TransUnion Launches Collection Prioritization Service

TransUnion has launched a new collection service that delivers information in 24 hours and offers 180 credit characteristics to use in determining the most predictive data for each account. TransUnion Collection Prioritization Service identifies uncollectable accounts, rank-orders accounts most likely to be recovered and offers the largest number of credit characteristics available in the market today. The new service combines the collections-specific attributes of six TransUnion products and is enhanced when customers utilize TransUnion’s world-class analytics capabilities.

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VISA and MasterCard Appeal Federal Court Decision

VISA International and MasterCard International have filed an appeal to the September decision by Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin which upheld the Reserve Bank of Australia’s credit card reforms. VISA said the new credit card regulations give competitors an “unjustified competitive advantage” while MasterCard said there are “reviewable errors” in the court’s decision. Last month, the judge rejected the VISA and MasterCard claim that they are not a “designated payments system” and therefore not subject to RBA regulatory power. However, Tamberlin did not rule on whether the reforms are sound policy, that could impact bank earnings and possibly make the country less attractive for new entrants. Tamberlin did note that he was also not persuaded that the RBA failed to engage in a proper decision making process or misapplied the legislation. Last year, the RBA issued new reforms on the credit card business permitting merchants to recover from cardholders the costs of accepting credit cards. The new standard went into effect January 1st. Also under the new RBA rules, interchange fees will decrease from around 95 basis points to approximately 55-60 basis points by October 1st. The new interchange rates will cost bank credit card issuers an estimated US$300 million per year. At mid-year 2003, Australians owe a record $24.24 billion in credit card debt among 10,705,000 total credit card accounts. VISA and MasterCard are also facing possible regulation of interchange fee practices in the UK, Poland, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

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MASCOT & CARD-PAC

Dublin-based CardBASE Technologies and Taiwan-based CyberSoft have integrated card systems to support the issuance of EMV cards. The combining of CyberSoft’s “CardPac” credit card system and CardBASE’s “MASCOT” smart card management system, provides card issuing banks with an out-of-the-box solution that protects their current investment in card infrastructure while also complying with EMV. “MASCOT” is an integrated solution aimed at the bulk issuance and lifecycle management of smart cards in a single or multi application environment. The integration was completed in six weeks using the “MASCOT Integration Toolkit.

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Marks & Spencer &more MasterCard Draws Attention of the OFT

Marks & Spencer Financial Services launch of its new “&more MasterCard” has hit a snag. The Office of Fair Trading notified the issuer that it is a violation of the “Consumer Credit Act of 1974” to automatically replace a Marks & Spencer private-label store card with the new MasterCard, without the written permission of the cardholder. More than 2.6 million of 5.0 million existing Marks & Spencer charge card users were in the process of being upgraded to the “&more” credit card. The new card was opened to the public this week. Prior to the national roll-out, Marks & Spencer completed a pilot phase in nine stores in South Wales with 40,000 charge card holders migrating to the new credit card. The new “&more” card offers 1 loyalty point per 1 GBP spent with Marks & Spencer and 1 loyalty point per 2 GBP spent elsewhere. The “&more” points can be converted into vouchers to spend exclusively at Marks & Spencer UK stores. The new card offers an APR of 14.9%, no annual fee, and credit limits of up to £10,000.

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MAJOR ABS DEAL

The largest ever single issuance of credit card asset-backed notes into the Canadian term market has closed. Royal Bank of Canada has securitized CD$1 billion of credit card receivables via the Golden Credit Card Trust. The senior notes of CD$950 million carried a yield of 4.2% while the subordinated notes of CD$50 million carried a yield of 5.1%. Standard & Poor’s has rated the senior notes “AAA” and the subordinated notes “BBB.”
The dealer syndicate for the senior and subordinated notes was led by RBC Dominion Securities.

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SVPCo Enlists AT&T to Build its Inter-Bank Extranet

NY-based SVPCo has contracted AT&T to design, build and manage its critical network infrastructure for its new nationwide, check image exchange system to be launched in the first quarter of 2004. The Image Exchange utility is an open system where all banks, all sizes, in all locations, can clear and settle images directly or through other parties. The innovative bank network design allows for private, secure, high- bandwidth, high-availability data exchanges among network participants

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Diebold Australia Buys Cardinal Brothers Manufacturing & Operations

Victoria-based Cardinal Brothers Manufacturing & Operations, a design, fabrication and manufacturing entity with a core competency in physical security, has been acquired by Diebold Australia. Cardinal Brothers has been Diebold’s business partner since 1999, in manufacturing the rising security screen technology for financial institutions and government authorities throughout the region. Michael Cardinal, managing director of Cardinal, has been named division manager, Diebold Physical Security Solutions in Australia, a newly formed organization. Michael Cardinal is also the inventor of the rising screen technology and former owner of Safetell, which was acquired by Diebold in 1997.

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ISO AMDS Readies for a National Expansion

Memphis-based American Merchant Data Services announced this week it has reached debt-free status and is in the process of hiring three additional regional sales managers. These managers will be based out of major metropolitan cities and will be immediately hiring a sales force of their own. This expansion is due in part to the rapid growth rate of the 15 billion dollar electronic data processing industry, as well as the record number of merchant accounts closed by AMDS.

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Grupo Financiero Banorte Deploys Integrated Cash Operations Module

Grupo Financiero Banorte has selected Carreker’s “Integrated Cash Operations Module” to manage the cash inventory and transportation for its 2,300 ATMs, 1,100 branches and 50 vaults. The software develops a daily cash activity profile for each cash point, assists in identifying optimal cash transportation schedules, and provides pre-emptive cash shortage alerts. “iCom” users have historically reduced their overall cash inventories by 20% to 40% while improving transportation schedules, lowering cash handling costs, and increasing the overall productivity and efficiency of the cash inventory management process. iCom is currently used by many of the large banks in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, South Africa, and Latin America.

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Marks & Spencer’s New MasterCard Hits a Snag

Marks & Spencer Financial Services launch this week of its new “&more MasterCard” has hit a snag. The Office of Fair Trading notified the issuer that it is a violation of the “Consumer Credit Act of 1974” to automatically replace a Marks & Spencer private-label store card with the new MasterCard, without the written permission of the cardholder. More than 2.6 million of 5.0 million existing Marks & Spencer charge card users were in the process of being upgraded to the “&more” credit card. The new card was opened to the public this week. Prior to the national roll-out, Marks & Spencer completed a pilot phase in nine stores in South Wales with 40,000 charge card holders migrating to the new credit card. The new “&more” card offers 1 loyalty point per 1 GBP spent with Marks & Spencer and 1 loyalty point per 2 GBP spent elsewhere. The “&more” points can be converted into vouchers to spend exclusively at Marks & Spencer UK stores. The new card offers an APR of 14.9%, no annual fee, and credit limits of up to £10,000.

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Hypercom Sells Leasing Business

Hypercom has sold its micro-ticket card terminal leasing business. Northern Leasing is paying Hypercom $30 million in cash for its Golden Eagle Leasing subsidiary. Under terms of the deal, Hypercom will keep Golden Eagle’s cash while Northern Leasing will buy all the other assets of Golden Eagle and assume substantially all of its related liabilities. At mid-year CT-based Golden Eagle had $14.2 million in cash. NYC-based Northern Leasing Systems is a leader in the micro-ticket lease market, and has specialized in serving the credit card merchant account business since its inception in 1991.

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