CARDS AUG 04

Gross dollar volume for purchases on credit card and charge cards during August jumped 5% from the prior month, and 18.5% from one-year ago. However, total outstandings for August were flat compared to July, and up 12% since August 2003. Revolving balances, or balances accruing interest, increased slightly to A$19.5 billion during August, and up 11% from one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. During August, Australians charged A$12.8 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards compared to A$10.8 billion one-year ago. At the end of August, consumers owed A$27.8 billion on credit cards versus A$24.8 billion for August 2003. Card credit limits reached A$74.8 billion at the end of August, compared to A$66.3 billion for August 2003. There are 11.2 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 10.6 million one-year ago.

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Toronto Partnership Targets Card Scams

The FTC says that 4.5 million consumers have been duped by advance fee loan scams, mostly credit card scams. Yesterday, law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada teamed together to take on Ontario-based telemarketers who target U.S. citizens by running ads in U.S. newspapers that they pay for with stolen or compromised credit cards. The Toronto Strategic Partnership has brought 16 FTC cases and over 380 Canadian criminal charges, since 2000. The Toronto Strategic Partnership members include the FTC, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Canadian Competition Bureau.

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AFFN and MasterCard Form a Network Alliance

The Armed Forces Financial Network and MasterCard have formed a network alliance giving AFFN-branded cards access to Maestro merchant and Cirrus ATM terminals worldwide. AFFN is an electronic funds transfer network supporting chartered military banks and defense credit unions. It provides financial services to U.S. Armed Forces and civilian personnel on and near military installations all over the world. AFFN presently serves over 335 financial institutions and 89 million cardholders. The alliance enables AFFN cardholders to access the world’s largest global debit network, which is connected to over 7 million merchants and 935,000 ATM locations. MasterCard International provides a variety of services that support members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business, and similar payment programs. The Company serves financial institutions, consumers, and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.

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eFunds and WildCard Form a Partnership

eFunds and WildCard Systems have teamed to combine eFunds’ EFT debit product suite with WildCard’s stored value/prepaid card capabilities to offer a single source for both EFT and stored value processing capabilities. This solution enables customers to have a single point of access through eFunds’ DataNavigator software for research, reporting, settlement, adjustments, and reconciliation of accounts. Customers can also have one point of contact for stored value and pre-paid card solutions and do not have to be trained to use numerous systems from numerous vendors. WildCard Systems is a leading company that provides turnkey host-based prepaid cards and custom stored-value products. eFunds Corporation along with its subsidiaries, offers electronic transaction processing, risk management, and similar outsourcing solutions to financial institutions, electronic funds transfer networks, government agencies, and retailers worldwide.

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Pipeline Data Revenues Up 62% in Q3

Pipeline Data reported revenues of $11.1 million for the first nine months of this year, compared to $7.3 million one-year ago. The nine-month figure is well above last year’s entire year revenues. Gross sales for the third quarter were $4,172,339 representing a 2% increase over the prior quarter, and a 62% increase over the third quarter of 2003. Pipeline Data offers card processing services in three key areas: wireless mobile payment, e-commerce solutions and retail merchant payment. The firm currently serves over 10,000 merchant customers. For complete details on Pipeline’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Diebold ATMs to Use Carreker’s QAS

Diebold is integrating Carreker’s “Quality Assurance Suite, Image Inspector,” into its “Opteva” family of ATMs. Carreker’s Courtesy Amount Recognition, Legal Amount Recognition (CAR/LAR), and Image Inspection technology will be integrated with Diebold’s image technology, enabling check images captured at Opteva ATMs to be evaluated for image quality. Carreker’s CAR/LAR technology increases the accuracy of check-amount recognition. According to David Bucci, senior vice president for Customer Solutions at Diebold, Diebold’s Intelligent Depository Module(TM) and Carreker’s Image Inspector(TM) together make self-service check acceptance ready for Check 21 legislation. Carreker Corporation works to improve revenues for financial institutions worldwide. Diebold, Inc. is a world-leading provider of self-service delivery systems, security, and services.

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Fiserv EFT Volume Up 17%

Fiserv reported EFT volume of 3.1 billion transactions for the first nine months of 2004, a 17% increase over comparable volumes in 2003. The ACCEL/Exchange Network, owned by Fiserv, reported record volume in September. Fiserv also drives the Armed Forces Financial Network, the Credit Union 24 network in Tallahassee, Florida as well as the surcharge-free Allpoint Network. It also processes electronic benefits transfer transactions. Fiserv, Inc. is a provider of information management systems and services to the financial industry. The company serves over 15,000 clients around the world.

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Universal Gift Cards Come Under Attack

A major debate over how universal gift cards are regulated will be coming to a head after three Attorneys General filed suit yesterday against Simon Malls. The debate is whether the “Simon Malls VISA Gift Card” is considered a “mall-issued card” or a “bank-issued card.” The card is provided to Simon Malls by Bank of America, and is one of the largest universal gift cards programs in the market today. Attorneys General from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut filed lawsuits yesterday claiming the card program violates consumer protection laws. Like most universal gift cards, the Simon Malls card charges service fees, dormancy fees, and has an expiration date. Massachusetts “Gift Certificate law” requires that gift cards be redeemable at full face value for seven years. New Hampshire’s “Consumer Protection Act” states that gift certificates may not expire, and that such service charges, dormancy fees, or other administrative charges that reduce the value of the gift certificate are forbidden. Connecticut says the Simon Card violates its “Truth in Advertising” for poor disclosure of the costs associated with card program.

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Navy FCU Sharechek VISA Makes the Top 10

Navy Federal Credit Union announced it is now one of VISA USA’s top ten check card issuers. The milestone for the Navy FCU “VISA Sharechek Card” was achieved in less than six years. During second quarter, Navy Federal’s VISA check card sales/purchase volume increased 35% over the same period last year, with nearly 87 million transactions for $3.5 billion in sales/purchase volume, year-to-date. The credit union’s check card penetration is 83% of its active checking account base; 62% of the check cards in circulation are active. Navy says its members’ average card usage is 15 POS transactions per month, which is above the industry average of 11.9 monthly transactions per user. Navy FCU is the world’s largest credit union, with more than $22 billion in assets and over 2.4 million members worldwide.

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HSBC Possibly Eyeing FDS Card Portfolios

Widely published reports suggest that HSBC is eyeing a purchase of the credit card portfolios of Federated Department Stores. At mid-year Federated had $2.1 billion in private label outstandings and $900 million in bank credit card outstandings. Federated recently indicated it is exploring options with regard to its card portfolio. Federated operates more than 450 stores in 34 states, under the names of Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bon-Macy’s, Burdines-Macy’s, Goldsmith’s-Macy’s, Lazarus-Macy’s and Rich’s-Macy’s. Earlier this month, HSBC acquired Marks & Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Ltd for $1.4 billion. (CF Library 11/12/03)

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Versatile’s Art Director Draws Top Honors

Versatile Card Technology announced that its art director, Jorge Ojeda, received four American Graphic Design Awards in the plastic card category. Mr. Ojeda has worked for the plastic card industry for 13 years. Before his career at VCT, Ojeda worked for plastic printing companies located in Brazil and Venezuela. In addition to card design, Ojeda is responsible for VCT’s Corporate Identity as well as their Web site. He also designs government identification cards for countries around the world. Along with the America Graphic Design Awards, Ojeda’s badge design was chosen by the International Card Manufacturer Association at its international conference in Prague, Czech Republic, this past October. VCT is the world’s largest plastic card manufacturer.

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