MasterCard Eyeblaster Ads Win an Award

MasterCard’s “Cat in the Hat” campaign has won top honors in Web Marketing Association’s “2004 Internet Advertising Competition.” The banner campaign’s “Eyeblaster” unit received response rates over twice the industry average for floating “Eyeblaster” ads and nearly 21 times higher than the overall campaign response rates. IconNicholson’s approach compelled online users to use their MasterCard cards to enter the “Trip-a-Day Giveaway.” IconNicholson has partnered with MasterCard International since 2001 on numerous projects, including Web site development, online marketing campaigns and promotional programs, and has extended MasterCard’s integrated marketing and “Priceless” advertising strategies. IconNicholson is the NY office of LB Icon AB.

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MBNA Adds SouthTrust to its Huge Portfolio

MBNA is picking up more than $300 million in credit card loans due to the merger of Wachovia and SouthTrust. The move further strengthens the market share of the nation’s top three issuers, which collectively will control 54% of the U.S. market by the end of this year. Yesterday, MBNA signed a multi-year agent agreement to acquire SouthTrust’s 280,000 consumer and business credit card accounts. The acquisition includes a long-term agreement under which MBNA will market credit cards to SouthTrust’s customers through SouthTrust’s 700 branch operations throughout the southeastern states. According to CardData, SouthTrust had $337,654,266 in credit card outstandings at the end of the first quarter, with approximately $662 million in year-to-date gross dollar volume. The AL-based issuer had 271,449 accounts, 144,096 active accounts, and 274,118 cardholders as of March 31st. About 35,000 of the card accounts are business accounts. MBNA has issued Wachovia’s credit cards since 2000, and MBNA will issue the credit cards of the combined SouthTrust-Wachovia entity when the two banks complete their merger in the fourth quarter.

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CREDIT CARDS APR04

Consumer purchase volume on credit cards slowed during April to a 13% annual growth rate, as balances grew 12.6%, and credit lines edged up 12.0% per annum. During April, Australians charged A$11.2 billion in purchases on credit cards compared to A$9.9 billion one-year ago. At the end of the April, consumers owed A$26.9 billion on credit cards versus $23.9 billion for April 2003. The ratio of credit card balances to card credit limits increased slightly during April, from 37.4% to 37.5%, compared to one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. One-year ago, consumers owed A$23.9 billion with total credit lines of A$64.0 billion. Card credit limits reached A$71.7 billion at the end of April.

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MasterCard Tackles Risk Issues; Attacks Phishing

This week, MasterCard is tackling identity theft, phishing, skimming and other forms of payment fraud with a three-day “Global Risk Management Symposium” in San Diego. This morning, MasterCard announced it has teamed with a firm to detect online scams in real-time as they proliferate across the Internet and, working in cooperation with law enforcement, will seek to dismantle the online tools and venues that are used by identity thieves before they can be used to steal personal information from unsuspecting consumers. The partnership with NameProtect, represents a fundamental shift in the way the financial services industry is dealing with the rising tide of payment fraud. Rather than simply reacting to online fraud and identity theft after it has occurred, MasterCard and NameProtect will take a more aggressive approach to the wave of cyber scams attacking online consumers and companies today. NameProtect also will help protect MasterCard”s own identity from being stolen by seeking out fraudsters attempting to spoof MasterCard”s logo and other branding insignia to use for phishing attacks. More than 300 top professionals from law enforcement, financial services, and other related industries are expected to attend the San Diego event which includes a series of presentations, discussions, workshops and training. Those expected to speak include the Honorable Lee R. Heath of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Honorable Wayne Abernathy of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, John Large of the U.S. Secret Service, and Dr. Gary Gordon, head of the Economic Crime Institute at Utica College as well as MasterCard executives and other industry professionals.

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Bankrate Gets a New CEO and Chairman

NY-based Bankrate announced that its CEO for the past four years has left the company and has been replaced by the former Chairman and CEO of Official Payments Corp. Thomas Evans, currently a director of the Bankrate, will now serve as President and CEO. Evans was also President and CEO of GeoCities and the President and Publisher of U.S. News & World Report, The Atlantic Monthly and Fast Company magazines. Bankrate.com averages 5 million unique visitors per month and reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in more than 300 markets in 50 states. It is an aggregator of more than 250 financial products and has a network of more than 75 partners.

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ATM Direct International Gets New Chairman

ATM Direct announced that Ray Hood has joined the company as Chairman of the Board and President of ATM Direct International. Ray Hood has over two decades of senior management experience, including more than 10 years of experience at the chief executive level of an international, publicly traded, logistics software firm. Mr. Hood founded EXE Technologies, a global supply chain execution provider, and guided it from the bootstrap stage to a successful public offering, building an organization with sales and service operations in 14 countries, development operations in three countries, and customers in all major markets worldwide. ATM Direct, Inc. is a financial services company providing payment and authentication services to the Internet economy.

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Cash Systems Signs Wild Horss and Cruise Boat

MN-based Cash Systems has inked casino cash access/ATM deals with CO-based Wild Horse Casino and with a stationary cruise vessel owed by Titan Cruise Lines that will be located in the Caribbean. Finally, the company obtained contracts to provide credit and debit card cash advance services at Golden Dollar, Inc. d/b/a Rounders and Four Sevens Corp. d/b/a Bootleg Benny’s, both located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cash Systems, Inc. has grown from a regional ATM provider to one of four cash access companies serving the gaming industry. Cash Systems’ products include its proprietary cash advance systems, ATMs and check cashing solutions.

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Biometric e-Commerce Portal Contracted

Secured Digital Applications has been awarded its first contract, valued at $921,000, by SNC Associates to develop, implement and maintain a secure business-to-consumer e-commerce portal using the Company’s biometric security technology. In addition to the contract fee of $921,000, the Company will generate annual recurring revenue by receiving a transaction fee for each completed online transaction and from a five-year contract to provide software and hardware upgrades plus system maintenance. The Company’s biometric security technology is based on both fingerprint and face recognition. Secured Digital Applications, Inc. (formerly known as Digital Broadband Networks, Inc.) and its subsidiaries are involved in the development, integration and provision of secured shipping and supply chain management service, sale of biometrics security systems and the development of Web based interactive multimedia content.

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Equifax Launches Credit Watch Alerts

Equifax has launched the first-of-its-kind credit card fraud detection features to its “Credit Watch” credit monitoring product. All current Equifax “Credit Watch” now receive additional email alerts notifying them of balance changes and activity on their credit cards. Alerts also are available wirelessly via text message to user cell phones. One feature, the balance change alert, notifies customers within 24 hours when charge card balances have increased by a specified dollar amount. Users select the dollar amount or percentage increase that when exceeded triggers an alert. Another credit management tool informs “Credit Watch” customers when charge card activity occurs on their credit file after a self-selected period of inactivity.

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Microsoft Signs GlobalCollect in Europe

The Netherlands-based GlobalCollect has signed a contract with Microsoft to provide online non-credit card payment processing services, such as direct debit processing, as well as online bank account validation services for the Microsoft MSN platform in Germany, the United Kingdom and France. GlobalCollect is the only payment service provider able to offer an online real time bank account validity check. This check is performed against continuously updated account information databases and is particularly useful for alternative payments to credit cards such as bank transfers and direct debit transactions. Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. GlobalCollect provides international payment services for non face-to-face businesses including Internet, mail and telephone order.

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Liquid Coated Plastic Coupon Cards Introduced

Arthur Blank & Co. has introduced a range of new, liquid coated plastic coupon cards with the high quality look and lasting value of gift or membership cards. “When consumers receive a plastic card instead of a paper coupon,” said Eric Blank, executive vice-president, Arthur Blank & Co, Inc. “They automatically attach value to the card and tend to save the card in their wallet or purse, therefore, dramatically improving the redemption rate of coupon promotions. Liquid coated cards offer the same look and feel as a credit card, but for a lower cost than the standard overlaminated finish.

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New Service Captures Rewards for Businesses

Portland, OR-based Zevez has launched “RewardWorks” to help businesses systematically earn credit card rewards. By moving invoice payments from checks to reward-rich credit cards, businesses are, for the first time, able to generate profits from their existing accounts payable departments on a major scale. Rewards have become common place for consumers, but used in a limited fashion in the business world. With Zevez, businesses can now capitalize on this untapped asset and produce a new source of earnings without making any major changes. Zevez is systematically capturing Credit Card Rewards for businesses on a massive new scale.

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