FTC Wraps a Do Not Call Scam Case

The FTC has concluded a case against several defendants who deceptively claimed they could register consumers on the “Do Not Call” before the “Registry” even existed. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants cold-called consumers offering to list them on the FCC do not call list. At the time the calls were made, however, the FCC did not have such a list in place, and the defendants had no way of listing consumers, who were charged as much as $99.95 for their first year of “service.” The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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Wells’ COO Takes Over as VISA USA Chairman

VISA USA’s Board of Directors has elected the President/COO of Wells Fargo as it new chairman. John Stumpf has served on the VISA USA Board since 2002, the VISA International board since early 2004 and the Inovant (VISA’s payment processing subsidiary) board for two years. He will resign his posts on the VISA International and Inovant boards. Stumpf takes over the position of chairman from Pat Phillips, Bank of America’s president of premier banking and investments. Phillips, a member of the VISA U.S.A. board of directors since 1990, retires as VISA USA chairman, a post he has held for two years. Phillips also retires from the VISA International board where he has served since 1995.

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OneBridge and RewardsNOW Partner

Indianapolis-based credit and debit card processor OneBridge has allied with NH-based RewardsNOW. OneBridge focuses on small to mid-sized credit unions and community banks for card processing, marketing, and consulting services. The RewardsNOW program is tied to debit cards as well as credit cards, giving cardholders the opportunity to earn award points on both types of accounts. RewardsNOW provides marketing services for the financial industry.

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OPC Signs City of Virginia Beach

Official Payments has been authorized by the City of Virginia Beach to process electronic credit and debit card payments for personal property tax, real estate property tax, utilities and parking ticket obligations. Residents may now make any of these payments online or by phone. OPC charges citizens a convenience fee for the services, however, citizens using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may earn reward points. Official Payments provides electronic payment services for the Internal Revenue Service, 25 states, the District of Columbia and more than 1,800 local government clients nationwide.

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VISA Platinum/Infinite Cardholders Get Free Golf

VISA Asia Pacific has added exclusive golf benefits to its “VISA Platinum” and “VISA Infinite” card programs. The new perk includes complimentary golf at 16 clubs in Australia, China, Indonesia,
Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. In addition, “VISA Infinite” and “VISA Platinum” cardholders will have
access to 100 golf clubs in 25 countries in Europe, United
States, South Africa and Asia Pacific. This includes access to
prestigious courses such as St. Andrews in Edinburgh Scotland, Pebble
Beach in California and Pinehurst in North Carolina, USA. Cardholders can benefit from up to 35% savings on green fees on weekdays. There are currently 238 million VISA-branded cards in the Asia-Pacific region.

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TNB Buys Sterlent CU Card Portfolio

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has purchased the 4,400 account card portfolio of Sterlent Credit Union of Pleasanton, CA. Sterlent Credit Union serves 17,000 member households with $132 million in assets. This acquisition brings to nearly 70 the number of portfolios that TNB has bought since it began the agent card issuing program in late 2002. TNB Card Services is owned and directed by credit unions serving more than 450 financial institutions and managing more than 1.6 million cards.

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BofA and WaMu Dominate Online Banking

A new report has found that online banking sites are laggards in service levels compared to credit card and stock trading sites. Keynote Systems says Bank of America, Wachovia and US Bank were determined to be the best sites in its study. The study also found that Washington Mutual is the current industry leader in online service levels, a measure of overall site responsiveness and reliability. Bank of America, which has the industry’s highest satisfaction with online bill payment, according to the study, also has the industry’s highest use of online bill payment and the greatest percentage of customers accepting online statements. The Keynote “Customer Experience Ranking” is a measure of online customer experience based on evaluation of more than 250 metrics.

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Debit Card Claim Forms Hit the U.S. Mail

Constantine Cannon, the lead counsel for merchants in the “VISA Check/MasterMoney” antitrust litigation, says claim forms for four million merchants who are class members will be mailed by September 29th. U.S. merchants are class members if they accepted VISA and MasterCard between October 25, 1992 and June 21, 2003. Constantine Cannon says merchants who receive more than one claim form can have them consolidated into one claim to insure that the merchant receives one check from the settlement fund. The VISA and MasterCard settlement provides $3.383 billion in compensatory relief and an injunction valued by the court in the range of $25-$87 billion to U.S. merchants and consumers over the next decade. The settlement became final May 31st.

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FNBO Launches a Spacey VISA Card

First National Bank of Omaha has taken off with a new VISA card that offers a chance to break the sound barrier in a MiG over Moscow, have a private lunch with a NASA astronaut or engage in an aerial dogfight over the Arizona desert. Apart from the Space Adventures offered to AmEx “Membership Rewards” cardholders, the new “Aviation Week Leading Edge VISA” is the first credit card to offer air and space experiences. The concept and reward partner development in creating the card was co-managed by McGraw-Hill’s Aviation Week and Edgar, Dunn & Company. EDC designed the core product and branded rewards platform of unique aviation experiences, as well as bringing together the key card partners, First National Bank of Omaha and VISA. In addition to the special air and space adventure packages, cardholders can also choose to redeem their points for travel, cash back and aviation-related merchandise and gift certificates. (CF Library 3/4/04)

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I.C.E. Signs a Large UT-based ISO

International Card Establishment has signed its fourth ISO and the largest one to-date. The Utah-based ISO should immediately increase the company’s new merchant account applications by approximately 80% on a monthly basis. I.C.E. offers diversified products and services to the electronic transaction processing industry and provides leasing services to the point-of-sale industry through its GlobalTech leasing subsidiary.

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Metris/DMCCB Introduces a Silly MasterCard

One-day after announcing it plans to issue Discover cards by the end of this year, Metris Companies/Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank has launched a new MasterCard credit card for Red Hat Society members. The new “Red Hat Society Platinum MasterCard” offers one “Fun Point” for each dollar spent in card purchases. Points are redeemable for travel, gift cards, Red Hat regalia and more. The card also gives “Red Hatters” and “Pink Hatters” the ability to emboss their royal title on the card. The Red Hat Society has members in more than 30 countries and has garnered international attention for its antics and belief that silliness is the comedic relief in life. There are currently more than 41,000 Red Hat Society chapters and about one million members worldwide. (CF Library 9/19/05)

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U.S. Bank & USEF Trot Out a New Card

U.S. Bank and the U.S. Equestrian Federation have trotted out a new affinity card. The “United States Equestrian VISA Platinum” card is available in three breeds: a non-reward card that contributes the most back to USEF; a second that earns points redeemable for merchandise, gift certificates or nearly any reward with the “Name Your Own Reward” option; and a third that provides cash back to the cardholder. The card supports USEF equestrian teams in their quest to compete in international competition. The USEF has more than 80,000 members.

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