Bluefish MasterCard

The first credit card from a concierge firm has been launched, offering credit lines up to $100,000 and $1 million in common carrier travel accident insurance. Bluefish Concierge, a global firm that organizes white glove access to exclusive events and travel experiences on behalf of corporate executives, celebrities, professional athletes, and other high net-worth individuals, has teamed with MBNA to issue the new card. The “Bluefish Concierge MasterCard” carries no annual fee and typical MBNA pricing. Bluefish Concierge opened U.S. offices in South Florida this year and has a worldwide network of over 150 representatives. Established since 1994, the firm also issues a monthly insider’s newsletter to 50,000 clients.

Details

50 MILLION CARDABLES

A new study shows that the middle class will drive payment card
growth in the China as its expands from 60 million to 160 million people by
2010. The report also says that there are already more than 50 million
people in China who can be characterized as “cardable.” The MasterCard
report says there are only one million credit cardholders in China today,
but there are about 24 million secured credit cardholders, and virtually
all of them will become credit cardholders tomorrow. MasterCard has about
16 million secured credit cards in-force in China. MasterCard also
anticipates significant growth over the next few years in the international
credit card business in China, based in part on the estimated increase in
the size of China’s middle class over the rest of this decade as well as
the increasing acceptance of such cards by merchants and financial
institutions, driven increasingly by raising international visitor
arrivals. This year the number of ATMs that accept international payment
cards will rise to 1,300 in Beijing and more than 8,000 ATMs nationwide.
Currently in Beijing city, international payment cards are accepted at
around 16,000 point of sale terminals. The city government of Beijing plans
to increase this in three years time to 80,000.

Details

South Korea Card Limits

The Financial Supervisory Service reported this week that credit card volume dropped nearly 14% in the first quarter. The FSS says the lower volume was driven by the lowering of credit limits in the wake of spiraling delinquencies. Cardholders charged $96 billion on credit cards in the first quarter, including credit purchases and cash advances, down 13.7% from the fourth quarter. Card usage at LG Card declined 8.5% in the first quarter, while Samsung Card dropped 9.2%. Shinhan Card saw a drop of 36.2% in 1Q/03 while Kookmin Credit Card volume declined 21.7%.

Details

ATB & FDC

Edmonton-based ATB Financial has signed a seven-year agreement with First
Data for card processing services for ATB’s MasterCard credit card
accounts. First Data has provided card processing services in Canada since
2000 and currently processes accounts on behalf of four card issuers. The
company is also a leading merchant acquirer of MasterCard transactions in
Canada working with a wide range of merchants representing nearly 90,000
outlets. ATB serves over 240 communities through a network of 145
branches, 132 agencies, and 225 automated banking machines and electronic
banking services.

Details

Biz Rewards MasterCard

Fifth Third Bank has expanded its rewards program to business cards. The new “Business Travel Rewards MasterCard” enables the primary cardholder to earn up to 100,000 points annually. Business cardholders earn one point for each $1 in net purchases. Points can be redeemed for free airline tickets, discounted hotel rooms, or cash-back. Redemption opportunities starting at 10,000 points. The cash-back feature offers a $100.00 check for 10,000 points. The introductory interest rate for purchases on the new MasterCard is fixed at zero percent for the first four billing cycles, then goes to Prime + 7.99%. The card also carries a $50 annual fee. Fifth Third launched reward programs for its credit card and debit cards in 2002. Under the debit card rewards program, cardholders earn one point for every $2 in purchases. (CF Library 3/18/03)

Details

Debit Opportunities

A new study suggests that the losses in debit card revenue due to the elimination of the “honor all cards” policy may be more than recouped by savvy debit card issuers that reposition and promote the use of debit cards for recurring bill payments and online transactions. Dove Consulting says only 3% to 5% of the more than $36 billion in recurring bill payments are made with a card-based instrument. Dove also says the re-pricing of signature debit will also provide a more attractive alternative to ACH items for enrolling consumers for Internet Bill Presentment and Payment. Dove estimates that as many as 150,000 consumers enroll with billers each day for IBPP, and they prefer to use their debit cards when registering for electronic payment. Up until now, billers that wanted to accept only debit were also forced to accept credit because of the “honor all cards” rule. Dove concludes that in the end, the unbundling of credit and debit will actually increase card issuer and bank revenues just as it did in other industries including computer software and telecommunications.

Details

InterCept 1Q/03

Atlanta-based InterCept reported first quarter net revenues of $65.2 million, a 62% increase over 1Q/02. Net income for 1Q/03, excluding special items, totaled $2.4 million versus $4.7 million one year ago. Total revenues from Financial Institution Services grew to $43.5 million from $37.0 million, total revenues from Merchant Services grew to $17.4 million from $0.5 million. Revenue from Financial Institution Services increased due to the acquisition of item processing centers in July 2002 and internal growth. Revenue from Merchant Services was higher as a result of the acquisitions of iBill and EPX during the second quarter of 2002, partially offset by customer attrition in InterCept’s merchant base. InterCept expects the internal growth percentage to be negative for Merchant Services during the second quarter due to a lower number of merchant customers in late 2002 and 2003. For complete details on InterCept’s 1Q/03 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

Iraq Effect

Eighty four percent (84%) of Americans say that the recently-concluded war with Iraq had no impact on their willingness to use credit cards or take on other types of debt, according to the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index. 13% of those surveyed said they decreased their use of credit during the war, while 3% increased their use of debt.

![][1]

[1]: http://www.cardweb.com/images/c/cambridgeconsumerindex/may03chart.jpg

Details