US Bancorp Says Debit Fees Off $12.6 Million

US Bancorp reported this morning that its credit and debit card non-interest revenue increased 6.8% during the fourth quarter to $153.4 million. The issuer says that even though credit and debit card revenue grew year-over-year, the growth was somewhat muted due to the impact of the settlement of the antitrust litigation brought against VISA and MasterCard by Wal-Mart, Sears, and other retailers. The year-over-year impact of the VISA settlement on credit and debit card revenue was approximately $12.6 million. Corporate payment product non-interest revenue increased 10.3% to $88.7 million. ATM processing services declined 3.4% to $40.3 million. Merchant processing revenues edged up 2.8% to $146.0 million. For complete details on US Bancorp’s 4Q/03 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Motient Corporation and USTT Team

Motient Corporation and USA Technologies have teamed to bring wireless data connectivity and cashless vending to the entertainment, travel and hospitality industries. The integrated solution has already been launched successfully to multiple vending markets, including a prestigious Orlando theme park for both guest and employee locations, major airports for beverage and non-traditional vending applications. Motient Corporation owns and operates the nation’s largest two way wireless data network. USA Technologies is a leader in the networking of distributed assets, wireless non-cash and m-commerce transactions, associated financial/network services and interactive media technology and energy management.

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EdgCapture R3.4 Released for I-Transactions

CA-based AdStar/Edgil has released “EdgCapture R3.4” with “SSL-Connect”, a real-time online interface to payment card networks. EdgCapture with SSL-Connect connects directly to payment networks using 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer technology — the same trusted technology used in thousands of e-commerce applications operating online today. Prior to SSL-Connect, in order to process online transactions, merchants were forced to use either a slow dial-up interface or a high-cost, dedicated frame relay or a leased-line connection that required specialized hardware and hundreds of dollars in monthly telecom fees. AdStar, Inc. is a leading provider of remote advertising technology products and services to the $20+ billion classified advertising industry. Edgil is the industry’s largest supplier of automated payment processing for call centers within more than 100 leading newspaper and magazine publications.

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Westmont Hospitality Group Selects Moneris Solutions for Long-Term Processing Contract

Westmont Hospitality Group has selected Moneris Solutions Corporation for a new long-term contract to supply payment processing for its hotel portfolio. Westmont manages 157 properties and more than 19,000 guest rooms operated under internationally recognized franchise brands such as Comfort Inn, Travelodge, Quality Hotel/Suites, Delta, Hilton, Radisson, Best Western and Holiday Inn. Moneris processed more than 1.9 billion card transactions in 2003.

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FTC Receives Cash Settlement from CMS

The FTC has received $23.5 million from the forced sale of assets of Texas-based Certified Merchant Services. The sale was part of a stipulated final judgment and order which also permanently bars the CMS and its principals from falsifying merchants’ signatures; altering or adding to signed documents relating to merchant accounts; certain billing and debiting practices; and misrepresenting the savings that merchants would achieve by doing business with CMS. The stipulated final judgment and order settled the FTC’s first-ever complaint against an ISO for practices related to the marketing of credit- and debit-card merchant accounts to small businesses nationwide. In October, Fort Worth, TX-based First American Payment Systems acquired the assets and merchant agreements of CMS. CMS also did business under the names Transaction Merchant Services, Transaction Merchant Services.Com, and Electrocheck. (CF Library 1/3/03; 10/27/03)

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Diebold Names Investor Relations Head

Diebold has promoted John Kristoff to VP/Investor Relations to replace part of the retiring Donald Eagon’s job. Kristoff will be responsible for communicating Diebold’s business strategies and financial performance to the investment community, as well as serving as the primary contact for shareholders and analysts. Kristoff began his career with Diebold in 1990 in the company’s public relations group and has served in a variety of management positions within the communications and investor relations areas, most recently as director of investor relations and global communications. Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery systems, security solutions and services.

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People’s Back in the Profit Saddle Again

Bridgeport, CT-based People’s Bank reported a second consecutive profitable quarter for its Credit Card Services business as average managed credit card receivables increased 12% while delinquencies and charge-offs declined sharply. Average managed card loans for the fourth quarter increased by $348 million to $2.297 billion, representing or 12% increase over 4Q/02, but a 3%, or $65 million decrease, from the previous quarter. Net charge-offs for the quarter were 3.47%, compared to 3.79% for 3Q/03, and 5.26% for 4Q/02. Net charge-offs totaled $29 million in 4Q/03, $31 million in 3Q/03, and $39 million in 4Q/02. Delinquencies, as a percentage of quarter-end managed loans, were 2.18%, compared to 2.15% for 3Q/03, and 3.41% for 4Q/02. The yield on average managed credit card receivables was 7.43% for 4Q/03, compared to 7.22% for 3Q/03 and 10.55% for 4Q/02. For complete details on People’s Bank fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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MasterIndex Shows the Economies of Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam as Highly Positive

Consumer sentiment in the Asia/Pacific region has rebounded significantly from its depressed levels of June last year during the SARS outbreak. Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan have shown the most improvement. Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam topped the list of highly positive markets. Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Japan have a pessimistic view of the six months ahead. Consumer confidence in China has rebounded (83.7) having fallen off sharply with its previous MasterIndex score of 68.0, which was at its lowest level since the Asian economic crisis in 1997. Chinese consumers’ expectations of all five economic variables are highly positive, particularly with regard to the economy (96.3), quality of life (95.8) and regular income (90.4). In line with the last four “MasterIndex” reports, their view on the stock market (63.5) remains relatively subdued, although still optimistic. China’s three major urban centers have followed suit. Shanghai (86.0) continues to be slightly more hopeful than Beijing (84.6) and Guangzhou (80.1). MasterCard’s “MasterIndex of Consumer Confidence” survey has an 11-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from more than 100,000 interviews.

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FleetBoston Cards Up 14% From 3Q/03

FleetBoston reported Thursday that credit card outstandings for the fourth quarter jumped by $2.1 billion due primarily to its recent acquisition of the Circuit City portfolio. For the final quarter of 2003, Fleet posted $16.9 billion in card outstandings compared to $14.8 billion for the previous quarter. However, compared to one year ago, Fleet is up only $800 million. Prior to the Circuit City acquisition, Fleet experienced a decline in card loans due to portfolio sales, lower balance transfers, and a decline in cash advances. For the fourth quarter, the delinquency rate declined to 3.73% compared to 3.94% for 3Q/03, and compared to 4.12% one year ago. Charge-offs for the fourth quarter dropped to 6.31% compared to 6.77% in the prior quarter, but higher than 5.16% reported one year ago. Fleet has about 11 million accounts. Fleet completed its purchase of the Circuit City portfolio on November 18th. For complete details on FleetBoston’s fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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MasterCard Adds EZStub to Payroll Cards

MasterCard has teamed with National Payment Corporation to deliver a complete range of value-added electronic pay stub solutions. Companies using the “MasterCard Payroll Card” will now be able to replace traditional paper pay stubs with an efficient, electronic payment solution. Through an automated self-service option, employees may access their “EZStub” via their employers’ Intranet or Web site. National Payment maintains pay information for up to two years. The average cost of an e-stub solution is $0.15 per advice vs $1.20 for a paper based statement. Additionally, companies eliminate costs associated with paper checks, including distribution (average of $1.90) and paper advice cost of $1.19, for a total potential savings of up to $100/year per employee. The new alliance represents an expansion of the MasterCard “WorkPlace Solutions” program.

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