Barclaycard Sends Text Messages to Cardholders

Barclaycard has launched a new text alert service to remind its 9 million UK customers that their monthly payment is due. The service, which is provided free to all cardholders, will send a text payment reminder five working days before the monthly due date. In addition to the new service, Barclaycard will make changes to customer statements later this year to include messages for customers who regularly make minimum payments. The messages will highlight the advantages of repaying a higher amount each month and the current warnings about making minimum repayments will be moved from the back of the statement to the front. Messages for customers regularly paying late will offer the option of moving the billing date.

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AccountMate Integrates PPI Payments

Newark, CA-based Payment Processing has teamed with AccountMate Software Corporation to offer an integrated payment processing solution for the AccountMate family of accounting application solutions. Through PPI, AccountMate customers have a complete solution for integrated credit card processing that includes credit card processing, 24/7/365 free technical and administrative support for both credit card processing software and transaction issues, configuration, testing and training and competitive pricing for merchant accounts. Payment Processing provides integrated payment processing solutions. AccountMate develops and markets fully modifiable, source code accounting software for mid-sized businesses.

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Mizuho Bank Sells UC Card Stake to DoCoMo

Mizuho Bank has agreed to sell its 18% stake in UC Card
to communications giant NTT DoCoMo for 1 billion yen. The deal also calls for UC Card and Mizuho Bank to expand DoCoMo’s “iD” mobile phone payment system. Under terms of the deal, Mizuho Bank will upgrade the function of the “Mizuho Mileage Club Card,” an ATM card with credit card functions issued by Credit Saison, to enable cardholders to make credit card purchases via their mobile phones. Credit Saison also agreed to give their credit card owners the option of making payments via “iD.”
Credit Saison intends to issue the new cards later this year.

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Variable Rate Cards Dominate the Market

The gap between variable rate credit cards and fixed rate credit cards has widened to 164 basis points. Variable (go-to) rate cards have also saturated the market, now making up 82% of all cards-in-force. Less than five years ago, the number of fixed rate cards outnumbered variable rate cards, according to CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com). Today, variable rate cards carry an average go-to interest rate of 15.25% versus 14.11% for the average fixed rate cards. In February 2005, the average go-to variable interest rate was 12.84% versus 13.25% for fixed rate cards. (The averages do not include introductory or punitive interest rates.)

CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATES
Month Prime Fixed Variable
Feb 05 5.50% 13.25% 12.84%
Mar 05 5.75% 13.32% 13.08%
Apr 05 5.75% 13.39% 13.17%
May 05 6.00% 13.48% 13.45%
Jun 05 6.00% 13.59% 13.61%
Jul 05 6.25% 13.64% 13.84%
Aug 05 6.50% 13.76% 14.24%
Sep 05 6.75% 13.80% 14.49%
Oct 05 6.75% 13.87% 14.64%
Nov 05 7.00% 13.91% 14.89%
Dec 05 7.25% 13.93% 15.20%
Jan 06 7.50% 14.08% 15.53%
Feb 06 7.50% 14.11% 15.75%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com) .

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Online Resources Collections Takes-Off

VA-based Online Resources reports it has signed four major U.S. credit card issuers for its new online collections product. “Online Resources Collections” provides card issuers with a fully branded, 24×7 online environment. Delinquent account holders can apply for payment programs, with rules specified by the creditor, enabling their customers to privately and conveniently self-cure their delinquent status. ORCC says the results of a five-month pilot conducted last year with a top three U.S. based credit card issuer show the collections service enabled an improvement of 310 basis points in reduction of losses, or an annualized savings of $3.1 million for an organization with $50 million in delinquent outstandings. ORCC serves over 4 million consumer end-users and processes $15 billion in payments annually.

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Barclaycard Now Offers Account Alerts

Barclaycard has launched a new text alert service to remind its 9
million UK customers that their monthly payment is due. The service,
which is provided free to all cardholders, will send a text
payment reminder five working days before the monthly payment has to be
made. In addition to the new service, Barclaycard has also announced
changes to customer statements which will be introduced this year to
include messages for customers who regularly only pay the minimum
repayment, highlighting the advantages of repaying a higher amount each
month, messages for customers regularly paying late which will offer to
move the billing day to a date that better suits their monthly budget
and warnings to customers about only ever paying the minimum repayment
will be moved from the back of the statement to the front.

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Diebold Gets Product Line Award

Diebold has received the 2006 Frost & Sullivan “Product Line Strategy Leadership Award”. Frost & Sullivan presents the Product Line Strategy Leadership Award to the company that demonstrates the most accurate understanding and interpretation of customer needs and product demands within its industry. The selection process is managed through a dedicated Frost & Sullivan analyst team, which tracks all end-user requirements and market dynamics within the industry to determine the top-ranking supplier. The Opteva family of ATMs includes lobby cash dispensers, through-the-wall cash dispensers and advanced-function ATMs for island, drive-up and walk-up deployments.

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Heartland – Purveyor of the Year

The Omaha Restaurant Association has named New Jersey-based Heartland Payment Systems as “2005 Purveyor of the Year”. Heartland is endorsed by the ORA to provide credit/debit card processing services and payroll solutions, along with gift/loyalty card programs and other related payment services, to ORA members. Heartland also provides local, face-to-face merchant servicing and support through its nationwide sales force, including onsite installation and staff training. Additionally, merchants can view their card transactions in real time on the Merchant Center, Heartland’s online merchant account information tool.

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iMergent Rolls-Out StoresOnline Pro

Utah-based iMergent has officially launched “StoresOnline Pro” to replace the original “StoresOnline”. S.O. Pro Features give total control over web site management and testing and is customizable in a point-and-click environment. It also allows for easy integration and management of online messaging and content. iMergent provides eCommerce solutions to entrepreneurs and small businesses enabling them to market and sell their business products or ideas via the Internet.

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VeriFone Hospitality Systems Launched

VeriFone has added a Hospitality Systems group and is demonstrating its “Vx 670” handheld payment platform this week. The new terminal is built specifically for POS-integrated tableside and curbside payments. The “Vx 670” has a large user interface but remains among the smallest in size and weight. It uses Wi-Fi for connectivity with existing store wireless local area networks and advanced WPA encryption for network security.

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Chase Acquires Kohl’s Cards for $1.5B

JPMorgan Chase has inked a cash deal to acquire Kohl’s $1.5 billion private label credit card portfolio. The total purchase price will be equal to the receivable balances purchased at the closing date. Chase will also continue to issue to store card under a long-term strategic alliance. The Kohl’s portfolio has more than 13 million accounts. All of Kohl’s current credit organization associates will remain employees of Kohl’s. Kohl’s expects to use the initial proceeds from the transaction to repurchase its stock, fund store expansion and for general corporate purposes. In anticipation of the sale of the credit accounts receivable, Kohl’s board of directors has authorized a $2 billion share repurchase program.

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Government Smart Card Conference Planned

The Smart Card Alliance has scheduled its “5th Annual Smart Cards in Government Conference” for April 18-20 in Arlington, VA. This year’s theme is “Government Smart Cards in Action: The Implementation Phase Begins.” The conference program is divided into two separate tracks. The implementation and policy track includes sessions on Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), ePassports, Registered Traveler, DHS First Responder and the REAL ID Act. The technical track features sessions on FIPS 201 compliance, dual interface cards, biometric templates, contactless interfaces, ePassport testing, physical access control system integration, card management, conformance testing and certification, and standards progress.

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