Cleveland-based KeyCorp has inked a pact to issue stored value cards for Houston-based FSV Payment Systems. FSV Payment Systems offers a suite of host-based stored-value and payroll debit card solutions direct to large employers and to financial institutions through an exclusive agreement with Fiserv. The FSV processing platform is both proprietary and configurable, allowing for the delivery of both standard and non-standard programs based on customer requirements.Details
The European Commission has charged VISA International with breaching EU competition rules by refusing to permit Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to join VISA’s global network while permitting others such as Diners Club and JCB to join. The Commission’s “Statement of Objections” concerns a VISA bylaw that says that VISA’s International
Board shall not accept for membership any applicant deemed by the Board
to be a competitor of VISA. Morgan Stanley issues the “Discover” card which VISA considers a competitor. The EU Commission says it concerned that the VISA membership rule is not applied in an objective and non-discriminatory manner vis-a-vis all applicants for VISA membership.
The EU cites Citigroup’s Diners Club and JCB as an example. The EU also believes the VISA rule could preclude potential entrants from providing credit card services to merchants. In addition, the EU notes that being refused VISA membership prevents potential new entrants from engaging in cross-border acquiring, a newly evolving segment of the acquiring business which has the potential of increasing competition in the national markets by making domestic service providers compete with acquirers based in other EEA Member States. VISA reportedly said that any decision that allows MSDW access to proprietary VISA information will inevitably reduce competition between payment systems. VISA has three months to respond to the Commission’s “Statement of Objections.”
NY-based Municipal Credit Union, with 300,000 members, has joined the CO-OP Network signing a member-shareholder agreement that stipulates 90 MCU ATMs will be branded with the “CO-OP Network” logo. Fiserv, Inc. provides information management systems and services to the financial industry, including transaction processing, business process outsourcing and software and systems solutions. CO-OP Network is wholly-owned by its credit union shareholders and provides volume discounts on products and services that include risk management as well as debit and deposit access.Details
MA-based Lightbridge announced that Pamela Reeve has resigned as President/CEO/Board member and that Board member Robert Donahue has been named to serve as the full-time interim President and CEO. Mr. Donahue is a member of the Company’s Board and has been Chairman of the Audit Committee since January 2004. Over a long career in high technology, he has held corporate positions at the senior executive level including President and Chief Operating Officer at Manufacturers Services Ltd. and Chief Financial Officer of Stratus Computer Inc. As CFO of Stratus, Bob was responsible for S2, a wholly owned software subsidiary that sold on line transaction processing products and services Lightbridge, Inc. is a leading transaction processing company that businesses trust to manage customer transactions.Details
The U.S. Postal Service has selected self-service devices from Wincor Nixdorf and IBM, for installation at 2,506 postal branches throughout the country. The installations of the “Automated Postal Center” will continue through November 2004. The “APC” is based on Wincor Nixdorf’s “ProCash 1500” ATM as the base unit, with two cassettes used for postage dispensing, a print-from-cassette device that prints on secure paper stock in the ATM safe, and an IBM sidecar with a scale and second printer. The “APC” units include a 15-inch touch screen, a card reader for credit or debit transactions, a receipt printer, color camera, an encrypting PIN pad and software to assist visually-impaired customers. The “APC” units run on the USPS POS network. IBM Global Services, which exclusively markets, sells and services Wincor Nixdorf ATMs in the U.S. market, has adapted the software developed for the branch POS network to the self-service environment.Details
Simon Property Group has launched a summer incentive offering free airline vouchers for cardholders charging $100 worth of purchases to its “VISA GiftCard”. By making $100 worth of purchases of Simon Giftcards August 1 through September 30, shoppers will receive a voucher for two round-trip airline tickets to certain destinations in Hawaii, London or Mexico. To participate in this offer, shoppers are required to purchase seven nights at a participating hotel. Simon Property Group, Inc. is a real estate investment trust engaged in the ownership, development and management of income-producing properties, primarily regional malls and community shopping centers.Details
Global Vision Holdings has inked an agreement with Wildgate Wireless to mass market GVHL-branded “GlobalFirst” calling cards. Under the terms of the agreement, GVHL will function as the master distribution marketer for the GlobalFirst program and set up major channel distributors. The targeted distributors are the current credit and debit/stored value card distributors and high traffic volume Web site operators already in place in the industry. GVHL is a developer and wholesale marketer of a new generation of prepaid financial products and services. Wildgate is a leader in the development of hardware/software systems for the delivery of advanced, innovative communications solutions.Details
Prudential has decided to end discussions regarding a possible sale of its majority interest in Egg. Egg says the latest results from its UK operations show that the world’s largest pure online bank is on the right track in building a profitable business. Egg confirmed last week it is withdrawing from the French market, which has offset much of the gains achieved in the UK. In October 2003, Egg announced that its French management team had developed a revised business plan to reverse the huge losses. However, the level of investment required to execute the plan was greater than Egg was prepared to take on a stand alone-basis. Egg then sought potential partners, but was then superseded by Prudential announcing in January that it was considering proposals for its approximately 79% shareholding in Egg. When it became clear that there was no potential purchaser who valued the option in France, Egg announced that it intended to take the necessary steps to withdraw from the French market. For the second quarter, Egg produced an operating profit for its British “Egg VISA” card of $35.3 million versus an operating loss of $30.0 million for its French “la Carte Egg VISA.” Overall, the Egg plc Group made a profit of $1.8 million in the second quarter leading to an overall loss before tax for the first half of 2004 of $7.3 million, down from a loss of $41.9 million in the same period last year. For complete details on Egg’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Expedia’s corporate travel division has teamed with GE Capital Financial to launch a suite of MasterCard charge cards and credit cards. The three new Expedia cards will also offer two “Corporate Travel Rewards” programs as an option. Expedia and GE are offering a business revolving credit card offering no annual fee and competitive APRs. The business charge card carries annual fees ranging from $45 for 1-9 cards, to as low as $15 per card for more than 99 cards. The individual bill charge card supports cardholders submitting expenses for reimbursement by the company each month. The individual business traveler is responsible for payments, while the company pays the card’s annual fee. The card programs are serviced under an agreement with GE Corporate Payment Solutions, the corporate card unit of GE Consumer Finance, which develops and markets corporate bank cards and e-settlement tools.Details
A consulting firm has taken issue with the Federal government’s proposed “Interagency Guidance” on the disclosure and administration of overdraft protection programs. Houston-based M. Floyd & Associates says the proposals will impose significant costs and burdens on depository institutions seeking to comply and, actually could result in consumers being provided with fewer alternatives to address inadvertent overdrafts. The company, which estimates more than 2,000 U.S. financial institutions now have defined and communicated overdraft programs, has waged an intense campaign coast-to-coast to end abusive practices endemic to some programs as implemented, marketed and managed. The FRB has set an August 6th deadline for comments on the proposed changes.Details
Fiserv EFT/CNS has extended its EFT processing relationship with Northern Massachusetts Telephone Workers’ Credit Union for three years. Under the terms of the agreement, Fiserv will continue to provide the credit union with complete ATM and debit card processing services, network gateway access and online host authorizations. NMTWCU, with $410 million in assets and three branches north of Boston, currently has 24,000 members – 17,000 with debit cards. Fiserv, Inc. provides information management systems and services to the financial industry, including transaction processing, business process outsourcing and software and systems solutions.Details
A new study by Accenture shows that American Express Business Travel clients report achieving 19% greater overall savings for their T&E investments as compared to clients of other TMCs. Accenture found that American Express customers achieve 19% greater savings on air travel globally, 13% greater savings on hotel spend globally, and 15% greater savings on car rental spend globally. Other findings show that AmEx clients reported 15% greater compliance to their air policies and that negotiated air discounts were 43% higher for AmEx clients than others studied. The Accenture study involved 89 travel managers.Details