Discover Intros a Competitive Biz Card

Discover Financial Services has launched its first general purpose business card for all small business owners. Among the card’s unique features are “PurchaseChecks” which enable cardholders to receive reward benefits, the same APR and payment grace period as card purchases and no special fees. The new “Discover Business Card” offers credit limits up $50,000 and free employee cards with real-time, customizable limits and monthly spend reporting. The new business card also provides a 5% “Cashback Bonus” on office supplies, 2% “Cashback Bonus” on gas and up to 1% “Cashback Bonus” on all other purchases. Additionally, other special bonuses can be earned through a network of more than 60 brand-name redemption partners. In March 2005, Discover announced its first business card partnership with GE Consumer Finance and SAM’S CLUB. The Discover Network has over 4 million merchant and cash access locations in the USA. (CF Library 3/15/06)

Details

NFC PILOT

The first contactless credit payment program using near field technology is set to pilot in Amsterdam this fall. JCB, CCV Holland, Gemplus, KPN, Nokia, PaySquare, Philips and ViVOtech have all teamed for the test using an NFC-enabled mobile phone. Selected cardholders will be supplied with a Nokia mobile phone equipped with Philips’ NFC chips, loaded with the JCB payment application. In the first stage of the pilot, JCB will be targeting approximately 100 cardholders located in Amsterdam and merchants in and around the city’s World Trade Center. NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a distance of typically a few centimeters and combines the functions of a contactless reader, a contactless card and peer-to-peer functionality on a single chip.

Details

MAR DEBT

Growth in credit card debt was flat in March, after hitting a high of nearly A$35 billion in February. However, credit card volume rose more than 12%, compared to one-year ago, despite surcharges imposed on cardholders by merchants. During the past twelve months, credit card debt has increased 15%. For March, credit card balances increased slightly to A$34.7 billion. One-year ago credit card debt stood at A$30.3 billion. Gross dollar volume on credit card and charge cards in March was A$15.5 billion, compared to A$13.8 billion one-year ago. Card credit limits reached A$94.8 billion at the end of March, compared to A$83.8 billion for March 2005. There are currently 12.8 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 11.8 million one-year ago.

Details

Barclays Appoints a New Card Chief

Frederik (Frits) Seegers has been appointed to the new position of Chief
Executive of Global Retail and Commercial Banking and to the Boards of
both Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC. He also joins the Barclays
Group Executive Committee. In this role he will assume responsibility
for all the Barclays retail and commercial banking operations globally.
Frits joins from Citigroup where he held senior positions over 17 years
spanning four continents. He was a member of the Citigroup Operating
Committee. Most recently he was CEO Global Consumer Group, with a remit
covering all retail operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior
to this he was Executive Vice President for International Retail and
International Cards, with responsibility for all retail banking and
credit cards outside the USA. He holds Masters Degrees in engineering
from Delft University of Technology and in finance from the University
of Chicago.

Details

Consumer Confidence Rebounds in June

Consumer confidence levels improved substantially in June after dropping dramatically in May, according to the most recent results of the “RBC CASH INDEX”, rising from 67.1 in May to 84.1 for June. Consumer sentiment brightened considerably across all surveyed areas, with the biggest increases occurring in the areas of economic expectation and job security. Consumers’ economic outlook recovered more than two-thirds of the 50-point decline observed in last month’s RBC Expectations Index, which now stands at 40.4, a 34 point increased from the 6.3 level in May.

Details

QSR Volume May Top $50 Billion in 2006

Americans are on track to charge $49.6 billion worth of fast food to their credit and debit cards this year, compared to $33.2 billion one-year ago. The increase is driven by merchant expansion and promotion of card usage, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). McDonald’s has increased payment credit acceptance from 3,000 locations in 2004 to 13,000 in 2005. McDonald’s has also geared up for contactless payments. The average QSR credit card ticket, based on the most recent VISA data, is $10.75. Americans spend about $160 billion per year in quick service restaurants.

QSR ON PLASTIC HISTORICAL
2000: $ 1.7 billion
2001: $ 3.7 billion
2002: $ 6.1 billion
2003: $12.9 billion
2004: $22.5 billion
2005: $33.2 billion
2006: $49.6 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

Details

Mint Technology BOD Adds itravel2000 Executive

Jonathan Carroll, President of itravel2000 has joined Mint Technology’s Board of Directors. Carroll founded itravel2000 in 1994 and currently
serves as president of the company. itravel2000 has grown at a rapid
rate to become Canada’s largest on-line travel retailer. In 2006,
Carroll was recognized in Canada’s annual “Top 40 Under 40,” a prestigious national program celebrating Canada’s leaders of today and tomorrow, and he is regularly featured in the media as a spokesperson for the Canadian travel industry. Mint is a payment solutions company.
Mint is also the first firm in Canada to facilitate and deploy prepaid MasterCard “PayPass” cards.

Details

Card Response Rates Hit a New Low in Q1

Response rates to direct mail credit card offers slipped this year, plummeting to a record low of 0.2%. However, the volume of solicitations continues to hit record highs. For the first quarter, Americans received 1.7 billion credit offers in the mail compared to 1.4 billion last year, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). The percentage of U.S. households receiving an offer has been holding steady at 71%.

CREDIT CARD DIRECT MAIL
YEAR RESPONSE
1998: 1.2%
1999: 1.0%
2000: 0.6%
2001: 0.6%
2002: 0.5%
2003: 0.6%
2004: 0.4%
2005: 0.3%
2006: 0.2%
Source: CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com)

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

Details

Americans Oppose Info Sharing Overseas

A new survey has found that the majority of American consumers do not want US companies sharing personal information with outsourcing companies overseas. The survey, sponsored by the law firm White & Case, also found that 82% of respondents felt that new U.S. regulations were needed to ensure that offshore companies had adequate security and privacy safeguards in place. Fifty-one percent of those US adults surveyed said that they did not want a U.S. organization to send sensitive personal information such as SSN or driver’s license numbers to a local company in another country. Opposition was higher when it came to sharing even more sensitive information: 60% didn’t want their credit or debit card account numbers shared with an offshore company; 64% opposed having their employee records shared; 73% opposed having their banking or home mortgage information shared; and a whopping 83% opposed having their health records shared with a local company in another country.

Details

Gemalto Merger Finally Comes Alive

Axalto and Gemplus International have completed their merger. Further to these actions, Axalto changed its name to Gemalto. This transaction represents 2005 pro forma revenues of approximately EUR1.7 billion (US$ 2.2 billion), operations in 120 countries, large operational centers in the Paris and Marseille areas, and 11,000 employees including 1,500 R&D engineers. Prior to the contribution in kind, Gemplus had initiated the distribution of EUR 0.26 per share to all its shareholders of record as at today’s market close. Gemalto will launch a voluntary public exchange offer for the remaining Gemplus shares at the same exchange ratio of 2 Gemalto shares for every 25 Gemplus shares.

Details

Gold Line Selects Pactolus SIPware

Gold Line, major provider of calling card services in Canada, has selected Pactolus as its exclusive provider of calling
card applications and is expanding its prepaid, affinity and
promotional calling card market penetration with innovative services
based on Pactolus’ “SIPware” Calling Card application and
“RapidFLEX” service delivery platform. Group of Gold Line is a pre-paid
service provider serving over 70% of the Canadian pre-paid market
through its 100,000 points of sale across North America. Pactolus
Communications Software Corporation is a developer of
SIP-based IP voice services.

Details

Paymetric Hires a Receivables Exec

Houston-based Paymetric has hired Michael Bellardine, formerly with JPMorganChase, to the position of SVP/GM of Receivables Solutions. Bellardine joins Paymetric from JPMorganChase, where he was SVP and Manager of Multicurrency Services and grew revenues from $67 million to $100 million in two years. Prior to JPMorganChase, he served as SVP and Business Executive for Treasury and Trade Services at Bank One, where he grew revenues by $11 million in four years. Bellardine has had direct responsibility for the creation of several business payment solutions that facilitated migration from paper to electronic settlements and improved both quality and timing of information flows between related parties. Paymetric, Inc. provides financial automation solutions.

Details