Amazon Platinum

Bank One and Amazon.com have released the “Amazon.com Platinum VISA” card. As part of an introductory offer, individuals who apply for the new Amazon.com card and use it at Amazon.com before November 15th, will earn a $20 promotional certificate toward a future Amazon.com purchase. Cardholders also earn three points for every dollar spent on Amazon.com purchases and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. Each time cardholders accumulate 2,500 points, they will automatically receive a $25 reward certificate to use toward Amazon.com purchases. Go-to interest rates are 8.9% fixed, 10.9% fixed, or 12.9% fixed.

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AUTOMATED CARD APPLICATIONS

UBICS UK Ltd. has completed a custom software application for Graphic
Data Online. GDO approached UBICS to automate the credit card application
process for one of their blue-chip customers.
In the past GDO utilized a diverse range of specialized software products
to support the process of converting paper forms (with hand written
content) into data streams for mainframe-based operations. GDO was
developing individual software for individual products, resulting in
separate software programs to process credit card, pension, insurance and
loan submissions. In order to solve the costly problem of making changes
to each processing system, the UBICS Project Team decided to simplify the
entire process by creating a program that allowed GDO to make changes
quickly and easily. Ultimately, the result was a customized solution
designed specifically to work with GDO’s existing system and no longer
required the use of expensive technical resources to solve the needs of
changing customer requirements. The system has also been `web-enabled’
permitting GDO’s customers secure access to their data processes in
real-time. This has had a significant improvement in the process on
exceptions, previously handled by postal mail. The new system
allows customers to instantly handle exceptions and update the system
directly from their desks, leaving GDO to get on with the next order process.

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AmEx Rewards

American Express this morning rolled out the “Rewards Green,” “Rewards Gold,” “Preferred Rewards Green,” and “Preferred Rewards Gold” cards which have the “Membership Rewards” program as a core feature. The four new “Rewards Cards” enable cardholders to earn two points for every dollar charged to the card for purchases at stand-alone supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, home improvement stores, the U.S. Postal Service and wireless phone bills. Cardholders will earn one point for every eligible dollar charged for all other purchases.The “Rewards Green” and “Gold Cards” will include traditional AmEx services such as: Purchase Protection; Buyer’s Assurance; Return Protection; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Global Assist Hotline; Travel Accident Insurance; and Year End Summary. “Gold Cards” will also offer free shipping and handling on select Internet and catalog merchants and the “Best Value Guarantee” program. In addition to these reward options, the upgraded “Preferred Rewards Green” and “Preferred Rewards Gold Cards” are designed for the frequent travelers interested in more air, hotel and vacation rewards. The annual fee for the new cards ranges from $65 to $130. AmEx will launch a new marketing campaign that includes three new television spots featuring spokesperson Jerry Seinfeld.

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GCA UK Casinos

Global Cash Access has signed UK-based Gala Group Ltd. to use GCA’s “QuikCash” cash access terminals in 26 Gala casinos. QuikCash cash access terminals employ the latest technology to provide casino customers with every access option available for cash advances on major credit cards and local bank debit. The touch screen, smart card-ready transaction terminals feature multilingual capabilities and can be installed virtually anywhere in a casino property.

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GEN 325

ASK S.A. has rolled out a new universal contactless smart card
reader that makes it possible for transit operators to include a broad
range of smart card standards from different suppliers in automatic fare
collection systems. The “GEN 325” is the latest in the “GEN 300” family of
electronic interfaces designed to read and write contactless smart cards
and tickets. ASK has shipped more than 10,000 “GEN 300” series contactless
smart card readers for use in transit AFC systems, highway toll collection
and other applications. The “GEN 325” couplers are compliant with the
leading standards and contactless smart card products for AFC applications:
“ISO 14443/1-2-3-4 Type A & B cards,” “Calypso,” “Venus,” and “Mifare”
cards. In addition, the full range of contactless and dual interface ASK
cards is supported including GTML, GTML2, CD97, CT2000 and the paper-based
C.tickets. The “GEN 325,” which is available immediately, targets OEMs and
transit system integrators.

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Clear Card

Western Union Financial Services is offering its employees the “E-Duction Clear MasterCard.” The voluntary employee benefit enables employees to purchase products and services from MasterCard merchants and pay for them over two months, interest-free through payroll deduction. In July, E-Duction introduced its first payroll deduction card. Last month, E-Duction introduced “Clear Alliance”, a channel reseller program designed to provide insurance brokerages, employee benefit brokers, consultants and payroll processors with an array of strategic tools for marketing and implementing “Clear.” (CF Library 8/16/02)

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HIGH-SPEED BANKWORKS

Frankfurt-based RS2 Software Group has added a high-speed engine to their
“BankWORKS” card payment software. The new engine increases “BankWORKS”
processing capability to over 3 million
transactions per hour. The processing engine operates concurrently in two
modes, “Continuous Transaction Processing” mode CTP, where dual message
incoming transaction files are processed in the background, or in “Straight
Throughput Processing” mode STP, where single message transactions are
processed in real time. The scalability tests, conducted at the IBM
Solution Partnership Center in the UK, confirmed a processing capacity of
3.6 million transactions per hour in CTP background batch mode and 1,000
transactions per second in real time straight throughput mode. RS2 says it
expects to complete the first
installations of the new engine by end of the year for one of its largest
clients in Europe.

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