Bentley & BarterCard

Los Angeles-based start-up Bentley Communications has canceled its bid for Kryptosima and has opted to acquire Barter Card Group. Bentley previously announced an agreement with a reseller who would license the right to be Kryptosima’s exclusive sales agent to the online brokerage industry, and has already received $50,000 in cash payments under that agreement. The parties have agreed to dissolve that agreement, with Bentley retaining the cash already received.

Details

LinkPoint

First Data is demonstrating this week its LinkPoint “All-In-One Terminal” which offers credit, debit, EBT, gift card services/ValueLink gift card, loyalty, purchase card, TeleCheck guarantee and TeleCheck ECA. First Data processes virtually any payment while leveraging the existing synergies between its services and subsidiaries, such as PayPoint, ValueLink and TeleCheck. These relationships enable First Data to launch the only comprehensive suite of point-of-sale (POS) solutions tailored to meet the specific payment requirements of retail merchants.

Details

Iacobuzio to MC

Industry analyst Ted Iacobuzio is leaving his position as consumer credit research director at MA-based TowerGroup to head to MasterCard. Iacobuzio is joining MasterCard as VP of its Advisors group. TowerGroup announced this morning that Dan Murray will replace Iacobuzio. Murray began his career at American Express, where he held various marketing positions in the card division. He then joined Citicorp and held senior positions in the Card, Commercial, Retail Banking and Product Development Divisions. After leaving Citicorp, Mr. Murray joined Manufacturers Hanover Trust, where he was responsible for the national expansion of the bank’s card issuing and merchant acquiring businesses. Ten years later, Mr. Murray joined MasterCard International as general manager, Credit Products USA, where he was responsible for all marketing and member relations functions. After a successful tenure of growing market share for MasterCard, Mr. Murray turned his focus to financial services consulting by holding general management positions at PSI Global and TransAct Inc.

Details

ACE & Ithaca Printers

ACE America’s Cash Express has selected TransAct’s “Ithaca” brand POSjet 1500 two-color inkjet printer for use at the POS in ACE Cash Express’ network of nearly 1,200 stores. ACE Cash Express cashes and validates more than 1.3 million checks per month. The Company has operations in freestanding buildings, shopping centers, kiosks, retailers, and supermarkets. Its business includes check cashing, money orders, money transfers, lottery tickets, bill payments; all of which require mission critical receipt printing.

Details

Card Profits 2003

Credit card profit margins should be stable for most of 2003 as it appears unlikely the Fed will raise rates until late 2003. Bankruptcy filings should be more modest in 2003, further lessening the expense load on card issuers’ P/Ls. The predictions come from California-based investment banker R. K. Hammer who also expects tax cuts to pass Congress by July, and subsequently boost spending power thus driving higher merchant fee income and higher consumer balances. Hammer predicts the Feds will raise the Fed Funds Rate from 1.25% to 2.00% or 2.25% by the end of 2003. Therefore, Hammer says he projects gross card revenues to be up by 8% for the year, and pre-tax OROA profits to be up by 5%. Income from fees should top 35% of total revenue, as penalty fees and nuisance fees increase. Overall, companies whose earnings and reserves were not weakened by sub-prime lending can expect a good boost to profits for the year.

Details

SBSC Weighs In

As summary judgment arguments were being heard Friday in the Wal-Mart debit card lawsuit, the Small Business Survival Committee released a statement saying that small businesses will be harmed if merchants prevail in shaking up the current payment system. The SBSC says that card companies help smaller merchants compete with larger retailers and it is important for small merchants that consumers have as many options to pay as possible to encourage sales, convenience and to guarantee payment. The SBC says antitrust cases should be about what’s best for consumers and competition, not big companies. Allowing consumers the freedom to choose their preferred method of payment has been very good for all businesses, says the group. The statement concludes saying that this is not a system in need of remedy. The Small Business Survival Committee, founded in 1994, has more than 70,000 members nationwide.

Details

MC Back-Up Center

MasterCard announced Friday it chosen Kansas City, MO, to locate its back-up data center, which is expected to become operational this year. The cost of the site is estimated at as much as $50 million and will be staffed by approximately 30 technical employees.The new site will replace MasterCard’s current backup site located in a New York City suburb. The Kansas City facility was chosen over 18 other sites, partly due to its proximity to St. Louis, where MasterCard runs its worldwide transaction processing facility. The Kansas City site will serve a unique co-processing role, meaning that processing will be balanced between two systems, which allows for immediate redirection should either system experience problems.

Details

CardData 4Q/02

Among billion dollar portfolios reporting end-of-year data thus far, National City posted modest gains in outstandings and volume, while sub-prime specialist First Consumers National Bank experienced a sharp decline in all metrics, as its number of active accounts dropped more than 25%. According to CardData’s 4Q/02 portfolio survey, National City’s outstandings increased 4.7% during 2002, while First Consumers’ outstandings fell 16.5%. Among mid-level issuers with at least $100 million in outstandings, California Commerce Bank posted a 32%+ gain in outstandings as the its number of active accounts surged by more than 67%. FL-based SunTrust also posted above average gains in all categories with a 24% jump in annual volume and a nearly 27% gain in active accounts. VA-based First Citizens also produced above average gains in outstandings and volume even though its account base remained flat. For complete details on the latest 4Q/02 and EOY 2002 portfolio data visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

EOY 2002
ISSUER OUTSTANDINGS (CHNG) VOLUME (CHNG) ACTIVES (CHNG)
National City $2,307,403,461 (+4.7%) $ 4,632,151,100 (+3.3%) 1,053,272 (-0.7%)
First Consumers $1,059,783,758 (-16.5%) $1,218,832,258 (-24.9%) 812,843 (-25.2%)
First Citizens $ 242,571,808 (+7.3%) $ 802,667,857 (+11.8%) 106,363 (NC)
Calif Commerce $ 112,055,715 (+32.7%) $ 185,812,903 (+19.6%) 40,265 (+67.4%)
SunTrust $ 110,036,026 (+17.7%) $ 787,470,895 (+24.3%) 20,855 (+26.8%)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

Details

Catuity Patents

Detroit-based Catuity has received a “Notice of Allowance” from the U.S. Patent Office for 26 claims on its application for a patent for a “Data Carrying Device and Systems for Use Therewith” which covers the efficient use of memory space on smart cards to store data for multiple applications and the systems to manage applications, devices and terminals. This new U.S. patent discloses the use of dynamic memory allocation and memory re-use on smart cards via the use of a static area, program index and an application area.

Details

CS-Link 1500

UniComp announced the commercial availability of its “CS-Link 1500 Micro Kiosk,” the newest addition to its family of interactive customer service terminals. The CS-Link 1500 with a compact footprint (smaller than an 8″x10″ picture frame) has been designed to be mounted almost anywhere that will enhance a customer’s shopping experience. The attractive multi media micro kiosk provides a compact six-inch screen to address a wide range of customer needs from product location, advertisements and couponing to product information and bill paying.

Details

InterCept Forecast

Atlanta-based InterCept said Thursday it is lowering its financial outlook after watching iBill revenues drop in its merchant area. iBill experienced a large loss of merchant customers following the implementation of a new credit card association rule in mid-November pertaining to high-risk merchants. A number of iBill’s Web merchants declined to pay a registration fee mandated by the new rule. InterCept says it will continue to examine iBill’s customer base for merchants who are not complying with credit card association rules or its underwriting standards, and may, therefore, experience further customer attrition. InterCept previously announced that it expected its 2002 earnings per share to be in the range of $1.11 to 1.15. InterCept now expects that those earnings will be in the range of $0.92 to $0.98 per share, and it is withdrawing previously issued earnings guidance for 2003. Yesterday’s announcement drove InterCept shares down 50% to their lowest price in more than three years. The stock closed at $9.50. This morning the stock has moved lower to around $8.00 per share.

Details

ONLINE BANKING

Online banks reached more than 30% of the active Internet audience in five
major global markets in November. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, between
October 2001 and October 2002, the number of European surfers visiting
financial services sites grew from 15 to 25 million, while the percentage
of European Internet users who regularly visit a financial services site
steadily rose to 37%. On a country-by-country basis, online bank domains in
Sweden attracted the highest percentage of active users in November, with
more than half that country’s surfers visiting a bank or credit union site
and spending an average of more than an hour on those sites during the
month. Australia came in second with a market reach of 39.6% and France
came in third with a market reach of 38.7%

Details