FTC Settlement

The Federal Trade Commission said it has reached a settlement with IL-based 1st Financial Solutions, Inc., which allegedly used a nationwide network of telemarketers to sell consumers major credit cards, cards that no one ever received. The settlement requires 1st Financial, three individuals and 10 other companies to post a $1 million bond before engaging in telemarketing. The defendants also are banned from selling credit-related programs, products and services. The complaint, filed in November, alleged that the defendants used telemarketers to offer VISA and MasterCard credit cards to consumers for fees ranging from $99.95 to $219.95. The defendants never provided credit cards or any extension of credit, according to the complaint. Most of the time, consumers received nothing at all. Some received either promotional literature offering things like gasoline discounts and auto club memberships, or an “ATM” debit card – a “stored value card” – that consumers could only use if they deposited money into an account to cover the purchase. (CF Library 11/27/01)

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Lavinna L100

Ingenico has signed an agreement with Concord EFS to manufacture the “Lavinna L100”, a proprietary compact hand-held terminal used for Concord’s “IDLogix” identification and age verification service. The Lavinna L100 terminal provides restaurants and retail establishments with the ability to verify a person’s age by swiping the customer’s driver’s license or other ID through the hand-held unit. Additionally, the terminal provides government agencies and commercial concerns with a simple-to-use mobile unit for identification purposes.

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ReD Latin American Deal

Retail Decisions and ENIAC, a Latin American information technology solutions distributor, announced a sales and distribution agreement for Retail Decisions’ “PRISM” risk management products within Venezuela, Colombia and Puerto Rico. PRISM uses self-learning neural network fraud detection models and bank-specific rules-based technology to help card issuers and retailers detect fraudulent transactions in real-time.

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AMC Gift Card

MO-based AMC Entertainment is rolling out a stored-value gift card. The new “AMC Entertainment Card” is available now at AMC Theatres throughout the U.S. and will soon be available at more than 1,400 supermarkets around the country. Participating supermarkets offering the card beginning November 15 include selected Safeway stores throughout the U.S., as well as select Dominick’s stores in Chicago, Vons and Pavillions stores in Southern California, Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, and Genuardi’s stores in Philadelphia. The card currently is offered in $15, $25, and $50 increments. AMC operates 242 theatres with 3,500 screens in the USA, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

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3Q/02 Portfolio Reports

Early reports for the third quarter, from bank credit card issuers representing about 8% of the industry or $50 billion in outstandings, show little, if any, portfolio growth. However card volume is running about 4% higher than 3Q/01. The number of accounts, actives, and cards-in-force is up between 1.8% and 3.4%, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Sacramento, CA-based Golden One Credit Union reported yesterday a 6.3% decline in third quarter outstandings compared to one year ago, however, card volume was up 14.8%. Golden One’s account base was essentially flat compared to one year ago. Most of the major issuers will release third quarter data within the next fourteen days.

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

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NGCOA & Hypercom

The National Golf Course Owners Association, Hypercom and edatagolf USA have formed a partnership to provide low-cost credit card, debit card processing and loyalty/gift card solutions to over 4,500 NGCOA member golf courses. As part of this special program, state-of-the-art Hypercom ICE 5500Plus credit card terminals, including wireless solutions, will be supplied by Hypercom Corp. These terminals will not only accept credit cards and debit cards, but also loyalty and gift program cards developed by edatagolf USA Inc. in partnership with the NGCOA.

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FDC & CUETS

Saskatchewan-based CU Electronic Transaction Services and First
Data have entered into several agreements in which the companies will work
together to provide advanced card issuing, merchant processing, and
acquiring services to the Canadian financial services market. Under terms
of the deal, FDC will provide credit and off-line debit card processing
services for CUETS’ 500 credit union and other card issuing clients
throughout Canada. FDC has also acquired equity interests in CUETS’
merchant acquiring and merchant processing businesses and agreed to form an
alliance which will assume responsibility for management, operations, risk
and sales activities for the acquiring business. FDC will provide
processing services to CUETS clients and the alliance, including
authorizations, merchant support, settlement and disputes.

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WIRELESS ICICI

ICICI Bank has inked a deal with Air2Web India to use their mobile
Internet platform to provide ICICI Bank customers with wireless access to
their banking and credit card accounts. Initially, ICICI Bank customers
will be able to receive alerts via Air2Web’s “2Notify” technology on their
“Short Message Service” phones, which will give them their checking account
and credit card balances. The second phase of the project will allow ICICI
Bank customers to access their checking account balance, receive a
statement of their account, order check books, and access customer service
agents. With credit card accounts, they will be able to pull up available
credit, payment details, payment status, and request a mini statement, as
well as access customer service representatives. ICICI launched its credit
card programs in January 2000 with three offerings including the “Solid
Gold,” “Sterling Silver,” and “True Blue.” The cards are now available in
36 cities across India and ICICI now has a cardbase of more than 6.5 million.

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Turkey Co-Brands

Turkey has become a hot bed for co-branded MasterCards with more than three million cards issued to-date among 80 programs. The top programs include the “Garanti BONUS MasterCard,” “Isbank Maximum MasterCard,” and “Akbank Axess MasterCard.” The most recent program, “Axess by Akbank,” is the fastest growing co-branded program in Europe, with one million cards issued in just nine months. The Akbank program is a multi-branded program with 119 different partner brands with a chip-based credit card combining real-time rewards and rebate facilities. The “Garanti BONUS MasterCard” is the largest MasterCard co-brand in Europe with 1.5 million cards in circulation. There are ten different merchant categories and 510 partner merchants participating in the program offering “BONUS” points and customized cardholders’ statements, giving suggestions for purchases based on previous spending patterns. “Isbank Maximum MasterCard” offers “MaxiPoints” which are stored centrally by the bank, with the POS device at Maximum merchant locations making the online connection to the bank for every transaction. There are currently 5,000 merchant locations offering Maximum advantages. As an additional benefit, Isbank runs a VIP lounge at Istanbul International Airport, which all “Maximum” cardholders are invited to use, free of charge, prior to any international departure.

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