CAT Orders OFT to Pay VISA/MC Legal Fees

The Competition Appeal Tribunal has ordered the Office of Fair Trading to pay the legal expenses of VISA and MasterCard in a six-year probe of the networks’ interchange fee practices. The OFT is facing about GBP 5 million in reimbursements after the CAT annulled a previous OFT decision that VISA and MasterCard credit card interchange fees violated EU and UK competition law. The OFT ruled last September that the fees were illegal. Since then, the OFT began abandoning significant parts of its decision, even acknowledging that it is necessary for a four-party payment system operating with an “honor all cards” rule to establish default terms of reference between card issuers and merchant acquirers. VISA was represented by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and MasterCard was represented by Lovells, Jones Day and Ashurst.

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Wincor Nixdorf eServices Opens

TX-based Wincor Nixdorf has opened its “eServices” CRM platform that connects its service management with service customers via an electronic network. The eServices platform is based on the following core services: customer care center/call handling, on-site services, and standard reporting. The Wincor Nixdorf Customer Care Center (CCC) represents the customer interface in the service management process. It includes the call center and help desk functions, and it manages all internal service processes. Wincor Nixdorf is one of the world’s leading suppliers of IT solutions to the retail and banking industries. The company’s extensive portfolio, consisting of hardware products, software, consulting, maintenance and other services, is aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of business processes while improving customer service.

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SPS Certifies the PrimeTrex Terminal

San Diego-based Secure Payment Systems has certified its proprietary gift and loyalty card processing application for use on the “PrimeTrex” POS terminal manufactured by TechTrex. PrimeTrex is a high-performance and low-cost desktop terminal, featuring the fastest thermal graphics printer in the industry (prints 22+ lines per second), a large 128 x 64 graphical display, high-quality clear plastic backlit keys for dependability, and a 14.4 kbps modem for lightning fast settlements and downloads. Secure Payment Systems, Inc. (SPS) (www.securepaymentsystems.com) was founded in 1996 by Linden (Lin) Fellerman, former 20 year employee and 10 year President of the Telecredit / Equifax Check Services subsidiaries. TechTrex provides unique cost-effective hardware solutions exclusively for the card payments industry.

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TNS Posts Q2 Loss; Off the Sale Block

VA-based transaction network provider, TNS, reported second quarter revenue of $72.7 million an 11% year-on-year increase, however, the company posted a $900,000 net loss for the quarter, compared to net income of $300,000 in 2Q/05. Following the second quarter report the Company yesterday announced it was ending its investigation of strategic alternatives including a possible sale or buyout by management. The Company also replaced CEO Jack McDonnell as Chairman with John Sponyoe. TNS also said McDonnell will be retiring with a successor named in the coming weeks. McDonnell lead a senior management buyout attempt at $22 per share which was rejected in May. The Company says it will now focus on substantial cost-saving initiatives in an effort to further enhance stockholder value. For complete details on TNS’ second quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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OneBridge to Deploy ACI Fraud Software

Indianpolis-based card processor, OneBridge, has licensed ACI’s “Proactive Risk Manager” fraud detection software. Proactive Risk Manager is a complete fraud detection solution for credit and debit (on-line and offline) programs and is currently protecting financial institutions around the world. It uses a powerful combination of rules and neural technology that recognize the obvious and the complex in combating fraud. OneBridge, a CISP compliant card processor, provides financial institutions with complete, one-stop card processing solutions to help them maximize the value of their in-house credit, debit and ATM programs. Every second of every day, ACI solutions are at work processing electronic payments, managing risk, automating back office systems and providing application infrastructure services.

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AACC Cash Collections Up; Profits Down

MI-based consumer debt purchaser, Asset Acceptance Capital, posted a 2.9% decline in second quarter revenues to $66.8 million. Net income for the quarter was $12.4 million, compared with a net income of $16.3 million for 2Q/05. The Company noted that the year-over-year decline in revenue was primarily attributable to a $5.5 million net impairment charge compared to a $1.7 million net impairment charge in the second quarter a year ago. However, Asset Acceptance reported a 5.6% rise in cash collections to $89.6 million. During the quarter the Company spent $19.2 million to purchase consumer debt portfolios with a face value of $542.3 million, representing a blended rate of 3.53% of face value. Asset Acceptance says the purchasing environment remains highly competitive, characterized by elevated portfolio pricing. For complete details on Asset Acceptance Capital’s second quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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U.K.’s OFT Ordered to Pay V/MC Fees

The U.K.’s Competition Appeal Tribunal has ordered the Office of Fair Trading to pay the legal expenses of VISA and MasterCard in a six-year probe of the networks’ interchange fee practices. According to today’s CardFlash International the OFT is facing about $9.5 million in reimbursements after the CAT annulled a previous OFT decision that VISA and MasterCard credit card interchange fees violated EU and UK competition law. The OFT ruled last September that the fees were illegal. Since then, the OFT began abandoning significant parts of its decision. In June the CAT annulled a September decision by the OFT which claimed that MasterCard’s pre-November 2004 UK credit card interchange fees violated EU and UK competition law. VISA was represented by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and MasterCard was represented by Lovells, Jones Day and Ashurst.

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Morgan Beaumont Expands its Financing

FL-based prepaid card specialist, Morgan Beaumont, has secured new financing of up to $3 million. The current loan of $1.1 million, which expires on August 4, 2006, is converting into the new financing for a total loan of up to $4.1 million. The new financing expires on February 2, 2007. Morgan Beaumont, Inc. is a Technology Solutions Company located in Bradenton, Florida, and is one of the premier providers of Stored Value and Prepaid Card Solutions in the United States.

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VISA Launches a Small Biz Promotion

A new VISA USA and SCORE survey has found that 35% of sole proprietors say their primary challenge in maintaining and growing a small business is an inability to focus on generating new business. Sole proprietors make up 75% of all small businesses in the USA. To assist small business VISA has launched its first national promotion targeting small businesses. The “Hired for You” promotion will run through September 30th and offers one small business the opportunity to win the services of a new employee for a year and $50,000 worth of merchandise and services. Ten first prize winners will also receive $2,500 worth of business essentials. Small business cardholders will be automatically entered into the contest every time they use their “VISA Business” card.

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AmEx Funds U.S. Performing Arts

American Express has given $1.3 million in grants to be awarded to 12 institutions nationwide from its “2006 Performing Arts Fund”. The 12 institutions were chosen through a highly competitive selection process. The American Express Performing Arts Fund was created in 1997 to assist performing arts institutions across the United States to attract broader audiences. Since then, American Express has given almost $11 million in 107 grants to 58 performing arts institutions throughout the country through this initiative. American Express Company (www.americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

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TNB Promotion Produces High Open Rates

Dallas-based TNB Card Services’ says its 2006 spring card acquisition promotion produced open rates of 2.45% and 1.56% for two credit unions. In a little more than two months, the promotion generated 50% more new accounts than the credit union’s goal for the entire year. TNB Card Services, owned and directed by credit unions since 1976, provides electronic payments processing, as well as an agent issuing solution for credit unions nationwide.

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