift card created to enable employers to make incentive payments to employees or third parties. Employers have a choice of two options. The disposable “Compliments Card” for making one-off award payments and the reloadable card which is fully personalized with the name of the recipient.
PrePay Technologies was the first company in the UK to acquire an Electronic Money License to issue e-money across Europe.

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Monthly Payment Rates Slip in August

Monthly payment rates, the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt, headed south by 26 basis points in August but, continue to hover at record levels. Year to date, the monthly payment rate has averaged more than 20%, running about 200 basis points from one-year ago. Driven by higher minimum payments, payment rates were 20.20% in August, an increase of 160 basis points from year-ago levels. According to CardData the managed payment rate for July was 20.46% and 18.60% for August 2005. According to FitchRatings, the payment rate averaged 19.97% during the first quarter and averaged 18.60% for 2005. Five years ago the monthly payment rate hovered around 16%.

MONTHLY PAYMENT RATES
Aug 01: 16.33%
Aug 02: 15.98%
Aug 03: 17.88%
Aug 04: 17.65%
Aug 05: 18.60%
Aug 06: 20.20%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Interpay Nederland & Transaktionsinstitut Merger Closes

The merger between payment service providers Interpay Nederland and the German Transaktionsinstitut fur Zahlungsverkehrsdienstleistungen has been completed. The new company will operate under the name Equens. The new company will process approximately 7 billion payment
transactions in 2006. The merger will make Equens the first
pan-European payment service provider to bundle volumes, processing and
expertise over the entire payment value chain via international
collaboration in an increasingly consolidating European payment market.
Consequently Equens will also process SEPA payments on one joint
platform as from January 2008.

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Global Cash Access Inks Four Deals

Las Vegas-based Global Cash Access has inked new deals with Ladbrokes Casino & Sports Bar in London and Grand Casino Baden in Switzerland and expanded agreements with Gala Casino Harbourside and Gala Casino Manchester 235 in the U.K. All four properties will utilize GCA’s “QuikCash” cash advance terminals and “QuikCash Plus” Web. “QuikCash” cash advance terminals provide patrons with POS debit card and credit card cash advance transaction options, while “QCP Web” is a proprietary browser-based, full-service cash access transaction processing system for casino cashier operations.

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