The latest bi-yearly “MasterIndex of Consumer Confidence” survey has found that 11 of 13 Asia/Pacific markets had an optimistic score, compared to eight in the preceding survey conducted at the end of last year. Japan’s “MasterIndex” score fell slightly short. Korea was the only other market to show a pessimistic outlook. Vietnam took the lead from China and tops the list with the highest score. The MasterCard survey explores five variables: employment, economy, regular income, stock market and quality of life. “MasterIndex” respondents are asked about their sentiments on these five variables for the six month period ahead.Details
Metavante this morning announced it has securely delivered remote key distribution technology to financial institution clients using “Triple DES”-enabled ATMs supplied by NCR and Diebold. Remote key distribution allows Metavante to securely generate encryption keys from its automated system, then send the encryption keys directly to the financial institution’s ATM. Previously this process was manual and required multiple individuals, from Metavante and the requesting bank, to generate, deliver and install encryption keys to each individual ATM. Metavante Corporation delivers virtually all of the technology that an organization needs to offer financial services.Details
Ireland-based Research and Markets has issued a new report that found
that Chinese banks have issued over 140 million credit cards since 1985.
R&M says the number of cards issued by Chinese banks has increased by
64% each year. The total sum of transactions has increased by 76% per
year, and the number of retailers who accept the cards has grown by 51%
per year. The number of card-issuing banks has increased from the
initial four state-owned commercial banks to over 20 banks. Meanwhile,
the percentage of retail purchases using bankcards also has been on the
rise. Last year, it grew to nearly 10% of all retail sales revenue.
China launched its first credit card in 1985. The issuer was the Bank of
China and the card was called the “Great Wall Card.” The “Great Wall
Card” became a member of VISA in 1987 and began issuing the first
international credit cards in China in 1988.
WA-based Coinstar reports it has counted 129 billion pennies through its 11,000 automated self-service coin-counting machines to-date. For Sylvester Neal of Auburn, Wash., pennies are his passion, collecting more than one million before cashing in most of them at a Coinstar machine and receiving back $7,921.41. Now having started on his second collection, Neal has accumulated more than 700,000 pennies in less than three years. Coinstar Inc. owns and operates a network of 11,000 automated self-service coin-counting machines that provide consumers with a convenient means to convert loose coins into cash.Details
Sydney-based ERG Group successfully installed the fare collection system for the new Las Vegas Monorail. ERG was awarded the contract by Bombardier Transportation to implement the fare collection system in September 2002. ERG installed 50 fare gates and 38 ticket vending machines at the seven stations and hotels. The system will use the same hardware and backend software to process both contactless smart cards and magnetic tickets for single and multiple journeys, daily and weekly passes. ERG is providing fare media utilizing magnetic tickets in the initial stages of the project with smart cards added in the future. All tickets can be purchased with cash, credit card or debit card payment with change provided when cash is used. The total system is capable of expansion into multiple applications for smart cards including electronic purse for casinos, security access and customer loyalty programs. ERG estimates it will handle more than 100,000 transactions daily.Details
FL-based Bentley Commerce has launched a debit card that seamlessly processes barter exchange members’ trade purchases at the point of sale at participating merchant members worldwide, even if the buyer and seller are members of different exchanges. The new “Platinum Business Trade Card” uses a standard credit card merchant terminal. The first terminals that will process Bentley Commerce’s Card transactions are the VeriFone “Omni 3750” and “3300” card terminals. Bentley Commerce plans to support additional terminals, such as the “Nurit 8100” and “2085,” later this year. Bentley Commerce’s Global Trade Alliance has 74 participating barter exchanges that provide online trading and account management for about 15,000 member companies. In addition to online trading, the “Bentley Platinum Business Card” will enable participating merchants throughout the world, to make offline trade purchases of products and services.Details
OH-based National City reported that its second quarter credit card outstandings were flat year-on-year, and down sequentially. Charge-offs also rose 38 basis points from the prior quarter, and up 27 basis from the year-ago quarter. NCCS reported $2.40 billion in second quarter managed outstandings, compared to $2.43 billion one-year ago and $2.47 billion in 1Q/04. Managed charge-offs increased to 6.38% in the second quarter, compared to 6.11% for 2Q/03 and 6.00% for 1Q/04. In the prior quarter National City had 1,854,645 gross accounts and 1,123,106 active accounts according to CardData (www.carddata.com). For complete details on National City’s 2Q/04 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
NATL CITY CARD LOANS
2Q/03: $2,438 million
3Q/03: $2,480 million
4Q/03: $2,586 million
1Q/04: $2,474 million
2Q/04: $2,400 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
Community Bank of Pasadena, CA has agreed to market the Fiserv “PAYCHEK PLUS!” payroll debit card to its commercial clients. Community Bank expects the addition of the PAYCHEK PLUS! paperless payroll program to its existing products and services to be a decision that ultimately helps in keeping with the bank’s mission to be a leader in the distribution of financial products. FSV Payment Systems already has delivered on-site program training to key officials and personnel at the bank’s headquarters in Pasadena. Community Bank is a regional bank, founded in 1945, that serves clients who seek the know-how, wherewithal and product span of a larger financial institution, as well as the market knowledge, customer service orientation and local focus of a community bank.Details
Vancouver-based LML Payment Systems has retained the powerhouse U.S. law firm of Kirkland & Ellis to take on four companies who allegedly infringed on its three e-check patents. Lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware against Telecheck Services, Electronic Clearing House, Xpresschex and Nova Information Systems. During the past year LML awarded a non-exclusive license to Verus Financial Management, a competitor providing electronic check conversion services at the point of sale. LML Payment Systems reported first calendar quarter revenues of $2.7 million. The Company provides check processing solutions including ECC and RCK.Details
A two-year pilot to test the use of a prepaid card for the disbursement of student refund checks from federal loans, scholarships and grants has been declared a success. JPMorgan and VISA report that the trial program with Grambling State University resulted in more than $24.7 million in financial aid funds being disbursed via the “Chase E-funds University VISA” card. In the 2004 academic year, approximately $16.2 million in financial aid funds was credited to students’ accounts. University officials estimate that the elimination of check processing for financial aid refund checks has resulted in an increase in operations efficiency of 15% – 20%. Prior to the card, the university processed approximately 8,000 to 10,000 financial aid refund checks and student payments each year. Today, approximately 80% of the Grambling State student body uses the “Chase E-funds University VISA” card. In just over a year, an additional fifteen schools have signed on to offer the “Chase E-funds University VISA” card to their students, faculty and staff.Details
The Reserve Bank of Australia last week reported that merchant service fees charged by banks in Bankcard, MasterCard, and VISA credit card programs have fallen by 35 basis points, or A$430 million at an annual rate, since reforms to credit card interchange fees took effect in October 2003. The RBA says merchant service fees for American Express and Diners Club have fallen by less than 10 basis points over the same period. The RBA survey shows that by March of 2003, the average merchant service fee for Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA had fallen to 1.4% of the transaction value, compared to 1.8% prior to the reforms. Since March 2003, the average merchant service fee has fallen by a further 35 basis points to around 1.05%. This brings the cumulative decline since 1999 to around 75 basis points, which represents a fall of more than 40% in the average merchant service fee. The RBA says that overall, the 35 bps reduction in merchant service fees since the reforms came into effect is consistent with the reduction in the interchange fee for electronic transactions, although it is smaller than the reduction in the “standard” interchange fee.Details
The Federal Trade Commission’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Howard Beales, is leaving on August 6th to return to academic life. Beales’ leadership of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection yielded impressive law enforcement results, with the agency filing 258 federal district court cases and obtaining orders for nearly $1.3 billion in consumer redress, including the two largest consumer redress settlements in the Bureau’s history. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.Details