MasterCard yesterday issued a “Global Operations Bulletin” regarding illegal tobacco sales conducted over the Internet via payment cards. The transactions may circumvent state-mandated tobacco taxes and other tariffs. MasterCard said that financial institutions can continue to provide MasterCard acceptance for Internet tobacco sales if they have documented evidence to substantiate that the merchant is in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws to the satisfaction of ATF and any applicable State Attorney General. MasterCard also says it has been working closely with law enforcement officials to address situations where the legality of activities related to payment card transactions is in question.Details
ACH Direct has finalized certification of its Payments Gateway platform with Vital Processing Services. ACH Direct’s Payments Gateway has been certified with Vital for processing Retail, Direct Marketing, E-Commerce, Purchase Card and Recurring transaction types. ACH Direct is one of the largest privately held electronic funds transfer processors in the US with over $3 billion transactions processed in 2004. Vital Processing Services is a leader in technology-based, commerce-enabling services.Details
Transaction Systems Architects,Inc., announced that Philip G. Heasley, a 31-year veteran of payment systems and financial services, has been named President and CEO. Previously, Mr. Heasley was Chairman and CEO of Bank One’s First USA credit card unit. Transaction Systems Architects, Inc., is a leading global provider of enterprise e-payments software used on more than 1,740 product systems.Details
United Bank Limited has launched the first VISA smart credit card in South Asia. The new “UBL VISA” offers instant “Chip Rewards,” “RoadMiles,” and “Talk-Time.” The new card is powered by Welcome Real-time’s “XLS” software. UBL’s acquiring partner, RFM Loyalty, uses “XLS Server” to manage a network of payment terminals, which are equipped with a payment application developed using “XLS POS” software libraries. The “RoadMiles” feature offers free petrol every month based on spending. “Talk-Time” offers free phone minutes based on total spending, in addition to a free connection. UBL has more than 1,000 branches in Pakistan and a customer base of more than 3.5 million. RFM Loyalty is Pakistan’s only smart card solution provider. Welcome is a provider of payment software that utilizes the full capabilities of EMV standard chip credit and debit cards.Details
United Mileage Plus and Chase will give cardmembers two miles for every dollar spent when they use the UMP Visa card to pay personal income tax, property or quarterly taxes. Cardholders can earn additional bonus miles by enlisting H&R Block’s services. First-time clients of H&R Block will earn 1,000 bonus miles when they use the UMP Visa card to pay for tax prep services. United Mileage Plus has over 45 million enrolled members. United Airlines is the world’s second largest airline, operating more than 3,500 flights a day. JPMorgan Chase & Co.is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $1.1 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries.Details
SK Telecom has inked a deal with MasterCard to upgrade the
merchant network to accept MasterCard “M/Chip” and to support the MasterCard “OneSMART PayPass” contactless payment program on their existing payments infrastructure. MasterCard and SK Telecom will work
to develop new mobile payment models to enable MasterCard cardholders in
Korea to use SK Telecom’s “Moneta” mobile payments service. MasterCard “PayPass” has already been implemented in several retail locations in the U.S. including McDonald’s.
Peter Mark has selected Trintech’s “ReconNET” to automate
the verification and reconciliation of its cash, check and credit card
deposits. Prior to licensing “ReconNET,” the salon chain used an in-house system and paper reports for deposit verification and reconciliation. Peter Mark management will now use “ReconNET” to immediately detect and flag issues for review, so they can quickly resolve exceptions and reduce write-offs. Peter Mark has 68 salons nationwide.
Revolving consumer credit hit the $800 billion milestone during January. Americans added $5.4 billion to revolving credit during January compared to $7.8 billion in January 2004. The change further verifies that more consumers are paying credit card balances off in-full each month or increasing their monthly payment. The monthly payment rate is hovering at 18%, an all-time high. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owed $801.4 billion in revolving credit at the end of January, compared to $796.0 billion for December. One-year ago revolving credit stood at approximately $753.2 billion. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the fourth quarter was $696.7 billion, or roughly 87% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com]). At the end of January, Americans were $2018.5 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.
REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Jan 05 Dec 04 Nov 04 Sep 04 Jun 04 Mar 04 Dec 03
GRWTH: 8.1% 8.5 0.9 5.5 10.4 -1.9 5.4
$OWED: $801.4 796.0 790.4 785.2 765.2 768.9 758.7
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 3/07/05;
For complete historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com)
Lipman Electronic Engineering has received a follow-on order for its “NURIT 8320” landline and “NURIT 8010S” wireless POS terminals from one of the largest privately owned banks in Turkey. The order is valued at approximately $4.8 million. Lipman develops, manufactures and markets a variety of handheld, wireless and landline POS terminals, electronic cash registers, retail ATM units, PIN pads and smart card readers, as well as integrated PIN and smart card solutions.Details
San Antonio-based Payment Data Systems reports that revenues increased 200% last year and that its net loss for 2004 was $1.5 million, compared to net income of $484,896 for 2003. Revenues for the fourth quarter grew 144% to $168,966 from the prior quarter. During 2004, PDS entered new market segments such as charitable giving, consumer credit counseling, telecommunications and insurance. The Company’s Credit Payment Services will soon complete its first quarter of debit card distribution and remains on track to generate up to $1 million in revenue for PDS in 2005. For complete details on PDS’ latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
MBNA has teamed with Illinois-based United Financial Mortgage to launch a MasterCard with rewards to reduce mortgage principal. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar charged to retail purchases. When the cardholder accumulates 5,000 points, a check for $50 will be sent to the borrower. MBNA is the largest independent credit card lender in the world and the recognized leader in affinity marketing, endorsed by more than 5,000 organizations worldwide. United Financial Mortgage Corp. is an independent originator and servicer of residential and commercial mortgage loans.Details