ONLINE ACTIVITY

A new survey has found that 22 million Internet users either purchase or bank online, with half of them doing both. The average
number of purchases per year, per online shopper, has grown sharply, from 6.5 in 2000 to 7.8 in 2001, 9.4 in 2002, and 11.2 last year. According to Association for Payment Clearing Services, the number of credit card payments made online has increased five-fold since 1999, with 10% of all credit card payments now taking place online compared
to just 2% five years ago. More than six million or 20% of all credit card holders viewed their statements online during the second half of 2003. The new APACS data also shows Britons’ rising dependence on the Internet for more than just information with almost 13 million customers using Internet banking in 2003.

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Christian MasterCard Produces Mixed Reactions

Family Christian Stores says its co-branded credit card with MBNA is slow going, and that the card design has generated some negative reaction. The “Family Christian Stores MasterCard,” launched 18 months ago, bestows to cardholders two points for every dollar spent at Family Christian Stores, and one point for each dollar spent elsewhere. Cardholders automatically receive a $10 gift certificate each time they earn 1,000 points. Additionally, new cardholders also receive two $10 gift certificates after the first eligible use of the card. The no fee card carries a moderate 9.9% fixed APR, but punishes cardholders with an ungodly fee of $39 for make late payments or going over the credit line. Iowa City TV station KCRG-TV9 says some viewers felt the “Master” would not have approve the card design.

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Collective Point of Sale Solutions to Sell SCTN Loyalty Program

Collective Point of Sale Solutions has signed an agreement to license and resell SCTN’s patent-protected, end-to-end loyalty program management solution to its customers throughout Canada. The program includes “e-llegiance” and “Loyalty Central.” Smart Chip Technologies’ turnkey loyalty program management system, co-developed with the Airos Group and IBM, enables smarter, click-and-mortar, real-time rewards programs running on bar code, magnetic stripe, RFID, or smart cards, laptops, PDAs such as Palm or Windows devices, TV set top boxes, or mobile phones. Collective-POS is Canada’s leading private provider of merchant services including point-of-sale hardware, software, and credit/debit transaction processing, with thousands of satisfied merchants from coast to coast.

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ScotiaCard Mi Pago to use RapidMoney Service

RapidMoney Corporation announced it will now make money transfers directly to a Mexican stored value card. Issued by Scotiabank Inverlat, the “ScotiaCard Mi Pago” enables recipients of RapidMoney
transfers to withdraw funds from all the ATMs in Mexico and to make
purchases without service charges at over 100,000 Mexican stores and restaurants. Senders of “RapidMoney” transfers in the USA request the
“Scotiacard Mi Pago,” which is then delivered to the designated recipient in Mexico. Subsequent transfers automatically load the card and provide the transfer recipient continued access to Mexican ATMs, stores and restaurants.

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First Annapolis Adds Two Partners

First Annapolis has promoted Bob Lime and Jim Leroux to partner. Bob Lime focuses on the firm’s Card Issuing practice with a particular emphasis on the Retailer Services sector where he advises retailers and third party providers of retail credit programs on a full range of customer financing and payment strategies, such as private label credit cards, co-branded credit cards, stored value gift cards, and loyalty programs. Jim Leroux works with First Annapolis clients on corporate strategy with a strong emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, strategic relationships, and outsourcing transactions. He works with clients across all of our practice areas and routinely helps clients develop and execute their corporate strategies, often through the identification and completion of strategic transactions. First Annapolis is a management consulting and M&A advisory firm with a focus on the consumer financial services and a specialty in payment-related products, services, and delivery.

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RBS Buys a Top Merchant Processor

Royal Bank of Scotland is buying privately-held, Atlanta-based Lynk Systems, through its US-based Citizens Financial Group, for $525 million in cash. Lynk, a top merchant processor and acquirer, handles $18 billion in charge volume and 400 million transactions annually. The Company services approximately 100,000 merchants. Lynk also provides processing services for 25,000 ATM’s located throughout the USA representing $6 billion dispensed and 120 million transactions annually. The Company was founded in 1991 and has more than 950 employees. Financial Technology Partners and FTP Securities exclusively represented Lynk Systems in the pending sale to RBS. Lynk was a customer of Citizens Financial. Atlanta-based Arnall Golden & Gregory served as Lynk’s legal advisor.

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Diners Club to Beef-Up Global Vision MIS

Diners Club yesterday announced it plans upgrade its “Global Vision” online MIS reporting tool for corporate card clients during the fourth quarter. Besides faster page load times, users will be able to run reports on specific days, and delinquency reports can run at the summary level. Changes have also been incorporated to allow users to create and name their own report folders as well. Additionally, the multi-language capabilities of “Global Vision” will expand to include Spanish and French by the end of the year. Diners Club “Global Vision,” launched in 1992, includes more than 40 standard reports and allows users to create custom reports with access to over 500 distinct data items.

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MEI Gears-Up for the New $50 Bill

MEI is now offering clients options to upgrade their bill acceptors in the field so that they will recognize and accept the new $50 bill when it comes out next month. Upgrade and pricing options differ according to the model bill acceptor, and customers will receive detailed upgrade ordering information from MEI via e-mail and service bulletins that will be issued to service centers, distributors, and customers. The new $50 bills will be safer, smarter and more secure. MEI payment systems are relied upon for more than1 billion transactions per week in 90 countries.

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Card Scams Victimized 10 Million Consumers

Nearly ten million Americans were victims of three types of credit card-related fraud last year. The FTC yesterday reported that advance-fee loan scams, mostly credit cards, claimed 4.55 million victims last year. Credit card insurance scams claimed 3.35 million victims, and credit repair scams suckered 2 million victims. The annual FTC survey found that American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans, and Hispanics were more likely to be victims of fraud than non-Hispanic whites. The FTC research reveals that 33% of fraud victims first learned about a fraudulent offer or product from print advertising in newspapers, magazines, direct mail, catalogs, or posters. Telemarketing was the first source of contact in 17% of the frauds. Only 14% of fraudulent offers were promoted using Internet and e-mail; television or radio advertising account for only 10.6% of fraudulent offers.

TOP TEN FRAUDS 2003
SCAM #VICTIMS
1. Advance-fee loan scams 4.55 million
2. Buyers clubs 4.05 million
3. Credit card insurance 3.35 million
4. Credit repair 2.00 million
5. Prize promotions 1.80 million
6. Internet services 1.75 million
7. Pyramid schemes 1.55 million
8. Information services 0.80 million
9. Government job offers 0.65 million
10. Business opportunities 0.45 million
Source: FTC

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Incurrent Releases InSite Collections

Incurrent is releasing “InSite Collections,” a fully-branded, online collections product. InSite Collections can integrate seamlessly with its powerful InSite product line or it can run as a stand-alone experience for delinquent cardholders. InSite Collections provides delinquent accounts a Web experience in which they can communicate with the card issuer about the details of their delinquency and become educated about the options available to them.

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