Diamond Cards

Citibank recently introduced its no annual fee “Diamond Preferred Rewards MasterCard” offering a single digit interest rate, a points program, and special discounts, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). Citibank’s move to “Diamond” joins MBNA, which earlier this year introduced its “AAA Diamond Advantage Platinum Plus VISA.” However a diamond card is not always associated with the best credit risks says CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][2]). Atlanta-based CompuCredit, a specialist in sub-prime credit cards, has offered the “Aspire Diamond VISA” for years. The new Citibank “Diamond MasterCard” carries a prime +4.99% purchase interest rate, and a prime +14.99% rate for cash advances. Citibank uses a 20-day grace period on the new card and offers credit lines starting as low as $1,000. Under the “Diamond Rewards” program cardholders can earn a $20 credit on their account by accumulating 5,000 points.

[1]: http://www.cardwatch.com
[2]: http://www.cardtrak.com

Details

Viad 3Q/02

Viad Corp reported third quarter revenue of $426.0 million, a 6.2% increase over 3Q/01. Third quarter net income was $35.6 million, compared to a $15.7 million loss for 3Q/01. Payment Services’ revenues on a taxable equivalent basis for the 2002 third quarter grew 13.1% to $217.2 million from $192.0 million in 3Q/01. On that same basis, operating income was up 1.3% to $47.1 million compared with $46.5 million in 2001. During the quarter, Payment Services sold a portion of its tax-exempt securities. Operating margins for the quarter were 21.7%, down from 24.2% in the 2001 third quarter. Margins decreased primarily due to lower interest rates, but also because the product mix shifted as MoneyGram and Official Check drove growth. For more details on Viad’s third quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

Student Advantage 3Q/02

Student Advantage reported a third quarter loss of $3.3 million on revenue of $20.1 million, compared to a $6.3 million loss on revenues of $22.9 million for 3Q/01. Student Advantage, Inc. (Nasdaq: STAD) is a leading integrated media and commerce company focused on the higher education market. Student Advantage works with more than 1,000 colleges, universities and campus organizations, and more than 15,000 merchant locations to develop products and services that enable students to make purchases less expensively and more conveniently on and around campus.

Details

NCR 3Q/02

NCR Corporation reported third quarter revenue of $1.38 billion, a decrease of 5% versus the prior-year period. ATM revenue decreased 3% and retail store automation solution revenue declined 13%. Net income for the third quarter was $41 million compared to a net loss of $6 million for 3Q/01. Excluding goodwill amortization and special items, third-quarter 2001 net income and earnings per diluted share would have been $40 million. Payment and Imaging revenue was down 22% in the third quarter of 2002, but flat year-over-year excluding the item-processing outsourcing business sold in the fourth quarter of 2001. Growth in imaging solutions offset the declines in core item processing due to check volume reduction. For the fourth quarter, revenue for NCR is expected to be down 0-5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2001. By solution, Data Warehousing and Retail Store Automation revenues are expected to increase approximately 5-10%, while ATM revenue is expected to be roughly flat. Systemedia is expected to be up 0-5% while Payment and Imaging and Other will be down approximately 10% and 30%, respectively. NCR expects operating income in the fourth quarter to be approximately $100-$115 million. For more details on NCR’s third quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

MBI Card

MA-based mbi reported this week it has topped 150,000 cardholders for its healthcare MasterCard debit cards. The mbi “Flex Convenience Card” enables employees using FSAs and HRAs to pay for eligible healthcare expenses wherever MasterCard is accepted. mbi currently has more than 160 TPA customers and over 1,900 employer groups. Some of the employers using the technology include PacifiCare, Ruby Tuesdays, MasterCard, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Based on orders from TPAs and employers, mbi projects approximately 225,000 cardholders by the end of January.

Details

OBERTHUR 3Q/02

Oberthur Card Systems reported third quarter revenue of 103.3
million euros, 7% decline from 3Q/01. Oberthur says the slowdown in smart
cards reversed itself during the third quarter as the company experienced a
13.6% increase over second quarter thanks to business in France and the
United Kingdom. Oberthur says sales of magnetic stripe cards have
stabilized. The decline of 4.3 million euros in sales compared with 3Q/01
is mainly due to the divestment from the memory card business in the USA.
Oberthur says the roll out of EMV microprocessor cards has reached a new
phase in the UKwith the introduction of the PIN@POS technology that enables
retailers to use microprocessor cards with a PIN code at their POS
terminals. With a 58% sequential growth and the recent announcement of a 3
three-year contract with Barclaycard, Oberthur says it is in a strong
position. Oberthur expects its level of sales on a full year basis to be in
the range of 435 to 450 million euros.

Details

Smart Card Rebates

A Cleveland-based manufacturer of LCDs has been issued a patent which allows instant cash incentives to be given to smart card customers at the POS. Viztec received the “Chip Card Rebate System” patent which broadly covers electronic cash rebates loaded onto smart cards in conjunction with advertisements and sales promotions (including coupons). Viztec says it also has patents covering smart cards with flexible displays, as well as the downloading of advertisements and coupons to smart cards with flexible displays. Viztec is currently commercializing its flexible LCD technology for use in smart cards, as well as other consumer and industrial products. Contrast ratios of Viztec’s current displays for smart cards are approximately 200:1. Viztec currently does not intend to manufacture smart cards, but is instead offering the technology covered in its smart card patents under a license agreement with qualified partners.

Details