First Data’s Board Changes Directors

First Data announced that Peter Ellwood has been elected to the company’s Board of Directors and that Bernard Schwartz, a Director since 1992, has resigned. Ellwood is the former Group CEO at Lloyds TSB, a position he held from 1997 to 2003. Following the merger with Lloyds Bank in 1995, Mr. Ellwood became Deputy Group CEO of Lloyds TSB. Mr. Ellwood was CEO of Barclaycard from 1985 until 1989 and the Chairman of VISA International from 1994 until 1999. First Data is a provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses and consumers, serving 4.1 million merchant locations, 1,700 card issuers and millions of consumers.


BofA Expands its Free SafeSend Nationwide

Bank of America has expanded its money remittance service to all its customers nationwide. “SafeSend,” is available to anyone who has a BofA personal checking account. Earlier this year, Bank of America became the first major financial institution in the USA to offer free remittances when it introduced the product in Chicago. Recipients will be able to pick up cash at more than 4,500 locations throughout Mexico through Santander, BANSEFI/L@Red de la Gente, TELECOMM-TELEGRAFOS and Banorte. Customers can identify up to three beneficiaries and send up to $1,500 per remittance and up to a total of $3,000 over a rolling 30-day period. Almost half of all U.S. Hispanic immigrants send money regularly to their home country. According to information from Mexico’s Central Bank, Mexico received $16.6 billion in remittances in 2004. This figure is expected to grow to almost $20 billion in 2005.


Juniper Opens a Colorado Operations Center

Barclays’ Juniper U.S. card business is opening an operations center in Colorado Springs in October that will employ 450 by the spring of next year. Barclays will begin recruiting employees to work in the areas of bank operations, credit, collections, customer care, human resources and technology. Barclays PLC is a global financial services provider primarily offering banking, investment banking and investment management services.



David Jones, the country’s second largest department store, reported that its credit card business posted growth of 16.6% in EBIT to A$32.2 million in fiscal year 2005, which ended July 30th. Since 2000, the retailer’s credit card unit has nearly tripled its annual earnings.
Overall, David Jones reported after-tax profit A$77.9 million for the
financial year, an increase of 19.2%. It is well above the Company’s stated projections of 5%-10% growth, year-on-year. The David Jones credit card offers instant rewards and special discounts via a booklet included with most monthly statements. The card also offers interest free credit for periods ranging from 12 months to 48 months. Additionally, the card offers an extended payment option during the Christmas season. The David Jones store card carries an interest rate of 21.9% per annum and no annual fee.


Americans Want Safer Online Payments

A new poll has discovered that digital merchants are losing more than $5 billion in digital commerce revenues due to the lack of safer and more convenient payment options for consumers. The research for PaymentOne by Javelin Research found that 78% of decisive consumers polled say they would “be more inclined to purchase online if given a safer, more convenient payment method than credit card.” The numbers among younger consumers aged 18-34 were even higher, with over 81% indicating they would buy more. More than half of those polled curtail their online shopping due to fears that their privacy or financial information (or both) will be abused or stolen. The top concern is that information will be either intercepted during a transaction or accessed by unauthorized parties. In addition to credit card holders who had significant concerns about buying online, 16% of consumers stated that they were not able to transact online because they did not possess a credit card.


FTC Takes on Two Canadian Card Scams

The FTC has filed federal lawsuits against Centurion Financial Benefits and Pacific Liberty Benefits, both Canadian firms, for cross-border fraud schemes involving credit cards. In the first complaint against Centurion, the Commission alleges the defendants placed unsolicited outbound telemarketing calls to U.S. consumers, falsely offering them pre-approved MasterCard and Visa credit cards for an advance fee of $249. The second complaint against Pacific Liberty Benefits, alleges the defendants engaged in the same type of fraud, with the company’s telemarketers promising credit cards, as well as an array of “complimentary” gifts, for $319. The FTC alleges that in neither case did consumers actually receive the credit cards or other goods that they were promised and that U.S. consumers lost millions of dollars. The Commission contends the defendants’ conduct violated Section 5 of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), as amended.


AmEx Lands a Bank to Offer Biz Cards

California and Texas-based Guaranty Bank is set to become the first U.S. financial institution to offer American Express “Business Cards.” Beginning later this year, the companies will market two new cards to Guaranty Bank’s small business customers in approximately 150 banking centers throughout Texas and California. Guaranty will offer a “Business Gold Charge Card,” which offers cardholders the option to enroll in the “Membership Rewards” program and the “Platinum Business Cash Rebate Credit Card” which offers up to 5% cash back annually on purchases.Guaranty is the fourth U.S. card issuer to launch American Express cards.


Mio STAR Card Hits the U.S. Market

PRE Holdings has introduced two prepaid general purpose payment cards. The prepaid specialist is offering the “Mio Money Prepaid MasterCard” and the instantly-issued “Mio Now STAR Card.” Both cards offer online statements. The cards carry a $9.95 (average) fee and the reload fees of $4.95 (regardless of the load amount up to $500). The standard monthly account service fee plans range from $4.95 for low usage consumers to a $12 all-inclusive “Value Plan” for those who use their card more often. The “Value Plan” offers free, unlimited POS transactions (PIN or signature), and also includes four ATM transactions per month with no service fee (2 ATM transactions per card, per month). For $2.00 a month, cardholders can join the Allpoint surcharge free ATM network.


Hypercom Hires a Global Marketing Executive

Hypercom has hired Neil Hudd, formerly with Way Systems, NBS Transaction Systems and NCR, as SVP/Global Product Marketing and brings more than 20 years of experience in the Point of Sale and ATM terminals business. Previously, Hudd held the dual positions of President, Americas Sales and Vice President, Strategic Initiatives for Way Systems Incorporated, a mobile phone-based point-of-sale company he co-founded and served as Founder and President of Veritop, Inc, a mobile payment POS vendor. Hypercom provides card payment terminal, network access device, server and transaction networking solutions.


VISA’s Check Card Explodes in Ten Years

[Click Here For The Consumer Survey Highlights In PDF Format.][1]

[Click Here For The Stats Sheet In PDF Format.][2]

[Click Here For The Historical Backgrounder In PDF Format.][3]

[Click Here For The Timeline In PDF Format.][4]

[1]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/2005/september/28a1.pdf
[2]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/2005/september/28a2.pdf
[3]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/2005/september/28a3.pdf
[4]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/2005/september/28a4.pdf