EU Corp Card

MasterCard has become the official corporate payments card of the European Commission. MasterCard Europe and Belgium-based member financial institution BCC (Bank Card Company) announced last week they were awarded the EU card program, replacing a five-year old corporate card program. The new program introduces MasterCard cards for the first time as the Commission’s official corporate credit card. It will be introduced to Commission employees in a phased roll-out throughout 2003, with the majority of the 4,000 cards expected to be rolled out in the first year.

Details

CARD LIABILITIES

The Office of Fair Trading has asked the High Court to clarify a section of the “Consumer Credit Act 1974” which permits cardholders to make a claim directly to their credit card provider in disputed overseas transactions. “Section 75” of the 1974 “Act” makes credit card issuers jointly liable with suppliers if the consumer has a valid claim for misrepresentation and/or breach of contract by the supplier. The law only applies if the cash price of an item is more than £100, but no more than £30,000, and the credit limit is no more than £25,000. The OFT has named Lloyds TSB and Tesco Personal Finance as defendants in the case. However, the ruling will affect all credit card issuers in the country except issuers of debit cards and charge cards. The OFT says some issuers have been challenging its interpretation of the law saying the liberal interpretation produces a major liability exposure. HSBC, Bank of Scotland and Sainsbury’s Bank have previously assured the OFT that they will honor valid claims for overseas purchases. The OFT expects the High Court to have a full hearing before the end of this year.

Details

SCA & Levinson Jewelers

Levinson Jewelers, a high-end Plantation, Fla. retailer, has retained Shoppers Charge Accounts Co., a division of Hudson United Bank of Mahwah, N.J., to develop and administer its private label credit card program.

Founded in 1983, Levinson’s has developed a following in its upscale South Florida community and surrounding areas as a destination for high quality diamonds, watches and fine jewelry. The company, which recently doubled its store’s size to 10,000 square feet, features local football legend Dan Marino and his wife in advertisements, catalogs and billboards. The new Levinson’s credit card from SCA offers cardholders special privileges, such as six months or 12 months interest-free from the time of purchase.

SCA services brick-and-mortar and catalog retailers, who also have e-commerce businesses, throughout the U.S. The company acquires retailers’ receivables or will develop private label credit card programs for merchants who currently don’t offer a house charge. In both situations, SCA assumes responsibility for generating customers’ billing statements; managing credit, collection, and lockbox functions; and creating customized marketing programs.

Ranked among the nation’s largest private label credit card companies, SCA is a division of Hudson United Bank, a subsidiary of Hudson United Bancorp (NYSE: HU).

Hudson United Bancorp is a $7.8 billion asset company with over 200 branch offices in New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. Hudson United Bancorp’s subsidiaries offer a full array of innovative products and services to commercial and retail accounts, including imaged checking accounts, 24-hour telephone and Internet banking, loans by phone, alternative investment products, insurance products, private label credit cards programs and a wide variety of commercial loans and services including asset based loans, SBA loans, international services and cash management services. Wealth management services are also provided to individuals and businesses. Public sector products and services are provided to local and state governments, municipalities, educational institutions, civic and not-for-profit organizations.

Details

CARD LIABILITIES

The Office of Fair Trading has asked the High Court to clarify a section of the “Consumer Credit Act 1974” which permits cardholders to make a claim directly to their credit card provider in disputed overseas transactions. “Section 75” of the 1974 “Act” makes credit card issuers jointly liable with suppliers if the consumer has a valid claim for misrepresentation and/or breach of contract by the supplier. The law only applies if the cash price of an item is more than £100, but no more than £30,000, and the credit limit is no more than £25,000. The OFT has named Lloyds TSB and Tesco Personal Finance as defendants in the case. However, the ruling will affect all credit card issuers in the country except issuers of debit cards and charge cards. The OFT says some issuers have been challenging its interpretation of the law saying the liberal interpretation produces a major liability exposure. HSBC, Bank of Scotland and Sainsbury’s Bank have previously assured the OFT that they will honor valid claims for overseas purchases. The OFT expects the High Court to have a full hearing before the end of this year.

Details

MoneySend

MasterCard International has launched the first phase of a new person-to-person funds transfer service in Europe. “MasterCard MoneySend” can be used for both overseas and domestic transfers, complies with anti-money laundering regulations, and leverages MasterCard’s “Maestro” online POS debit network. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group in the UK, Euro Kartensysteme in Germany, and CartaSi in Italy, have teamed with MasterCard to conduct the first phase of the European roll-out of the service. The European program is a hosting service, which will be run by MasterCard with program partners Magex and paybox. MasterCard says that “MoneySend” has the potential to be integrated into a bank’s electronic channels and might be expanded to a global level. There are 226 million “Maestro” cardholders in Europe and another 240 million worldwide.

Details

Meijer & Upromise

Meijer stores has joined the Upromise college savings program offering a 5% rebate, effective today. To enroll, Meijer guests will need to register their Meijer Credit Card at Meijer.com/upromise. Participating vendors’ products, numbering in the hundreds, range from Coca-Cola, Kleenex, Huggies, to Kellogg’s. Meijer guests will be able to join Upromise for free with their Meijer Credit Card beginning June 22, 2003.

Details

TCS & TNS

Atlanta-based Terminal Cash Solutions, a/k/a SMARTBanks has taken license with Toronto-based TNS Smart Network for its “Smart Processing Suite.” The proprietary software enables processing for ATMs, cashless ATMs, POS and POS scrip devices, as well as stored value, payroll and gift cards. SMARTBanks is currently processing PIN-based ATM and POS transactions from more than 2,200 locations, with a network operations center in Birmingham, Alabama and banking, marketing, and sales teams based in Southern Florida. TNS Smart Network is Canada’s largest privately owned transaction processor.

Details

Maestro Europe

MasterCard Europe announced last week that Allied Irish Bank in Ireland and Danske Bank in Denmark will launch cards branded with “Maestro.” AIB is rolling out “Maestro” on its existing and future “Laser” cards and will eventually appear on all AIB cards by the time their EMV chip roll out is complete in 2005. Ninety percent of all merchants within Ireland have upgraded their terminals to EMV and opened for Maestro, with a decal marketing program for over 8,000 merchants in the larger towns and cities already underway. Danske Bank expects to roll-out 30,000 Maestro cards this year. Until recently Denmark has only had a domestic debit offering. Danske is targeting the 15-17 year old market who frequently travel independently.

Details

Extended Zero Offers

As 0% intro APR offers remain popular among most major credit card issuers, some banks are now extending the rates beyond a full year. Fleet Bank is now offering applicants of its “Platinum VISA” a 0% APR on purchases through September 2004. However, Fleet requires cardholders to transfer a balance of at least $100 to trigger the 0% rate for purchases, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). The balance transfer APR for the “Fleet Platinum VISA” is currently 8.9%. Citibank continues to offer at least a 12-month 0% APR on balance transfers. This month Citibank is offering 0% balance transfer interest good through August 2004. Other top issuers offer at least a six-month 0% intro APR, according to CardWatch.

ISSUER 0% APR EXPIRES
Citibank Bal Trans Aug 04
MBNA Cash & BT Apr 04
Bank One Purch & BT 6 months
Discover Bal Trans Mar 04
Chase Bal Trans Jun 04
Capital One Purchases Dec 03
Am Express Purchases 6 months
Providian Pur & BT Jan 04
Household Bal Trans Dec 03
Fleet Purchases Sep 04

Source: CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][2])

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

Details

USTT Intelligent Vending Exec

PA-based USA Technologies has hired former Coca-Cola executive Jim Turner as VP/Channel Manager, Intelligent Vending. Mr. Turner’s will leverage his extensive global experience to expand USA Technologies’ business with The Coca-Cola System and other major beverage companies and vending operators, manufacturers and suppliers. Mr. Turner joins two other vending industry professionals at USA Technologies who together have more than 50 years of vending experience with the Pepsi Cola Company. Turner also held senior positions with Coca-Cola in Europe, Africa and the USA, bringing experience of technology innovations as well as project management for beverage operations from third world to highly automated and sophisticated facilities in South Africa and Europe.

Details