Transfer Fees

While some major issuers have imposed a 3% balance transfer fee, Chase is now charging some cardholders a $50 flat fee for balance transfers. However the fee does not apply to initial transfers connected with a specific offer. Chase also says it may waive the fee under certain circumstances. Meanwhile, First USA, the first issuer to levy balance transfer fees, continues to charge a 3% balance transfer subject to a $5 minimum and a $35 maximum. First USA’s latest offer for its ‘Titanium VISA’ offers a fixed 1.9% six-month intro rate on balance transfers, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). Citibank also charges a 3% balance transfer fee subject to a $10 minimum and a $29 maximum. Citibank is currently offering new customers a 0% intro rate on balance transfers exceeding $3,500, and a 1.9% intro rate on balances below $3,500, until the Jan 2002 billing period, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][2]).

[1]: http://www.cardwatch.com/
[2]: http://www.cardwatch.com/

Details

ABM Trouble

Oceanside, CA-based Greenland Corp. said last night it is temporarily pulling the plug on its ‘MaxCash’ automated banking machine. The action was due to greater than acceptable check processing risk and operating losses caused by software problems. As a result, Greenland is temporarily suspending all of the check processing operations for its Check Central subsidiary. The problems center on software developed by Seren Systems. Greenland says a review of the latest version of the transaction processing code found it to be lacking much of the direct feature functionality required to provide immediate relief to its risk management and business processes. Greenland estimates it will take at least six-months to replace the system with new software. The ‘MaxCash’ ABM provides self service check cashing, ATM functionality, phone card and money order dispensing, as well as other products and services. The machines were first deployed in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada. (CF Library 8/21/00)

Details

India Card Plant

Versatile Card Technology, Inc., one of the world’s largest plastic card manufacturers, is announcing the opening of a 60,000 square foot production facility in Chennai (Madras), India.

This new venture, Versatile Cards Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of VCT and is scheduled to begin operations in May 2001.

VCT is opening this new facility in response to an increase in plastic card business in international markets over the past several years. The VCP production facility in India will primarily serve the European and Asian card markets.

VCP is expected to have an annual capacity of 80,000,000 cards, produced for a variety of applications, including credit cards, bank cards, ATM cards, loyalty programs, membership cards, identification cards, and direct marketing.

VCP will also have state-of-the-art milling, embedding, and encoding equipment to be able to produce chip cards and smart cards.

A minority business venture founded in 1986, Versatile Card Technology, Inc. is a MasterCard and Visa certified plastic card manufacturer that currently produces more than 600,000,000 cards per year.

Details

CashNet

Euronet Worldwide and National Telecommunications Company announced this morning the formation of ‘Cashnet’, a branded EFT network for Egypt. The new network is also being funded by the Quantum Fund. ‘Cashnet’ will launch 50 ATMs by June, and the company’s business plan calls for the operation of 500 ATMs by 2004. The services ‘Cashnet’ will provide to Egyptian financial institutions include: At this time, ‘Cashnet’ has entered into agreements to provide services to Citibank, Egyptian American Bank, VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club International. As part of this agreement, Euronet Worldwide will provide ‘Cashnet’ with day-to-day management services, and processing of ‘Cashnet’ electronic transactions via the company’s Budapest, Hungary, processing center. Egypt has 65 million people.

Details

MicroCreditCard Solutions

microCreditCard, Inc., the Internet’s leading credit card-based micro-payment facilitator and alternative billing provider, Tuesday introduced a new suite of payment-processing services that offers unparalleled simplicity, security and ease-of-use to companies that sell digital content online. These innovative services enable producers of news, music, books and video to control and manage the roll-out and provisioning of their online payment process in real time, through a user friendly, cost effective, non-intrusive process. The full suite includes microCreditCard Managed, Managed Plus and Premium. “Content is still king, but in the dotcom aftermath dazed CEOs are wondering how to make a profit selling digital content online,” said Leslie Poole, CEO of microCreditCard. “We can’t guarantee customers will buy, but we can provide the tools to make credit card sales happen. Businesses can set up a microCreditCard account and begin realizing revenue the same day – saving them time and money. What usually takes weeks or months to accomplish through other industry payment solutions can now be done in minutes with microCreditCard.” microCreditCard created its new services suite in response to client feedback citing frustration with the difficulties and cost involved in developing a payment process. microCreditCard is not only one of the first companies to offer a micro-payment solution, but its new services suite is the only same-day solution enabling credit card transactions.

The new services comprise a broad range of robust business-class features such as digital content management, fraud protection, advanced reporting, download-free installation, enhanced transaction security and the ability to sell digital content either via subscription or in “unbundled” individual units (such as a single MP3 song).

About microCreditCard

Headquartered in Arlington, Va., microCreditCard, Inc., is the Internet’s leading credit card-based micro-payment facilitator and alternative billing provider. Founded in 1999, microCreditCard’s robust solution, which consists of a Content Gateway(TM), a Payment Gateway(TM), and an Aggregation Engine(TM), is easy to set up and allows transactions for 10(cent) and higher. microCreditCard offers three tiers of service – microCreditCard Managed, Managed Plus, and Premium – depending on the needs of the merchant. For more information about microCreditCard, please visit our web site at [www.microCreditCard.com][1].

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

Details

Incurrent Award

Incurrent Solutions, Inc., the premier provider of web-based cardmember relationship management solutions to credit card issuers and transaction processors, was awarded the most prestigious prize, ‘Company Most Likely To Succeed’, by the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) during a ceremony at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey today.

A select 61 companies from the Mid-Atlantic states made presentations to a blue ribbon panel of judges and an audience of close to a thousand people at the New Jersey Venture Fair. The judges – top venture capitalists, executives from financial and professional services firms, and academia – were particularly impressed with Incurrent’s CardSite ä solution.

The CardSite platform enables card issuers to provide time savings, a broad array of easy to use features, and more personalized service to their customers whether through web, wireless, or voice channels. Issuers using the technology immediately reduce costs, increase customer loyalty, and build brand equity. CardSite is in use by such institutions as Fleet Bank, NextCard, Equifax, and Fiserv, some for as long as three years.

‘It is an honor to have such a high caliber group of people involved in venture capital select us for this award,’ Incurrent Solutions CEO Loren Hulber said. ‘It further validates our belief that consumers and financial institutions can improve and strengthen their relationship through our service no matter how it is delivered.’

The CardSite platform currently services more than 100 million consumer accounts and has grown more than six-fold in the past 15 months, up from 15 million accounts in January, 2000.

Ty Williams, Senior Vice President & Manager, Technology Financial Services & Consulting Group of First Union National Bank, presenting the award on behalf of the NJTC added, ‘A key factor in the judges selecting Incurrent was how quickly the industry has embraced the technology and the high marks it has earned with consumers from studies conducted by such respected organizations as Gomez Advisors. Another factor was the proven leadership capabilities of Loren Hulber (nominee to the 1999 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program) who has led the Incurrent team to accelerated growth, acquisition of prestigious customers, and the completion of management staffing and processes.

About Incurrent Solutions

Founded in 1997, Incurrent Solutions, Inc. ([www.incurrent.com][1]) designs, implements, hosts, and maintains customer self-service Web sites for card-issuing banks and transaction processors. Incurrent’s clients include Fleet Credit Card Services, Providian Bancorp, NextCard, Equifax Card Services, Fiserv, and Alliance Data Systems. In the last year Incurrent has seen the volume of its clientele’s total cardmember base grow from 15 million to over 100 million, reflecting a rapidly growing industry need for its services. CardSite, Incurrent’s cutting-edge, Internet-based account acquisition and service ASP solution, enhances the cardholder relationship thereby cultivating increased account loyalty at a cost significantly lower than traditional customer interaction methods. Cardholders enjoy real-time access to account information, on-line statements, bill presentment, secure e-mail, reports, searches, interactive sessions, and other service-enhancing tools for web, wireless and voice channels.

About The NJTC

Founded in 1996, the New Jersey Technology Council provides recognition, networking, information and services for New Jersey’s technology businesses. By collectively representing technology-intensive industries and the institutions and service companies that support them, the NJTC has successfully provided a forum for technology companies within New Jersey to share ideas, exchange news and recognize notable accomplishments.

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

Details

Paymentech Deal

Chase completed its acquisition of the Paymentech commercial card portfolio this week. The acquired portfolio includes 230,000 cards with approximately $200 million in receivables and an annual charge volume of approximately $2 billion. Chase has offered employment to all 170 Paymentech commercial card employees based in Salt Lake City. Chase says the acquisition will provide new capabilities to its commercial card clients by offering improved e-procurement solutions to streamline payment, reconciliation and data integration for business-to-business purchases. Chase and Paymentech announced the deal in mid-November. (CF Library 11/21/00)

Details

March Sales

Same-store retail sales for March rose a modest 2.9 percent over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. TeleCheck’s figures show an increase in retail spending despite rolling blackouts in California, severe weather in the Northeast and generally slow economic conditions nationwide. The Southeast region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the West and the Midwest (tied), the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same- store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 272,000 subscribing locations. Compiled on a calendar basis, TeleCheck’s index is based on a broad cross-section of retailers nationwide. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC).

“The increase in sales in the retail sector is encouraging considering the volatile state of the national economy over the last several months,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Adviser. “Also, Easter falls two weeks earlier this year than last and consumers may already be purchasing gifts in response to retailers’ aggressive spring promotions. The earlier holiday, coupled with an extra weekend shopping day this March as compared with 2000, contributed to the sales growth.”

Sales rose 3.5 percent in the Southeast. In Louisiana, sales grew 5.2 percent and in The Carolinas, sales increased 4.5 percent. Sales were up 3.8 percent in Florida, 2.3 percent in Georgia and 2.0 percent in Tennessee. Sales increased 5.4 percent in New Orleans, 4.1 percent in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, 3.9 percent in Orlando, 3.1 percent in Tampa, 2.2 percent in Nashville, 2.0 percent in Atlanta and 1.9 percent in Memphis.

In the Southwest, sales rose 3.3 percent. Texas’ sales rose 3.5 percent, Oklahoma’s sales jumped 3.4 percent and Missouri’s grew 2.8 percent. Sales in Houston increased 3.9 percent, sales in Tulsa climbed 3.8 percent, sales in Dallas/Ft. Worth grew 3.7 percent and sales in Austin were up 3.6 percent. Kansas City’s sales increased 3.2 percent, Oklahoma City’s sales rose 3.1 percent, San Antonio’s sales grew 3.0 percent and sales in St. Louis climbed 2.4 percent.

Sales in the Midwest climbed 3.2 percent, with Minnesota up 4.4 percent, Michigan up 3.5 percent, Wisconsin up 3.2 percent, Illinois up 2.6 percent and Ohio up 2.1 percent. Sales grew by 4.2 percent in Detroit, 3.6 percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 3.4 percent in Milwaukee, 2.7 percent in Chicago and 2.2 percent in Cleveland.

The West was up 3.2 percent, with sales increasing 5.5 percent in Hawaii, 4.0 percent in Colorado, 2.7 percent in both Oregon and Arizona, 2.4 percent in California and 2.3 percent in Washington. Sales rose 4.2 percent in Denver, 3.1 percent in Portland, 2.5 percent in Los Angeles, 2.3 percent in both the Bay Area and Phoenix, 2.2 percent in San Diego and 1.9 percent in Seattle.

The Mid-Atlantic’s sales increased 2.0 percent. Pennsylvania’s sales were up 3.7 percent, Virginia’s sales increased 1.9 percent, Maryland’s sales rose 1.6 percent and New Jersey’s sales grew 0.9 percent. Pittsburgh saw sales jump 4.4 percent, Philadelphia’s sales grew 3.1 percent, Baltimore’s sales grew 1.9 percent and the District of Columbia saw sales rise 1.2 percent.

The Northeast region’s sales grew a modest 0.5 percent. Sales rose 1.2 percent in New York and declined 1.3 percent in Massachusetts. New York City saw sales increase by 1.4 percent, while Boston’s sales decreased by 1.2 percent.

TeleCheck’s index is compiled on a calendar basis and is based on the total sales volume of check-writing consumers at a broad cross-section of retailers. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for approximately one-third of retail spending. In 2000, TeleCheck authorized more than $163 billion in checks, representing 3.2 billion transactions. For more information about TeleCheck, visit the Internet site at [http://www.telecheck.com][1].

Retail Sales
(Period: 3/1/01-3/31/01)
April 3, 2001

NATIONAL 2.9%

SOUTHEAST 3.5% WEST 3.2% MIDWEST 3.2%
Florida 3.8% Arizona 2.7% Illinois 2.6%
Miami/
Ft. Lauderdale 4.1% Phoenix 2.3% Chicago 2.7%
Orlando 3.9% California 2.4% Michigan 3.5%
Tampa 3.1% Bay Area 2.3% Detroit 4.2%
Louisiana 5.2% Los Angeles 2.5% Minnesota 4.4%
New Orleans 5.4% San Diego 2.2% Minneapolis/St. Paul 3.6%
Georgia 2.3% Oregon 2.7% Wisconsin 3.2%
Atlanta 2.0% Portland 3.1% Milwaukee 3.4%
Tennessee 2.0% Washington 2.3% Ohio 2.1%
Memphis 1.9% Seattle 1.9% Cleveland 2.2%
Nashville 2.2% Colorado 4.0%
The Carolinas 4.5% Denver 4.2% MID-ATLANTIC 2.0%
Hawaii 5.5% District of Columbia 1.2%
SOUTHWEST 3.3% Pennsylvania 3.7%
Texas 3.5% NORTHEAST 0.5% Philadelphia 3.1%
Austin 3.6% Massachusetts -1.3% Pittsburgh 4.4%
Dallas/Ft. Worth 3.7% Boston -1.2% New Jersey 0.9%
Houston 3.9% New York 1.2% Virginia 1.9%
San Antonio 3.0% New York City 1.4% Maryland 1.6%
Missouri 2.8% Baltimore 1.9%
Kansas City 3.2%
St. Louis 2.4%
Oklahoma 3.4%
Oklahoma City 3.1%
Tulsa 3.8%

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

Details

Credit Unions 4Q/00

Credit Unions, as a segment posted the highest balances and volume per active account for 4Q/00. According to figures compiled by CardData, the average balance per active account for Credit Unions stood at $2460 while the average annual volume per active account computed to $4749 as of Dec. 31, 2000. Boeing Employees Credit Union racked up the highest volume, among major credit union portfolios, with an average of $7,353 per active account for the fourth quarter. Navy FCU cardholders generated $5,888 annual volume per active account while Pentagon FCU produced $4,748 per active account. Pentagon also averaged $3,107 in balances per active account for 4Q/00.

BANK CREDIT CARD SEGMENTS 4Q/00
SECTOR ANN GRWTH AVG BAL AVG VOL
Secured/Sub-Prime +41% $1442 $1699
Non-Bank +27% $1877 $2730
Low Rate $3 billion +5% $2430 $4591

ANN GRWTH- annual rate of growth in outstandings between 4Q/99 and 4Q/00;
AVG BAL-average balance per active account; AVG VOL-average annual volume per
active account.

SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com)

Details

NCR & GE

NCR Corporation has entered into a seven-year agreement with GE Capital Vendor Financial Services, a world leader in providing financing solutions, as the preferred provider of leasing services for NCR customers in the United States.

GE Capital Vendor Financial Services will provide comprehensive, flexible financing solutions to U.S.-based NCR customers acquiring NCR hardware, software or solutions, including Teradata warehousing and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, ATMs/Self-Service TouchPoints(TM), payment solutions, retail store automation, professional services and maintenance contracts. GE Capital Vendor Financial Services will also support NCR through a dedicated nationwide sales force and a back-office team to partner with NCR sales associates in its Teradata, financial and retail divisions.

![][1] “The assurance of flexible lease financing across all NCR solutions further solidifies our offerings and will be a key driver to our future growth rate,” said David Bearman, NCR senior vice president and chief financial officer. “The strength of NCR solutions and GE Capital Vendor Financial Services financing will be a powerful combination in the marketplace.”

“We are dedicated to helping companies like NCR generate more revenue through tailored financing programs that add value to both them and their customers,” said Bill Cary, president and CEO of GE Capital Vendor Financial Services. “Through superior customer service and a commitment to Six Sigma quality, we will grow this relationship globally to better serve NCR and their global customers.”

About GE Capital Vendor Financial Services

GE Capital Vendor Financial Services is a global leader in developing and providing financial solutions and services to equipment manufacturers, distributors, dealers and their end users. With approximately $16 billion in served assets worldwide, GE Capital Vendor Financial Services works with its customers to drive new business and make existing customers repeat customers through superior service, a commitment to quality and fairness and the application of the latest e-commerce technology. GE Capital Vendor Financial Services serves approximately 100 manufacturers, 4,500 dealers and currently has over 500,000 accounts in 33 countries.

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship Technology(TM) solutions to customers worldwide in the retail, financial, communications, manufacturing, travel and transportation, and insurance markets. NCR’s Relationship Technology solutions include privacy-enabled Teradata(R) warehouses and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, store automation and automated teller machines (ATMs). The company’s business solutions are built on the foundation of its long- established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and leading edge hardware technology. NCR employs 32,900 in more than 100 countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. More information about NCR and its solutions may be found at [http://www.ncr.com][2].

[1]: /graphic/ge/ge_logo.gif
[2]: http://www.ncr.com/

Details

MARS Card

Conseco Finance Corp. announced today that it has introduced a new, private-label credit card for MARS Music, a leading retailer of musical instruments, recording equipment and professional audio gear. With nearly 50 superstores in 23 states, MARS Music is also the nation’s largest provider of private music instruction.

The MARS Music credit card offers customers the benefits of quick approval in the superstore and at home. Customers can print a copy of the credit application at the MARS Music Web site ([www.marsmusic.com][1]) and mail it in for approval. The new finance program makes it easy for consumers to purchase instruments and equipment online. Even people in cities without a MARS Music superstore can benefit from MARS’ outstanding values.

“Conseco Finance offered us a fully integrated solution for both our e-commerce site and our brick-and-mortar stores,” said Bob Zobel, chief administrative officer of MARS Music, which is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “This is very important to us because we view shopping at MARS to be a seamless experience whether the consumer is online or in the store.”

For MARS Music superstores, the new financing program features many marketing activities to attract and retain customers such as: direct mail, birthday postcards, activation and inactive account postcards, catalogue advertising, pre-approved credit mailings, credit line increase mailings, and e-commerce sales and promotions.

“With the addition of MARS Music, Conseco Finance is now a leader in serving the retail musical equipment industry,” said Todd Woodard, president of retail services at Conseco Finance. “Our ability to design a credit program that is equally easy to use in-store and online makes us a strong partner for MARS. It also provides added value for cardholders who want easy, flexible purchasing power.”

MARS Music, founded in 1996, is a privately held company that has grown from one superstore in Tampa, Fla., to nearly 50 location nationwide. Sales are in excess of $300 million. Each superstore is 25,000 to 30,000 square feet, featuring a fully operational stage for performances and clinics, plus a recording studio and Learning Center for instructions. MARS Music continues its rapid expansion plans, including adding MARS Music Construction, MARS Music Learning, MARS Music Publishing and MARS Music Records divisions. The company also started the MARS Music Foundation to support its public service efforts on behalf of music education.

Conseco Finance Corp., with total managed assets of $48 billion, is one of America’s largest finance companies. In just four years, Conseco Finance has become one of the top five issuers of private-label credit cards. The company is also a leader in the home equity, home improvement and manufactured housing finance businesses. Conseco Finance is a subsidiary of Conseco, Inc., headquartered in Carmel, Ind. To learn more about Conseco, visit [www.conseco.com][2].

[1]: http://www.marsmusic.com/
[2]: http://www.conseco.com/

Details

CompuCredit Treasurer

CompuCredit Corporation, marketer of Aspire Visa credit cards, announced it has hired Scott W. McCarthy as Treasurer.

Mr. McCarthy joins CompuCredit from Associates First Capital Corporation where he served as senior vice president of Capital Markets and executed over $25 billion of long-term, fixed- and floating rate financing requirements, including over $10 billion in the asset-backed securities market. Prior to that he was director of corporate funding at Freddie Mac and director of short-term liabilities/investments at Fannie Mae.

“Scott will be a tremendous asset to our organization,” said Ashley Johnson, Chief Financial Officer of the company. “He will be able to draw on his extensive corporate treasury experience to help CompuCredit maintain and enhance its funding and securitization programs. We are excited to have someone with Scott’s background and experience joining the company.” Mr. McCarthy holds an MBA in Finance and Investments from George Washington University and a BS in business administration from the University of Connecticut.

CompuCredit Corporation is a credit card company that uses analytical techniques, including sophisticated computer models, to identify consumers who it believes are credit-worthy and are overlooked by more traditional consumer credit providers. CompuCredit markets unsecured Aspire(R) Visa(R) credit cards through direct mail, telemarketing and the Internet. In July 1999, CompuCredit launched its consumer web site, [www.aspirecard.com][1] through its Internet marketing services subsidiary AspireCard.com, Inc. Consumers can apply online and receive a credit decision within seconds. CompuCredit also markets life insurance, card registration, buying club memberships and travel services to its cardholders. Aspire Visa cards are issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Company under an agreement with CompuCredit. CompuCredit completed its initial public offering in April of 1999 and was included in the Russell 2000(R) Index in July 1999. For more information about CompuCredit, visit the company web site at [www.CompuCredit.com][2].

[1]: http://www.aspirecard.com/
[2]: http://www.compucredit.com/

Details