BofA Resurrects the 50-Year Old BankAmericard

In a bold move Bank of America has re-launched the original “BankAmericard” credit card. The first nationally accepted bank credit card now offers a rewards VISA version. BofA claims its new card is the richest and most flexible rewards programs with no annual fee in the country. The “BankAmericard Rewards VISA” offers 1.25 reward points for every purchase, plus an annual rewards bonus of 25% for maintaining their banking relationship. The card also offers no limit on points and a no-fee concierge service. The “BankAmericard” credit card debuted in Fresno, California, nearly five decades ago.

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GCA DEALS

Macau casinos, including Sands, Venetian Macao, Wynn Macao, Galaxy
StarWorld and the MGM Grand Macau have all signed agreements with
Central Credit, a Global Cash Access(GCA) subsidiary, to provide cash
access services in its establishments. A number of the casinos have also
agreed to provide GCA’s “QuikCash” kiosks to provide credit card cash
advances, debit card advances and ATMs with slot ticket redemption.
Also provided by some of the casinos is GCA’s “QuikCashPlus” Web
browser to help cashiers streamline transactions. GCA and Central Credit
provide cash access and services for the gaming industry serving nearly
1,000 casinos around the world.

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Online Holiday Sales to Top $33B This Year

A new report projects U.S. online retail sales this holiday season to hit $33 billion, a 21% increase over last year. According to Forrester Research apparel and accessories will top holiday shopping lists; a majority of consumers have a continued interest in free shipping promotions; fewer consumers are willing to pay for “frills” like gift wrap or overnight delivery this year; and gift cards promise to be a big winner during the holiday season as 18% of online consumers said that they plan to spend more on gift cards this year, compared with last year.

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Americans Show Confidence in Financial Security

Americans felt more confident in nearly all aspects of their financial security in October. According to the “COUNTRY Financial Security Index” consumers aren’t letting recent news about a credit crunch, changing interest rates and predictions of a recession drive how they feel about their own financial security. The Index rose 1.3 points in October to 69.9 just short of the 70.2 recorded in February. Fifty-one percent of Americans rated their personal level of financial security favorably, up three points from August. About 17% rated their financial security as excellent, marking the most Americans to feel this way since the COUNTRY Index began this year and debt concerns continued to subside in October, as the number confident in their ability to pay all their debts as they come due rose another two points to 81%.

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MasterCard Unveils a New PCI DSS Program

MasterCard has released a new a new program offering practical assistance in educating merchants and encouraging broader adoption of the “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.” The new “PCI Merchant Education Program” provides requirements for enhancing payment account data security. There is a series of customizable, interactive modules for financial institutions to develop training sessions and materials tailored to their merchants. The education program offers several training options including: in-person training for acquiring bank members at designated locations; a live Web meeting; and an on-demand Webinar series. MasterCard offers a safe harbor for merchants and service providers who are compliant with the “PCI DSS,” exempting them from fines and other costs if cardholder data is compromised as a result of a breach of their systems.

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Kohl’s Dept Stores to Implement VantageScore

WI-based retailer Kohl’s will implement Experian’s “VantageScore” to score its credit card approval processes. VantageScore, a credit score jointly developed by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, simplifies the credit granting process for businesses by providing a service that applies one, consistent formula to data from all three of the credit bureaus. Kohl’s operates 914 stores in 47 states.

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Citi Credit Card Profits Dive 21% in 3Q/07

Citigroup reported that 3Q/07 profits for its U.S. Cards unit declined 21% year-on-year to $852 million due to increased credit costs and expenses. U.S. card revenues decreased 2% to $3.39 billion. Bank credit card outstandings for the U.S. were flat at $110.1 billion compared to one-year ago. However, private label card outstandings increased 4% to $31.8 billion. Purchase volume for the third quarter rose 6% to $81.6 billion. Citi’s account base at the end of the third quarter dipped 3% year-on-year to 146.4 million accounts, down 1.1 million accounts from 2Q/07. Citi’s charge-offs for bankcard and private label cards declined to 4.41% compared to 4.55% in the prior quarter and 4.26% one-year ago. Overall delinquency (90+ days) rose slightly from 1.47% for 2Q/07 to 1.60% for the third quarter 2007. Citi noted that the managed net interest margin improved 27 basis points to 10.55% primarily due to growth in non-promotional balances. For complete details on Citigroup’s 3Q/07 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CITIGROUP
U.S. Credit Card Net Income
3Q/06: $1085 million
4Q/06: $1001 million
1Q/07: $ 897 million
2Q/07: $ 726 million
3Q/07: $ 852 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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ShopDiscover Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Discover Financial Services is celebrating the anniversary of its online shopping portal, “ShopDiscover”, allowing cardmembers to earn 5% to 20% Cashback Bonus. These incentives are provided customers whom shop with select online retailers such as Blue Nile, Overstock.com and Sears.com. Through merchant offers, cardmembers have earned more than $1 million in Cashback Bonus when shopping through the portal. In order to take advantage of these discounts, cardmembers are to visit “ShopDiscover’s website at www.discovercard.com/shop, log in using their username and password, link to a retailer’s website to make purchases with the Discover Card. In the past year, the website received the coveted LinkShare “Best New Affiliate of the Year” award as well as achieved Very Important Publisher (VIP) status by internet marketer, DoubleClick Performics Inc.

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Chase Paymentech Offers Green Dot MoneyPak

Los Angeles-based Green Dot and Dallas-based Chase Paymentech have teamed to offer merchants an alternative cash payment solution. Merchants who process on Chase Paymentech’s proprietary multi-channel payment platform now have the ability to accept cash transactions through their existing online and phone interfaces by accepting “Green Dot’s “MoneyPak” as a form of payment. “MoneyPak” is the first cash-based payment solution available for use by Chase Paymentech’s merchants. Green Dot offers its products through Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS/Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Radio Shack and Kroger, including Kroger store chains Food4Less, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, Ralphs and Smith’s. Green Dot’s products include the “Green Dot MasterCard/VISA” and “Discover”- branded prepaid debit cards, Green Dot credit cards and the Green Dot “MoneyPak.”

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E-Payments to Dominate Healthcare Payments

Healthcare industry e-payments will transition from minority to majority status in the next two years. A new survey shows that e-payments will displace checks as the dominant form of healthcare payer-to-provider payment for the first time, crossing the 50% barrier by 2009. According to Metavante “Payment Progress Index” program findings an increase in e-payments will reach a 60% market share by 2009, up from 46% today; 76% of surveyed healthcare providers can receive payment explanation electronically; and 93% of surveyed providers expect to be able to receive electronic remittance advice by 2009. Over the next two years, payers are expected to increasingly send e-remittances and e-payments. As a result, providers anticipate investing in e-payment technologies to ensure they have the ability to automatically process electronic remittance advices for direct posting to their patient management systems.

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Payment Data Systems Rises 64% in Sept

Payment Data Systems announced that its credit card dollar volume processed in September rose 64% from the September 2006 level, the highest for any month to date. On an unaudited basis, September’s dollar volume rose 64% from the September 2006 level. Credit card dollar volume processed for the third quarter was 52% greater than the same quarter of 2006 and 29% greater than the second quarter of 2007.

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