CITIBANK EAZYPAY

Citibank has launched the “EazyPay Loan” sales financing product for the
country’s middle-class market offering installment payment options and
a quick approval process. The installment payment option is available with
over 900 merchant partners throughout the country and allows the
consumer to determine the installment amount for purchasing multiple items.
“EazyPay Loan” is designed for repeated use wherever VISA cards are
accepted. Citi has nearly 200 million customer accounts in more than 100
countries.

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AmEx Adds a Another Corp Gift Card

American Express announced the latest addition to its growing line of themed gift cards. The new “American Express Especially for Thank You Gift Card” is available in various denominations from $25 to $100. Companies can buy a large number of the cards online. AmEx enhanced its corporate Gift Card services last year to help corporations and small businesses increase the effectiveness of their gifting programs. The improvements simplified bulk orders and increased the number of American Express Gift Cards that can be purchased by one company through the American Express Web site. AmEx raised the threshold for online purchases to as much as $35,000 or 1400 cards, up from $15,000 or 600 cards last year.

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PAYPASS BRIDGE

In the face of the looming postal strikes, APACS is providing tips to
consumers on making payments without incurring penalties or charges.
Recommendations include paying by phone, verifying timescale information
with the supplier, establishing direct electronic payment and to closely
monitor bills and statements through the strike period and thereafter.
APACS also recommends that consumers keep a note of when statements
are due and speaking with providers regarding concern over delayed mail payments.
Statistical research shows that 58% of consumers currently use direct debit
for all bills, which will likely increase with this imminent strike,
household bill
payments have increased from 159 per household in 2000 to 171 in 2006
and nearly 18.1 million people are now banking online. Furthermore, regular
payments made with cash have fallen by 33% since 2000, the number of bill
payments made by check has fallen 32% over the same period and over 50%
of each of these payments are made at the Post Office. APACS provides
banks, building societies and card issuers a forum for discussing
current events
and issues and helps consumers and businesses manage money.

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Webster Bank and First USA Extend

CT-based Webster Bank and First USA have announced the extension of their existing agent bank agreement. The credit cards will be marketed under the Webster Bank brand name and First USA will continue to service the loans and provide administrative support for the program. Webster Financial Corporation is the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association and Webster Insurance with $16.9 billion in assets. Webster provides business and consumer banking, mortgage, insurance, financial planning, trust and investment services.

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VISA Inc. Completes its Restructuring

VISA Inc. announced the completion of its restructuring, having received broad member approval for the series of transactions by which VISA Canada, VISA U.S.A. and VISA International have become subsidiaries of VISA Inc. VISA Europe will remain a membership association and will become a licensee of, and own a minority interest in, VISA Inc. The restructuring was lead by Joseph Saunders, Chairman and CEO. Last month VISA confirmed that its S-4 filed in connection with its proposed restructuring was declared effective by the SEC on September 13th. This gave the green light to proceed with securing the required approval of member financial institutions for the restructuring. (CF Library 9/14/07)

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Experian to Offer Credit Report Freeze

Experian, a global information solutions provider, announced that it will offer the option to freeze credit reports to consumers nationwide. Beginning Nov. 1, Experian will allow any consumer across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories to place a freeze on their credit report. A credit file freeze prevents new creditors from accessing the credit file without the consumer’s consent. Experian’s file freeze will be free to victims of identity theft. Unless state law mandates otherwise, there will be a $10 fee to institute, temporarily lift or permanently remove the freeze.

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VISA VS EU

The European Commission has made the decision that VISA Europe has
infringed on the European Union’s (EU) Competition law. VISA Europe’s
sentiments, however, are opposing to this decision and the card issuer has
declared its intent to appeal the verdict. VISA’s decision to appeal is
citing the
withdrawal of the Morgan Stanley’s complaint, the original plaintiff.
Additionally, Visa Europe responded with its declaration of committal to
create an internal market for payments in Europe, the establishment
of SEPA
and its decision to operate as a bank membership for the provision of an
association payments system. VISA Europe is a membership association owned
and operated by 4,500 European member banks that provides 321 million
debit,
credit and commercial cards in Europe that were used to conduct EUR1.2
trillion
in transactions during 2006. VISA operates in over 170 countries around the
world.

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Postilion Mobile Solution Set to Launch

Self service banking solution provider Postilion will launch the “Postilion Mobile” solution for banks and credit unions in the U.S. The mobile banking solution supports a wide range of banking and payment function, is multi-language and multi-currency capable, and offers a consistent look and feel across Postilion self-service channels. Postilion Mobile is based on technology developed by Fundamo, an international provider of mobile banking and payment solutions. Postilion has acquired a source code license to Fundamo’s mobile banking software, a proven technology that has been enabling mobile banking transactions since 2002. In connection with the source code license, a team of employees from Fundamo will join Postilion to continue to develop and enhance the Postilion Mobile solution.

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OBERTHUR 07

Oberthur Card Systems has reported its 1H07 financial statements reflecting
revenue, sales and operating income for the period and comparing
performance
with the same period of the previous year, 1H06. Most significant for the
half is a 13.7% increase in revenue, to EUR278.1 million, since 1H06.
Contributing to this revenue increase was a 27.9% in gross margin sales.
Furthermore, operating income, before Oberthur’s EUR9.1M manufacturing
restructuring, reached EUR15M, up 10.9 million since 1H06 while gross
margin
was up 3.9 points. Expenses, however, remained mostly unchanged at 22.6%
of sales for 1H07 compared with 22.3% of sales for 1H06. Projections for the
card business in Q307 sales is favorable to be consistent with the
current trend
and conditions based on the growth seen in 2006. This is thanks to
Oberthur’s
focus on cost efficiency, improving its purchasing policy, and expanding
R&D
resources with cost reduction programs in manufacturing and designing
the smart
cards through new services. The company had sales of EUR524.0 million in
2006 providing card-based solutions, software and applications. Payment &
Services generated 47% of the revenues and 38% was generated by Mobile
Communications solutions. Oberthur also has strong positions in ID projects
throughout the world, the Pay-TV market and Transit solutions. Oberthur
Card
Systems was established in July 2000 and is a subsidiary of the
Francois-Charles
Oberthur Group.

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Health Net Offers the BofA HSA Card

Bank of America and Health Net have teamed to utilize the “Consumer Directed Health Care” platform provided by Bank of America Benefit Solutions. This platform will enable “Health Net” members enrolled in a “Health Savings Account” compatible plan to have greater control over their health care spending by pairing affordable health insurance coverage provided by Health Net with a tax-advantaged HSA from Bank of America. For example, these members can choose between the ease of using a “Bank of America HSA VISA” debit card to pay for their qualified health care expenses or they can go online and request their health care providers be paid directly from their account using online bill payment. Health Net’s behavioral health subsidiary, MHN, provides mental health benefits to approximately 7.0 million individuals in all 50 states.

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ICBA Bancard and Billeo Partner

Billeo announced that its card-based bill payment solution will be jointly marketed with ICBA Bancard. ICBA is the largest association for community banks in the U.S. ICBA Bancard will make an exclusive version of Billeo’s directory of billing companies that accept credit and debit card bill-payments available to its nearly 5,000 member-banks. Billeo maintains the largest directory of companies that accept online bill payments via their websites, where the majority of consumers’ bills can be found. The Billeo Biller Directory is featured on the websites of more than 40 U.S. banks/issuers, including VISA. The nearly 6,000 participating companies in the Billeo Biller Directory span 26 categories, including utility, mortgage and cable companies, standard phone and wireless service providers, and credit card companies, of which over 3,500 accept payment via credit or debit card.

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