TCF to Offer AmEx Travelers Cheque Card

Minnesota-based TCF National Bank will begin offering the “American Express Travelers Cheque Card” throughout its 430-branch retail banking network beginning May 31. The Cheque Card is a prepaid travel money card with the safety and security of Travelers Cheques that can be used at merchants and ATMs worldwide that accept American Express Cards. TCF is a national financial holding company with $12.7 billion in assets. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.

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U.S. Bank Nears 300 ATMs in St. Louis

U.S. Bancorp’s national bank subsidiary, U.S. Bank, has entered into a definitive agreement to become the exclusive in-store banking partner for all 66 Schnuck Markets, Inc. locations in the St. Louis Metro area. With this addition, U.S. Bank will have 110 full-service branches and nearly 300 ATMs in the St. Louis Metro area. Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 103 stores and 97 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi and Iowa. U.S. Bancorp, with $198 billion in assets,2,377 banking offices and 4,654 ATMs in 24 states is the 6th largest financial holding company in the US.

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FEE REFORM IMPACT

Reforms in credit card interchange fees are costing Australian banks dearly. After growing steadily, merchant service fee income declined for the first time, dropping 17% in 2004. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s actions in October 2003, which cut the average merchant service fee by 25%, are not yet reflected on a full-year period. The RBA says two-thirds of the total decline in merchant service fee income in
2004 was from small businesses. The decline in merchant service fees was reflected in total fee income from businesses, which fell by 1% in 2004, despite growth in fee income from business loan and deposit facilities.

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Discover Inks a Major Chinese Deal

Discover Financial Services confirmed this morning it has inked a partnership with China UnionPay to facilitate the acceptance of Discover cards in China and CUP cards in the USA. Under terms of the deal, Discover cards will be accepted at China UnionPay ATMs and POS terminals in China while China UnionPay cards will be accepted on Discover’s “PULSE” network in the USA. Discover says both companies will also pursue ways to enable acceptance of CUP cards on Discover’s POS network in the USA. There are more than 800 million CUP cards issued in China and more than 50 million Discover cards issued in the USA. Discover cards are currently accepted in the USA, Caribbean, Mexico and Canada.

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Barclaycard Revenues & Losses Rise

Barclays reports that its Barclaycard division faced increased operating expenses from its Juniper integration, as well as overall higher charge-offs in the first quarter. The double whammy more than offset the improved income performance for the card business. Barclays previously indicated it faced higher charge-offs but confessed today that the increase was greater than expected. Industry-wide credit card delinquency has increased from 3.75% to 4.90% over the past year in the UK. Today’s news sent Barclay’s stock down more than 4%. Barclays is the largest issuer of credit cards in Europe. For more details on Barclaycard’s performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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GECF Launches a New Bass Pro Shops Card

GE Consumer Finance’s Retail Sales Finance unit is launching a new credit card for Bass Pro Shops this weekend with a full national roll-out in August. Bass Pro Shops is the first national outdoor retailer to offer a private label credit card and operates 27 retail locations attracting over 75 million customers. GE Consumer Finance, a unit of General Electric Company, is a leading provider of credit services to consumers, retailers and auto dealers in 41 countries around the world with $150 billion in assets.

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Dauair Joins the UATP Network

The recently launched German regional airline, Dauair, has joined the UATP network. AirPlus International, UATP’s largest account issuer, is the leading form of payment for business travel in Germany.
Dauair began accepting all UATP cards on May 6th. Dauair’s main distribution tool is the online booking engine and is a ticket less carrier; however, traditional methodology may also be used by booking through travel agencies or through the Dauair call center. Dauair offers flights from Dortmund to Berlin-Tempelhof and Poznan, Poland. UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business
travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.

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Threshold Deploys Carreker’s eiManager

Threshold Financial Technologies has licensed Carreker’s “eiManager” software to manage their network of more than 1,600 ATMs.
“eiManager” provides Threshold with improved fault management
capabilities by allowing them to interpret, respond, ticket, dispatch, escalate and report any potential problems within the network either before they will impact Threshold’s customers or early enough to minimize their consequences. “eiManager” receives real-time alerts for ATM faults and cash activity and automatically schedules business actions when a problem occurs. ATM statuses are tracked in real-time, providing users with the ability to measure and report the impact of the faults. Advanced cash correlation logic allows for complex, automatic cash replenishment scenarios. Threshold has been providing ATM solutions since 1997. Carreker provides products and services to more than 250 clients worldwide.

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Welcome Names A-P and EMEA Executives

Aix-en-Provence-based Welcome has named a CEO for its Asia-Pacific region and Regional Director for the EMEA region.
Craig Bennett has been appointed CEO of Welcome’s Asia-Pacific region.
Philippe Bontemps has been appointed Welcome’s EMEA Regional Director.
Bennett worked for Misys PLC and SunGard Date Systems in the Asia-Pacific region. Bontemps has held various consulting, management and business development positions at Bull Smart Cards & Terminals in Spain and the USA, at Genuity. Welcome is a major provider of payment software that utilizes the full capabilities of the EMV standard to fight payment commoditization.

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Average US Household has 8.3 Cards

As of March 31st, there were 901.3 million credit and debit cards in circulation carrying the VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover brand. With 109 million American households, the average breaks out to 8.3 per household, according to CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][1]). The latest census estimates show a U.S. population of 296 million. The card figures include consumer and business payment cards. Besides the 901.3 million general purpose payment cards, there are an estimated 636.5 million limited use, or store and gas payment cards. Dividing the 1537.8 million total cards by the same numbers computes to about 14 cards per household or 5 cards per person.

[1]: http://www.cardtrak.com

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Pay By Touch Hires an IBM Exec as COO

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has hired John Morris, a 23-year veteran at IBM, as president and COO. Most recently, Morris led the distribution sector for the Americas at IBM, where his division generated annual revenues of $5 billion. His responsibilities included operations and product development for clients in the retail, consumer products, travel, transportation, hospitality, and gaming markets. Morris has also held strategy, marketing, and product roles in IBM. Through an existing agreement, Pay By Touch and IBM are engaged in a joint sales and marketing partnership. Pay By Touch is a biometric payment service free to consumers that allows shoppers to quickly and securely pay for purchases or cash checks using a finger scan.

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Iraqi Bank Issues Two VISA Cards

Baghdad-based Trade Bank of Iraq this week issued its first VISA payments cards. The state-owned bank plans to issue about 30,000 “VISA Classic” and “VISA Electron” cards by the end of this year, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. The TBI also announced plans to install Iraq’s first network of ATMs which will enable VISA cardholders to withdraw Iraqi dinars or US dollars from their accounts. The bank will initially deploy 10 ATMs in the greater Baghdad area. UK-based Card Tech Limited is providing the TBI with card issuing and acquiring processing services. In March Iraq’s Central Bank announced the formation of the National Company for Limited Financial Services. The Basra-based firm will specialize in issuing the “Al-Fayhaa” credit card via a partnership with another Middle East Bank, according to CardFlash International. (CFI Library 3/4/05; 5/10/05)

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