Harris Bank Expands Business Cards & Online Access

Chicago-based Harris Bank has introduced two new credit cards and has launched “Harris details Online” for its business customers. Harris is now offering the “Business Rewards MasterCard” and the “No Annual Fee Card.” The “Business Rewards MasterCard” offers business owners one point for every dollar of purchases charged to their card and their employee cards. Employee points are rolled up into the owner’s card. Points earned can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift certificates or “MasterCard Bonus Cards.” The new “No Annual Fee Card” applies to both the owner’s card or optional employee cards. With the new “Harris details Online,” business cardholders will be able to manage expenses on a Web-based reporting solution. The site allows clients to view statement information, including new transactions, balances and credit limits, run reports, add or delete cards, and request credit limit increases.

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MBNA & Merrill Lynch to Launch Co-Branded Card

MBNA has inked a partnership with Merrill Lynch to develop, market and service a full line of unsecured credit cards for Merrill Lynch clients. In return, Merrill Lynch products and services will be marketed to MBNA customers. The new “Total Merrill” credit cards are expected to be issued in the first quarter of next year. In January, Merrill Lynch launched its comprehensive financial management platform, “Total Merrill.”

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Spiegel’s Online Sales Decline 42% Due to Cards

The Spiegel Group reported a 30% decrease in August sales. Catalog and e-commerce sales decreased 42% compared to last year, primarily due to lower customer demand, a planned reduction in catalog circulation and the ongoing negative effect of the discontinuation in early March of the company’s private-label credit cards issued by First Consumers National Bank to customers of its merchant companies. The Spiegel Group’s businesses include Eddie Bauer, Newport News and Spiegel Catalog.

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Affluent Consumers Feel Extremely Positive

The British love to travel, and intend to do even more of it over the next year, as well as eating out. A new survey by American Express finds that affluent consumers feel extremely positive about their near-term future financial conditions and spending plans. The survey also found that Australians love the outdoors, traveling, sports, eating out. However, they are quite conservative on financial matters. Canadians say they like to spend on property and home improvements. The Italians were the least optimistic, and do not consider themselves indulgent. The Mexicans were by far the most optimistic of those surveyed. They enjoyed traveling the most, and indulge in buying clothes.

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CIBC AVENTURA VISA

CIBC has launched a card offering amazing lifestyle experiences and unforgettable travel rewards. The new “CIBC Aventura Gold VISA” is targeted at “Generation X” and “Baby Boomers” offering everything from flying a “MIG 25 Supersonic Interceptor” to a run on Canada’s only Olympic bobsled track. Customers earn one “Aventura Point” for every $1 spent on the card. They also earn “Double Aventura Points” when they use their card to dine, golf, or stay at one of the participating “Advantex Benefit” establishments throughout North America. Points can be redeemed in four categories: “Aventura Lifestyle Rewards,” “Aventura Airline Travel Rewards,” “Aventura Flexible Travel” and the option to convert to “Aeroplan Miles.” The card carries an annual fee of $120 and an annual percentage rate of 19.5%. The “CIBC Aventura Gold VISA” card will be supported with an extensive national marketing campaign, including special events, direct mail and media.

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E-PAY SERVICE

Euronet Worldwide’s e-pay subsidiary has entered the Polish market launching e-top-up with agreements with all three of Poland’s mobile operators. PTK Centertel and Polkomtel S.A. have already launched the e-top-up service, and Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, the Era network operator, is expected to launch in fourth quarter. e-pay Poland has installed over 200 POS terminals to support e-top-up in a mobile operator’s stores, and plans to continue increasing the e-top-up distribution through small- and large-scale merchants. Euronet already has signed a distribution agreement with Geant Polska, one of the country’s largest retailers, with 15 hypermarkets throughout Poland.

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MUZO & CYOTA

MUZO has signed a deal to offer Cyota’s “MasterCard SecureCode” and “Verified by VISA” systems to its issuing banks. The first bank to be launched is Komercni banka. MUZO’s new service, the first “3D Secure” system offered in the Czech Republic, will be launched next quarter. MUZO services multiple clients in Central Europe with systems currently available to over 3 million cardholders. Founded in 1990, MUZO is headquartered in Prague with several service centers in the Czech Republic.

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SENIAT to Use Oasis IST/Switch for Tax Payments

Servicio Nacional Integrado de Administracion Aduanera y Tributaria has selected Oasis “IST/Switch” to drive a new real-time tax collection system
Once implemented, the system will connect directly to Venezuelan banks acting as tax collection agents, enabling on-line, real-time transfer of tax payments. Wincor-Nixdorf Venezuela, an Oasis partner, will act as system integrator for the project. In the current environment, Venezuelan citizens make tax payments through local banks in the country using standard payment instruments such as debit and credit cards. The banks, acting as collection agents, accept tax payments on behalf of SENIAT and later remit these funds to the central bank through a manual reconciliation process. With the planned “IST/Switch” solution, SENIAT will have its own switch directly connected to the banks, providing real-time notification of transferred funds, as well as daily settlement and reconciliation processing.

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