India Cardholder Spending

The Reserve Bank of India announced this week it is lifting its $10,000 annual limit on foreign credit card spending by consumers and its $25,000 for annual restriction on international business travel credit card spending as mandated by the Foreign Exchange Management Act. The RBA says credit card users will now be limited by their credit card credit lines and will no longer need special permission to exceed the annual RBA limits. Under the current RBA rules, the credit limit for a “Classic”/”Silver” credit card is between Rs 15,000-Rs 50,000 (apprx. $300 and $1000); “Gold” card credit limits are now between Rs 50,000-Rs 300,000 (apprx. $1000 and $6000); and, “Platinum” card credit limits begin at Rs 500,000 (apprx. $10,000). According to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]), India has about six million credit cards and the average annual credit card volume per card of about Rs 17,000 ($350). There are less than 10,000 “Platinum” credit cards in the country. The Reserve Bank of India also noted that rules prohibiting purchases of lottery tickets, banned magazines, sweepstakes, and payment for call-back services will continue in force.

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

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AmSouth Payroll Card

AL-based AmSouth Bank has introduced the “VISA Payroll Card” to companies in Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia. Employees using the “Payroll Card” will receive a monthly statement of activity on the card, can obtain balance information free at any AmSouth ATM or by calling a toll-free number, and will receive a personal transaction register for tracking use between statements. TSYS will provide processing for the new card and Crittson Financial will provide customer service and card fulfillment.

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TD WATERHOUSE

TD Waterhouse Bank is expanding its services in the UK to include
banking services. US-based Fiserv will provide the account processing and
key customer call center applications for the new services
Fiserv has worked with TD Waterhouse in the USA since 1994, when it was
initially launched as one of the world’s first electronic banks. Fiserv
will provide a managed service to process TD Waterhouse Bank accounts
through its International Comprehensive Banking System running in the
Fiserv UK data center. This will be linked to the Bank’s Web applications
through the Fiserv open systems interface. In addition, Fiserv Alliant CRS
and Branch Teller solutions will provide real-time automated payment
processing and customer relationship management. TD Waterhouse currently
services more than 3.3 million customer accounts worldwide and 600,000
customers in the United Kingdom.

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GCA Expands Smart ATMs

Global Cash Access has signed 15 more gaming properties to use its ATM network which uses the Internet and facial biometrics recognition technology to offer patrons access multiple cash access services. GCA offers an array of products and services, ranging from the latest ATM technology to guest development marketing services that help casinos better understand their customers and increase traffic to the gaming floor and special events. The company operates more than 1,000 ATMs throughout its vast network.

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Ditch the Pitch Defendants Fined

The FTC announced yesterday that Canadian-Based Icon America d/b/a Sierra Enterprises has been ordered to pay $25,000 to settle charges of offering fraudulent credit card protection insurance. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants used telemarketing to sell credit card loss protection to consumers for prices ranging from $299 to $369. Using scare tactics, the defendants allegedly claimed that consumers’ credit card numbers were available on the Internet and accessible to criminals, and that the consumers would be held liable for any unauthorized charges, if anyone gained access to this information.

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Advanta Provides Card Downloads

Advanta Bank has signed a deal to use EEI’s “EnterpriseFTX” to extend the support of online card services for clients using personal financial management software. EEI’s EnterpriseFTX(TM) product suite addresses various front and mid-office functions of a financial institutions business. When deployed in its entirety, the EnterpriseFTX(TM) suite is a fully integrated solution for financial services providers servicing the securities, banking, and insurance markets.

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CATUITY PROFITABILITY

Sydney-based Catuity said yesterday it expects significant growth in its
revenue and anticipates it will achieve profitability this year before
non-cash stock compensation expenses. The loyalty card support specialist
also says it wants to extend the Company’s contract with its President &
CEO Michael Howe, and also proposes to issue shares in lieu of salary to
Howe and Catuity Chairman David Mac. Smith. Catuity is a leading provider
of application software that allows merchants, transaction processors and
payment card issuers to establish and administer customer incentive and
loyalty programs integrated to the payment system at the point of sale.

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UN Card

United Nations Federal Credit Union said this week that the direct mail response rate for its new “VISA Platinum Access” card hit 7.1% in the first month. One of the key features of the new UNFCU card is access to more than 400 VIP airport lounges globally via “Priority Pass.” Under the “Priority Pass” program, UNFCU will pay for up to four VIP lounge visits per year per account. Last summer, UNFCU conducted a survey which showed that a majority of UN agency employees, their families and retirees not only travel more frequently than the general population, but 62% also prefer to incur an annual fee (US $50.00) to obtain VIP airport benefits. Approximately 40% of UNFCU members travel by airplane at least four to 10 times per year; nearly 10% take 11-17 trips annually. A recent survey of the general credit union population found that only 5% wanted access to a VIP Airport Lounge, Travel & Emergency Assistance and Travel Insurance. The “UNFCU VISA Platinum Access: offers a three-month 0% introductory APR and an 8.9% variable APR thereafter. UNFCU’s 56,000 members either permanently reside or are stationed in 220 countries.

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Military Credit Education

Equifax has teamed with Military Advantage to launch the “Military Credit Education Center” for service members and their families, which also offers a discounted price on Equifax’s “Credit Insight” personal credit file monitoring service. This new service, located at http://www.Military.com/credit, offers service members and their families tips for planning a home or auto purchase, establishing good credit and avoiding common credit problems. In addition, the Military Credit Education Center provides information to interpret credit scores, auto or home insurance scores and enables monitoring of credit reports for accuracy.

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CARD LIMITS

The Reserve Bank of India announced this week it is lifting its $10,000
annual limit on foreign credit card spending by consumers and its $25,000
for annual restriction on international business travel credit card
spending as mandated by the Foreign Exchange Management Act. The RBA says
credit card users will now be limited by their credit card credit lines and
will no longer need special permission to exceed the annual RBA limits.
Under the current RBA rules, the credit limit for a “Classic”/”Silver”
credit card is between Rs 15,000-Rs 50,000 (apprx. $300 and $1000); “Gold”
card credit limits are now between Rs 50,000-Rs 300,000 (apprx. $1000 and
$6000); and, “Platinum” card credit limits begin at Rs 500,000 (apprx.
$10,000). India has about six million credit cards and the average annual
credit card volume per card of about Rs 17,000 ($350). There are less than
10,000 “Platinum” credit cards in the country. The Reserve Bank of India
also noted that rules prohibiting purchases of lottery tickets, banned
magazines, sweepstakes, and payment for call-back services will continue in
force.

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Providian 4Q/02

Providian reported a $12.1 million fourth quarter profit compared to its huge loss of more than $481 million in 4Q/01. Even though the company sold off several segments of its portfolio last year, dumping 8.5 million accounts, the issuer originated more than two million new accounts during 2002, with 750,000 generated in the fourth quarter. During 4Q/02, Providian sold off its “First Select” card segment which included 600,000 accounts. The issuer ended the quarter with $19.6 billion in total managed credit card loans and 12.0 million accounts. The Company’s managed net credit loss rate was 17.34% for 4Q/02 compared to 16.71% in the previous quarter, and 12.70% one year ago. Providian noted that effective November 1, 2002 they began recognizing charge-offs for accounts of deceased customers within 60 days after verification of death. The transition to the new policy increased managed net credit losses in the fourth quarter of 2002 by approximately $16 million. The managed 30+ day delinquency rate at the end of the fourth quarter was 11.11%, compared to 11.23% at the end of the third quarter, and 8.81% one year ago. For 2003, the Company expects managed net credit losses of approximately $3.0 billion, with managed net credit losses of approximately $875 million in the first quarter of 2003. The December sale of the “First Select” accounts produced a pre-tax charge of approximately $42 million. Solicitation and advertising expense in the fourth quarter was $65.6 million compared to $126.4 million in the prior quarter. For complete details on Providian’s 4Q/02 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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