$39 Fees

The nation’s second largest bank credit card issuer this month pushed late payment and over-limit fees above the $35 level. MBNA is now assessing cardholders, with balances over $1,001, a $39 late fee and a $39 over-limit fee, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). MBNA is also notifying cardholders this month it is raising its minimum and maximum transaction fee for credit card access checks. MBNA’s new late fee schedule, effective with the June billing cycle, calls for a $15 fee for late payments on accounts with an outstanding balance under $101, and a $29 late fee for accounts with balances between $101 and $1,000. MBNA’s new over-limit fee schedule, also effective with the June billing cycle, calls for a $15 fee for being over-limit on accounts with an outstanding balance under $501, and a $29 fee for being late on accounts with balances between $501 and $1,000. MBNA’s transaction fee for credit card access checks will apply to checks posted after July 15th. The transaction fee is 3%. The minimum transaction fee will now go to $10 from $5, and the maximum transaction fee will rise from $50 to $75. One year ago, as growth and profits slowed, MBNA launched an aggressive re-pricing campaign with punitive interest rates. Since 1998, late payment fees have risen 56% on average, from $19.38 to $30.29. Over-limit fees have increased 52% since 1998, from $18.59 to $28.21.

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

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Juniper CFO

Juniper Bank has hired Peter Atwater, former CEO for Bank One’s Private Client Group and former EVP/Treasurer for First USA, as Managing Director and CFO. Atwater’s new responsibilities will include Juniper’s accounting, treasury, and financial planning functions. He also will be participating in developing Juniper’s strategic direction as a member of the Management Committee. Peter Atwater is a highly respected financial services industry veteran who has more than 20 years of experience and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Juniper team.

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MerchantAmerica Agent Bank

Electronic Clearing House has launched its “MerchantAmerica Agent Bank” program for the country’s independent and community bank sector. The Program is a total payment processing solution encompassing all major transaction types such as payment card processing, electronic check conversion, check risk management services and ACH payment services. The Agent Bank program enables smaller banks to provide a full range of services more often associated with the major national banks. The program has already been extensively beta-tested and is in full operation in a variety of banks in the Western States.

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VeriSign Fraud Protection Service

VeriSign has launched “VeriSign Fraud Protection Services” which has already been deployed by some of VeriSign’s 89,000 customers using VeriSign’s online payment services. Customers of VeriSign’s Fraud Protection services include the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shops and Webstore and Loews Cineplex theatres. The VeriSign Fraud Protection Services is compatible with well-known authentication programs, such as MasterCard SecureCode and empowers businesses to quickly and effectively identify and take decisive action against suspicious shopping patterns associated with virtual shoplifting and the use of stolen credit cards.

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CYBERFLEX LEVEL 3

Schlumberger Smart Cards and Terminals announced a landmark “FIPS 140-2 Level 3” validation for its “Cyberflex Access 64K” smart card, an open platform smart card with advanced public key cryptography that is programmable using the Java card technology. This is the first time the extremely stringent requirements of “Level 3” validation have been met by a smart card. Its predecessor, the Schlumberger “Cyberflex Access 32K” smart card was the first card of its kind to obtain “FIPS 140-1 Level 2” validation in September 2001 by the NIST in the USA and the CSE in Canada.

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UMS & Global eTelecom

FL-based Global eTelecom has renewed its electronic check conversion contract with United Merchant Services. The colaboration allows merchants to accept and process paper checks electronically, similar to a credit card transaction, adding increased value and efficiencies. Global eTelecom provides it’s proprietary, fully customizable XML based electronic check processing services to a nationwide network of banks, independent sales agents and associations, credit card processors, insurance companies, and retail merchants, ranging in size from small “Mom & Pop” stores to national retail chains. United Merchant Services is full bankcard services and support provider for merchants and sales offices nationwide, offering a comprehensive range of products, including United Merchant Services’ own newly developed gift & loyalty program.

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CGI & FUJITSU

Montreal-based CGI Group has certified Fujitsu Transaction Solutions’ “Series 8000” ATM to operate its “CyberGateway” ATM management platform. CGI manages one of Canada’s largest portfolios of ATMs. This is Fujitsu’s first Canadian network certification for its “Series 8000” ATMs. In addition to currency transactions, the “Series 8000” ATMs can offer such services as coupon and stamp dispensing, ticket purchases, phone cards and lottery tickets, bill payments, loan applications and personalized information. CGI serves more than 2,300 credit unions and banks and manages more than 5,000 ATMs across North America.

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FCRA Debate

The potential expiration of the federal “Fair Credit Reporting Act” preemption could cause 14 million Americans to lose access to credit. A new study released this week also says that more than 88% of consumers’ credit scores would be affected if a patchwork of state laws were allowed to replace the current national consumer credit system. The NYC-based Information Policy Institute report finds that in the absence of the federal FCRA provisions, under various scenarios the cost of credit could rise $40 to $270 per year for the average American family. The report noted that prior to automated underwriting, enabled in part by the federal credit system, approving a mortgage loan took nearly three weeks on average. In 2002, more than 75 percent of all loan applications received approval in two to three minutes. The IPI says this saved consumers $54 billion between 1983 and 2001. Key provisions of the “FCRA” are set to expire later this year unless re-authorized by Congress.

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Discover 2Q/03

Morgan Stanley reported this morning that its Credit Services division, including the “Discover Card,” posted lower net income for the second quarter compared to 2Q/02. Net income of $194 million was $2 million lower than one year ago, but up 7% over the first quarter’s net income of $182 million. Charge-offs and delinquency were up for the quarter thanks to high levels of unemployment and bankruptcy filings. Managed credit card loans at quarter end rose 3% from a year ago to $50.9 billion, while credit card volume was up 2.1% to $24.0 billion compared to 2Q/02. The credit card net charge-off rate increased to 6.50%, a 15 basis points jump above a year ago and 33 basis points over the prior quarter. The over-30-day delinquency rate increased 58 basis points to 6.21%, and the over-90-day delinquency rate increased 36 basis points to 3.01% from the second quarter of 2002. Merchant and cardholder fees rose 2% to $524 million as a result of higher merchant discount fees from increased transaction volume. The number of active accounts dropped nearly 7% from one-year ago. For complete details on Discover’s second quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

DISCOVER CARD PORTFOLIO SNAPSHOT
2Q/02* 3Q/02* 4Q/02* 1Q/03* 2Q/03* Y/Y CHNG
Outstandings: $49.4b $49.7b $51.1b $51.8b $50.9b +3.0%
Volume: $23.5b $24.3b $25.3b $26.1b $24.0b +2.1%
Accounts: 46.2m 46.2m 46.5m 46.5m 46.4m +0.4%
Actives: 23.4m 22.8m 22.6m 22.3m 21.8m -6.8%
Chargeoffs: 6.30% 6.27% 5.96% 6.17% 6.50% +3.1%
Delinquency: 5.63% 5.72% 5.96% 6.33% 6.21% +10.3%
Yield: 12.64% 12.71% 12.45% 11.78% 11.97% -5.3%

2Q/02 ended 5/31/02; 3Q/02 ended 8/31/02; 4Q/02 ended 11/30/02; 1Q/03 ended 2/28/03; 2Q/03 ended 5/31/03.

Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com][2])

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

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7-Eleven Bill Pay

7-Eleven has signed a seven-year exclusive alliance to offer in-person bill payment services with e-Money Systems, through 7-Eleven’s “Vcom” electronic kiosks. Under the agreement, e-Money Systems will use its “ChoicePay” solution to enable 7-Eleven customers to pay their utility and other bills using cash, automated clearing house checking accounts, credit, ATM debit and, in the future, with 7-Eleven’s stored-value “Convenience Card.” Currently, 7-Eleven customers can conduct ATM transactions (American Express is the primary provider of ATM transactions on “Vcom”), purchase Western Union money orders and money transfers, cash checks through Certegy Check Services, review and pay their Verizon residential phone bills and order additional services. The “ChoicePay” bill payment service is expected to be available on “Vcom” this fall. Approximately 1,000 7-Eleven stores in 13 states and Washington D.C. are equipped with the “Vcom” kiosk.

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