MasterCard Names 4 Best European Cobrands

MasterCard Europe this morning announced the results of the “2005 European Co-Brand Partners of the Year Award.” The “Best Launch in 2004/5” was the “Citibank – Megafon MasterCard.” The “Most Innovative Use of Technology” was “Barclaycard – SkyCard.” The “Best Usage/Expansion Program” was the “Marks and Spencer – &More Card from M&S Money.” The “Long Term Achievement Award” went to the “AKBank – Axess MasterCard.” The four “Co-Brand Partners of the Year” award winners were selected by a panel of independent judges that includes Bob Hand, Managing Director of Affinity Solutions Ltd – a specialist partnership marketing consultancy, Alan Leach, Director and Co-Founder of Finaccord – a research based consultancy company focused on affinity and partnership in European financial services and Peter Trembling, Managing Director of The Affinity Company – independent affinity and co-brand consultants.

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China UnionPay and Citibank Ink an ATM Pact

China UnionPay formally inked a deal with Citibank, becoming the first global alliance between China’s national bankcard association and an international bank. The alliance will expand the ATM acceptance for cardholders of China UnionPay and Citibank. Chinese holders of CUP cards will now have the convenience of being able to withdraw foreign currency from Citibank ATMs located in more than 50 countries, without needing a dual currency card. Citibank’s international cardholders will in turn have the convenience of access to approximately 8,000 foreign-enabled CUP ATMs when traveling in China. Citibank was the first bank to deploy foreign-card enabled ATMs in China, which it has been doing for more than a decade. Citibank was also the first foreign bank to enter the retail banking business in China in the post-WTO era. In May, China UnionPay sealed a deal with Discover Financial Services to facilitate acceptance of CUP cards in the USA via its “PULSE” network. In return, Discover cards will be accepted in China. There are more than 800 million CUP cards issued in China.

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Oberthur Card Revenues Up 16% this Year

Oberthur Card Systems reported that revenues for the first six months of this year were up 15.8%. The Company delivered close to 88 million microprocessor cards compared to 67 million in the first six months of last year, a 30.7% increase on a year-on-year basis. The revenue in the smart cards segment amounted to $191 million with a 20.4% growth at constant exchange rates, whereas the magnetic stripe segment rose by 11.4% to $45.6 million. Smart card shipments increased by +30.7% in the first six months to a volume of 87.9 million cards. The revenue for smart cards in the Banking segment grew by 9.1% at constant exchange rates to $82.3 million. The Americas region grew 10.6% to $64.7 million. The region performed particularly well in magnetic stripe banking cards. For complete details on Oberthur’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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LaserCard Names a New Chairman

LaserCard Corporation has elected Donald Mattson as chairman of the company’s board of directors. Mattson joined the company’s board of directors on March 1, 2005. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President and COO of InVision Technologies, an explosives detection systems manufacturer, which was acquired by GE during early December 2004. He has also held senior management positions at Optical Data, Inc., Storage Technology, Memorex and Varian, Inc. Mattson earned a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA in Industrial Management from the University of California, Berkeley. LaserCard manufactures and markets LaserCard optical memory cards, chip-ready OpticalSmart cards and other advanced-technology secure identification cards.

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Advantex Reports FY05 Earnings

Advantex Marketing International has released its performance report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005. Highlights and important
developments of the year include the sale of the “Samplex Group”,
generating initial net proceeds of $2.2 million, renewal of its
long-term agreements with CIBC and United Airlines, strong performance
of “Online Shopping Mall” programs and suspension of the “U.S. Retail”
pilot programs. Overall, sales and fees from continuing operations in
FY 05 were $71.8 million compared to $76.6 million in fiscal 2004. The
change reflects the impact of migrating certain merchants during fiscal
2005 from a “Pre-Purchase” model to a “Post-Settlement” model. Advantex
Marketing International specializes in integrated marketing solutions
for its merchant and channel partner clients.

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Alaska CHARR Selects Heartland Payment Systems

Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant & Retailers Association has selected Heartland Payment Systems as their preferred provider to process their credit/debit cards, including VISA and MasterCard cards. Heartland’s fraud prevention methodology limits consumers’ exposure to identity theft by obscuring credit card numbers and card expiration dates on all receipts, safeguarding sensitive consumer data, and providing training for merchants and their employees on identifying stolen cards and enables CHARR members to monitor irregularities in their card transactions in real time. Alaska CHARR is a statewide organization serving the hospitality industry. Heartland Payment Systems delivers credit/debit card processing and payroll solutions to more than 100,000 small- to medium-sized merchants throughout the United States.

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TOP COBRANDS

MasterCard Europe announced the results of the “2005 European Co-Brand Partners of the Year Award.” The winners are the “Citibank – Megafon MasterCard”; “Barclaycard – SkyCard”; “Marks and Spencer – &More Card from M&S Money”; and “AKBank – Axess MasterCard.” The “Best Launch in 2004/5” was the “Citibank – Megafon MasterCard.” Launched last May in the fast growing Russian card market, the “Citibank MegaFon MasterCard” card is the first co-branded credit card to offer a grace period in the country. The “Most Innovative Use of Technology” was “Barclaycard – SkyCard.” “SkyCard” is a brand new kind of credit card which launched in the UK in April and is the first of its kind to offer interactive television payments and entertainment based rewards. The “Best Usage/Expansion Program” was the “Marks and Spencer – &More Card from M&S Money.” Between April and August, M&S Money embarked upon a program to reissue all credit cards to their account base upgraded with “Chip & PIN” functionality. The “Long Term Achievement Award” went to the “AKBank – Axess MasterCard.” “Axess” was launched in November 2001 with a highly successful launch campaign which resulted in one million cards being issued within eight months. As of mid 2005, cards in issue in the
country exceeded three million. “Axess” was acclaimed by MasterCard
International as the fastest-growing credit card brand in Turkey and
Europe in 2002. The four “Co-Brand Partners of the Year” award winners were selected by a panel of independent judges that includes Bob Hand, Managing Director of Affinity Solutions Ltd – a specialist partnership marketing consultancy, Alan Leach, Director and Co-Founder of Finaccord – a research based consultancy company focused on affinity and partnership in European financial services and Peter Trembling, Managing Director of The Affinity Company – independent affinity and co-brand consultants.

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VeriFone Brings Virus Protection to the POS

VeriFone announced the availability of McAfee “VirusScan Mobile for Verix,” the first virus protection for payment solutions at the point of sale in the USA. McAfee VirusScan Mobile for Verix will provide real-time monitoring and attack pattern update services for VeriFone Internet-connected payment solutions at the point of sale. The virus protection software is currently offered on the VeriFone Omni 3750 Ethernet-enabled payment solution and will be offered on all IP-enabled systems using the Verix and Verix V operating systems in the future; merchants can order a new system with the software pre-installed or easily download the upgrade software to existing systems. McAfee provides intrusion prevention and security risk management VeriFone Holdings,provides secure electronic payment technologies.

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HSBC and Trent Launch a Co-Branded Card

HSBC and retailer Trent have launched a cobranded private label card that offers 10% off the monthly grocery bill. The new card has drawn some criticism since it does not require proof of income. The Reserve Bank of India recently issued draft guidelines on credit cards calling for better income verification. Nevertheless, HSBC is targeting 46.4 million households for the new card. The minimum credit limit is Rs 3,000.

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Cardtronics Names a New Chief Marketing Officer

Houston-based Cardtronics has hired Drew Soinski, formerly with First Horizon Merchant Services and National Processing Company, as Chief Marketing Officer. As head of National Sales for First Horizon Merchant Services.Soinski exceeded revenue goals exponentially through market expansion, and by adding top-tier accounts to his prolific portfolio. From 1997 to 2002, Soinski led the sales team for NPC (now BA Merchant Services). Soinski successfully led NPC to become the leader in the Travel and Entertainment, Retail and Petroleum segments and effectively launched card acceptance in six of the top ten Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) in the United States. Soinski graduated with a B.S.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Central Florida. Cardtronics is the world’s largest owner/operator of ATMs with a nationwide U.S. network of more than 25,000 locations.

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Web Mystery Finds Cleaner Web Sites Improve Card Apps

A recent study of 850 Internet users found that 80% of them are willing to apply for credit cards online, and 58% say they have already done so. But credit card issuers who make their websites more appealing and easier to use will improve the quality and number of their online applicants, suggests research conduced by website usability firm Web Mystery Shoppers International Inc. Twelve sites were visited by about 70 users each between August 15-23, 2003: American Express, Bank One, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Discover Financial, First USA, Mastercard, MBNA, Nextcard, Providian and VISA.

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