RBA PROTEST

MasterCard International and VISA International have asked an Australian
Federal Court to review the new credit-card regulations proposed by the
Reserve Bank of Australia. The associations say the Reserve Bank of
Australia hasn’t complied with its obligations under the Payment Systems
Act, and that the proposed changes don’t meet the public-interest test
required under the act. In August, the Reserve Bank of Australia released
its final reforms on credit card programs which include dropping average
interchange fees by 40% and lifting the restriction imposed by credit card
programs which prevent merchants from recovering from cardholders the costs
of accepting credit cards. Under the new RBA rules, interchange fees will
decrease from around 95 basis points to approximately 55-60 basis points by
July 1, 2003. The Reserve Bank’s standard on merchant pricing will come
into force on January 1, 2003. The RBA also announced an end to
restrictions imposed by credit card networks which limit the entry of new
competitors. Specialist credit card institutions authorized and supervised
by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will now be eligible to
apply to participate in credit card programs. All the reform measures will
apply to the credit card networks operated in Australia by Bankcard,
MasterCard and VISA, which were formally designated by the Reserve Bank as
payment systems subject to its regulation under the Payment Systems
(Regulation) Act 1998. American Express and Diners Club have each indicated
to the Reserve Bank that they will remove their restrictions on merchant
pricing.

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ICBA Discounted Telecom

The Independent Community Bankers of America has partnered with Profit Technologies to offer ICBA members discounted telecom rates ranging from 20% to 40% off.ICBA members can contract for a telecommunications cost-management audit at reduced pricing. This service provides a detailed analysis of all telecommunications expenses with the objective of recovering past overpayments and reducing future operating expense.

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Australia Fight

MasterCard International has asked an Australian Federal Court to review the new credit-card regulations proposed by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Friday’s action followed VISA International’s action on Thursday. The association say the Reserve Bank of Australia hasn’t complied with its obligations under the Payment Systems Act, and that the proposed changes don’t meet the public-interest test required under the act. In August, the Reserve Bank of Australia released its final reforms on credit card programs which include dropping average interchange fees by 40% and lifting the restriction imposed by credit card programs which prevent merchants from recovering from cardholders the costs of accepting credit cards. Under the new RBA rules, interchange fees will decrease from around 95 basis points to approximately 55-60 basis points by July 1, 2003. The Reserve Bank’s standard on merchant pricing will come into force on January 1, 2003. The RBA also announced an end to restrictions imposed by credit card networks which limit the entry of new competitors. Specialist credit card institutions authorized and supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will now be eligible to apply to participate in credit card programs. All the reform measures will apply to the credit card networks operated in Australia by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA, which were formally designated by the Reserve Bank as payment systems subject to its regulation under the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998. American Express and Diners Club have each indicated to the Reserve Bank that they will remove their restrictions on merchant pricing. (CF Library 8/27/02)

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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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