Aria Returns

Providian has resurrected its “Aria” credit card brand. In solicitations hitting mail boxes over the past six weeks, Providian is offering the “Aria VISA Platinum” with credit limits as low as $250. In May 1999, Providian launched its “Aria” Internet card brand in response to NextCard. The “Aria” card was part of Providian’s e-commerce intiative which also included GetSmart.com. In February 1995, Providian acquired the WebCard VISA portfolio from H&R Block and GetSmart.com from a group of private investors. According to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]), the new and improved card is offering a 12 month 0% interest rate on purchases and a fixed 9.9% APR on balance transfers. The go-to APR on purchases is a fixed 9.99%. Providian also charges a default rate up to 24.99% and a $35 fee for late payments and over-limits. (CF Library 5/17/99; 11/10/99)

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

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PayPal Expands

PayPal said this morning it has surpassed the 20 million account holder mark, which is double the number of registered members it had just one year ago. The company also expects that by mid-October more than $10 billion will have been sent by PayPal members through the network since launch of the service in October 1999. As of October 1, 2002, PayPal had 20 million member accounts, including 3.7 million business accounts. More than $3 billion was sent through the PayPal network in the first half of 2002. Tomorrow, PayPal will hold a special meeting of stockholders to vote on the proposed merger with eBay Inc. and Vaquita Acquisition Corp. (CF Library 8/22/02).

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eBillit Inks Clients

San Jose-based eBillit says it has won seven new Internet service and content providers as clients in the third quarter and that ISP and content providers are typically increasing their rate of customer acquisition and revenue growth by more than 35% by adopting eBillit’s payment options and end-to-end services. The company’s popular PhoneBill payment solution has been a major driver of revenue optimization and new customer growth. PhoneBill addresses a huge untapped global market opportunity for a practical alternative to credit cards.

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Online Business Banking

Chasing small businesses to bank online may be produce less loyalty. A new study found that many entrepreneurs banking online don’t hesitate to chase the best rates for money markets, CDs, payment cards, and a host of other services. The study, by NFO WorldGroup, also found that typically, 81% of small businesses hold all deposits and investments at one financial institution. For those banking online and actively managing cash, that figure plunges to 60%. Only 22% of small businesses report being actively solicited for their excess deposit and investment dollars, leaving them to search online for the best deals. An alarming 78% of small business owners banking online are actively seeking competitive offerings, even if they are perfectly satisfied with their main financial institution. The study revealed that more than three in four small companies are now online, with 25% banking online, more than double the number that were two years ago. The research was conducted among 10,000 U.S based small businesses between May and September 2002.

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Simon VISA Gift

Simon Property Group is expanding its “VISA Gift Card” program to 43 shopping malls with a complete rollout scheduled to all remaining Simon malls next year. During the 12-month pilot program conducted in four Simon malls last year, the company says it experienced a sales increase of more than 60% compared to regular gift certificate sales during the prior 12 months. Simon is also leveraging the “Simon VISA Gift Card” through additional marketing efforts including VISA’s promotion, “Let Me Send you to Hawaii, Mexico or London. My Treat!” Between October 1-31, shoppers at 47 Simon malls will have the chance to use their VISA card to purchase $250 worth of “Simon VISA Gift Cards” and be eligible to receive two free roundtrip airline tickets to Hawaii, Mexico or London. The alliance between Simon and VISA was formed in 1997 in an effort to drive purchasing and brand loyalty among the 100 million shoppers who make more than 2 billion visits to Simon malls each year. The current contract with VISA will expire in October 2003. Simon Property currently owns or has an interest in 249 properties in 36 states. (CF Library 11/17/01)

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CHIP-PORT

ID Data has launched “ChipPort,” is a distribution channel for
applications and card solutions enabling users to access products that are
already approved and certified by the major card schemes.
The company says its new “ChipPort is a survival kit that puts commercial
power back in the hands of independent card manufacturers which face
numerous threats from larger players. The solution saves the costs and
delays in gaining accreditation for products and services. ChipPort, a
subsidiary of ID Data was founded in October 2001.

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WESTPAC PROCESSING

Westpac Banking has signed a multi-year contract with First Data for
credit card and merchant processing services. First Data will deliver card
and merchant processing services to Westpac in phases from October until
all implementations are completed in the last quarter of 2003. First Data
has provided Westpac with a range of ATM, EFTPOS and merchant processing
services since 1990. This major contract extends and enhances the existing
long-term relationship. Westpac is the second largest issuer of credit
cards in Australia and New Zealand. Last year, First Data handled more than
700 million banking transactions on behalf of its clients in Australia.

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BNA CERTIFICATION

Toronto-based BNA Smart Payment Systems has achieved “Class B”
certification to process retail transactions for credit, debit and EBT card
payments through Vital Processing Services’ authorization network. The
certification is unique in that the application was developed in standard
Java language. Most payment applications are developed in either
proprietary or dated languages. Also noteworthy, the application runs on a
Banksys terminal, which features more current technology than the old style
“gray box.” The terminal has value-add features including Ethernet
communications cards, WAP browser for Internet access and smart card
compliance features like EMV. The terminal and application reads standard
ABA magnetic strip cards and ISO standard smart cards.

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PAYWARE PREPAY

Ireland-based Trintech Group has formed partnerships with a number of
electronic prepay solutions companies and Netzwerkbetreiber to offer its
“PayWare PrePay” terminal solution in Germany. The companies include:
Alphyra; Brodos; Cardmaxx; Electronic Payment Systems; and Trendy Cash.
Trintech’s “PayWare PrePay” is designed to replace costly paper-based
top-up vouchers for prepay phones with a solution that enables merchants to
print PIN codes from the terminal, or directly replenish the phone without
the need for PIN codes by way of a direct link to the mobile operator.
Trintech’s “PrePay” software is designed to work on a range of Trintech POS
devices, including the popular “Compact 9000i” range. The solution has also
been certified by T-Mobil, Germany’s largest mobile operator, for the
eTopUp of its customers in Germany.

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