Citibank Polish VISA

Citibank announced that it has begun offering consumer banking services in Poland with the introduction today of its new Citibank Visa credit card. The Citibank Visa card is the first internationally accepted credit card product to be made available to Polish residents.

“This is the same credit card Citibank issues to millions of customers from New York to Tokyo,” noted Tim Kelley, Citibank’s Division Executive for consumer banking in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “By choosing to carry the Citibank Visa card, our Polish customers can enjoy a payment option with flexibility, comfort and security.”

In addition to being the first credit card for Poles that is accepted internationally, the Citibank Visa credit card is also the only such card in Poland that fully protects cardholders from having to pay for any unauthorized charges stemming from the loss or theft of a card. Citibank (Poland) S.A., as the card issuer, will assume complete financial responsibility for any unauthorized charges, provided the cardmember has reported his or her card to be lost or stolen.

Additionally, the Citibank Visa card for Poland will feature the same benefits and services that Citibank customers enjoy elsewhere in the world, including 24 Hour Customer Service, the Photocard security feature, and issuance of up to six additional cards. The Citibank Visa card for Poland will be available in both Silver and Gold versions.

“In planning the launch of our retail business in Poland, we carefully examined consumers’ specific needs and wants in the area of financial services and products,” explained Harit Talwar, Managing Director, Retail Banking of Citibank (Poland) S.A. “Primarily, they expressed a desire for a simple and convenient method for making payments that would also feature some type of credit availability. It became clear that our Citibank Visa card was the logical first step for introducing Citibank’s retail banking to the Polish marketplace.”

In addition to offering the Citibank Visa card product, Citibank’s consumer retail business in Poland, known as Citibanking, will begin shortly and will include 24 hour banking-by-phone.

Citibank, headquartered in New York City, is the world’s most global bank, with offices in 98 countries and territories, and the world’s largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa credit cards, with over 62 million cards in circulation. In Poland since 1991, the Bank has 433 employees working in branches in Warsaw, Gdynia, Wrochaw and Katowice, and currently serves more than 800 of Poland’s largest domestic and foreign companies. Citibank was named Poland’s “Best Bank” in 1995 by Gazeta Bankowa, and “Best Bank” in 1996 by the Home & Market Monthly.

Details

Credit Card Donations for Princess Di

Fleet Bank, the official U.S. point of collections for the “Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund,” announced today that it has established a toll-free number for those who wish to make contributions to the fund via MasterCard(R) or VISA(R).

The toll-free number for credit card donations to the fund — the only official memorial fund endorsed by the Office of Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace — is 800-995-3446.

Donations to the memorial fund may also be made by mailing a check or money order to:

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
c/o Fleet Bank
P.O. Box 30596
Hartford, CT 06150

For those wishing to make a contribution via wire transfer, please send donations to:

Fleet Bank N.A.
New York
Account #9405748245
Account Name: The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
ABA#: 021200339

Details

BAIGlobal Acquired By Market Facts

BAIGlobal Inc., a rapidly growing market research firm in Tarrytown, N.Y., has been acquired by Market Facts, Inc., Arlington Heights, Ill., the nation’s 11th largest market research and information company, according to Kathy Knight, President of BAIGlobal, and Tom Payne, President and Chief Executive Officer of Market Facts.

Mail Monitor®, the widely used and often quoted proprietary study that tracks credit card direct mail trends, is a well known service managed by BAIGlobal and a joint venture of BAIGlobal and Market Facts for the past 10 years.

“We’ve had great success in our research joint ventures over the past years and have gotten to know each other very well,” said Ms. Knight who noted that BAIGlobal will operate in Tarrytown as an independent subsidiary with the same management and personnel.

“BAIGlobal will now have the additional resources, technology and statistical expertise to take on even larger projects for our clients,” she said. “We’re committed to maintaining our steady growth and high quality of service for years to come.”

Market Facts’ Tom Payne said, “BAIGlobal is an outstanding company and a natural partner for Market Facts. BAIGlobal’s expertise in the financial services industry, along with its capabilities in international and qualitative research and new product development, wil allow Market Facts to offer additional specialized niche services and is an important step in our plan to increase our share of the global market research industry.”

Two Firms Long Established, Serving Major Corporations

Founded in 1969, BAIGlobal emerged as one of the nation’s premier market research firms, serving major corporations in financial services, packaged goods, direct marketing, telecommunications and medical/healthcare.

In addition to Mail Monitor®, BAIGlobal produces Inside Track® for credit card portfolio managers and On Target for direct marketers. The firm is recognized for its custom research expertise, specialized services for the direct marketing industry and a unique mystery shopping service for telemarketers.

Overall, BAIGlobal achieved revenues of $12 million in 1996, more than double its revenues since 1990. The firm is among the top 10 fastest growing companies in the market research industry.

Market Facts, which employs 540 full-time and 650 part-time employees, grossed $83.8 million last year, an increase of nearly 30 percent over 1995.

The firm, founded in 1946, specializes in the collection and processing of information through a network of offices and global affiliations. Clients include a majority of the largest 100 multinational consumer products and services companies and many government agencies.

Details

Platinum

[Click Here to Review the NationsBank Platinum Priority Solicitation][1]

The platinum VISA/MasterCard market picked up yet another competitor with the national introduction last week of NationsBank’s ‘Platinum Priority VISA’ card. The no-annual-fee platinum program offers credit lines up to $100,000 and a 5.9% fixed, six-month, intro APR. Like most Citibank programs, NationsBank requires applicants to transfer a balance to activate the 5.9% promo rate. The new ‘Platinum Priority VISA’ also incorporates risk-based, variable-rate pricing, offering three tiers of interest rates: Prime +7.9%; Prime +9.9% or Prime +12.9%. Cardholders who default face a punitive rate of four additional percentage points above their full rate or a current maximum APR of 25.4%. NationsBank is also featuring a Year-End Account Summary and $1 million of automatic travel accident insurance. More than four million platinum VISA or MasterCards have been issued over the past eighteen months primarily by MBNA and First USA.

[1]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/1997/september/n1.html

Details

Internet Card Fraud

The National Consumer League’s ‘Internet Fraud Watch’ ranked fraudulent credit card offers as #8 among its top 10 list of Internet scams. The NCL says overall fraud reports have tripled during the past year with multilevel marketing, auctions and sweepstakes also falling among the top 10. Only 19% of fraud victims pay by credit card with 60% paying by check, cash or money orders. NCL’s IFW says the most common Internet credit card scams involve offers of “guaranteed credit regardless of bad credit history”. In the September issue, CardTrak cautioned consumers against applying for VISA or MasterCards online if there is no phone number, physical address or if the company does not have a familiar name.

Details

Juiced-Up Cards

With nearly 25 million “credit challenged” American consumers the sub-prime credit card market is becoming crowded as more issuers jump in offering unsecured credit lines in exchange for exorbitant fees. The September issue of CardTrak, released Friday, reviews several, major sub-prime VISA programs offering $250 unsecured credit lines for first year fees ranging from $150 to $278. One program, widely advertised on the Internet, promotes itself as “no-annual-fee program” while charging a $5 monthly participation fee. CardTrak cited Amalgamated’s secured ‘Gold MasterCard’ program as one of the best for credit impaired consumers, while dubbing the WorldNet Card as a “real sucker VISA”. The ‘WorldNet VISA’, issued through Guatemala City-based Multicredit and marketed to U.S. residents via the Internet, offers a secured ‘Black VISA’ card for an application fee of $3,000 and a $500 annual fee. ![][1]      ![][2]

[1]: /graphic/flashgraphics/badcards.gif
[2]: /graphic/flashgraphics/amal.gif

Details

ONSALE Goes to AOL

ONSALE, Inc., a pioneer and leader in interactive 24-hour online auctions, today announced a new commerce agreement with America Online, the world’s most popular Internet online service.

ONSALE (Keyword: ONSALE) will appear in the Electronics department and in the Computer Hardware department on AOL’s newly designed Shopping channel, the most popular shopping destination in cyberspace. In addition to the listings, ONSALE has also purchased additional advertising space in the Shopping Channel and AOL NetFind to support the initiative.

“We are thrilled about this agreement between ONSALE and AOL,” said Jerry Kaplan, CEO and Co-Founder of ONSALE. “ONSALE looks forward to providing incredible values to AOL’s broad customer-base of 9 million members worldwide.”

Shopping at ONSALE

Shopping at ONSALE will be an easy and fun transaction for AOL members. To place a bid, members need only click a button on their computer screen, fill out a registration form and submit their bid. Typically, a number of identical items are auctioned off simultaneously. When bids are received, prices change or merchandise is sold, ONSALE’s pages are automatically updated with the latest inventory and/or pricing information. Members will be able to monitor the bids and change them electronically. The winning bidder will be notified by email and posted on the site.

About ONSALE

ONSALE is a leading electronic retailer pioneering an efficient and entertaining new marketing opportunity — the interactive 24-hour online auction. The company currently specializes in selling computers, peripherals and consumer electronics exclusively over the Internet’s World Wide Web. More than a quarter of a million visitors have placed bids since the launch of the service in May 1995. ONSALE reported gross merchandise sales of $24.5 million for the quarter ending June 30, 1997. ONSALE operates daily auctions Monday through Friday, and posts tens of thousands of items in a typical week. The company leverages the interactivity and sense of community generated online and on the Internet to create an effective new sales medium that generates a high level of customer loyalty and enthusiasm. ONSALE’s Web site is located at www.ONSALE.com .

Details

Goldsmith VISA

Federated Department Stores is rolling out its first VISA card as part of its recently announced ‘Family of Cards’ program. ‘Goldsmith’s Premier VISA’ card will offer a 3% rebate on Goldsmith purchases and a 1% rebate on all other purchases. Applications will only be available by invitation and generally to current private label cardholders charging at least $1,000 per year. Federated-owned FDS National Bank will issue the card. Federated is currently upgrading all its private label card programs to three new levels including ‘Preferred Card’, ‘Premier Card’ and the ‘Premier Plus Card’..

Details

BISYS Loan Connection

The BISYS Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: BSYS), through BISYS Creative Solutions, and Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) of Paducah, KY announced today an agreement to offer financial institutions loan generation services that enable consumers to apply online for a broad range of consumers loans, and to pre-qualify for home mortgages. Within seconds of submitting information by phone or online, consumers can receive an approval or pre-qualification decision based on the institution’s products, rates, underwriting criteria, and a credit report and score.

“BISYS Creative Solutions’ Loan Connection(SM) and Mortgage Connection(SM) services will provide CSI’s clients an income generating mechanism that also will reduce the cost of the loan origination process,” said Steve Powless, CSI’s president and chief operating officer. “The success of our voice response products led us to look for other opportunities that offer enhanced access and service. Loan Connection fits into that mix. It is already proven to be a highly successful revenue builder for financial service providers of all sizes,” Powless said.

Customers will access the lending services either through a toll-free telephone number or their financial institution’s Web. After the consumer provides the necessary information, the BISYS Creative Solutions’ systems automatically evaluate the prospect using the institution’s specific loan criteria and credit bureau information and scoring. Both the consumer and the financial institution are then notified of the determination.

BISYS Creative Solutions’ proprietary technologies, innovative tele- services and distinctive Internet-based programs revolutionize not only consumer and mortgage loan generation, but also mutual fund and insurance product sales. These growth-enabling solutions provide easy, 24-hour consumer access, flexible credit-based decisioning, and rapid response.

The outsourcing approach offered by BISYS Creative Solutions assures quick implementation and immediate returns. This approach also ensures that these solutions keep pace with emerging developments in telecommunications, access, processing, encryption, security, and automation technologies.

Strategically focused on expanding delivery channel alternatives, BISYS Creative Solutions’ unique capabilities enhance service access, leverage marketing efforts, and generate cost effective incremental revenue opportunities.

Computer Services, Inc. is the data processing partner to nearly 300 banks representing over 2,000 locations. In existence since 1965, CSI provides a full range of comprehensive banking solutions ranging from teller window to ATMs, back office to Internet banking, demand deposit to general ledger.

BISYS Creative Solutions, a division of The BISYS Group, Inc., is recognized as the financial industry’s leader in automated sales and lead generation for financial services. More than 500 progressive financial organizations have implemented BISYS Creative Solutions’ growth-enabling programs.

The BISYS Group, Inc., headquartered in Little Falls, NJ, supports more than 5,000 financial institutions and corporate clients through its strategic business units. BISYS provides image and financial information outsourcing to more than 600 banks nationwide, designs, administers and distributes over 40 families of proprietary mutual funds consisting of more than 600 portfolios; provides 401(k) marketing support, administration and recordkeeping services to over 5,000 companies in partnership with 20 of the nation’s leading bank and investment management companies; provides growth enabling loan-by-phone solutions, product pricing research and marketing services; and, provides outsourcing services for the distribution of insurance services. BISYS trades on Nasdaq under the symbol BSYS. Additional information is available at [www.bisys.com.][1] BISYS Creative Solutions web address is [www.lending.com.][2]

[1]: http://www.bisys.com
[2]: http://www.lending.com

Details

DCR Rates MBNA J-Series Card Bonds

Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. (DCR) has rated MBNA Master Credit Card Trust II, Series 1997-J Class A certificates ‘AAA’ (Triple-A) and Class B certificates ‘A+’ (Single-A- Plus).

The ratings are based on MBNA’s experience as an originator and servicer of credit card receivables, the stable performance of the outstanding MBNA securitizations and the sound legal structure of both the master trust and Series 1997-J. They also reflect credit enhancement of 15.0 percent for the $637.5 million Class A and 7.5 percent for the $56.25 million Class B.

![][1] The ratings address the timely payment of interest and ultimate payment of principal by the series termination date of February 2007. The ratings do not address the likelihood of payment of principal by the scheduled maturity date.

DCR research on the MBNA master trust or other asset-backed transactions is available on Bloomberg at DCR or by contacting the DCR Hotline at (312) 368-3198/hotline@dcrco.com. Performance statistics for rated ABS transactions are also available on DCR’s Web site at

[1]: /graphic/mbna/mbna.gif

Details

Consmer Debt Consolidation Booklet

For more than a decade, consumer advocates and authors Gerri Detweiler and Marc Eisenson have been urging consumers to pay off their credit card bills. Now, in what could be seen as an about-face, they are recommending consumers use credit cards to consolidate their debts and save money.

“Right now, some of the best interest rates you’ll find are on credit cards,” says credit expert Detweiler. “While we don’t want to see people get deeper in debt, plastic can make a great consolidation loan if used right.”

After researching options for debt consolidation loans, Detweiler and Eisenson have concluded that low-interest-rate cards often come out near or at the top of the list. They can be relatively easy to get — if your credit history is decent. Most issuers are eager to transfer balances from other cards, and interest rates are often lower than what’s available on more traditional debt consolidation loans at banks and credit unions.

“This fall, credit card issuers will send out approximately 500 million offers — looking to sign people up just in time for their holiday spending,” explains Eisenson, whose Good Advice Press publishes money saving consumer information. “If you simply look through your junk mail, you may find a great consolidation option just sitting there in the pile you would normally toss,” he advises. Even then, Eisenson and Detweiler urge cardholders to create payment plan to retire their debts in three to five years.

In their new booklet, Debt Consolidation 101: Strategies for Paying Off Debts Faster & Saving Money ($4.50 postpaid, Good Advice Press, P.O. Box 78, Elizaville, NY, 12523), they offer easy-to-use charts showing just how much to pay in order to achieve that goal — and how much money will be saved in the process.

“For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card with a 17% interest rate, and pay the minimum each month, it could cost you almost $23,500 in interest!” reports Detweiler. “But transfer that balance to an 11% card, and your savings could exceed $15,000.”

While a home equity loan at 9.75% can save someone in the 28% tax bracket more — about $19,000 in this example–and a margin loan against stocks or a mutual fund can save close to $21,000 .. low-rate cards are much more readily available to many debt burdened consumers…and carry no risk of foreclosure or margin calls.

“It’s certainly a painless way to get your debt consolidation program under way,” adds Eisenson.

The authors share many other money saving tips in their booklet.

• The following options are best for individuals with poor credit histories, because they require no credit check:

1) Loans against retirement savings, such as 401 (k), 403(b), and profit sharing plans.

2) Borrowing against the cash value in an insurance policy.

3) Margin loans against investments, such as stocks and bonds.

Details