Virgin Atlantic Airways has joined the American Express “International Airline Program,” which offers “Centurion” and “Platinum” cardholders complimentary companion tickets on 20 international airlines with the purchase of first or business class tickets. Other carriers in the program include: Delta, Aero Mexico, Aer Lingus, Air New Zealand, Air France, Alitalia, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, LanChile, Lan Peru, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, SAS, South African Airways and Swiss International. AmEx launched the program in 1993 for “Platinum” cardholders and later extended it to the “Centurion” card when it was launched in 1999.Details
Gemplus International has hired Alex Mandl as Chief Executive Officer. Mandl was the former Chairman/CEO of Teligent between 1996 and 2001, following a four stint at AT&T, where worked his way up to President/COO. Gemplus said Mandl will take over as its top executive on September 9th. Reportedly there was some controversy between Gemplus board members over the selection of Mandl. The debate centered on Mandl’s previous ties with the Central Intelligence Agency. According to the Dow Jones news service, Mandl belonged to the board of trustees of In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit organization set up by the CIA in late 1999. In-Q-Tel’s purpose was to keep track of Internet technology on behalf of the CIA. Some board members were concerned that Mandl’s CIA ties could affect its ability to sell its product and services to some countries. Mandl currently serves as a director on a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards, including those of Dell Computers and Pfizer. In December, CEO Antonio Perez decided to resign his posts as Chief Executive Officer and director to pursue other interests. Marc Lassus, founder and one of the largest shareholders of Gemplus, also agreed in December to cease his office as chairman. Earlier this month, Gemplus announced that its interim CEO, Ron Mackintosh, has decided to step down as of August 15th.Details
CyberSource has inked a deal with AAA to provide electronic payment processing services. The CyberSource payment solution, which enables real-time payments via credit and debit card and/or electronic check, can be used by all 80 AAA clubs to process payments accepted over the Internet or via call center for registration, membership renewal and service payments, among others. AAA has 1,100 local offices and more than 45 million members. Earlier this month, CyberSource released “Payment Manager v4.4,” which now supports corporate purchasing cards with level III line-item detail for customers processing through FDC South. (CF Library 8/20/02).Details
The FDIC reported yesterday that continued strength in consumer loan demand, plus a favorable interest-rate environment outweighed the negative effects of weakness in commercial loans for banks in the second quarter of 2002. Higher securitization income at credit-card lenders, continued growth in service charges on deposit accounts, and increased income from trading activities were the main areas of strength. The FDIC said credit card charge-offs were $894 million (31.6%) above the level of a year ago, and charge-offs on other consumer loans were $256 million (24.7%) higher. Higher net interest income (up $5.6 billion, or 10.5%) was partly the result of wider net interest margins in a more favorable interest-rate environment. The overall low level of interest rates contributed to loan growth, while the steep yield curve helped net interest margins. The industry’s net interest margin of 4.11% was 8 basis points lower than in the first quarter, but was 21 basis points above the level of 2001’s second quarter. After four successive quarters of no improvement, average margins at commercial banks with less than $100 million in assets rose for the first time in two years, increasing by 14 basis points, to 4.40%, from 4.26% in both the first quarter and in the second quarter of 2001.Details
United Airlines has inked a deal to offer Best Western’s “Gold Crown Club International” members “Mileage Plus” miles for hotel stays and the option of redeeming “Gold Crown Club” points for miles. Gold Crown Club International is Best Western International’s newly enhanced frequency program.Details
While bank credit card outstandings, among the nation’s top issuers, are growing at an 8% annual, charge volume is only growing about half as much. Charge volume handled by the twelve largest issuers, for the first two quarters of 2002, hit $549.2 billion compared to $529.0 billion for same period one year ago, for an annual growth rate of 3.8%. American Express and Discover reported slight declines in charge volume for the first half of this year. Among VISA and MasterCard issuers, sub-prime specialists Providian and Metris posted lower charge activity this year. The biggest gainer is Capital One, posting a 42% rise in volume for 2002 versus 2001. For complete details on 2Q/02 performance on the nation’s top 250 issuers visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Top Bank Credit Card Issuers in the U.S.
(based on outstandings but ranked by YTD volume)
ISSUER 2Q/02 2Q/01 CHNG
1. AmEx $113.0b $114.4b – 1.2%
2. Citibank* $108.5b $ 106.8 + 1.6%
3. MBNA $ 74.4b $ 67.1b +10.9%
4. Bank One $ 68.4b $66.9b +2.2%
5. Discover $ 47.6b $47.9b – 0.6%
6. Chase $ 39.7b $33.8b +17.5%
7. Cap One* $ 32.5b $22.8b +42.5%
8. BofA $ 23.4b $23.4b NC
9. Household $ 17.1b $16.7b +2.4%
10. Fleet $ 11.4b $ 9.8b +16.3%
11. Providian $ 8.9b $14.9b -40.3%
12. Metris $ 4.3b $ 4.5b -4.4%
TOTAL: $549.2b $529.0b +3.8%
*Citibank includes Canada and Mexico as the company no longer discloses
its domestic portfolio; Cap One may include some international accounts
as the company no longer discloses its domestic portfolio
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
Savoy, IL-based GCOM said it has recently completed a three-year project for VISA International to develop platform-independent technology to legacy access points for VisaNet in Asia Pacific, Canada, the European Union, Central Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Bringing platform- independent technology to legacy access points outside of the United States, GCOM technology played a central role in improving hardware flexibility, technical support, and problem resolution for member connectivity to VisaNet.Details
Gemplus International has hired Alex Mandl as Chief Executive Officer. Mandl was the former Chairman/CEO of Teligent between 1996 and 2001, following a four stint at AT&T, where worked his way up to President/COO. Gemplus said Mandl will take over as its top executive on September 9th. Reportedly there was some controversy between Gemplus board members over the selection of Mandl. The debate centered on Mandl’s previous ties with the Central Intelligence Agency. Mandl belonged to the board of trustees of In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit organization set up by the CIA in late 1999. In-Q-Tel’s purpose was to keep track of Internet technology on behalf of the CIA. Some board members were concerned that Mandl’s CIA ties could affect its ability to sell its product and services to some countries. Mandl currently serves as a director on a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards, including those of Dell Computers and Pfizer. In December, according the The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com]), CEO Antonio Perez decided to resign his posts as Chief Executive Officer and director to pursue other interests. Marc Lassus, founder and one of the largest shareholders of Gemplus, also agreed in December to cease his office as chairman. Earlier this month, Gemplus announced that its interim CEO, Ron Mackintosh, has decided to step down as of August 15th.
KY-based National Processing Company has teamed with Valutec Card Solutions to offer an electronic loyalty and gift card program targeted for the regional merchant segment. The colorful cards can be designed with the retailer’s logo — instantly building on brand awareness, and be programmed with a variety of methods to be redeemed.Details
Scotiabank reported this week, as of July 31, its total assets were $300 billion, up $29 billion from last year, thanks in part to its retail loan portfolio. The Canadian “ScotiaLine VISA” and mortgage products were the primary drivers. The Scotiabank “Classic VISA” card now offers up to 1% cash back on purchases, effective August 1. Earlier this year, the Bank launched the “No-Fee Value VISA”, the only no-fee, low-rate credit card in Canada. During the quarter, Scotiabank joined CertaPay and three other Canadian banks to launch the a person-to-person e-mail money transfer service. Scotiabank was the first of the major banks to introduce P2P e-mail money transfers in a pilot in April. Scotiabank is also managing an innovative pilot service that allows customers to order and pay for their favorite McDonald’s food and beverages in advance, using the phone or the Internet. Customers open a secure “McQuick” account, then use a credit card to automatically deposit money into it. The amount of the purchase is deducted from the account when an order is placed. In addition to managing the pilot, the Bank is providing credit card transaction processing. For complete details on Scotiabank’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
The Internal Revenue Service yesterday asked seven U.S. District Courts to permit it to serve “John Doe” summonses on airlines, hotels and other business for details on MasterCard credit card transactions that may involve tax evaders. The IRS has been investigating the use of payment cards issued through offshore banks by U.S. residents seeking to evade taxes or launder money. The “John Doe” summonses requested yesterday involve more than 40 companies in San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Newark, and Alexandria, VA. The IRS hopes to match an address or name with data it has already received from MasterCard. The IRS estimates as many as 2 million U.S. citizens may have used payments cards issued through banks in tax haven countries while less than 200,000 Americans file annual reports on foreign bank account activity. Earlier this year, following an IRS suit filed in Miami, MasterCard agreed to produce more than 1.7 million records, involving over 230,000 accounts, in response to a “John Doe” summons. In April, a federal court in San Francisco issued an order authorizing the IRS to serve a summons on VISA International for offshore credit card records. American Express also agreed to turn over records relating to people who may be subject to United States income taxes and who have credit card accounts with addresses in Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands. (CF Library 4/2/02)Details