EDS this week announced it has digitized the daily credit union process for balancing debit card and ATM network transaction totals. After credit union cardholders execute POS and ATM transactions, data is routed to an EDS-hosted core credit union system, where the transactions are posted to member accounts and appropriate general ledger entries made. However, each POS and ATM transaction routes through a variety of networks each business day, and each member’s financial institution is responsible for reconciling and balancing individual transaction totals and all the third-party organizations that touched each transaction. EDS has taken this process and standardized and automated it by fully digitizing the workflow required to balance transaction totals and reconcile general ledger accounts. Automated debit card and ATM network balancing cuts the processing time from up to a full day for a large credit union down to a few minutes.Details
American Express has added a home improvement reward category to its “Membership Rewards” program following a deal with The Home Depot. The Membership Rewards program is the world’s largest card-based rewards program, with more than 4 million U.S. enrollees and more than 9 million worldwide. The program allows Cardmembers to earn one point for virtually every dollar charged on eligible, enrolled American Express(R) Cards.Details
Euronet Worldwide has acquired e-pay Ltd, the largest electronic payments
processor of prepaid mobile air time top-up services in the U.K. and
Australia, for $76.2 million. Over the past year, e-pay has experienced
revenue growth of approximately 37% per quarter. In fourth quarter, e-pay
generated net revenue of approximately $24 million and operating income of
approximately $2.5 million. e-pay currently supports top-up purchases for
mobile service providers at more than 50,000 POS terminals in approximately
18,000 retail locations. e-pay has approximately a 35% and 75% market share
in the U.K. and Australia, respectively. In addition to the U.K. and
Australia operations, e-pay owns 40% of e-pay Malaysia, which offers
electronic top-up through approximately 2,600 POS terminals. e-pay Malaysia
has approximately 60% of the electronic top-up market share in that region.
e-pay has agreements with nine mobile service providers, including five
U.K. mobile service providers, Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Orange and Virgin.
Australian mobile operator agreements include Telstra, Virgin Mobile,
Vodafone and Optus. In addition to delivering top-up services at the mobile
operator retail outlets, e-pay also has distribution agreements with many
major retailers, such as Tesco, Safeway, Woolworths (Aus), Asda, Boots,
7-Eleven (Aus), BP, Esso and Forbouys. Additionally, e-pay has a
significant number of POS terminals in independent retail merchants.
Currently, Euronet supports top-up services for 16 mobile operators in nine
countries, including Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania,
Slovakia, Egypt, India and Indonesia.
ExxonMobil has selected Cardtronics to install new ATMs and provide ongoing processing service for 215 Exxon- and Mobil-branded retail outlets, mainly located in Texas. The contract comes on the heels of Cardtronics’ acquisition of the bulk of Diebold’s ATM portfolio last October, which included more than 300 Exxon and Mobil locations.Details
The FTC reached a $525,000 settlement with a pair of Arizona brothers who allegedly offered nonexistent advance-fee, low-interest credit cards, and bogus identity theft and telemarketing fraud protection services. According to the FTC, the Slonikers, operating out of Arizona, employed large numbers of telemarketers trained to deceive consumers. From their “contract rooms,” the defendants allegedly telemarketed nonexistent advance-fee, low-interest credit cards, and bogus identity theft and telemarketing fraud protection services, often on behalf of third-party client companies.Details
Concord EFS yesterday reported that fourth quarter revenues increased 28% over 4Q/01, however, net income for the quarter inched up slightly from $89,082,000 to $89,760,000. The higher revenues were driven growth in PIN-based debit and the addition of new large multi-lane retailers, however, the volume from the new large retailers came at lower-than-average margin, which contributed to the margin decline in the fourth quarter and year over year. Concord also acknowledged yesterday that it faces intensifying competition in renewing bank contracts that has increased price compression and raised the cost of renewing contracts. Concord says it expects that diluted earnings per share will be in the range of $0.75 to $0.79 in 2003, instead of the previous guidance of $0.84 to $0.88 per share. The revised forecast reflects the contract renewing issues plus the ongoing low interest-rate environment and continued uncertainty about the economy. Network Services revenue increased 25% on transaction volume growth of 14% in 2002, plus network price increases effective in January. The transaction growth was largely driven by STAR PIN-debit payment transactions, up 30% in 2002. Network Services transaction volume was 6.3 billion in 2002. The STAR network ended the year with 127 million cardholders, 241,000 ATMs and approximately 1,000,000 point of sale locations that display the STAR mark. Concord also noted that it added a total of 4,800 quick service restaurant locations in 2002, bringing the total number of quick service restaurant locations to 14,800. For complete details on Concord’s 4Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Vancouver-based LML Payment Systems reported revenues for the quarter
ending 12/31/02 of $2.5 million, compared to $2.2 million for the same
year-ago quarter, an increase of approximately 13.6%. The revenue increase
was mainly attributable to an increase in revenues derived from the
software license revenues resulting from the company’s partnership with
CheckFree Corporation. There was a net loss of approximately $545,000 for
the quarter compared to a net loss of approximately $969,000 for the
quarter ended December 31, 2001. Revenues from electronic check
verification were approximately $369,000 for the quarter ended December 31,
2002 compared to approximately $249,000 for the third quarter ended
December 31, 2001, an increase of approximately 48.2%. The increase is
mainly attributable to the roll-out of check processing services, including
electronic check verification, to 49 multi-lane grocery stores with 268
locations in the Houston, Texas area during the third quarter ended
December 31, 2002.
Bankruptcy filings hit 395,129 for the fourth quarter. For all of 2002, total bankruptcies filed were 1,577,651, up 5.7% from 2001. Previously, the largest number of bankruptcies filed in a single 12-month period was in the period between October 1, 2001-September 30, 2002 when it hit 1,547,669 filings. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, of the total number of bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2002, there were 1,109,923 Chapter 7 filings, up 5.2% from the 1,054,975 Chapter 7 filings in the same period in 2001. The next largest group of filings was Chapter 13 filings at 455,877, up 7.2% from the 425,292 filings in calendar year 2001.
ANNUAL FILINGS BY BANKRUPTCY CHAPTER
Year Chap. 7 Chap. 13
2002 1,109,923 455,877
2001 1,054,975 425,292
2000 859,220 383,894
1999 927,074 382,214
1998 1,035,696 397,619
1997 989,372 403,025
Source: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
U.S. Wireless Data reported fourth quarter revenue of $899,000, a 61% increase over the same quarter one year ago. Gross profit for the three months ended December 31, was $30,000, compared to gross profit of $231,000 in the same period in the prior fiscal year. Net loss for the quarter totaled $3.42 million, as compared to a net loss of $3.33 million, for the corresponding quarter of the prior fiscal year. The growth in revenues were driven by service revenues which grew to $764,000, up from $428,000 in the prior fiscal year, a 79% jump. Service revenue was derived primarily from the growing base of active sites that use the Company’s proprietary Synapse service to process transactions. For complete details on USWD’s latest quarterly performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Toronto-based Canadian Tire Corporation reported that credit card
receivables ended 2002 at $1.95 billion, 35% ahead of last year’s levels,
driven by the migration of store credit cardholders to the “Options
MasterCard.” At the year-end, MasterCard accounted for 85% of total CTFS
receivables. During 2002, CTFS made in-store acquisitions of more than
439,000 new “Options MasterCard” accounts. Fourth quarter earnings before
taxes for CTFS of $27.0 million were 136.7% ahead of last year reflecting
strong receivables growth, lower rates of write-off as a percentage of
average receivables, tight operating expense
management, and an $8.1 million gain on the sale of receivables. Excluding
the gain on sale of receivables, pretax operating earnings were $18.9
million, up 71.8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2001.
Millions of credit card account numbers were hacked from the database of third-party payment card processor earlier this month. The hacked accounts include 3.4 million VISA cards and 2.2 million MasterCards. An undetermined number of American Express and Discover cards were involved. However, approximately eight million accounts were reportedly involved. The card associations indicated there is no evidence of widespread fraud and affected cardholders have been notified.Details