VISA and AmEx Lead in Customer Respect

The Q3 “Online Customer Respect Study of North American Financial Services Firms” has found that VISA, American Express, and Capital One rank among the highest in delivering the best online customer treatment. With a financial services industry “CRI” average of 6.8, Discover, MBNA, Providian and MasterCard ranked among the lowest. The study, by MA-based The Customer Respect Group, found that as a group, only 17% of credit card issuers provided email forms for contact, compared to an industry average of 83%, and the same percentage did not answer email queries. The research also found that 66% of credit card issuers share customer date with business partners or third parties, compared to an financial services industry average of 38% for business partners and 15% for outside parties.

CUSTOMER RESPECT INDEX 2005
VISA 7.7
American Express 7.4
Capital One 7.1
INDUSTRY AVERAGE 6.8
Providian 4.9
MBNA 4.8
Discover 4.8
MasterCard 4.7
Source: The Customer Respect Group

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Discover Lands its Second U.S. Partner

Discover Financial Services has landed Metris Companies as its second issuing partner in the USA. The new “Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank Discover Card” will be available to customers by the end of this year. In January, GECF and Wal-Mart inked a deal to launch a new credit card on the Discover network, the first credit card issuing partnership outside the Discover network. The GECF-issued “Wal-Mart Dual Card,” launched in March, offers cash back, gasoline discounts and low rates. GECF and SAM’S CLUB also launched the first business card on the Discover network in April. Since the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, rejected appeals from both card networks in October, over the DOJ antitrust lawsuit, which challenged VISA’s “bylaw 210(e)” and MasterCard’s “Competitive Programs Policy,” Discover and American Express have aggressively pursuing U.S. partners. To-date AmEx has signed issuing domestic deals with MBNA, Citigroup and TX-based USAA Federal Savings Bank. HSBC Finance recently announced it is buying Metris Companies for about $1.6 billion in cash. (CF Library 10/5/04; 1/21/05; 4/18/05; 8/4/05)

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Cap One’s Collins Joins BasePoint Analytics

Paul Collins, the former head of fraud operations for Capital One, has joined CA-based BasePoint Analytics as Director of Fraud Consulting. With the addition of Paul Collins, the fraud consulting organization at BasePoint Analytics continues to expand both its size and capabilities. This group provides lenders with expertise from some of the financial industry’s top fraud experts. BasePoint Analytics, based in Carlsbad, Calif., is a fraud analytics and consulting company serving the financial services market.

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FDC Offers an Integrated Collections Solution

First Data has teamed up with Austin Logistics to bring an integrated collections optimization solution to financial institutions and lenders. The “CallTech” and “OnQ” products, combined, improve collections results by optimizing call efficiency and account collectability. “CallTech” is a predictive analytic solution that maximizes sales or dollars collected by identifying when the right party is more likely to be available and willing to make a payment. “OnQ” is an enterprise list management solution that adds power and flexibility to proprietary dialing systems to make dialer operation and campaign management more efficient. First Data says its clients have realized 10% to 40% increases in right-party contacts, resulting in improved collections results by using these Austin Logistics’ collections solutions.

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GECF Signs Marvin Companies to a Card Deal

MN-based The Marvin Companies, one of the largest made-to-order window and door manufacturers in the world, has signed a multi-year agreement private label credit card deal with GEC. The Marvin Companies has nearly 4,800 employees in its seven manufacturing facilities across the United States. Retail Sales Finance, based in Kettering, Ohio, is part of GE Consumer Finance and provides private label credit card programs, marketing, installment lending and financial services for national and regional retailers in key industries: home improvement, powersports, outdoor equipment, automotive/recreational vehicles, consumer electronics and appliances, furniture, floor covering, jewelry and health care.

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Equifax and Bankrate Team to Assist Consumers

Equifax and Bankrate have partnered to offer a new online resource to consumers shopping for a mortgage, home equity or auto loan via the Equifax Credit Center on Bankrate.com. Together, Bankrate.com and the Equifax Credit Center feature credit management information as well as tips and personal finance stories to guide consumers looking to purchase their first home, buy a new car or save for retirement. Equifax Inc. is a global leader in turning information into intelligence. Bankrate, Inc. (Nasdaq: RATE) owns and operates Bankrate.com, the Internet’s leading consumer banking marketplace.

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OTI Receives the Company of the Year Award

Frost & Sullivan presented On Track Innovations with the “2005 Company of the Year” award. OTI’s exceptional sales and marketing strategies for its microprocessor-based smart cards have given it the scale and growth required to succeed in the global contactless card solutions market. Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company’s industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities.

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Hackers Target Desktops for Card Information

During the first half of this year, malicious code that exposed confidential information represented 74% of the top 50 malicious code samples reported to Symantec, up from 54% in the previous six months. The semiannual report also found that attackers are moving away from large, multipurpose attacks on network perimeters and toward smaller, more targeted attacks directed at Web and client-side applications. Additionally, bot networks and custom bot code were available for purchase or rent; Symantec observed an average of 10,352 active bot network computers per day, an increase of more than 140 percent from the previous reporting period’s 4,348 bot computers. The report also found that phishing attacks continue to proliferate. The volume of phishing messages grew from an average of 2.99 million messages a day to 5.70 million.

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QNB Licenses ACI Smart Chip Manager

Qatar National Bank has licensed ACI Worldwide’s “Smart Chip
Manager.” The software will enable Qatar’s largest bank to introduce new smart cards and comply with forthcoming EMV international standards in advance of the January 2006 compliance deadline for the Middle East and Africa. An ACI customer for over six years, QNB currently employs ACI’s flagship BASE24 payments software to handle over 70 million ATM and POS transactions each year. The software will help QNB issue, manage and handle the data preparation for smart cards as the migration continues from magnetic stripe to chip-based cards that enable single and multiple applications to be hosted on one card. It will also provide QNB with the ability to fully manage the lifecycle of each EMV smart card, from issuance to application parameter setting and adjustment.

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GreenZap and Commission Junction Partner

San Diego-based GreenZap has named Commission Junction as its premier affiliate program and merchant resource. Commission Junction provides performance-based marketing solutions to drive traffic to thousands of online merchants worldwide. The affiliation will enable GreenZap account holders to search Commission Junction’s merchant database and shop at deep discounts and will be linked and searchable through GreenZap Storez, GreenZap’s online shopping venue where account holders can shop for items and pay for a portion of the sale price in WebCash, GreenZap’s loyalty-program, rewards dollar. GreenZap rewards its account holders with up to $50 in WebCash for opening an account. GreenZap enables any business or consumer with an email address to send and receive monetary payments securely and cost-effectively online.

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TOM Online and UMPAY to Develop Card-Based M-Payments

TOM Online and UMPAY have agreed to jointly develop and market bank card, debit card and credit card-based mobile payment products and services in China. UMPAY’s key shareholders include China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier with more than 230 million subscribers, and China Union Pay, a national payment network set up by a consortium of more than 100 banks and with a total of more than 800 million bank card users in China. To-date, UMPAY has attracted 3 million registered users and signed up with 8 Chinese banks including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications to offer mobile wallet services. Under the agreement, TOM Online will be the wireless and online payment portal company partner of UMPAY and will work with UMPAY to offer more comprehensive mobile payment products. China’s online payment market is expected to grow to more than RMB60.5 billion by the end of 2007 from an estimated RMB16 billion this year, according to iResearch.

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