CO-BRAND WINNERS

The “Special Olympics Advantage Credit Card” from the Bank of Ireland, the “Statoil MasterCard” from SEB Kort of Sweden, and the “The Bonus Card” from Garanti Bank of Turkey, have been selected as winners in the MasterCard Europe “European Co-Brand Partner of the Year Awards.”
The three award winners were selected from over 2,500 MasterCard co-brand programs in Europe, and were independently judged. The “Special Olympics Advantage Credit Card” from the Bank of Ireland won as “Best Launch in 2003/4.” This card program raised over one million euros for the Games across the many program initiatives that were implemented, not only helping to contribute to a unique event but also resulting in one of the fastest growing and best known co-brand programs ever to be launched in Ireland. The “Statoil MasterCard” SEB Kort of Sweden, launched in 1997 and re-launched last year, won as “Best Usage/Expansion Program in 2003.” The “Bonus Card” from Garanti Bank of Turkey, introduced in 2000, won the “Long Term Achievement Award.” The card program is Turkey’s fastest growing card, with three million cardholders, 1,000 partner merchants and their 52,000 points of sale. The judges for the Awards were Bob Hand, Managing Director of Affinity Solutions Ltd (R) a specialist partnership marketing consultancy; Alan Leach, Director and Co-Founder of Finaccord(R) a research based consultancy company focused on affinity and partnership in European financial services; and, Peter Trembling, Managing Director of The Affinity Company (R) independent affinity and co-brand consultants.

Details

Q2 Delinquent Dollars Edge Down by 32BPS

Credit card delinquencies, based on total dollars outstanding, declined to 4.33% during the second quarter, remaining slightly below last year’s second quarter delinquencies of 4.51%, and last quarter’s ratio of 4.65%. However, the number of past-due credit card accounts increased slightly to 4.28%, year-on-year and sequentially. A record high of 4.43% was reported for the fourth quarter of 2003. The data are based on statistics gathered by the American Bankers Association for its quarterly “Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin.” The ABA attributes the uptick in delinquent accounts to high gas prices which have constrained household budgets. The composite ratio of closed-end installment loans 30 days or more past due decreased to 1.80% from 1.86% of all accounts. This has been a steady improvement for five consecutive quarters.

2Q CREDIT CARD DELINQUENCY HISTORY
(based on total dollars outstanding)
1980: 3.25% 1990: 3.46% 2000: 3.54%
1981: 2.86% 1991: 4.48% 2001: 4.13%
1982: 3.03% 1992: 4.19% 2002: 4.08%
1983: 2.81% 1993: 3.86% 2003: 4.51%
1984: 2.80% 1994: 3.06% 2004: 4.33%
1985: 2.88% 1995: 3.58%
1986: 3.83% 1996: 4.61%
1987: 3.28% 1997: 5.24%
1988: 3.44% 1998: 4.57%
1989: 3.06% 1999: 4.10%
Source: American Bankers Association

Details

AmEx Launches an Affinity Card for New Yorkers

American Express is introducing an affinity card for New Yorkers next week. The new “IN:NYC Card” offers “INSIDE Rewards” points redeemable for certificates at more than 70 New York City establishments or for one-of-a-kind experiential rewards. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent and double points on dining, movies, mobile phone service, cable and satellite TV service, Internet service, gym membership, and magazine/newspaper subscriptions. “IN:NYC” cardholders can also share or transfer “INSIDE Rewards” points with friends and family. Another “IN:NYC” benefit provides cardholders with VIP access to concert venues. Beginning October 5th, New Yorkers can apply for and access card benefits through a special Web site. Advertising will hit the New York City area on October 5th in a print and outdoor media campaign that includes subways and stations, bus shelters, merchant establishments and local publications. The card will be formally launched on October 7th at the SoHo art exhibit.

Details

Fiserv’s Personix Adds Translucent Cards

Fiserv’s Personix has added a line of translucent cards to its “Card Collection.” Personix is offering 35 different prototype card designs. With the four new copyrighted designs, financial institutions now have more than 39 card-design options in the “Card Collection,” including 12 designs available as photo cards. The “Card Collection” features pay-as-you-go ordering, no minimum inventory requirements, no creative costs or setup fees, and fast turnaround on plastic delivery. Personix provides plastic-card manufacturing, personalization and mailing services and high-volume laser printing, mailing and electronic document delivery solutions to more than 9,000 clients worldwide.

Details

Drexler Technology Changes Corporate Name

Drexler Technology Corporation is changing its corporate name to LaserCard Corporation, effective October 1st, and will trade under a new stock symbol (Nasdaq:LCRD), starting October 5th. The change in name is projected to strengthen the company’s corporate identity by aligning it with the company’s brand image. The company plans to merge its subsidiary, LaserCard Systems Corporation, into the recently named LaserCard Corporation. The merge is expected to result in simplified accounting as well as administrative cost savings. Drexler Technology intends to keep the names of current primary corporate identities for the sale of non-optical card products as well as keep them separate from German companies who operate under the same names. Drexler Technology is a manufacturer of various advanced technology cards including LaserCard(R) optical memory cards and chip-ready Smart/Optical(TM) cards.

Details

Arthur Blank Expands Card Capacity

Boston-based Arthur Blank announced it now has the single largest card production facility in the world. The facility is able to produce more than 1.3 billion high quality plastic cards per year. The milestone was reached with the installation of a fourth Burkle high-speed laminator to its production floor. Arthur Blank’s has an 80,000 square foot production facility in Boston. Arthur Blank products include: private label loyalty, gift, phone, credit, debit, membership, security I.D., access cards, RFID and Smart cards, as well as complete card numbering and personalization.

Details

FNF Opts to Pay $400MM Cash for InterCept

Fidelity National Financial confirmed it has opted to pay all-cash for its acquisition of InterCept. InterCept shareholders will receive $18.90 in cash for each share of common stock they hold or about $400 million total. Under the terms of the merger agreement signed September 8th, Fidelity had the option to pay the consideration in all cash or in a combination of cash and stock. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. InterCept provides outsourced and in-house, fully integrated core banking solutions for approximately 425 community banks and operates significant item processing and check imaging operations for approximately 720 customers. FNF is a provider of products and outsourced services and solutions to financial institutions and the real estate industry, with annual income of more than $7.7 billion.

Details

AmEx Adds Identity Theft Assistance Benefit

American Express has added an “Identity Theft Assistance” program to all cardholders at no extra cost. The new program provides support to assist Cardmembers in securing their personal information, determine identity theft, and provide help in regaining stolen identity. The Identity Theft Assistance has benefits including 24/7 access to representatives, assistance with suspected identity theft, and materials assisting Cardmembers re-establish their credit. American Express offers additional fraud protection programs to Cardmembers for a nominal fee. Such programs include CreditSecure, which monitors credit profiles and notifies customers of any changes, Identity Protection from American Express, which provides up to $15,000 (after a $100 deductible) in identity theft coverage, and American Express Credit Card Registry, which insures protection on Cardmember cards. Founded in 1850, The American Express Company is a global provider of travel, network, and financial services.

Details

HSBC Bank Launches Small Business Program

HSBC Bank has launched the “BusinessSmart” program for its small business customers, which includes a “MasterCard BusinessCard.” BusinessSmart will offer Free Business Checking and ExtraVantage for Business to small businesses. In addition, HSBC customers will be able to access a toll-free small business service line 24 hours a day. Free Business Checking has no minimum balance and is intended for small businesses focusing on value. Free online banking, free bill pay, and a MasterCard BusinessCard (R) are included in the program. ExtraVantage for Business is intended for businesses in need of a higher level of service when compared to traditional small business bank offerings. Like Free Busniness Checking, ExtraVantage will include free online bill pay. It is accessible to companies that have a $25,000 combined deposit relationship with HSBC or to any small business for a monthly fee of $25.00. HSBC Bank USA, National Association, has approximately 400 branches in New York, 11 branches in Flordia, 6 in California, and 1 branch in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Oregon.

Details

OPC Renews its Wisconsin Contract

Official Payments has renewed its contract with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to enable Wisconsin taxpayers to pay a wide variety of individual and business taxes using a credit card. VISA(R), American Express(R), Discover(R), or MasterCard(R) credit cards may be used to pay 16 different types of individual and business taxes. Official Payments Corp. also offers “Payment Reminders,” an email reminder of upcoming payment due dates. Official Payments is a provider of electronic payment services. It serves Washington, D.C., the IRS, 22 states, and has more than 1,500 local government clients across the nation. Citizens are charged a convenience fee for services. Official Payments is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tier Technologies, Inc., which provides transaction processing, packaged software, and systems integration services to clients in the public sector.

Details

AA Card Adds 90-Day Grace Period Benefit

American Airlines has launched a “90 days same-as-cash” offer for its private label card. Cardholders of the “American Airlines Credit Card” must make a $199 minimum purchase to qualify for the deal. The offer is for individuals only. Finance charges accrue from the date of purchase and all accrued finance charges are added to the account for the entire promotional period if qualifying purchases are not paid in full before the end of the promotional period, or if a late payment is made. Citibank provides the credit feature of the card. The APR for purchases is 21.96%, and there is no annual fee. American Airlines also has a co-branded VISA and MasterCard program with Citibank.

Details

Certegy Signs Pulaski Processing Contract

Certegy has inked an agreement with Pulaski Bank and Trust of Little Rock, Arkansas for credit card and merchant processing services. Pulaski Bank and Trust was very impressed with Certegy’s processing platform and is very pleased to have Certegy process their credit card accounts. Certegy provides various processing services to over 6,500 financial institutions, 117,000 retailers, and 100 million consumers around the world. Formed in 1956, Pulaski Bank has assets totaling $400 million and operates 12 branches throughout Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.

Details