Airline Cards Regain Consumer Popularity

A new research report has discovered that consumer preference for co-branded airline cards has grown 73% between 2000 and 2003. The report also found that 93% of those surveyed say the value and features of co-branded cards prompt them to use the cards more often than other types. Packaged Facts says it study found that airline card activity reached a low point in late 1999 but resurged in 2002. The market research firm surveyed 6,500 consumers for its report titled: “The U.S. Market for Co-Branded and Affinity Credit Cards.”

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Abu Dhabi Comm Bank Deploys BASE24-es

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has selected ACI’s “BASE24-es” to consolidate ATM and POS transaction authorization onto a single platform. “BASE24-es” will also aid the bank’s compliance with EMV mandates. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank will run “BASE24-es” on a Sun “Solaris” platform. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was formed in 1985 as a public shareholding company with limited liability upon the merger of Emirates Commercial Bank and Federal Commercial Bank with Khaleej Commercial Bank.

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WaMu Switches to FDC for Offline Debit

Washington Mutual has selected First Data to provide authorization and settlement processing for its 9.4 million signature debit card portfolio. The deal extends the previously announced relationship between WaMu and First Data’s “STAR Network.” “STAR” currently serves as the preferred brand and network for PIN-secured, online debit point-of-sale, and ATM processing. Earlier this week, WaMu announced it is planning to switch its payment card programs to MasterCard.

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Credit Card Penalty Fees Hit GBP400MM

A consumer group has calculated that credit card companies in the U.K. rake in GBP400 million in late fees and over-limit fees each year. Which? says it found that one in four consumers were charged at least once in the last year for paying late or going over their limit.
The consumer watchdog based its calculations on an online survey of 2,000 Britons. The group also cited the credit card industry over risk-based pricing, marketing to maxed-out consumers, offering credit
increases to encourage borrowing, credit reference agency reporting, and
interest calculation methods. Which? says that although last year’s review of the “Consumer Credit Act” tackled some serious issues, they were disappointed it didn’t cover things like interest calculation methods and data sharing. The Office of Fair Trading is currently investigating late payment fee practices.

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VISA Pledges $1MM for Earthquake Relief

VISA USA pledged a $1 million cash contribution to the Red Cross for Southeast Asia earthquake/tsunami relief, is matching employee contributions, and waiving all fees for U.S. VISA card-based donations to certain charities. In conjunction with this corporate donation, and acknowledging the desire of Visa employees to contribute to relief efforts, Visa will also provide a dollar-for-dollar match on all employee contributions made to the five designated charitable organizations. Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives. Nearly 21,000 financial institutions worldwide rely on Visa’s processing system, VisaNet, to facilitate $3 trillion in annual transaction volume with virtually 100-percent reliability.

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Global Pronex to use Cash Connect ATM Cash

CA-based Global Pronex has received a credit line for cash replenishment for ATMs from WSFS’s “Cash Connect” division. The credit line will be used to fill 150 new locations that GPI plans to add in 2005. Each ATM location is expected to dispense $25,000 of cash per month. Global Pronex Inc. (GPI) is a leader in ATM sales, service and processing. Cash Connect is a top provider of ATM services including vault cash, ATM equipment sales, processing services, cash management and turn-key placements. Bantek is the largest dedicated independent ATM service provider in the US. Its state of the art ATM management systems and electronic cash balancing system allow it to constantly monitor it services to maximize the performance of ATMs.

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BANKFIRST Sub-Prime Portfolio is Sold

Marshall Bancorp sold its BANKFIRST credit card portfolio to Rushmore Acquisition, an independent consortium of investors that includes Merrill Lynch and CompuCredit. The sub-prime portfolio has approximately $400.0 million in outstandings. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The portfolio sale immediately followed the acquisition of BANKFIRST by Marshall Bancorp this week. BANKFIRST was owned by the Lund family of Brookings, SD.

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Jack Henry Acquires Stratika

MO-based Jack Henry & Associates has acquired MN-based RPM Intelligence d/b/a Stratika, a provider of profitability solutions. RPM, Stratika’s flagship product, helps diverse financial institutions increase revenues, contain costs, and improve profits by calculating profitability for the institution from the individual product and customer profitability levels up to the overall organizational level. Stratika was originally founded by a team of business and software development experts intent on creating advanced business intelligence tools to allow their clients to become more efficient in managing corporate systems.Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. is a leading provider of integrated computer systems and processor of ATM/debit card/ACH transactions for banks and credit unions.

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GO Software Updates its PCCharge

GO Software has released “PCCharge 5.7.1.” which offers more functionality for additional payment processing platforms, including Global East, Vital, FDMS Omaha, Heartland Payment Systems and Secure Payment Systems. Security remains a concern for merchants, especially with the advent of programs like Visa CISP (Cardholder Information Security Program), which defines a standard for protecting Visa cardholder data. GO Software, a subsidiary of ROI Corporation (OTCBB: ROIE), is a leading provider of point-of-sale (POS) payment processing software. ROI Corporation is a holding company focused on two industries: payment processing and construction information.

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MC Waives Card Fees for Tsunami Donations

MasterCard International announced that, effective January 7th, it will waive its fees to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, UNICEF, Save the Children and CARE USA for donations for Tsunami relief made by Americans with their MasterCard cards. In addition, MasterCard is double-matching employee contributions to the South East Asia disaster relief funds of the American Red Cross, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Society, or AmeriCares. Disaster relief contributions by employees to other humanitarian organizations are matched dollar-for-dollar. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs.

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