IHG/ChinaPay Team to Accept China-Issued Cards

InterContinental Hotels Group has become the only international hotel group in China to accept locally-issued bank cards for online hotel reservations, according to this week’s CardFlash International. IHG recently signed a two-year agreement with ChinaPay, an online payment subsidiary of China Union Pay, giving Chinese guests who do not carry foreign bank cards access to real-time hotel confirmations and online payments. Previously, only international credit cards were accepted by hotel websites for online bookings and all payment transactions were made during check-out. The deal allows IHG to reach out to the nearly 1.5 billion holders of locally-issued bank cards across China. IHG was also the first international hotel company to establish a reservation call centre in Guangzhou, and the first to have a fully integrated Chinese language reservation website that facilitates online reservation without a credit card guarantee in China. IHG’s “Priority Card Rewards” is the first hotel loyalty program to partner with a Chinese domestic bank to launch a co-branded Chinese credit card – the “Priority Club Rewards-Shanghai Pudong Development Bank” credit card. IHG is the largest international hotel group in Greater China, with a portfolio of 86 hotels and more than 100 hotels under development.

Details

CB KOREA INDEX

The Conference Board of Korea has released business cycle indicators for
April 2008 with the leading index having increased 0.1% and the
coincident index having increased 0.3% for the month. Additional
findings show the leading index fell -2.2% between October 2007 to April
2008, down from a growth of 5.1% for the same period the year prior, the
coincident index rose 1.1% between October 2007 and April 2008, down
from 1.9% growth from the same period one year prior, and the leading
index continues on a downward trend that began in October 2007 with
acceleration seen in recent months. Founded in 1916, The Conference
Board is a business membership and research network to help executives
build professional relationships, expand business knowledge and find
solutions to business challenges.

Details

Card Procure-to-Pay Practices Reap Big Savings

Visa has issued an updated and expanded commercial payment card best practices study by Deloitte Consulting that reveals procure-to-pay automation is saving large companies lots of money. Visa Commercial Solutions found that “P2P” best practices can lead to significant efficiency-driven cost savings. For example: a $30+ billion global media and entertainment company achieved more than $100 million in annual cost savings by strategically sourcing direct and indirect spend categories; an $800 million global manufacturing company was able to reduce its supplier base by 70% while consolidating 80% of its overall spending with a select group of suppliers; a $2.5 billion global technology company was able to significantly reduce its reliance on costly and outdated paper-based payment processes by shifting 85% of its payments to more efficient and cost-effective electronic payment methods; and a $7.5 billion global manufacturing company realized over $350,000 in process savings by moving non-purchase order transactions under $1,500 to the purchasing card. Study participants had a range of commercial card programs in place, including purchasing card, corporate card and commercial “one” card programs with each of the top three card providers: Visa, MasterCard and/or American Express.

Details

CAP ONE & COAST TO COAST

As a means of raising money to support families fighting childhood
cancer, Capital One is sponsoring Canadian bands who will be performing
for Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation’s free concert. The Cancer
Foundation’s concert is to take place at the Eaton Centre/Trinity Square
in downtown Toronto from 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. on June 13. As part of
the Sears “National Kids Cancer Ride,” the charity event is projected to
raise $1.5 million in support of children with cancer and their
families. Capital One Canada has provided consumers a range of
competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, initially with its
“Platinum” MasterCard.

Details

M….MASTERCARD

GE Money Bank and Switzerland’s Migros Photo Card ad campaigns are now
focused around the European football tournament, “Euro 2008,” and an
online card design competition to promote the organization’s
“M…MasterCard ‘MyDesign'” customized photo cards, which are powered by
the Serverside Group. Originally launched in November 2007, the
“M-€¦MasterCard” card is now available in the original, distinctive
“M-Budget MasterCard”, the “M-€¦MasterCard Standard card” in black and
white and the “M-€¦MasterCard MyDesign card” photo card- available for a
one time fee of EUR12. The “MyDesign” ad campaign will run a spot during
the ‘KickOff’ TV show time slot and will promote a card design
competition powered by Serverside, which will award such prizes as a
trip to Vienna. Serverside provides more than 74 issuers in 21 countries
with its card customization technology for over 350 card programs while
GE serves customers in over 100 countries and employs more than 300,000
people worldwide, 1300 of whom reside in Switzerland.

Details

ONTARIO BALANCES PAYDAYS

Broker of small-sum, short-term consumer loans, Cash Store Financial has
announced its support for Ontario’s balanced regulation of the payday
advance industry and has stopped providing rollovers on payday loans.
This demonstrates the company’s perspective that rate-setting should be
market-based to ensure operators can compete for market share.
Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Cash Store Financial employs over
1,500 at its more than 380 branches across Canada.

Details

Hypercom Certifies TenderCard Apps on Optimum

TenderCard has Class A certified its gift and loyalty applications on Hypercom Corporation’s “Optimum T4200” platform, allowing its gift card resellers, and the merchants they serve, access to the PCI PED approved, 32-bit multi-application, high security card payment platform. The “T4200” platform provides significant security and memory, has received MasterCard Worldwide Payment Terminal Security approval for IP and wireless transactions and incorporates such security features as optional privacy shields, “Triple DES DUKPT” encryption and “HyperSafe32” RSA-based security infrastructure. Moreover, the “T4200” multi-application terminals provide consistent physical design across the suite and have a 19-key keypad layout using either dial only or Ethernet/SSL/dial backup connectivity.

Details

VOLKSBANKEN MASTERCARD

DG VERKAG publishing has introduced its “Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken”
MasterCard, available in all its branches. The new Mastercard provides
cardholders with the ability to collect points, which can then be used
to redeemed for a range of rewards and to participate in drawings,
games, etc., while the card itself is designed with several lucent
coatings for 3-D images of an adidas EUROPASS tournament football and 4
Active Fever emblems. The card was manufactured by Giesecke & Devrient,
which employs close to 9,000 and generated a 2007 annual revenue of over
EUR1.5 billion.

Details

Chase Rolls-Out Exclusives for Banking

As a means of encouraging checking account customers to expand their banking, and providing incentive to do so, Chase has introduced its “Exclusives” comprehensive program. Incentives provided through the “Exclusives” program include better rates, increased rewards and bigger discounts on many of the products provided through the more than 3,100 Chase branches. Specifically, Chase provides 0.125-0.25% discounts on mortgages, 0.25-0.50% discounts on equity loan/line interest rates, 0.25 or 0.50% discounts on auto loan rates, a free debit card rewards program and triple rewards for purchases in five spending categories of the consumers’ choice with the new consumer program. Chase has issued over 154 million credit cards, operates 9,100 ATMs and 280 mortgage offices.

Details

Citi Deploys Ariba to Enhance Payment Solutions

Citi’s Global Transaction Services Unit has deployed Ariba Technology’s “Invoice and Payment Solutions” on its electronic payment network for the delivery of its supplier finance products/services to clients. This development allows Citi to provide end-to-end payment solutions with enhanced invoice and payment solutions to its clients worldwide using private label spend management solution, the first financial services company to do so. Collectively, this allows users to reduce invoice processing cost and cycle time, perform electronic settlement via ACH and purchasing cards, transition suppliers from paper to electronic payments, to access working capital efficiencies through Ariba’s dynamic discount solutions and increase visibility into A/P spend through enhanced analytics reporting. Citi provides financial services to nearly 200 million customers in over 100 countries while the Ariba Supplier Network has over 160,000 registered suppliers in 115 countries engaging in transactions worth over $100 billion per annum.

Details

RAPID ADVANCE & MCE

RapidAdvance has purchased Merchant Cash Express payment card
factoring as its subsidiary, the latter providing the former a platform
from which to embark on the UK market. This comes on the heels of
RapidAdvance’s Canadian market entry, expansion to which the
organization credits its reputable and fair business practices with its
customers. These customers are composed mostly of merchants looking for
business financing to support their growth, purchase new inventory,
leverage seasonal opportunities or reduce other financial obligations.
Merchant Cash Express Limited has for over 50 years provided an
alternative funding to merchants for growth capital not available
through conventional sources.

Details

First Data Promotes Wall to the CFO Position

First Data has announced the promotion of Phil Wall from SVP of finance, where he has served since 2002, to CFO. Wall oversaw acquisitions and alliances across 37 countries over the past six years. Succeeding Kim Patmore, who has filled the role since 2000, Wall and FDC are expecting a smooth transition, given his knowledge and experience in the industry, particularly within the organization itself. Phil’s additional experience includes his financial management roles with Equifax and with Schlumberger, combined with his advanced education, which includes a mechanical engineering degree from Imperial College and an MBA from Oxford, Brookes University. First Data processes transaction data and has operations in 37 countries, serving over 5.4 million merchant locations and more than 2,000 card issuers’ customers.

Details