The New York Times has launched “TimesPoints,” enabling members to register up to three of their credit or debit cards to earn points at thousands of merchants. Points can be redeemed to pay for the cost of a New York Times home delivery subscription, merchandise from The New York Times Store, or gift cards from select advertisers of The New York Times such as Bloomingdales, Apple iTunes Store and Barnes and Noble. The program utilizes two of the largest operators in the loyalty rewards industry, Rewards Network for dining and hotels, and Advantex Marketing International for online shops.Details
Smart card specialist Gemplus International says it now expects fourth quarter revenues to be about $316.2 million. The revised figure is attributed to a quality issue with a specific chip and overall pricing pressure. It is the second revision in six weeks as the Company seeks to merge with Axalto. Operating margin for the fiscal year 2005 is now expected to be around 7% versus 3% in 2004. This compares with the guidance previously provided of approximately 8%. Gemplus plans to announce its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2005 results on February 9th.
Gemplus Gross Sales Track Record
4Q/04: 242.5 million euros
1Q/05: 193.1 million euros
2Q/05: 236.2 million euros
3Q/05: 247.9 million euros
4Q/05: 262.0 million euros
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
Camarillo-based Electronic Clearing House plans to add new personnel and launch a go-to-market strategy to ramp up sales. The changes are being led by ECHO’s new President and COO, Chuck Harris. The Company recently hired Bill Wied, formerly the Director of Software Technology for TransCore LP/Roper, as CIO. ECHO plans to hire four to five new direct salespeople to focus on the card-not-present business. A new SVP of Sales is also sought. ECHO also wants to build a robust third-party reseller network to bolster the Company’s card-present business. Last month, ECHO reported that third calendar quarter revenue grew 21.5% to $15.2 million. Revenue from bankcard processing and transactions grew 23.3% to $11.5 million in the quarter, as the result of growth within the Company’s current customer base as well as from new merchants acquired through enhanced marketing programs. (CF Library 12/8/05)Details
NCR says it expects to report fourth-quarter revenue of approximately $1.71 billion, a decrease of roughly 4% due to foreign currency fluctuations. The year-over-year revenue comparison includes the negative impact of 3 percentage points from foreign currency fluctuations. On a constant currency basis, total company revenue decreased approximately 1 percentage point from the fourth quarter of 2004. Revenue and profitability in the company’s Teradata Data Warehousing business was stronger than anticipated. Despite the negative effect of currency fluctuations, Teradata Data Warehousing and Financial Self Service revenues were only slightly lower than the record fourth-quarter revenue each generated in 2004.Details
Standard Chartered has introduced the UAE’s first golf affinity credit card. The new “Golf Affinity Gold MasterCard” offers green fee vouchers, exclusive invites to golf events and tournaments in the UAE, complimentary golf tuitions, all year round discounts on golf merchandise and accessories, special golfer’s insurance packages, customized golf holidays and much more. The card, which brings with it a host of holder benefits, will come in two variants – with the first, available until February 28, being a limited edition and bearing the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship logo and the second being a generic Golf Affinity Card. Standard Chartered says about 7,000 people are now playing golf in the UAE.Details
The IRS is now permitting “Form 940” and “Form 941” taxes to be paid this year with general purpose payment cards via Official Payments Corp. The IRS is now for the first time accepting card payments for certain business taxes. Additionally, the IRS has determined that the convenience fee paid or incurred by a business making a tax payment with a credit card can be deducted as a business expense. Official Payments provides electronic payment services for the Internal Revenue Service, 26 states, the District of Columbia and more than 2,000 local government clients nationwide. Official Payments charges citizens a convenience fee for the service. Citizens using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn reward points, airline frequent flyer miles or cash back for paying their taxes and fees.Details
TouchMedia has selected the the Peppercoin “Small Payment Suite” to process digital transactions for its 125 retailer locations nationwide. TouchMedia’s retail based multimedia platform allows consumers to preview, discover, download and purchase hundreds of thousands of physical and digital entertainment products. With the launch of paid digital products in 2006, consumers will soon be able to purchase and download songs to their flash drives, MP3 players and other digital devices, and also burn custom CDs and DVDs. Peppercoin offers pay-as- you-go, pre-paid, post-paid billing and subscription purchase plans, provides point-of-sale and online merchants tools to maximize profitability from small payments. TouchMedia is a technology and services company focused on creating, selling and supporting cutting-edge multimedia in-store marketing, promotions and sales systems.Details
For the second month in a row, the “Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index” survey finds consumers have increased optimism regarding their overall credit situation. Now at 92, the index is up seven points from last month and 18 points from a low of 74 in November. Consistent with their expectations about reducing their debt, 65% of consumers say they are “very likely” to reduce their credit card debt in 2006. Another 19% say they are “somewhat” likely to do that. Other steps consumers are “very” or “somewhat likely” to take in 2006 include checking their credit score at one of the three major credit reporting companies (48%), cutting back on entertainment spending (45%), reading a book or taking a course on personal finances (36%) and among consumers with credit cards, cutting down on the number of credit cards they have (35%).Details
BP has renewed its credit card marketing relationship with Chase including the BP co-brand card and the BP private-label card. Under the terms of the new agreement, Chase will continue to issue the BP co-brand card and will assume responsibility for the BP proprietary card. BP is of one of the world’s largest energy companies. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a global financial services firm with assets of $1.1 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries.Details
J.P. Morgan Chase reported this morning that credit card profits nose-dived for the fourth quarter by 41% to $302 million as revenues decreased 7% to $3.7 billion, compared to one-year ago. However, operating earnings were impacted by a $650 million special provision for increased bankruptcies. Managed card loans of $142.3 billion were up 5% year-on-year as Chase added the $2.2 billion Sears Canada portfolio. Charge volume of $79.6 billion increased by $4.3 billion, or 6%. Net accounts opened were 12.5 million, including 9.7 million from the Sears Canada portfolio acquisition. Merchant processing volume of $153.4 billion increased by $17.5 billion, or 13% and total transactions of 4.3 billion increased by 657 million, or 18%. During the quarter, Chase announced new relationships including Overstock.com and WaWa and renewed relationships with United Airlines, Amazon.com and BP. The BP renewal included the existing co-brand relationship as well as the proprietary card program. For complete details on Chase’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
JPM CHASE HISTORICAL ($billions)
4Q/04 1Q/05 2Q/05 3Q/05 4Q/05
EOP Outstandings: $135.4 133.4 137.3 137.6 142.3
Charge Volume: $ 75.3 70.3 75.6 76.4 79.6
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
PassMark Security has named Lin Johnstone, formerly with Aspect Communications, as CEO. Johnstone previously served as CEO of two NASDAQ-listed technology companies and has held senior positions at Aspect communications, including vice president North America and EMEA. She received her MBA from Oxford Brookes University. PassMark Security provides strong mutual authentication and layered security for online banking and ecommerce.Details
JCB and PaySquare will begin JCB merchant acquiring
in the Netherlands this month, to be followed by Belgium in March.
PaySquare was granted a license for merchant acquiring in the
Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg by JCB International in
September 2005. The acquiring partnership with JCB gives PaySquare a new
foothold toward expansion in Belgium and Luxembourg, in addition to the
Netherlands. PaySquare is a large merchant network in the Netherlands.
JCB is an international credit card brand and the largest card issuer
and acquirer in Japan with a merchant network of 13.2 million merchants
in 190 countries and territories and 55.99 million JCB cardmembers.