SONY CARD

Sony of Canada has launched a store credit card offering a variety of finance options. The new Sony store card is being launched in conjunction with the distribution of the Sony store’s new “Holiday Gift Guide.” The new card will offer no interest/no payment plans of three,
six and 12-months. It will also offer a 12-month equal payment plan. Sony store (Maison Sony in Quebec) has more than 70 stores across Canada.

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Q Comm Third Quarter Revenues Up 20%

UT-based Q Comm reported third quarter revenues of $6.7 million, a 20% increase over the comparable period in 2002, however, net losses for the quarter were $1.53 million, compared to net losses of $783,000 for the same three-month period in the prior year. Net loss for the 2003 quarter reflected non-cash interest expense of $825,000 resulting from the amortization of discount on debt. Q Comm International provides proprietary prepaid transaction processing and information management systems that facilitate electronic recharge or distribution of prepaid products from service providers or their distributors to retail POS.

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Card Tech Limited and i-flex Give Citibank Handlowy Debit Card Edge

Citibank Handlowy has introduced real-time debit card products to its corporate clients in Poland. UK-based Card Tech Limited and i-flex Solutions has built and installed a technologically advanced XML interface between the Citibank Handlowy “PRIME” card and merchant management solution and the “FLEXCUBE” host system. The interface binds two state-of-the-art systems: the integrated solution gives Citibank Handlowy an holistic view of its customer data and lets it issue and process real-time debit card products for corporate clients who want fast access to the funds in their bank accounts. The “PRIME” card can now fetch real-time updates on current account or savings account data held in “FLEXCUBE”, before it assesses authorization requests from debit cards.
Citibank Handlowy first installed CTL systems in 1997.

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VISA International Names New Commercial Solutions Leader

VISA International has named Aliza Knox as the head of its global commercial solutions division, replacing Lorraine Yeakle, who is moving to VISA’s Global Brand and Marketing Group. Knox replaces Lorraine Yeakle, who is moving to Visa’s Global Brand and Marketing group. With over two decades of financial services experience, Knox joined Visa in 2002 to manage the alignment of product development and business strategies. Visa is the world’s leading payment brand generating US$2.7 trillion in annual card sales volume. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance in more than 150 countries.

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Intelli-Check Names New Sales and Marketing Head

Intelli-Check has hired Ralph Thomas as SVP/Sales and Marketing. Mr. Thomas will replace W. Robert Holloway, who will remain as a consultant to the company. Prior to joining DAP Technologies, Mr. Thomas held senior sales and marketing positions at several growing software and technology companies, both private and public. Mr. Thomas is also a member of the Board of Directors of Rugged Outdoor Computing, Inc., a venture-backed start-up company based in Memphis, Tennessee. He holds an MBA in Marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BS in Marketing from St. Peter’s College in New Jersey. Intelli-Check, Inc. ([www.intellicheck.com][1]) is a developer and marketer of proprietary document verification technology, which is contained in its ID-CHECK(R) units.

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

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DRFS Launches Debit Card Usage Tracking System

Los Angeles-based Direct Response Financial Services has launched “DirectTrac,” a system that tracks general and specific financial activity of debit card usage. The system tracks general and specific financial activity of debit card usage. The system enables DRFL to generate time sensitive reports to its customers assisting them in evaluating spending patterns by consumers. The system was specially designed to interface with all media such as Internet, television and radio. Direct Response Financial Services, Inc. (Berlin:DFS) makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card, electronic check at the POS, or over the Internet.

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MasterCard Advisors Says Asia-Pacific is Ripe for Co-Branding

A new study shows that creating successful card programs in the Asia-Pacific region will lie in effective market segmentation and a strong understanding of consumer needs. The research also shows that the maturing credit and debit markets in Asia/Pacific have created an environment ripe for well-positioned, innovative co-brand card programs. In recent trend analysis conducted by MasterCard Advisors, the exponential growth in the debit and pre-paid market in the region was highlighted, with the number of cards and average transaction value doubling over the past two years. Credit cards have showed steady growth since the first quarter of 2001, with the number of credit cards in the region up by 40%. However, the average transaction values on credit cards decreased by 25% in the same period.

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YTD 3Q/03 Volume Up 6.6%, AmEx Leads the Pack

American Express has unseated Citigroup as the leader in U.S. credit card gross dollar volume for the third consecutive quarter, with a year-to-date volume of $190 billion compared to Citi’s $179 billion. Through the third quarter, AmEx has also led volume growth at the network level with a year-to-date growth rate of 10.9%, versus a 5.9% annual growth rate for VISA and MasterCard’s combined U.S. credit card volume, and a 4.2% growth rate for Discover. For the first three quarters of 2003, overall U.S. credit card gross dollar volume is up 6.6% to $1112.6 billion. Among the top ten issuers, ranked by volume, MBNA, Bank One, Bank of America, American Express and Capital One posted above average gains in credit card volume. Fleet was down 7% over last year and Citigroup has been flat for the first three quarters of 2003. During the third quarter VISA and MasterCard posted U.S. credit card volume of $167.8 billion and $133.1 billion, respectively. Year-to-date, VISA and MasterCard’s U.S. credit card gross dollar volume is $847.9 billion, compared to $800.9 billion for the first three quarters of 2002. For complete details on third quarter portfolio results plus historical quarterly data since 1994, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

RANK/ISSUER 3Q/03 3Q/02 Y/Y
($ billions of bank credit card volume for Q1+Q2+Q3)
1. AmEx $189.8 $171.2 +10.9%
2. Citigroup $179.1 $179.2 NC
3. MBNA $134.2 $116.1 +15.6%
4. Bank One $121.6 $107.9 +12.7%
5. Discover $ 74.9 $ 71.9 + 4.2%
6. Chase $ 65.8 $ 62.7 + 4.9%
7. Cap One $ 53.5 $ 50.0 + 7.0%
8. BofA $ 40.3 $ 35.9 +12.3%
9. Household $ 27.4 $ 26.5 + 3.4%
10. Fleet $ 17.2 $ 18.5 – 7.0%
TOTAL $903.8 $839.9 + 7.6%

All data represent U.S. year-to-date credit card volume except Citigroup which includes other North American cards, and MBNA which does not break-out domestic volume from global volume. Chart also excludes U.S. Bancorp, which ranks among the top ten, since the issuer has not reported third quarter 2003 volume as of today; Discover data as of 8/31/03, all others as of 9/30/03. Y/Y: % change from third quarter 2002 Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com][2])

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

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Banco Bradesco Acquires Zogbi Institutions for R$650 Million

Sao Paulo-based Banco Bradesco is acquiring Zogbi Institutions for R$650 million. The acquisition includes Promovel Empreendimentos e Servicos, Zogbi Leasing, Arrendamento Mercantil and Zogbi Distribuidora de Titulos e Valores Mobiliarios Ltda. As of September 30th, Zogbi had 1.5 million active customers, around 4 million registered customers, 1.2 million cards, and, 67 stores for consumer financing and more than 11 thousand affiliated establishments, enabled to operate in direct consumer credit and card products. Zogbi Institutions has total assets of R$833 million and a loan portfolio of R$520 million.

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Elan Financial Services Launches eQuest

U.S. Bancorp’s Elan Financial Services has launched a new data warehouse application that provides powerful access to ATM and debit card program data. The new “eQuest” application is designed to keep financial institutions informed about their ATM and debit programs by tracking transaction history and providing easy to use comprehensive reporting to help identify emerging trends. With “eQuest,” the information is accessed through a series of structured, easy to use reports that can be downloaded and managed to provide the data needed by the user. For instance, a financial institution will be able to track certain trends within their ATM program to ensure that the needs of their cardholders are being met and to make decisions regarding ATM locations. “eQuest” is accessed through a secure Internet connection. Clients of Elan will be able to see immediate benefits of using eQuest including 180 days of transaction detail data and up to 24 months of summary level data.

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United Introduces Free Companion Ticket Annual Program

United Airlines has launched a new program to offer members of its “Mileage Plus” frequent flyer program free companion tickets as well as other special discounts. Under the new “Ameniti” program, members who book domestic travel in first, business or economy class on a United full-fare ticket will receive a free companion ticket in the same class of service. For international travel, the offer applies only to full-fare first or business class tickets. The annual fee for “Charter Members” is $295. The new benefit competes vigorously with the free companion air travel benefit offered via “American Express Platinum” cards. Other benefits of the “Ameniti” program include special rates on rentals from the Hertz “Prestige Collection” plus double miles; room upgrades at select hotels; specially negotiated limousine services; and discounts on luxury shopping and gifts with purchase. Bank One issues “United Mileage Plus VISA” co-branded credit cards.

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Consumer Credit Resumes Brisk Pace in September

The pace of growth in credit card debt picked up in September as Americans added $3 billion in revolving credit compared to $1 billion one-year ago. Since the start of this year, consumers have added more than $19 billion in revolving credit, ending September at $731.5 billion. According to figures released Friday by the Federal Reserve, the annual growth rate for revolving credit is now 5.0%, the highest pace since May. One-year ago the growth rate was 3.0%. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the second quarter was $646.2 billion, or roughly 90% of total revolving credit, according to CardData (www.carddata.com). (Third quarter industry figures will be available in the next week or two.) At the end of September, Americans were $1972.2 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Sept03 Aug03 Jul 03 Jun03 May03 Apr03 Mar03
GRWTH: 5.0% 2.9 1.4 -2.4 7.7 3.4 4.1
$OWED: $731.5 728.5 726.8 725.9 727.9 722.8 720.7

Feb03 Jan03 Dec02 Nov02 Oct02 Sep02 Aug02
GRWTH: 5.9% 5.2 -6.7 -1.4 1.6 3.0 6.2
$OWED: $718.6 715.5 712.4 716.8 717.9 721.3 719.5
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 11/07/03;
For complete historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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