Business Zone

FleetBoston and Staples have teamed to pilot a program to offer small business banking services inside ten Staples stores in the Northeast. Fleet Small Business Zones, will feature two specially trained Fleet business sales representatives who will manage a freestanding, 150 square-foot sales center that will be open six or seven days each week, depending on locale. Each Fleet Small Business Zone will be available to open accounts and issue on-the-spot debit cards featuring 1% rebate on signature-based purchases. The Fleet Staples Small Business Package includes a checking account with no cash handling fees, free money market account, free online banking, and a free personal checking account. The monthly service fee for the Fleet Staples Small Business Package will also be waived for customers who maintain a $20,000 average daily balance or who conduct all transactions electronically.

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Ryder & Stratus Card

U.S. Bank and Skylight Financial have signed Ryder System for its “Stratus” ATM payroll card account program. As part of a comprehensive program being rolled out by Ryder, employees of Ryder can optionally have their payroll checks deposited into Skylight’s Stratus ATM Card Account. The pre-approved Stratus Account is an FDIC insured, checkless account, which provides an alternative to check cashing companies for employees who do not have a bank account. The Stratus Account is accessed via the Stratus Card, which is used to withdraw cash at more than 200,000 ATMs and over 800,000 POS locations.

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Upromise Signs Albertsons

Albertsons has joined the Upromise college savings program and is offering up to 5% back on purchases to its Preferred Savings Card customers in Idaho, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, Northern Nevada, Western Wyoming, and Eastern Oregon. Albertsons is one of the world’s largest food and drug retailers, with annual revenues of approximately $38 billion. Based in Boise, Idaho the company operates approximately 2,300 retail stores in 31 states across the US, under banners including Albertson’s, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Sav-on Drugs, Osco Drug, Max Foods, and Super Saver.

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FDC 2Q/02

First Data reported this morning that second quarter revenue increased 9% while earnings per share grew 21% on a recurring operations basis, or 11% on a pro forma basis. Thanks to strong growth from Western Union, revenue for the payment services segment increased by 17% to $780 million, and profits of $246 million increased by 21% over 2001 pro forma profits of $204 million. The card issuing services segment reported a 5% decrease in revenues to $462 million due to prior year de-conversions. However, card issuing services has more than 70 million retail, debit and bank card accounts in the pipeline for conversion, with approximately 13 million accounts scheduled for conversion during the second half of 2002. CIS operating profits of $91 million were up 1% from 2001 pro forma profits of $90 million. The merchant services segment showed a 15% increase in revenue to $647 million. Profits of $194 million rose 14% over 2001 pro forma profits of $170 million. Merchant processing transactions grew 14% for the second quarter to 2.5 billion. The emerging payments division, First Data’s eONE Global business, which accounts for 2% of total revenue, reported $41 million in revenue for the quarter, a growth rate of 98% due primarily to acquisitions. For complete details on First Data’s 2Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Vital Nabs Marshall

Vital Processing Services has hired former Hypercom executive John Marshall as EVP, with responsibility for Sales and Client Relations and for leadership of Vital’s affiliates, Vital Merchant Services and Golden Retriever Systems. Marshall has built a career in technology-related and transaction-intensive businesses in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the US. In New Zealand, he served as a senior level sales executive for Eagle Technologies as well as Computer Resources. Subsequently, Marshall held a senior leadership role at Austnet, the first independent ATM-driving company in Australia. Later, he moved to US where most of his work was with Hypercom prior to joining Vital.

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Starbucks Enhancement

Starbucks announced Tuesday it will now replace unused balances of lost, registered Starbucks Gift Cards. The stored value card was introduced in November and to-date has activated more than 4 million cards. Starbucks previously reported that it issued 2.3 million cards by year-end 2001. Customers loaded a total value of $32 million onto the new Starbucks Card and redeemed $9 million in 2.2 million transactions between Thanksgiving and the end of 2001. Under the new replacement card enhancement, a customer must have registered his or her Starbucks Card via Starbucks’ Web site or toll-free number. Registered customers need not retain a receipt. In the event a card becomes misplaced, customers call to report the missing card and the balance will be frozen and a new card, loaded with the remaining balance, will be sent to the customer. Starbucks Card users who registered prior to July 3 will need to update their account information with their city of birth. Starbucks is sending registered cardholders an e-mail notification to request the additional information. (CF LIbrary 1/25/02; 4/18/02)

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Diners’ Gaines Cited

Diners Club North America president Brenda Gaines has been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America” in the July 22 issue of FORTUNE magazine. Gaines joined Citibank in 1988 and has held a series of senior leadership positions culminating in her current role as president of Diners Club in 1999. Among her achievements as president, Ms. Gaines integrated the Diners Club North American business, broadened Card acceptance beyond traditional T&E channels to include more retail and other types of establishments, and launched two new Cards, including the first Diners Club U.S. based revolving credit card product. Her accomplishments have resulted in Diners Club winning the “Best Frequent Traveler Affinity Charge/Credit Card Program” (Americas) award for the fifth consecutive year.

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Yellowstone VISA

U.S. Bank and the Yellowstone Park Foundation have launched an affinity VISA card. The Yellowstone VISA card is issued by Elan Financial Services, features a picturesque scene of Yellowstone, and is available in a classic and platinum card. More than three million people visit Yellowstone each year. Bozeman, MT-based Yellowstone Park Foundation is a non-profit organization created by a group of concerned citizens, working with the National Park Service, to protect, preserve, and enhance the park. The new card carries no annual fee if used at least once a year, otherwise the fees are $20 for classic and $40 for platinum The intro APR is 5.9% fixed, for six months with the go-to APR of 8.74% to 14.74% depending on credit risk.

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FDC & Chase

First Data has signed a multi-year agreement to produce and mail statements and letters for several retail lines of business within J.P. Morgan Chase, including credit cards, home finance and auto finance. FDC currently partners with Chase through its Chase Merchant Services joint venture. FDC also provides card processing and plastics production for Chase’s credit card business since 1989. First Data serves approximately 2.8 million merchant locations and 1,400 card issuers. At the end of the first quarter, Chase had $48.3 billion in bank credit card outstandings and 17 million active accounts, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Datakey Signs CMS Client

MN-based Datakey announced that a major U.S. bank is deploying its newly released Card Management System, purchasing 3,500 Datakey CMS user licenses and placed an initial order for 1,500 Datakey CIP kits, which include Datakey’s Model 330 cryptographic smart card, CIP client software and a smart card reader. Datakey CMS, announced in late April, is a web-based smart card and digital credential management solution for enterprises—used to issue, manage and support Datakey cryptographic smart cards throughout the organization for identity-based applications.

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Extreme Diners

Diners Club North America has launched an “Extreme Adventures” program for its Carte Blanche cardholders. Between July 8th and September 1st, cardholders can purchase specially created packages for skydiving, hot air ballooning, hang gliding, deep sea fishing, NASCAR driving, or Indy-style racecar driving. The sky diving package includes a 60-second freefall from 14,000 feet in the Chicago area. Activity prices range from $120 to $450 per person. Diners is also providing participating cardholders with a free leather pocket Traveler’s Atlas, according to CardWatch ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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[1]: http://www.cardwatch.com
[2]: /graphic/dinersclub/invitation.jpg

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Dress Barn & ADS

The Dress Barn has renewed its contract with Alliance Data Systems for a private label credit card program for Dress Barn’s 750 store locations nationwide. Under terms of the renewed agreement, Alliance Data will provide services that include account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; customer service functions; and credit marketing support.

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