MasterCard Offers Anti-Virus Software to European Business Card Holders

MasterCard Europe has added a new offering for its small business cardholders as part of its “Working in Europe” program. The anti-virus software, BitDefender Professiona, is being offered as a free one year license to MasterCard small business card holders through MasterCard members. The offer has gone live, first in Belgium through KBC who are currently rolling-out the software as part of their small business programme. Plans are already underway to extend the offering to MasterCard business card holders across Europe, most notably in Spain, Italy, Poland and Hungary.
“BitDefender Professional” is offered through SOFTWIN srl of Romania. Currently priced at EUR 39.95 across all European markets, “BitDefender Professional” offers one of the most respected anti-virus and firewall software packages available in the world.

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VISA & TOURISM AUTHORITY

VISA International has inked an exclusive partnership agreement with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to offer all cardholders extra benefits and perks when visiting Thailand.
Between 1 June and 31 July 2004, overseas and domestic shoppers using VISA cards at retail shops participating in the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale” will enjoy special offers and discounts and will be also entitled to participate in a lucky draw offering prizes worth Bht10 million. Prizes include travel packages to the “Olympic Games” in Athens of which VISA is a global key sponsor and also the exclusive payment card, tickets to Disney live performances, domestic travel packages within Thailand, and other VISA premiums and shopping
vouchers. In the two-year period from 2002 to 2003, VISA’s overseas cardholders spent a total of US$486 million in Thailand during the two-month “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale” campaign, representing a 20% increase or US$90 million more than the same period during the previous two years. VISA has around 150,000 merchant locations in Thailand.

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ActivCard Names a New CEO

ActivCard has hired Ben Barnes as Chief Executive Officer, effective May 31st. Barnes previously served as President and CEO of Intraspect Software, a privately held, leading provider of enterprise software solutions that enable internal and external collaboration, and content management. ActivCard is a global provider of strong authentication and trusted digital identity solutions for secure remote access, single sign-on and enterprise access cards.

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Ernex Hires New Regional Sales Director

Ernex, a provider of real-time loyalty and stored-value gift card programs, has hired Michael Gilhespy as Regional Sales Director. Gilhespy is a veteran of the loyalty and gift card industry, with more than four years experience. Previously, he was Director of Business Development with Stored Value Systems, and prior to that held positions in sales and marketing with a focus on the retail industry. Ernex is a division of Moneris Solutions Corporation.

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APR LOSSES

Credit card losses for April declined nearly 4% compared to one-year ago, and more than 27% compared to December’s record losses of $21.8 million. Banks reported total loses of $15.9 million for April compared to $16.3 million in the previous month, and $16.5 million one-year ago. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, credit card balances of $2.5 billion, were up more than 4% since April 2003. Charge volume rose 15.6% during the same period. Total card volume for April was $906.5 million, compared to $784.1 million one-year ago, during the peak of the SARS period. At the end of April there were 3,573,650 credit cardholders in the country, including 2,581,684 main cardholders, according to the MAS.

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AmEx Funds World Monuments Watch

American Express Company has donated $750,000 for ten endangered historic sites to receive funding through WMF’s “World Monuments Watch” program. World Monuments Fund, an international organization with headquarters in New York City, has been preserving and safeguarding the historic, artistic, and architectural heritage of humankind. American Express is the founding sponsor of the World Monuments Watch Historic preservation has long been a priority of American Express, which, through its philanthropic program, supports initiatives to strengthen local communities and to nurture and develop tourism’s greatest assets: well-trained people, historic sites and parks, and cultural diversity.

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SOLRED CARD

BBVA and Repsol have teamed to launch the first MasterCard “Corporate Multi Card Fleet Card” in Europe. More than 100,000 “SOLRED MasterCard” cards are expected to be issued in the first year. The card is a double combination of payment and fleet card, aimed at professional and business people, who need to break down their fuel expenses for work purposes. The card is unique in Europe, its corporate multi card functionality enables different functions to be combined on the same piece of plastic. Cardholders have a MasterCard card that they can use in MasterCard’s global network and a card that can be used at any one of the Repsol Group’s 3,500 petrol stations in Spain (Repsol, Campsa and Petronor) to receive a 2% discount. Another key benefit includes a monthly statement showing their fuel purchases and VAT breakdown. Cardholders can track and control their fuel expenses online, using the BBVA Net, Uno-e.com, Línea BBVA or Línea Uno-e services. In addition, they receive accident insurance cover, and travel assistance services.

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Card Protection Services Litigation Ends

A federal district court has approved a stipulated order including a permanent injunction against telemarketing boiler rooms allegedly selling bogus credit card protection services and advance-fee credit cards exclusively to U.S. consumers from Canada. In April 2002, the FTC filed a complaint in federal district court against Consumer Alliance, Inc., a Delaware corporation; Consumer Alliance, Inc., (also known as 1421914 Ontario Inc.), a Canadian corporation; and BioSource Financial, Inc. The FTC also named Steven Winter, Gordon Levoy, Jason C. Williams, and Danny Longo. The three companies operated as a single enterprise out of Toronto and other locations in central Ontario, Canada. According to the FTC, the defendants used a variety of devices, including misrepresenting their identity, scare tactics, and blatant lies, to convince consumers that they faced unlimited liability for unauthorized charges on their credit cards if the cards were stolen or lost. The defendants appeared to target senior citizens, charging their victims $299 to $349. The FTC charged that the defendants’ telemarketers typically told consumers that they were affiliated with VISA, MasterCard, or the consumer’s credit card issuer. In June 2003, the Canadian officials obtained a criminal plea agreement, including a total fine of CDN$550,000, from Biosource Financial, Gordon Levoy, Jason C. Williams, and Danny Longo. Shortly thereafter, the FTC obtained a summary judgment as to liability against all the defendants. In October 2003, the court issued a permanent injunction.

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Cambridge Credit Introduces New Fee Plan

MA-based Cambridge Credit yesterday announced that it has implemented a new fee structure. Called the “75/50” plan, Cambridge Credit’s new fee structure consists of an initial fee of $75, followed by a maximum monthly maintenance fee of $50, for each customer. To accommodate consumers who may have difficulty paying the monthly maintenance fee, Cambridge Credit will adjust its fees based on that individual’s ability to pay. Cambridge Credit will also institute a 90-day refund policy for clients who cancel their service for any reason within the first 90 days of enrollment. Last month, Cambridge, which is currently facing lawsuits over its business practices, announced it will add four additional outside directors and will establish a Compensation Committee to set and review compensation levels of all officers and senior executives at Cambridge Credit and its affiliates. (CF Library 5/12/04)

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Food Lion Bloom Stores to Test NCR Copient

Food Lion is installing NCR’s “Copient” interactive marketing devices in its five new Bloom pilot stores. Beyond providing product information, the multifunctional Copient devices will enable Bloom to deliver targeted promotional content, relevant offers and customer service applications, making shopping more convenient and productive. Food Lion LLC is a subsidiary of Delhaize America, the U.S. division of Brussels-based Delhaize Group. NCR Corporation is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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