Okaloosa County Tax Collector Chris Hughes announced that the county is deploying a self-service kiosk for the citizens of Okaloosa County to conduct a wide range of business transactions with his office, including: property tax, vehicle registration renewals, occupational licenses and hunting and fishing licenses. Citizens will be able to make payments using their credit cards with the kiosk.Details
Air Canada said yesterday that despite its decision to file bankruptcy it will continue to operate its “Aeroplan” loyalty program. CIBC also announced it will continue to offer “Aeroplan Miles” through its CIBC “Aerogold VISA” card. CIBC launched its program in 1991. Since its inception in 1984, Aeroplan has generated more than six million members in over 200 countries and has signed over 90 partnerships with airline, hotel, car rental, financial, telecommunication, retail, services and entertainment partners.Details
Federal judge John Gleeson yesterday denied all of VISA and MasterCards summary judgement motions in the upcoming “Wal-Mart” debit card lawsuit. Gleeson also denied MasterCards recent motion for a separate trial. However, the federal judge did grant five of the merchants eight summary judgment motions. Jury selection is schedule to begin April 21st with a trial date of April 28th. Constantine & Partners, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said yesterday that 70% of the trial was decided in the merchants favor as a result of yesterday’s summary judgment motions. VISA said the plaintiffs still have the burden of proving harm to the debit marketplace and that competition in the debit marketplace is thriving and robust. MasterCard said it was disappointed at yesterday’s action but relieved that a jury will decide if there was any competitive harm committed by its “Honor All Cards” rule. The lawsuit, filed in October 1996, by Sears Roebuck, Safeway, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, The Limited, three trade associations the National Retail Federation, the International Mass Retail Association and the Food Marketing Institute and 13 other large and small retailers, charges VISA and MasterCard with violating U.S. antitrust law. The class action includes five million merchants. If successful, the retailer plaintiffs could receive damages between $12 billion and $15 billion, which would be tripled under antitrust law. (CF Library 1/10/03; 3/17/03)Details
Bank of America has adopted a flat price structure of $10 to send money to Mexico using its “SafeSend” service. The reduced transfer fee is available for all existing “SafeSend” account holders and new customers. The $10 fee also is valid for anyone who is not a Bank of America customer. To register for a “SafeSend” account, individuals need to have a VISA or MasterCard debit or credit card available as well as the Mexican “Matricula ID” card. Once a customer is registered, Bank of America will send the “SafeSend” card to their loved one in Mexico. Upon receipt of the card, his/her loved one can withdraw available cash at any of
the approximately 20,000 ATMs in Mexico.
In view of the current Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) situation in Asia, Terrapinn has decided to postpone the Cards Asia 2003 exhibition and conference.
We believe that the welfare of our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, delegates and our staff is paramount and do not wish to place anyone under the risk of a potential infection. I’m sure you will agree with our decision.Details
Dublin-based FreeStar Technology says that one of its Finnish subsidiaries, FreeStar Processing Oy, had entered into a processing agreement with Florida-based Vacation Showroom. Freestar says the contract will produce a minimum volume of $1 million per month transaction, rising to $6 million per month within 9 months. FreeStar’s gross margin on the transaction volume is estimated to be 3.5%. Processing will begin April 15th.Details
First Data and Concord EFS announced a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $7 billion. Rumors of the impending merger sent Concord’s stock up by 26% yesterday. Concord has been struggling with the contract renewals of its large bank customers such as Bank One, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, and National City. VISA and its “Interlink” network have been aggressively bidding against Concord in some of these major contract renewals. Three weeks ago Concord reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer at a potential price of $6 billion. The combination of FDC and Concord will create a payments behemoth. FDC is also majority owner of the NYCE ATM network, which is dominant in the northeast. Concord’s STAR ATM network is nationwide. Concord also controls more than half of the POS debit processing market. First Data controls nearly half of the merchant acquiring market. Therefore, it is widely believed that any potential deal between FDC and Concord will draw close regulatory scrutiny. (CF Library 2/13/03; 2/19/03; 3/11/03)Details
The Cards Asia conference, originally scheduled for this month, has been moved to July. The outbreak of SARS has forced many firms to cancel plans to travel to Asia, notably to destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. The 8th annual “Cards Asia 2003” event will now be held July 23-25 at Suntec in Singapore. Speakers scheduled to appear include Alexander Rittweger, CEO, Loyalty Partner GmbH, Germany; Cindy Cheng, Director of Sales and Marketing, Octopus Cards Ltd, Hong Kong; Rohit Bhargava, General Manager, Personal Financial Services, HSBC Bank, Malaysia; Chang Hong-Jen, President, Bureau of National Health Insurance, Taiwan; Wang Zhong Lin, President of Dalian Pearl Card Co., China; and Jean-Phillip Betoin, Chairman of the Board, SIMalliance. The program includes sessions on “RETAIL PAYMENTS AND TRANSACTIONS”; “CARD MARKETING & LOYALTY”; “e-GOVERNMENT & SECURITY”; and “SIM 2003”. For more information visit http://www.cards-worldwide.com.Details
CardSystems announced it had secured $23.6 million in a private placement arranged by William Blair & Company and led by new investor Camden Partners. Existing investors that Camden Partners will join are Equity Dynamics Inc., Principal Financial Group and Edgewater Private Equity Funds.Details
Fiserv, Inc. announced it has completed its previously announced agreement to acquire Precision Computer Systems, according to Leslie M. Muma, President and CEO of Fiserv. PCS is a nationwide leader in the design, development, delivery, installation and support of core banking and related software solutions and services.Details
Washington, DC-based ATM National this morning announced the launch of the “Allpoint” surcharge-free ATM network. Pentagon Federal Credit Union, with more than 500,000 members, is among the first to join the network. “Allpoint” offers surcharge-free access to more than 23,000 ATMs nationwide and is targeted at credit unions, community banks, Internet banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, and payroll companies. The new network is comprised of E*TRADE and Cardtronics ATMs. Other “Allpoint” clients include Atlanta-based Skylight Financial and OBA Bank, a Washington, DC metro area community bank. ATM National has also partnered with Fiserv EFT/CNS.Details
Americans charged more than $6 billion worth of fast food to their credit cards last year compared to $3.7 billion in 2001, and $1.7 billion in 2000, according to CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com]). Since 2000, fast food sales on credit card have more than tripled even though slightly less than 15% of quick service restaurants currently accept cards. Recent studies by VISA on QSR activity show the average transaction for credit customers is 20% to 30% higher than for cash customers. More than half of fast food transactions on credit cards, are VISA transactions.