Banque Misr is expanding JCB card acceptance to all its affiliated merchants in stages over the next few years. Banque Misr will be expanding JCB acceptance to Luxor and to Aswan. Banque Misr has 11,000 merchants covering 60% of international brand card accepting merchants in Egypt, including hotels, restaurants and other locations frequently visited by tourists. In 1994, JCB signed a merchant acquiring contract with Arab African International Bank in Cairo. JCB’s merchant network spans 190 countries and territories.Details
The Cook County (Illinois) Board of Commissioners reports that its “Cash Bail by Credit Card” program has generated 582 credit card transactions and more than $1.1 million in the first 101 days of the program. The program will help alleviate the problem of jail overcrowding; leading to significant cost savings for the county. Detainees or their friends or family will be able to use credit cards to pay bail by calling Government Payment Service toll-free, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. All major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted. Multiple cards may be used to make a payment if an entire fee cannot be placed on one card. Government Payment Service has more than 900 accounts across the country.Details
Optimal Group announced that it is increasing its financial
guidance for the third quarter. Its underlying earnings before
income taxes and non-controlling interest will be in excess of $10.6
million for the quarter. Optimal’s original guidance for this period was
for underlying earnings before income taxes and non-controlling interest
to be approximately $9.8 million. The revised guidance does not reflect any financial impact from Optimal’s recently announced acquisition of a portfolio of U.S. merchant processing contracts and associated sales channel contracts from Moneris Solutions.
Half of corporate cash management professionals plan to increase their use of corporate payment cards this year, compared to 40% one-year ago. According to VISA USA’s annual cash management survey, 56% plan to reduce use of checks, compared to 51% last year. VISA also found that satisfaction with card-based payments has increased to 77% from 70% last year, and preference for ACH payments appears to be declining. Respondents reporting use of ACH for commercial payments has significantly dropped 20 percentage points to 35% in 2005. The “VISA Cash Management Survey” was conducted by Survey.com over 10 days in August and September and included responses of 410 financial executives and cash managers from across more than 20 industries.Details
The Massachusetts Lodging Association has selected Heartland Payment Systems as their preferred provider to process members’ credit/debit cards, and the Alabama Hospitality Association and Alabama Restaurant Association have selected HPS as their preferred provider to process their credit/debit cards. The Heartland partnerships offers members local, statewide representation from an established company that focuses on credit/debit card and payroll processing services, including special association pricing to help streamline their operations. Additionally, HPS offers gift card programs to help merchants increase sales and generate repeat traffic and offers a simple pricing plan to association members called Association Simplified Pricing (ASP). Heartland Payment Systems Inc. provides credit/debit card processing, payroll solutions, gift and loyalty card programs, paper check authorization, and sells and rents point-of-sale devices and supplies to more than 100,000 small to medium-sized merchants throughout the United States.Details
Massachusetts-based Market Platform Dynamics has hired Ed Kountz, former senior member of TowerGroup’s Bank Cards Group, as a Principal. Kountz’s has demonstrated expertise in the areas of credit and debit products, bank card processing and technology assessment, and new electronic payment technologies and instruments, including contactless radio frequency (RF) technologies, the Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) standard, chip-based products, and prepaid payments and is a recognized authority on the industry’s technologies, architectures, and business models. Market Platform Dynamics (MPD) is a management consulting firm with payment industry experience. Core competencies include entry and growth strategies, demand studies, customer segmentation/analysis, and pricing and product design.Details
Bank of American has rolled-out a unique program that rounds up debit card transactions and funnels the difference to a savings account. The new Bank of America “Keep the Change” option will automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest whole dollar and transfer the money from the customer’s checking account into their savings account at the end of the day. In addition, BofA will match 100% of the “Keep the Change” transfers for the first three months. After that the bank will contribute five percent a year. The maximum match is $250 annually. The bank pays the rewards annually.Details
New York-based IRN Payment Systems has become the first organization to adopt a Hypercom product for a free terminal program and named Hypercom as its preferred terminal vendor. Hypercom’s T7Plus is a compact countertop POS terminal that accepts all magnetic stripe cards, authorizes online transactions and provides “One-Touch” shortcut keys. The T7Plus units will be configured to support credit, debit, EBT, gift card and loyalty card transactions as well as IRN’s proprietary Paid On Signing 9-second real-time check debit processing solution. IRN expects to purchase the terminals over the next 12 months for free placement in merchant locations by its ISO partners. IRN Payment Systems provides electronic payment processing solutions to businesses. Hypercom provides card payment terminals, network access devices, server and transaction networking solutions.Details
Gemplus International announced that it has delivered limited
edition “GemLucence” cards to the French bank Groupe Caisse d’Epargne.
The volume roll-out of the translucent payments cards, which began in
September, is a first for the French market as well as for Gemplus.
The “GemLucence” card has a mandarin tinted transparent card body and is
been specifically designed to appeal to the youth market. It has a
limited production of 100,000 units. Gemplus International is a
global provider to the smart card industry in both revenue and total
shipments, selling over 5 billion smart cards. Gemplus’ revenue in 2004
was 865 million Euros.
EFMARK Premium Armored has launched its “ATM Image Guard” service, which adds exterior maintenance and refurbishment to its ATM capabilities. EFMARK’s ATM Image Guard is made possible through a partnership with ATA Services of Salt Lake City,that specializes in the cleaning, branding and exterior upkeep of ATMs and their surrounding environments. The ATM Image Guard service helps financial institutions and other ATM owners maintain a clean, attractive and inviting setting for their customers to conduct ATM transactions. EFMARK Premium Armored is the nation’s largest “ATM only” service company.Details
The total number of U.S. payment cards-in-force rose 9% at mid-year topping 926 million, setting the pace to pass the one billion milestone in mid 2006. A recently concluded CardWeb.com poll revealed that 52% of Americans carry three or more credit cards. As of June 30th, there were 682.2 million credit cards and 243.8 million off-line debit cards. Over the past five years, credit cards have grown 24% while signature debit cards have expanded by 63%, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com]). The recent CardWeb.com poll of 10,143 consumers showed 25% carry two credit cards, 20% carry three credit cards and and 13% carry four credit cards. Seven percent said they carry no credit cards while 3% said they had at least 11 credit cards in their wallet.
Q2 Payment Cards-in-Force
(VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express)
Credit Debit Total
Q2/01 551.3 149.9 701.2
Q2/02 597.2 166.4 763.6
Q2/03 620.8 186.8 807.6
Q2/04 641.2 207.6 848.8
Q2/05 682.2 243.8 926.2
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)