Bonds 2002

Credit card-backed securities, among some issuers, may face a difficult year in 2002. Chicago-based, GimmeCredit, ranked three credit card specialists among the ‘Bottom Ten’ of finance companies whose bonds will most likely underperform next year. In a report released Friday, American Express, Capital One, and Metris Companies were listed among the bottom performers. GimmeCredit says Capital One needs to better disclose its exposure to the subprime segment with a good chance its losses may accelerate. The research firm says American Express could be vulnerable to a downgrade if the U.S. economy doesn’t bounce back as its credit quality in its charge card and lending businesses erode. The company says Metris Companies focus on subprime lending could mean rising regulatory scrutiny. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s currently rates Capital One as ‘Baa3/BB+’; American Express as ‘A1/A+’; and Metris as ‘Ba3/B+’.


Tight Consumers

A new survey shows consumers are keeping a tight grip on their purse strings. Despite heavy promotions by retailers in recent days, a majority of consumers surveyed are sticking to their budgets with 80% reporting that they plan to spend the same or less than last year. According to the survey by Deloitte & Touche LLP and BIGresearch, 37% of consumers report they intend to pay down debt in the next three months and 27% say they plan to increase savings. In addition, 62% report paying for their holiday purchases with cash or check instead of credit, with 32% saying they plan to decrease overall spending in the next 90 days. According to’s home page ‘Holiday Spending’ tracker consumers have charged more than $93 billion since the start of the holiday season. Nearly one billion card transactions have made since November 23rd.


Austin Logistics Conference

Austin Logistics Incorporated, providers of well-known call-targeting software such as CallTech, CallSelect, and OnQ, announced its 3rd Annual Users’ Conference will be held February 24 to 26 in Austin, Texas.

Given today’s rising delinquencies, more financial services companies are turning to call-center and collections technology, such as Austin Logistics’ software solutions, which increase productivity at every stage of collections (“who to call,” “when to call,” and “where to call from”). These solutions work together to refine the delinquent pool, leaving only the most productive calls, made in the most productive way.

Collections executives from the top banks and financial services companies in America, and throughout the world, will gather to share success strategies on a wide range of topics, including: Some Champions & Challengers You Should Know, Using CallTech and Other Reports to Make Strategic Decisions & Keep Management Happy, What You Need to Know About Scoring, Ideas to Improve Late-Stage Performance, Pros & Cons of Different Performance Metrics, and many others.

For more information on this conference, please go to [][1], or send an email to

, and write “Users’ Conference” in the subject line.

About Austin Logistics Incorporated

Austin Logistics has been trusted since 1992 by America’s largest financial services companies for innovative, practical solutions to increase effectiveness of consumer credit collections, telemarketing, and risk management. For further information on Austin Logistics, please visit the web site at [][2].



US Airways Biz Card

Bank of America has made a major mail drop for its new ‘Dividend Miles VISA Business Card’, according to ‘CardWatch’ ([][1]). Under the business card version of the US Airways/Bank of America co-branded program, cardholders earn one ‘Dividend Mile’ for each $1 spent in net purchases and two miles for every $1 spent on US Airways goods and services. The business owner also will receive 5,000 bonus miles after the first purchase is made using the card, one complimentary ‘US Airways Club’ pass each year and a 10% discount on ‘Dividend Incentives’ purchases. Business owners will also earn ‘Dividend Miles’ purchases made by their employees with all miles credited to one account designated by the business owner. BofA is also offering credit limits up to $50,000. The new business air miles card carries a $75 annual fee for the company account, and a $15 annual fee for each card. The APR is a variable prime +9.9% with no floor. Last month, Bank of America and US Airways also introduced a new ‘Dividend Miles VISA Check Card’. Under the US Airways/BofA debit card program, consumer cardholders earn 1,000 ‘Dividend Miles’ after the first purchase, and one ‘Dividend Mile’ for every $2 in purchases thereafter. The US Airways’ ‘Dividend Miles’ program offers the lowest redemption level of any major carrier. Off-peak travel within the U.S. Canada requires only 20,000 miles and off-peak travel to Europe is only 40,000 miles. (CF Library 11/20/01)



GCA Signs 18

Eighteen gaming properties recently signed contracts to use the innovative products and services of Global Cash Access. GCA is the leading supplier of cash access, financial management and customer relationship marketing technologies to the gaming industry. GCA offers an array of products and services ranging from the latest ATM technology in the gaming industry to guest development marketing services that help casinos understand their customers and increase traffic to the gaming floor and special events.

Statistics show that a significant percentage of standard ATM cash request transactions at gaming properties are denied because of bad PIN numbers, exceeded limits or insufficient funds. GCA’s Casino Cash Plus 3-in-1 ATM eliminates many such denials with a patented “roll-over” feature, which gives patrons the option of obtaining funds via a POS debit transaction or a pinless credit card cash advance. This flexibility has led to broad acceptance of the Casino Cash Plus 3-in-1 ATM due to its convenience to casino patrons and proven profitability to casino operators.

“It was a logical decision to choose GCA because of their superior technology and consolidation of products and services,” said Jimmy McGinniss, cage and credit manager for Casino Magic Biloxi. “GCA’s QuikCash Plus Web product integrates several financial transactions under one umbrella in a Web-based environment allowing us to increase efficiency and provide better customer service to our patrons.”

QuikCash Plus Web (QCP Web) is a full service transaction processing system for cage operations. It’s the only system that allows casinos to process through one device multiple financial transactions, including credit and debit cash advance, TeleCheck check guarantee, Western Union money transfer, QuikCredit and Central Credit. QCP Web also consolidates gaming patron marketing information across all product lines, therefore it provides a more complete customer cash access profile and reduces the need for multiple pieces of hardware in the cage.

Properties that recently signed agreements with GCA are:

— Beaches – Reno, Nev. — Belterra Resort & Casino – Belterra, Ind. — Casino Magic – Bay St. Louis, Miss. — Casino Magic – Biloxi, Miss. — Colorado Belle – Laughlin, Nev. — Crystal Bay Club – Crystal Bay, Nev. — Edgewater – Laughlin, Nev. — Golden Gate Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas — Hacienda Hotel & Casino – Boulder City, Nev. — Jim Kelley’s Nugget – Crystal Bay, Nev. — Lake Tahoe Horizon Casino Resort – Stateline, Nev. — Lincoln Park – Lincoln, R.I. — Magic Diamond Casino – Kalispell, Mt. — Rio Suite Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas — Silver Club – Sparks, Nev. — Tahoe Biltmore – Crystal Bay, Nev. — The Las Vegas Club Hotel – Las Vegas — The Palace Indian Gaming Center – Lemoore, Calif.

About Global Cash Access

Global Cash Access is a joint venture of First Data Corp. and M&C International, Inc. Providing access to the gaming industry’s largest patron database, Global Cash Access uses Internet technologies to deliver funds transfer, financial management and customer relationship marketing services to more than 1,000 gaming properties in the US, Canada, Caribbean and Europe. More information on the company is available at .



Hypercom yesterday announced that after more than two years of development, it is ready to introduce next year a practical system to utilize fingerprint-derived identification technology at the POS. The low-cost solution offers the highest level of security while not infringing upon individual privacy. The Hypercom system employs a finger-scanning pad connected to the POS terminal, which is used to create a digital vector from the image of the fingerprint. The vector is a 256-byte value which, when coupled with the card number, provides an extremely reliable and foolproof method of identity verification. The vector generation process is one-way, making it impossible to re-create the fingerprint from the vector. Fingerprint images are never transmitted from the POS, nor are they stored in a database. Unlike fingerprints, the vectors are not unique. This is not unlike PIN codes, which at four digits only have 10,000 combinations, resulting in many people having the same PINs. It is the combination of the card number and PIN, or in this case, the fingerprint vector, that is unique. The result is a system that allows positive identity verification without actually knowing the unique fingerprints of consumers. Hypercom says tests have shown that online transaction times are increased by 1.5 to 3 seconds when they include the fingerprint-derived vector. The cost to upgrade a terminal is about $100.


Travel Currency and Travelex launched ‘My Travel Wallet’ this week. Through ‘My Travel Wallet’ on, consumers can exchange 80 foreign currencies, purchase international travelers cheques or ‘VISA TravelMoney’ pre-paid cash cards.Currency orders placed through My Travel Wallet can be paid for using a VISA or MasterCard credit or debit card and delivered overnight. employs more than 1,000 customer service professionals, has sold more than 19 million airline tickets and has registered more than 30 million members. London-based Travelex Group acquired Thomas Cook Global & Financial Services in March. In 1999, Chase launched a similar service, ‘ However as of Nov 23rd, Chase stopped accepting new orders for foreign currency or Travelers Cheques over the Internet. (CF Library 10/7/99)



Certegy Inc. has announced the appointment of
Ernst Verbeek as Managing Director of Certegy Card Services, Ltd., a wholly
owned subsidiary based in the U.K. Mr. Verbeek will direct Certegy’s card
processing operations in the U.K. and will be instrumental in Certegy’s
strategic growth plans both in the U.K. and the rest of Europe, the Middle
and Africa.

“I am extremely pleased that Ernst has chosen to join Certegy. He brings the
industry experience, management expertise and customer service dedication that
will be a great asset to us as we continue to expand Certegy’s presence in
EMEA,” stated Jerry Hines, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, Certegy
Card Services, Inc.

Mr. Verbeek, who holds a B.Sc. from the London School of Economics and an MBA
from INSEAD (Fontainebleau), brings over 15 years of industry experience to
Certegy. He served most recently as General Manager for Claritas Espana, SA
(Madrid) where he established the company and provided direct marketing data
and services for customer acquisition, retention and cross-selling programs to
the finance, retail and communications market. Prior to Claritas, Mr. Verbeek
was employed by Experian in Spain and Portugal where he established two new
companies that provided credit scoring software and marketing services.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s Mr. Verbeek worked for American Express in the
U.K., the Netherlands, Spain and Bahrain. There he oversaw cardholder
recruitment and retention programs, as well as directed key account management
and sales forces in 12 countries while increasing customer service standards
and achieving improved client satisfaction.

“Europe’s financial services industry is becoming more sophisticated but also
more competitive. In this context, Certegy’s products and services compare
favourably with competitors and in-house solutions,” stated Mr. Verbeek. “I am
very enthused to begin working with the talented Certegy associates and
awareness of Certegy in the European, Middle Eastern and African markets,” he
continued, “I look forward to serving our existing Certegy customers and
introducing our services to and bringing many new customers to Certegy.”
Certegy (NYSE: CEY) provides credit, debit and merchant card processing,
e-banking, check risk management and check cashing services to over 6,000
financial institutions, 175,000 retailers and 140 million consumers worldwide.
Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Certegy maintains a strong global
presence with operations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom,
France, Chile, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. As a leading payment
provider, Certegy offers a comprehensive range of transaction processing
services, credit risk management solutions and integrated customer support
programs which facilitate the exchange of business and consumer payments.
Certegy employs over 5,800 associates in nine countries and generated $779
million in revenue in 2000. For more information on Certegy, please visit


Card Reforms

Australians may soon pay different retail prices based on whether they use a credit card or cash. According The RAM Report, Australia’s Reserve Bank released a set of proposals yesterday to permit non-financial institutions to issue credit cards, allow retailers to charge different prices to customers paying by credit card, and reduce interchange fees between banks for card transactions. The two-year review by the RBA says the new rules will produce genuine competition in the lending markets, particularly credit cards. The RBA cited the deregulation of the residential mortgage market as an example of how competition would increase. Currently credit card interest rates in Australia vary from 11% to 17.5%, according RAM Research Group ([][1]). The proposed reform measures will apply to Bankcard, VISA, and MasterCard, which were formally designated by the RBA as payment systems subject to its regulation in April 2001. Designation was the first step to be taken before the Reserve could use its powers under the Payment Systems Act of 1998.



Compass Pilots SmartLink

As the first leading financial institution to deploy Fair, Isaac and Company’s new customer data integration service, Compass Bank is about to put its customer relationship management capability into overdrive. Fair, Isaac says that Compass, one of the nation’s top 40 lenders, has become the first beta client to test its new Fair, Isaac SmartLink customer data integration service — and gain fast access to the most comprehensive and reliable view of their debit and credit customer relationships available on the market today. SmartLink represents a new standard in CDI and is the first in a new generation of CDI solutions offered by Fair, Isaac. Powered by Equifax’s (NYSE:EFX) robust linking technology and Fair, Isaac and Equifax’s jointly developed proprietary matching algorithm, SmartLink offers companies a consistent and reliable way to persistently identify, track and consolidate a consumer’s actions and behavior throughout their enterprise.

This encompasses interactions across all product lines and touchpoints including customer service centers, Web sites, stores, branches, ATMs, direct mail, telemarketing, and credit activity. Through Equifax’s identifier — a unique number that is assigned to each customer — the company can track an individual’s evolving relationship and transactions with them, updating that information anytime they choose. The “unique, persistent identifier” travels with the individual, making it easy to maintain a current and accurate view of the entire scope of that customer relationship, rather than the typical “silo” view organized by individual products.

For Compass, SmartLink is a critical building block in the lender’s CRM strategy, providing the ability to quickly see and evaluate all of the financial relationships that its debit and credit customers have with them — and then offer appropriate products based on that unique view and the insights it affords. Through Fair, Isaac’s analytics, SmartLink has the capacity to transform Compass’s information about its customers into insight and, ultimately, action.

Tom Grudnowski, CEO of Fair, Isaac, sees Compass as gaining a distinct market advantage with SmartLink: “One of the biggest hurdles facing companies in CRM is the need to break down product silos within their organizations and recreate the landscape from the customer viewpoint,” he said. “With SmartLink, Compass will have fast access to a complete snapshot of each customer relationship. We also have the capacity to run ‘anytime updates,’ so that at any point in time, Compass is guaranteed that the picture they see is completely current.

That’s a big advantage in the market and one that we’re pleased we can help Compass achieve,” he said.

Peter Lotz, senior vice president at Compass Bank, explained how Fair, Isaac is helping Compass deliver on its mission. “We recognize that today, more than ever, it is critically important to understand and serve the very specific financial needs of individual customers. Until now, it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of an individual’s special needs and situation. Fair, Isaac has helped us overcome this challenge — and we expect this to significantly help us build long-term loyalty among our valued customers,” he explained.

SmartLink + MarketSmart = More Power, Ease and Relevance of Data

At Compass, SmartLink is being deployed as part of Fair, Isaac MarketSmart Decision System(R), which the lender has utilized since February. MarketSmart is Fair, Isaac’s premier multi-channel marketing solution that facilitates more profitable customer relationships by seamlessly integrating all of the components of CRM. SmartLink will bring increased functionality and horsepower to MarketSmart by enabling a faster, easier and more comprehensive data integration process from multiple sources. The net result will be a horizontal view of the customer across all relationships rather than a vertical picture of accounts. For Compass, this will translate into a faster, more accurate and more cost-effective process for merging, integrating and updating customer data — enabling Compass to spend less time and money on these back-office functions, and more on the actual process of developing winning business strategies to build their customer relationships.

While the initial beta test will focus on Compass’s credit and debit portfolios, SmartLink — especially when integrated with MarketSmart — enables data integration from other disparate sources easily and quickly. This represents a significant advantage in CRM, as companies are challenged to effectively manage and interpret an ever-expanding volume of information about their customers.

About Fair, Isaac

Fair, Isaac and Company is the preeminent provider of creative analytics that unlock value for people, businesses and industries. The company’s predictive modeling, decision analysis, intelligence management and decision engine systems power more than 14 billion decisions a year. Founded in 1956, Fair, Isaac helps thousands of companies in over 60 countries acquire customers more efficiently, increase customer value, reduce risk and credit losses, lower operating expenses and enter new markets more profitably. Most leading banks and credit card issuers rely on Fair, Isaac’s analytic solutions, as do insurers, retailers, telecommunications providers and other customer-oriented companies. Through the [][1] Web site, consumers use the company’s FICO(R) scores, the standard measure of credit risk, to manage their financial health. For more information, visit [][2].

About Compass Bank

Compass Bank is a subsidiary of Compass Bancshares, Inc., a Sunbelt-based financial holding company with $22 billion in assets and 341 full-service banking offices in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas. Compass is among the top 40 U.S. bank holding companies by asset size and ranks among the top earners of its size based on return on equity. The company’s earnings per share have increased for 13 consecutive years and dividends per share have increased for 20 consecutive years. Shares of Compass’s common stock are traded through the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol CBSS.



MetroCard NY

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a plan yesterday to develop a smart card system to enable riders to use a single card for travel on New York City buses and subways and PATH trains. The system, which will cost $51 million, is expected to be in deployed for PATH users in two years, and will subsequently be adopted to include subways, bus and rail lines throughout the region. The system will use the current ‘MetroCard’ system used in New York City. Cubic Transportation Systems is currently involved in the NYC ‘MetroCard’ system. In February, Cubic won a $20 million contract to provide the nation’s first interstate touchless mass transit ticketing system. The Washington (DC) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority named Cubic the prime contractor for a new regional program, linking payment for WMATA buses serving Washington, D.C. and parts of Maryland and Virginia with the Metro’s existing ‘SmarTrip’ fare collection system. (CF Library 2/2/01; 3/28/01; 4/10/01)



VISA Desjardins is pleased to announce an
immediate reduction in its interest rates on personal credit cards, applicable
also to its reduced interest rate option. By taking this action, Desjardins
not only sets itself apart from the competition but also becomes the first
financial institution in the country to substantially reduce its rates for the
benefit of its cardholders.

With regard to the reduced interest rate option, the 2% cut will bring
down the rate from 10.9% to 8.9%, making it absolutely the best offer in
Quebec and throughout Canada. This reduced rate option continues to be
available to all cardholders whose credit file is in good standing. It is
offered for an annual fee of $25.00.

This reduced rate is the preferred credit option for those who
customarily spread repayment of their card balance over a number of months. It
is available to holders of the following cards: VISA Desjardins Odyssey GOLD,
VISA Classe OR Desjardins, VISA DESJARDINSbonus Classic and VISA Desjardins
Classic. Visa Desjardins client service personnel are qualified to advise
cardholders regarding the advantages of this option.

As for the regular personal VISA Desjardins cardholder rate on unpaid
balances, this will now be reduced from 18.9 % to 17.9 %.

Mr. Alban D’Amours, President and CEO of the Mouvement des caisses
Desjardins, stressed that “Although most of our cardholders use their credit
card simply as a mode of payment and incur no monthly interest charges, this
reduction in rates will be especially attractive for those who are unable to
settle the full amount outstanding at month end. “Moreover, he added, another
distinctive characteristic of our co-operative approach is our unique action
plan to help cardholders who run into temporary financial difficulties.”

Finally, it should be noted that all VISA Desjardins cardholders will be
advised of these reductions with their next monthly statement.

VISA Desjardins, the leading Quebec credit card provider offers a full
range of innovative products and services to individuals and businesses.