Denver-based BSI2000 has filed a patent application that covers the use of optical bankcards for a wide variety of financial applications. The application has 23 claims and covers methods and processes for executing and tracking financial transactions such as savings accounts, cash transfers, payroll distributions, loans and mortgages, insurance programs and bill payments with optical cards. BSI2000, Inc. is working to become a global leader in optical card-based security systems. The company has developed patent pending technology for identifying, authenticating and tracking people and their activities in a wide variety of applications.Details
Memphis-based Union Planters has introduced the first translucent “VISA Platinum” debit card. Plus, with Visa’s Zero Liability policy, the card is safer than cash or checks because every transaction is protected. If the card is ever lost or stolen, the customer will pay nothing for unauthorized purchases. Union Planters Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee, with total assets of $31.5 billion at March 31, 2004, is the largest bank holding company in Tennessee and among the 30 largest bank holding companies in the United States. Visa’s Zero Liability policy provides protection to consumers by eliminating liability, in most circumstances, of payment card fraud.Details
Wells Fargo and Mattress Firm have inked a deal for an exclusive dual-line VISA credit card program for the medium-end bedding retailer’s more than 200 corporately-owned locations nationwide. The new card offers two distinct revolving lines of credit. One line is dedicated for purchases at participating Mattress Firm locations and the other line is dedicated for VISA card purchases and cash advance transactions. Mattress Firm customers complete only one application for the two lines of credit and receive one billing statement with an itemized list of charges under each credit limit, while only being required to make one payment. Mattress Firm retailers can also offer special terms allowing cardholders to “purchase today and pay tomorrow” with the various “no interest” and “no payment” promotions currently available. Wells estimates the multi-year contract will produce more than $50 million in annual charge volume. Mattress Firm has more than 300 stores in 41 markets.Details
OH-based Charter One Financial has launched a “Gold Debit MasterCard” for the Chicago Cubs. Cardholders earn points redeemable for free gifts including cruise accommodations, airfare, gift cards, and more for making signature debit transactions. Charter One has also added a special “Cubs Fantasy Sweepstakes” to promote usage of the card. Every time a customer uses the card for signature transactions they’ll be entered into a drawing to win Cubs prizes throughout the regular season. Last week, Charter One launched the “Make-A-Difference MasterCard”, a debit card affinity program that supports eight charities.Details
American Express Travel Related Services reported first quarter net income of $665 million, up 13.8% over one-year ago. Total net revenues rose 12% from the year-ago period, and discount revenue grew 20% driven by a 21% increase in billed business. AmEx says the sharp increases were generated by higher average cardholder spending, the continued benefit of rewards programs, and a net addition of approximately 4 million cards-in-force. acquisition. Net card fees increased 5% as a result of a higher number of cards-in-force. Total expenses increased 12% reflecting higher marketing, promotion, rewards and cardholder services expenses, greater human resources expense and higher other operating costs. These increases were partially offset by reduced provisions for losses, lower charge card interest costs and the benefits of cost-control initiatives. Marketing, promotion, rewards and cardholder services expenses increased 39% over the year-ago period, primarily reflecting continued expansion of card-acquisition and loyalty programs. The total provision for losses declined 9%, reflecting a decline of 10% in the lending provision and a 5% decrease in the charge card provision. For complete details on AmEx’s first quarter performance as well as prior quarters visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
American Express U.S. Card Portfolio Snapshot
1Q/04 4Q/03 3Q/03 2Q/03 1Q/03 Ann Chng
Volume $70.1 72.3b 66.3b 64.6b 58.9b +19.0%
Cards 37.0m 36.4m 35.9m 35.4m 35.2m +5.1%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
MBNA reported that net income for the first quarter increased to $519.7 million, an increase of 21% compared to the first quarter of 2003. Managed loans for 1Q/04 were up 11%, and charge volume was up 15%. Total managed loans at the end of the first quarter were $117.6 billion, and charge volume was $47.2 billion. Domestic credit card loans were up 5.8% year-over-year to come in at $82.9 billion. Managed charge-offs increased slightly to 4.99%, from 4.97% in the previous quarter, and 5.47% one year ago. Delinquency on managed loans dropped to 4.27%, compared to 4.39% in 4Q/03, and 4.74% in 1Q/03. Managed charge-offs for credit cards was 4.75% for the first quarter, compared to 4.66% in the fourth quarter, and 5.10% one year ago. Delinquency on credit card dipped slightly to 4.25%, compared to 4.28% in 4Q/03, and 4.62% in 1Q/03. During the quarter MBNA added 1.6 million new domestic accounts and 660,000 foreign accounts. The issuer signed 50 new affinity card deals during the quarter. The issuer also renewed more than 250 affinity group contracts during 1Q/04. For complete details on MBNA’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Ingenico has introduced US availability of its short-range wireless payment terminal, the “Ingenico 7770,” and its next generation countertop terminal, the “Ingenico 5100”. The I7770, an advanced, powerful, secure and flexible short-range wireless payment terminal, is an outstanding solution for retailers that need to take the transaction to the customer and restaurants for Pay@theTable. Most importantly, the I7770 features Bluetooth short-range wireless communications, providing advantages in transmission reliability, security and power consumption over other technologies such as Wi-Fi. Ingenico is the recognized leader of electronic transaction products and systems in the world.Details
Providian reported net income for the first quarter of $101.7 million, compared to net income of $4.7 million for the year ago quarter. The issuer added approximately 533,000 gross new accounts in the first quarter and ended the quarter with approximately 10.3 million customer accounts. Total loans for the quarter were $16.68 billion compared to $16.93 billion for the fourth quarter. The managed net interest margin on average loans in the first quarter was 14.12%, compared 14.44% in the fourth quarter. The Company’s managed 30+ day delinquency rate at the end of the quarter was 7.36%, compared to 9.29% in the prior quarter. Net credit loss in the first quarter was 13.88% compared to 14.33% in the fourth quarter. For complete details on Providian’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Fair Isaac has released “PlacementsPlus 4.0” which now integrates Fair Isaac “Blaze Advisor” business rules management technology for enhanced control and improved collections results. PlacementsPlus is a unique, Web-based service that provides daily reporting of collection information and utilizes advanced analytics to match accounts to collection agencies, resulting in maximized recoveries and increased netback. As an integral component of PlacementsPlus 4.0, Blaze Advisor technology facilitates improved control by the business user over processes, including placement distribution, exception processing, response automation, and commission percentages. Fair Isaac Corporation is the preeminent provider of creative analytics that unlock value for people, businesses and industries.Details
American Express has launched the “2004 Villas Program,” which offers a special $500 travel benefit to “Platinum Card” users and a special $750 travel benefit to”Centurion Card” members. Amenities vary by property but include: one free night during a seven-night stay, complimentary massage for the entire party, credits toward a sightseeing excursion, wine tasting or special cooking class, gourmet gift baskets and complimentary entertainment. The Villas Program offers Card members the utmost in choice, flexibility and luxury in a vacation. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.Details
Household has signed an agreement to manage the private label credit card program for Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture, the largest privately owned furniture retailer in Massachusetts. Bernie & Phyl’s credit cardholders will be able to purchase brand name furniture and accessories for their entire home. In addition to receiving opportunities for special financing, cardholders will also receive exclusive money-saving offers. Household International, Inc., based in Prospect Heights, Ill., is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., one of the top 10 financial services holding companies in the United States.Details
MasterCard International reported the number of “MasterCard Platinum”
cards issued in Asia/Pacific has more than doubled in 2003. The card was
first introduced in Asia/Pacific in 1998. During 2002, MasterCard added
“The Platinum Collection” program for “Platinum MasterCard” users
throughout Asia/Pacific. The program offers an assortment of more than 150
hotels, golf courses, restaurants and merchants, offering some 200
extraordinary packages and value-added benefits. The program also includes
concierge services, a special Web site, and e-newsletter. MasterCard says
“Platinum” cardholder spend close to three times that of a standard card
In the Asia/Pacific region, MasterCard has 122.0 million cardholders, and
annual gross dolar volume of $213.1 billion last year.