Loyalty Programs Clearly Drive Spending

A new study has found that loyalty program members are more likely to be female, young, living with children under the age of 18 in the household or from the Northeast. The research also found that 62% of women are more likely to belong to a store or membership loyalty program compared to 54% of men. St. Louis-based Maritz says it found that rewards program members are spending more but, the programs themselves might not directly cause shoppers to increase their purchases. Rather it could be that those who spend more join programs to obtain rewards for purchases they would have made even if they weren’t members. Maritz says the programs are a great tool for retailers because it allows them to mine the data collected from loyalty programs to identify and create a dialogue with profitable customers.

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United Offers an Interest-Free Card

Chase and United Airlines have introduced a private-label credit card program that offers promotional financing qualified United travel. The new “United Travel Card” offers 90-day same-as-cash financing. To qualify purchases must be at least $199. The card has no annual fee. “Mileage Plus” members can apply online for the card and receive instant credit. United is the world’s second largest airline and recently emerged from bankruptcy. Chase also issues several cobranded credit cards for United.

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45% of Consumers PIN Debit at the POS

A new study has found that the average total number of debit POS transactions made monthly has increased 2% in the last year, from 15 to 18 transactions per month. The annual “STAR Consumer Payments Usage Study” also found that consumers who use both PIN and signature debit at the POS conduct an average of nearly 23 transactions per month versus 14 for those who solely use signature and 10 for those using only PIN. Those who use both PIN and signature debit accounted for 75% of all debit POS transactions made. Although PIN and signature debit have demonstrated transaction growth, preference of PIN debit over signature debit was 45% to 33%. The First Data/STAR study reveals that consumers age 25-34 report the highest usage of PIN and signature debit at close to 16 total transactions per month overall.

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PropertyRoom Offers a New Pay Option

Online auction site, PropertyRoom.com, has launched a new payment option that works like a traditional escrow service. For sellers, PropertyRoom.com will hold payment and verify buyers’ identities and payment method. Buyers, meanwhile, are assured that their payments are not released to merchants until their items arrive as ordered. PropertyRoom is so confident about the new payment option and its fraud protection systems, Lane added, that the company will guarantee payment on completed orders for merchants. PropertyRoom.com is the largest and most popular Web site that auctions legally recovered goods online.

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eCommLink to Process the Allow Card

eCommLink has been selected to process transactions generated by the “Allow Card Prepaid MasterCard”. The partnership with Allow Card of America will permit eCommLink to capture, store and submit financial information to the appropriate institutions within the Allow Card Prepaid MasterCard network, providing seamless and secure bank transactions for card holders. eCommLink Inc. (www.eCommLink.com) provides stored value card processing solutions for many financial institutions across the United States. Allow Card of America Inc. is a privately held financial services corporation that emphasizes financial literacy for young people.

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Dollar Introduces a STV AmEx Card

Dollar Rent A Car has launched a stored value “American Express” card to reward travel agents. Once agents have earned 25 points (1 point = $1), they will receive a personalized American Express branded reward card that can be used anywhere the American Express card is accepted. The card may be used for dining, entertainment, gifts … whatever the agent desires. Dollar has more than 535 worldwide locations in 25 countries, with a significant presence in Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, including more than 250 in the United States.

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Affinity Internet Offers ScanAlert PCI

FL-based Affinity Internet is now offering “ScanAlert PCI Certification” and “ScanAlert HACKER SAFE” for online credit card usage. HACKER SAFE is the world’s most widely adopted eCommerce security standard. ScanAlert only allows the certification mark to appear on sites that pass comprehensive daily security audits of eCommerce infrastructure. As long as a site remains secure, ScanAlert continually serves a HACKER SAFE certification mark directly to the retailer’s Web site from ScanAlert’s network. Affinity Internet is committed to empowering its customers to write their own Internet success stories.

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Atlanta Deploys Bill Payment Kiosks

The City of Atlanta last week deployed the first of a series of self-service bill payment kiosks to pay monthly water and sewer bills. The City of Atlanta Watershed Department, which already accepts online bill payments, selected MontegoNet’s NeoPay kiosks to handle the demand for in-person check and credit card payments, eliminating the need for employee involvement. In addition to delivering cost savings and allowing employees to focus on other tasks, the NeoPay kiosks expand residents’ payment options.

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AmEx to Tweak its Rewards Programs

American Express is reportedly gearing-up to make some changes in its “Membership Rewards” program. Effective October 1st, AmEx will drop double points on everyday purchases on the “Green,” “Gold” and “Platinum” charge cards but will continue the bonus points on its credit cards. To replace the bonus points AmEx will announce the “Bonus Point Mall” offering two points for each dollar spent at the more than 100 online retailers. The Wall Street Journal says AmEx will also limit its free “Membership Rewards Options” program to credit card users. Additionally, AmEx will introduce a new insurance feature to reimburse “Gold,” “Platinum” and “Centurion” cardholders if they unexpectedly miss an entertainment or sports event.

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U.S. Bank to Top 15MM VISA Gift Cards

U.S. Bank reports that it has issued 10 million “VISA Gift Cards” since 2003 and will likely top 15 million during the 2006 holiday shopping season. The issuer says it sold 334,781 “VISA Gift Cards” during the first two weeks of June leading up to Father’s Day. U.S. Bank issues “VISA Gift Cards” in 41 states through its 2,430 retail branches and mall partners, including Simon Property Group, Macerich Malls and Crocker Park. U.S. Bank also offers payroll cards for employers, “VISA Buxx” for teenagers, and the “ReliaCard” for government disbursements.

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United Choices Off to a Flying Start

United Airlines says its recently launched “Choices” enhancement to its “Mileage Plus” credit card program has generated strong cardholder acquisitions and spending. UAL reported net income of $119 million, an increase of $145 million excluding reorganization and special items over the comparable second quarter of 2005. Basic earnings per share was $1.01 and diluted earnings per share was $0.93. United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA) operates more than 3,700* flights a day on United, United Express and Ted to more than 210 U.S. domestic and international destinations from its hubs in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

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