Netopia and Precidia Join Hands

Netopia and Precidia have signed a pact to offer retailers an efficient and cost-saving POS solution. Netopia’s netOctopus(R) POS Manager, broadband routers and Precidia’s POSConnect Products, the EtherDial and Ether232Plus, allow retailers to migrate to IP, without replacing their terminals, at a significant cost savings. Precidia Technologies Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of IP access devices for a wide range of industries, including retail payments and building automation. Netopia, Inc. is a market leader in broadband and wireless products and services that simplify and enhance broadband delivery to residential and business-class customers.

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ViVOtech Launches ViVOpay 3000

ViVOtech launched the industry’s first interoperable contactless payment solution for MasterCard and American Express. ViVOtech’s ViVOpay 3000 provides merchants with a single reader that can accept MasterCard or American Express contactless payment cards regardless of form factor or technology. Therefore, when merchants install ViVOpay 3000 to accept one brand of a contactless payment program, they can download software at a later time for the other contactless card program, significantly reducing implementation costs. ViVOtech, a leader in lifestyle payment transactions, provides breakthrough software technology that allows consumers to make contactless payments in a style that best fits their needs — with a radio frequency (RF) enabled credit or debit card in various form factors, an infrared/RF enabled cell phone, PDA or an access card at existing point-of-sale (POS) systems.

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GO Software and Ingenico Buddy for IP Solutions

GO Software and Ingenico have partnered to work jointly to develop a superior and cost effective IP-based terminal solution. In developing new products with GO Software, Ingenico will build on its I5100 payment terminal with integrated TCP/IP connectivity and 32-bit microprocessor for real-time authorization. The partnership allows GO Software to continue optimizing its recently acquired IP gateway technology in conjunction with Ingenico’s terminal solutions. GO Software, Inc., a subsidiary of Return On Investment Corporation, is a leading provider of POS payment processing software. More than 125,000 businesses use GO Software’s solutions to process payments at high speed, expand tender types and lower credit card costs.

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Hypercom and Lightbridge Partner

Hypercom has signed an agreement to offer Lightbridge’s Authorize.Net IP-based payment gateway to retailers purchasing Hypercom’s new “Optimum T4100” POS terminal with Intel “XScale” technology. Hypercom’s countertop Optimum T4100 packs a powerful Intel processor based on Intel XScale technology to deliver unprecedented multi-application performance and the industry’s fastest transaction speeds using IP-based technology, built-in dial back-up capability and the secure Authorize.Net Payment Gateway is expected to complete transactions faster than before. Lightbridge, Inc. is a leading provider of technology services and software that manage customer transactions. Hypercom Corporation is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point of transaction for consumers, merchants, and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers.

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Shell Beefs Up its Gift Card Program

Shell Oil has launched an enhanced gift card program. The new gasoline card has a new design, and the program will be promoted with new point-of-purchase materials. Other changes to the program also include two new vendors: SVM and Paymentech. SVM will be the Shell gift card provider and will handle production, distribution and marketing of the card. Paymentech will process the Shell gift cards at Shell locations across the USA and at other participating retail stores. Last year, the Shell gift card program generated more than $70 million in sales. Approximately 85% of those sales were categorized as incremental volume. With the new program, Shell expects gift card sales to increase by 12% to 15% in 2004.

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AmEx Credit Cards Penetrate Middle East

The first ever American Express credit card billed in bahraini dinars has been launched in Bahrain, according to last week’s issue of CardFlash International (www.cardflashinternational.com). The new “Blue” credit card, issued by American Express Middle East and North Africa, offers a 1% rebate on all card purchases. Cardholders may pay as little as 5% of the outstanding balance per month. The “AmEx Blue” card carries an annual fee of BHD12, and a monthly interest rate of 1.95%, compounded daily. AmEx also issues a gold credit card in Bahrain, which offers a 1% rebate on all purchases, plus access to Middle East airport lounges. American Express Middle East and North Africa issues cards denominated in United Arab Emirates dirhams. For example, the “Dubai Duty Free American Express Credit Card” offers a 10% discount on a range of over 15,000 items at Dubai Duty Free. The UAE card also offers chances to win the “Millennium Millionaire” and “Finest Surprise” sweepstakes.

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32% of Students Use Credit Cards; 43% Use Debit Cards

For the first time since 1997, high school students are reversing declining scores and are demonstrating increased aptitude and ability to manage financial resources such as credit cards. The survey conducted for the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, and funded by Merrill Lynch, found that students who participated in the 2004 survey answered 52.3% of the questions correctly, compared to 50.2% the prior year. The research also found that the percentage of students who do not use a credit card was 68.2% versus 67.8% in 2002. Eleven point four percent use their own card compared to 12.1% in 2002. In addition, 15.7% use their parents’ card versus 15.4% in 2002 and 4.8% use both their own and their parents compared to 4.7% in 2002. Over one third (43.3%) of the 2004 students have an ATM card, compared with 35.9% in 2002. Nearly 78% of the students have a savings and/or checking account with a bank.

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Mid-Size Issuers Post 17% Gain in First Quarter Volume

Medium size issuers, with $100 million to $600 million in outstandings, posted an average 7.5% increase in year-over-year outstandings, and a strong 17.2% boost in first quarter volume, compared to the first quarter of last year. The gain in credit card volume is nearly twice the level of growth for smaller issuers, with $15 million to $100 million in outstandings, but less than the 19% first quarter increase reported by Citigroup last week. However, the Citigroup figure was fueled by its Sears card portfolio acquisition. The major issuers will be reporting first quarter data this week. Among the strongest gainers in credit card loans for the middle level peer group is FL-based SunTrust, posting an an impressive 18.7% increase in first quarter outstandings. Among volume gainers are Columbus Bank & Trust with a 33% gain, Redstone Credit Union with a 28.9% increase, and Golden 1 Credit Union with a 28.3% gain. For complete details on first quarter portfolio results, posted daily, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

$100 Million to $600 Million Peer Group – 1Q/04
ISSUER Outstandings Y/Y Volume Y/Y
1. Commerce Bancshares $545.5 million (+8.4%) $386.3 million (+10.2%)
2. Columbus B&T $220.0 million (+4.3%) $162.6 million (+33.1%)
3. Penna State Emply CU $210.2 million (+7.4%) $91.2 million (+5.6%)
4. Golden 1 CU $149.2 million (+5.4%) $118.8 million (+28.3%)
5. SunTrust $143.6 million (+18.7%) $257.6 million (+21.9%)
6. Security Srvc CU $127.7 million (+9.4%) $32.8 million (+6.1%)
7. Redstone FCU $113.2 million (+8.8%) $62.4 million (+28.9%)
8. Delta Emply CU $100.6 million (-2.4%) $56.8 million (+4.0%)

TOTAL $1610.0 million ( +7.6%) $1168.5 million ( +17.2%)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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MBNA Eyes Up the Chinese Credit Card Market for 07

MBNA announced it is probing the Chinese market following the recent opening of an office in Shanghai. The affinity credit card king currently holds more than $21 billion in total managed loans in the U.K., Canada and Spain. MBNA says the new office in China will be used to conduct market research, to further develop relationships with Chinese regulators and the banking community in China, and to design long-term strategies for entering China’s credit card market. At the end of 2003, MBNA had approximately 1,400 total international affinity contracts in place. In Europe, total managed loans reached $17.2 billion last year. In Canada, total managed loans for 2003 reached $3.6 billion. In February, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and Citibank officially launched their first international credit card in China that can be settled both in renminbi and US dollars. Last month, American Express and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China inked a deal to issue American Express branded credit cards in China that are also dual denominated. (CF Library 2/5/04; 3/30/04).

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