AutoZone Stores to Use TeleCheck Services

AutoZone’s 3,592 stores nationwide are now using the TeleCheck “Electronic Check Acceptance” service and the TeleCheck “Guarantee” service. The TeleCheck ECA service converts a paper check issued by the consumer into an electronic item, and settles funds using the same system many consumers trust with automatically deposited paychecks. By removing the paper from the transaction, the ECA service eliminates the back office support traditionally required by a merchant for deposits and returns.

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Credit Card Debt Falls to 3.7% of Total Credit

Research and Markets has released its first country specific report on the Australian cards market. Relative to total household credit, credit card debt has actually fallen in percentage terms. At the end of 2004 balances outstanding on credit and cards accounted for 3.7% of total household credit, down from 4.0% at the end of 2002. Additionally, MasterCard has increased its market share over the 2002-2004 period, from 28.9% in 2002. The report breaks down data on plastic card markets in Australia by scheme and by issuer. It also analyzes competitor strategies and presents a series of forecasts of plastic card markets in
Australia for the period 2005-2009.

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One in Five Interact With Bank via ATMs

A new survey has found that 80% of consumers indicate they visited their bank branch at least once a month and 43% visit a branch at least once a week. Twenty percent of consumers said they interact most frequently online and another 20% interact most frequently through ATMs. The research by Deloitte’s Banking practice also found that competitive fees/rates rank very high in importance to consumers (#2 after keeping account information secure and protected). The study says access to a “real person” is key to customer service: while the call center is not the primary point of contact for 96% of customers, it is a very important secondary channel of interaction with a bank – often for problems and questions.

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PICTURE PERFECT VISA

London-based Serverside Group Limited has launched its “Picture Perfect VISA Card”
utilizing the new VISA branding, along with card personalization
technology for Utah-based America First Credit Union. The new VISA card
design standards involve switching the VISA dove hologram from the front
of the card to the back, with the hologram integrated into the magnetic
stripe, making card counterfeiting more difficult. The updated VISA
design allows America First members increased space on front of the card
to create an edge-to-edge, custom-image product. Serverside
develops innovative software solutions for issuers, personalization
bureaus and card manufacturers. America First Credit Union
is Utah’s largest credit union with $3.1 billion in assets.

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FDC’s Labry to Oversee Domestic Enterprise Payments

First Data says Scott Betts, president of Domestic Enterprise Payments, will leave the company within the next two months and be replaced by Ed Labry, currently president of the company’s Prepaid Services unit. Prior to his appointment as president of Prepaid Services in 2005, Labry was president of Concord EFS, Inc., a high-growth processing company, acquired by First Data in 2004.

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HSBC Renews Darvin Furniture Store Card Program

Chicago-based Darvin Furniture has extended its agreement with HSBC North America to manage its private label credit card program. The new contract extends a business relationship that began in 1974 by providing private label credit financing for Darvin Furniture customers. The credit card allows cardholders to take advantage of exclusive deferred financing, low monthly payments and special sale offers. Darvin Furniture is recognized as one of the top 100 furniture stores in America.

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Barclays Takes-Off with a US Airways MasterCard

Barclays has launched a new co-branded “US Airways Dividend Miles World MasterCard” offering 15,000 bonus miles upon activation, up to 10,000 bonus miles for balance transfers and the chance to purchase fifty cent tickets to some of US Airways’ more than 200 destinations throughout the month of February. In August US Airways announced plans to switch its co-branded VISA card from Bank of America to Barclay’s Juniper Bank by 2008. After that date Barclays will have the exclusive rights to market the frequent flyer card. The change is the result of Barclays decision to invest $455 million into the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines. The agreement includes a signing bonus of $130 million, as well as a $325 million pre-purchase of air miles. The new “US Airways Dividend Miles World MasterCard” also features a 0% interest rate for the first six months on balance transfers and no annual fee for the first two years. Additionally, cardholders earn 50% more miles during their first year using the card. The card launch coincides with promotions across the country designed to give away over 150 additional free trips during the month of January. Customers who previously used America West credit cards must apply for the new MasterCard. (CF Library 8/10/05)

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NOV DEBT

Credit card outstandings continued to hover around GBP 56 billion during November. The figure is GBP 1.2 billion below year-ago levels. The Bank of England reports the increase in total net lending to individuals in November of GBP 9.6 billion was larger than in October and GBP 800 million above the previous six month average. The weakness was driven by credit card lending which was GBP 300 million lower than in October while other loans and advances were in line with October. The annual growth rate of consumer credit continued to fall, to 9.8% in November.

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iMAX Business Solutions Offers a 1.29% Merchant Fee

Denver-based iMAX Business Solutions has introduced the “Split Rate Program” allowing businesses to process credit card transactions through any credit card terminal or credit card machine for 1.29%. Regular rates outside of the Split Rate Program range from 1.74% to as high as 3.49%. iMAX Business Solutions provides transaction processing services to large and small businesses.

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VisaNet Hits a New Record on December 23rd

VISA USA reports that its “VisaNet” system processed a record 179 million transactions on December 23rd. During the busiest hour on December 23, VISA processed an average of 6,363 transaction messages each second, a 14% increase over the average of 5,546 transaction messages per second VISA processed during the peak hour on December 24, 2004. VISA says “VisaNet” can process more transactions over the course of a coffee break than all the stock exchanges of the world in an entire day. VISA recently completed a five-year project to modernize “VisaNet” with the opening of a state-of-the-art, 70,000-square foot data center, the first new data center for VISA in 15 years.

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Minnesota Hospitality Opts for Heartland Processing

The Minnesota Restaurant Association, the Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association and the Minnesota Resort & Campground Association, managed by Hospitality Minnesota, have selected Heartland Payment Systems to offer a complete suite of payment solutions. The expanded relationship includes a member benefit called Association Simplified Pricing (ASP), designed to eliminate or reduce most traditional processor fees, passes MasterCard and Visa interchange rates directly through to the merchant without adding extra costs and includes only a single monthly fee for processing based on processing volume. This program also makes it easier for merchants to read and understand their processing statements. Heartland provides credit/debit card and payroll processing services to association members, including Visa and MasterCard cards and offers gift and loyalty card programs to help merchants increase sales and generate repeat traffic. The Minnesota Restaurant, Hotel & Lodging, and Resort & Campground associations represent 2,000 hospitality businesses across Minnesota.

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