Discover Cards Get a Stronger PULSE

Discover Financial Services has added “Discover Card” acceptance at “PULSE” ATMs nationwide. “Discover Cards” are now accepted at approximately 350,000 ATMs and cash access locations. Discover acquired the PULSE ATM/debit network in January 2005. The expanded acceptance was made possible by Discover Bank joining the “PULSE” network, which links cardholders with almost 250,000 ATMs and approximately 3.4 million POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. The new “Discover Debit” product is the result of its acquisition of the PULSE ATM/debit network in January 2005. In February, Discover launched two forms of signature debit card programs. (CF Library 2/13/06)

Details

Fiserv Teams with PassMark Security

Fiserv has chosen PassMark Security as a partner in providing multifactor authentication technology to its banking and credit union clients. Each of the Fiserv core processors will offer two options for implementing PassMark’s multifactor authentication technology as part of its Internet banking solution. A baseline option will provide a cost-effective way for financial institutions to comply with FFIEC requirements, while a more advanced solution will be available for clients who believe their risks warrant a more aggressive approach.

Details

New Travel VISA Card Targets Students

Los Angeles-based Tripplus has launched a prepaid “Travel VISA Card” for youth and student travel. The new card has five key features and starts at $25 per card. Features include different levels of “Emergency Medical Transportation”; international calls as low as 3 cents per minute; ATM/debit card functionality, travel and concierge assistance services; and document & information storage. The card was issued in partnership with Travel Guard, ekit, and Ecount.

Details

Canadians Embrace Electronic Payments

A new report suggests that Canada represents one of the largest markets for electronic payments in the world. More than 50% of $600 billion in annual consumer spending takes place on bank credit cards, debit cards and retail cards. Boston-based Mercator Advisory Group says its research shows that political and economic stability, as well as a robust telecom infrastructure and consumer credit data, contribute to the high per capita use of plastic payments cards. As a result, the size and maturity of the electronic payments market has been drawing a number of U.S. banks to get serious about the market.

Details

NACM CMI Shows a Healthy March

The National Association of Credit Management’s “March Credit Manager’s Index” shows a healthy economic picture. NACM says the bulk of the gains in its “Index” was in four favorable areas: sales, new credit applications, dollar collections and credit extended. Despite seasonal factors NACM says the underlying strength of the economy demonstrated in the first quarter continues to provide solid support for the CMI and its components. However, significant headwinds may be in store for the U.S. economy in the quarters to come. NACM notes that the Fed is expected to continue raising rates through perhaps even May.

Details

VISA Intl Becomes a Major FIFA Partner

VISA International has inked a major partnership with FIFA to sponsor the “World Cup” of international football. The partnership will begin in January 2007 and will run through 2014. MasterCard currently has a partnership with FIFA. However, as one of six “FIFA Partners,” VISA says it will have a higher level of association with FIFA than previous sponsors in the “Financial Services” category. VISA notes that the partnership builds on the highly successful marketing programs with global properties including the “Olympic Games/Paralympic Games,” “Disney” and “Rugby World Cup.”

Details

VeriFone to Acquire Lipman for $793MM

VeriFone has signed an agreement to acquire Lipman Electronic Engineering for $793 million in cash and stock. The deal will make VeriFone the largest global provider of electronic payment solutions and services with annual revenues of nearly $750 million. Lipman, an Israeli-based provider of electronic payment systems founded in 1974, produced more than $235 million in sales during 2005. Lipman’s revenues grew 30.4% last year. VeriFone recently reported that net revenues for the quarter ending January 31st rose 21% to $134.6 million as profits more than doubled. Terminal manufacturer Lipman Electronic Engineering reported fourth quarter revenues of $68.8 million, an increase of 5% over the prior year and a 27% increase over the prior quarter. Closing is expected to occur by the end of October. Lehman Brothers acted as financial advisor to VeriFone on the acquisition. Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor to Lipman. For complete details on VeriFone’s or Lipman’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 2/8/06; 3/3/06)

REVENUE HISTORICAL
($ millions)
Lipman VeriFone
4Q/04: $65.7 $111.3
1Q/05: $54.2 $117.9
2Q/05: $58.3 $125.7
3Q/05: $54.1 $130.5
4Q/05: $68.8 $134.6
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

Details

ARM Industry Off to a Strong Start

A new report shows that 8 transactions totaling roughly $128 million were completed in the first quarter in the Accounts Receivable Management industry. Kaulkin Ginsberg Company says 1Q/05 generated 12 transactions totaling approximately $110 million in deal value. KGC says the market characteristics that drove last year’s deal activity are still in place, the economy is strong, lenders are providing debt with attractive terms, corporations and investment funds have large amounts of capital to put to work and the appetite for outsourcing debt collection activities is growing. KGC anticipates that deal volume will increase in 2006, but the average transaction size may decline as more deals involve larger companies buying smaller ones that strategically expand their presence in the ARM market.

Details

BofA’s Keep the Change Prog Hits $60MM

Bank of America’s “Keep the Change” program, which rounds up “VISA Check Card” transactions to the nearest whole dollar, has produced $60 million in automatic savings for two million cardholders. Bank of America matches 100% of the Keep the Change transfers for the first three months of enrollment and matches five percent thereafter, up to $250 paid annually. Bank of America’s Keep the Change program, which has been cited for its creative design and innovation, is an automatic savings program that was created after consumers asked for help saving money.

Details

Capital One Leads in Brand Strength

A market research study that tracks brand strength based on card usage, brand awareness, quality and brand characteristics has ranked Capital One as #1. However, competition remains fierce among the top five issuers with only 50 basis points separating issuers #2 from #5. The “Issuer Brand Index,” published in “Cardbeat” and produced by Auriemma Consulting Group, found that Citibank (#2) and American Express (#4) had the highest quality and brand characteristics scores. Discover’s (#3) brand awareness score was significantly higher than its direct competitors, due to its dual role as issuer and association. Chase’s (#5) had a high card usage score.

Brand Score
1. Capital One 59.10
2. Citibank 56.55
3. Discover 56.26
4. American Express 56.06
5. Chase 56.00
6. Bank of America 53.23
7. Sears 49.88
8. MBNA 48.86
9. Wells Fargo 47.79
10.U.S. Bank 43.61
Source: Auriemma Consulting Group

Details