GE Loans

General Electric is reportedly gearing up to launch the “GE FlexPlus Account,” a personal unsecured loan program, next year. GE is expected to send at least one million solicitations for the loan program in 2004, according to The Wall Street Journal. GE will offer credit limits between $500 and $25,000. Interest rates will range between 7.99% and 18.99%. Last month, GE reported that its credit card profits dropped 13% in the first quarter to $181 million, compared to $209 million one year ago. Revenues for GE’s credit card business were also down, slightly, from $903 million for 1Q/02 to $893 million for 1Q/03. During the first quarter GE inked a deal to buy Conseco’s retail sales finance and private label credit card business. However, the deal has recently come under government scrutiny. (CF Library 4/11/03).

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CXR POS ORDERS

Abondant-based CXR reported this week that its sales for communications
equipment targeted at the POS market have escalated rapidly over the past
12 months.
The company has received more than $1.5 million in new orders and has
delivered 5,000 units during the past year. Direct clients include system
integrators Carte & Services, ADS Anker, Monetique Control Plus, Tokheim
and Wincor Nixdorf. CXR says it now has a 60%+ market share in the supply
of communication equipment for the verification of credit cards. CXR is a
subsidiary of MicroTel International.

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VISA & HP

HP said it has successfully completed a project for VISA EU’s new
purpose-built European Headquarters. HP says VISA EU faced a number of
challenges with regard to its IT systems and needed to consolidate IT
costs. HP handled the upgrade program and also provided server, storage and
printer products. The upgrade program has enabled VISA to make fundamental
changes to its technology infrastructure. In particular, VISA was able to
consolidate a previously dispersed and departmental server environment into
a single “ProLiant-based” server farm. Also, underneath this new system is
a disaster-tolerant storage area network (SAN) that forms a critical piece
of the business continuity requirement.

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Y-ME VISA

Bank One is launching this weekend an affinity credit card designed to raise money for a national breast cancer information and support organization. The Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization has been in existence for 25 years. Bank One will officially launch the card on Sunday, when it serves as presenting sponsor of the “Y-ME RACE Against Breast Cancer,” held each year on Mother’s Day in Chicago’s Grant Park. Bank One will donate $75 for each new cardholder who applies and activates the card at the race. The card will be offered with an initial rate of 8.9% and no annual fee. American Express is also involved in fundraising for breast cancer. For five years, AmEx has run its “Charge for the Cure” campaign, based on a $0.01 donation per American Express transaction at participating merchants. (CF Library 9/27/02)

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DOJ Appeal

VISA and MasterCard made their appeals yesterday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, in the antitrust lawsuit brought by the U.S Department of Justice. The card associations asked the court to overturn the ruling permitting their members to issue competitor cards. VISA and MasterCard pointed to the success of American Express as an example that their rules have not stifled competition. VISA and MasterCard argued that a lifting of the issuing rules will benefit its competitors, not consumers who are protected under antitrust law. The government argued that the ruling should stand and showed several examples of how consumers have been harmed. A ruling by the three judge panel is not expected for several months. In October 2001, Judge Barbara S. Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York abolished the VISA and MasterCard exclusionary rules. (CF Library 11/28/01)

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OPEN Cash Rebate

American Express has extended its highly successful cash rebate program to business credit cards. The “Business Cash Rebate Credit Card” is being offered through its “OPEN: The Small Business Network,” and offers a cash rebate of up to 2.5% on all purchases. Cardholders also earn a double rebate, or 5%, for doing business with merchants who are part of the “OPEN Network’s Everyday Savings” program. There is no limit to the amount of cash rebate earned. Card pricing is no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR for six months. Last month, AmEx extended the cash rebate program to its “Blue” smart card product. The “Blue Cash Card” offers a cash rebate of up to 5%. The annual cash reward for purchases is up to 3%. There is an additional rebate of up to 2% for purchases in months in which the account carries a balance. (CF Library 9/9/99; 4/3/03)

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iPayment IPO

Nashville-based iPayment’s initial public offering of stock is expected to debut this morning. The card processor, which focuses on small businesses, is expected to raise up to $72 million by selling 4.5 million shares at an expected IPO price of $16 per share. However, the IPO failed to price on Thursday, so it is uncertain if it will trade today. The company filed for an IPO in December. Two weeks ago the company reported first quarter net income of $900,000 on revenue of $46.7 million, compared to a 1Q/02 loss of $700,000 on revenue of $16.5 million. In 2002, the company posted a net loss of $493,000 on $115.8 million in revenue. In 2001, the company lost $4.9 million on $38.9 million in revenue. For complete details on iPayment’s performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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