California-based Debisys has signed a deal to supply AmeriTel with its POSA and Web-based solutions for distribution of prepaid products. The contract provides AmeriTel with e-pins, long distance, prepaid credit/debit and bill payment services, and will be rolled out across AmeriTel’s network of over 700 locations. Debisys Inc. is a leading supplier of prepaid solutions. Its POSA network has over 12,000 active terminals and processes over $100 million a year in product sales. American Telecommunications is a cellular phone reseller.Details
NJ-based American Bank Note Holographics has expanded its supply agreement with MasterCard to include “HoloMag” technology. The use of “HoloMag” frees up space on the card since the security hologram is now integrated with the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. Last week, MasterCard unveiled a new card design option that gives issuers 10.5% more card face to decorate. In March, VISA announced a change in its brand identity and card design. Like MasterCard, VISA relocated its dove hologram to the back of the card and is also using “HoloMag” technology. (CF Library 3/15/05; 9/2/05; 9/8/05)Details
LATINA Style Magazine has partnered with U.S. Bank to launch an affinity card that generates funds for Latina scholarships. The new “LATINA Style VISA Platinum” card also enables cardholders to “Name Your Own Reward” program. LATINA Style identified U.S. Bank as one of the top 50 best places for Latinas to work in the USA. The magazine cited U.S. Bank’s demonstrated commitment to diversity, hiring and promoting Latinas at all levels of the organization, its mentorship program and workplace benefits as factors leading to the company’s inclusion on the list. The card generates revenue for the scholarships via an activation fee and a fee based on card volume. Scholarship recipients will be selected annually.Details
Florida-based Global Axcess has secured an additional $3.0 million debt facility with Wachovia Bank on top of previous funding of $3.5 million. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Nationwide Money Services, Inc. (NMS), Global Axcess provides turnkey ATM management solutions that include cash, project and account management services. NMS currently owns and operates over 3,500 ATMs nationally.Details
Egg has launched a new and unique product that combines a cash back credit card with an interest paying current account. The new “Egg Money
MasterCard” offers 1% cash back on purchases guaranteed until 2007, a 4%
annual interest rate on positive balances and a variable 6.9% annual
interest rate on negative balances. A special launch promotion increases
the cash back to 2% between November 16th and December 10th of this year.
Egg says the new card enables people to separate their spending money
from their regular monthly commitments. The “Egg Money Calculator” also
enables customers to define how much of their income they need to
reserve for recurring bills and how much is left over to spend. This
spending money can then be loaded each month via direct debit or debit
card into the customer’s “Egg Money Account.” To avoid debt problems, Egg limits credit lines to no higher than twice a
customer’s net monthly income.
Houston-based Cardtronics reported that revenues for the second quarter doubled year-over-year to $69.2 million. The revenue was primarily due to the acquisition of the E*TRADE ATM portfolio one-year ago and other acquisitions this year, which expanded its ATM portfolio from 12,004 units in 2/04 to 26,241 units in 2Q/05. During the second quarter Cardtronics acquired Bank Machine Limited, an independent owner and operator of approximately 1,000 ATMs located throughout the UK. The Company also acquired the ATM portfolio of Neo Concepts, an independent owner and operator of about 360 ATMs, most of which are located at BP Amoco locations throughout the Midwest. Additionally, Cardtronics signed an ATM branding agreement with Chase involving 250 ATMs located in Duane Reade stores throughout the New York metropolitan area. Cardtronics is the world’s largest owner/operator of ATMs. For complete details on Cardtronics’ second quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
After five and a half years of deliberations the UK’s Office of Fair Trading has found that the prior interchange fee agreements among MasterCard members had an adverse effect on competition. MasterCard countered that its default interchange fees have opened up the markets for a large number of new entrants and that it intends to file an appeal to today’s OFT ruling. The OFT says the multi-lateral interchange fee levied between March 1, 2000 and November 18, 2004 infringed on Article 81 of the EC Treaty and the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act. MasterCard took over from its UK members the responsibility for setting default interchange fees on November 18, 2004. Nevertheless, the OFT says it may start an investigation into the new arrangements. The OFT also found that the fees were used to recover extraneous costs for services which were not necessary for the operation of the MasterCard program as a mechanism for transmitting payments, such as the costs of the interest-free periods provided by card issuers. MasterCard says the interest free period is in fact integral to the credit card system and it is highly valued both by retailers and cardholders. The OFT says it has concerns that under the new arrangements the interchange fee applying to UK transactions may still be set with reference to extraneous costs and used to recover these costs. MasterCard has always argued that reducing interchange fees, whether by way of specific regulatory intervention or by way of the misapplication of competition law, will not make the costs of running the system disappear.Details
VISA’s latest “Commercial Consumption Expenditure Index” and “SpendTrak” shows that small businesses are confident and investing in their businesses, while consumers are also confident and empowered to make purchases. U.S. spending on VISA-branded cards totaled $774 billion for this year through August 21st, representing 14% growth compared to the same time period last year. VISA noted that consumer spending on VISA cards in the Northeast region grew more than 10%. VISA’s “CCE” analysis indicates that non-payroll spending by U.S. businesses and government agencies will continue a pattern of solid growth, increasing an estimated six percent in 2005 to $16.2 trillion, and expand further to reach more than $17.3 trillion by 2007.Details
MasterCard has launched its new “World Traveler” brand campaign, underscored by a specially created “Priceless” television commercial, that aims to enable Chinese travelers to experience a world without borders. The launch was held in Beijing and included senior
executives from a wide range of travel organizations. The new ad shows a young Chinese couple traveling around different locations in Europe, using their MasterCard cards wherever they go. The advertisement drives home the message of how MasterCard enables consumers to truly ‘experience a world without borders.’ The spot has already begun airing on the major television stations in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling says the new federal bankruptcy law will require its members to provide twice as many counseling sessions. The nonprofit credit counseling organization says its agencies must expand their infrastructure, develop new course materials and hire and train more than 1,050 additional financial counselors. The NFCC delivers services through more than 1,000 community-based branch offices nationwide. According a recent internal survey, the NFCC agencies expect to provide about 780,500 pre-filing counseling sessions to individuals who are considering bankruptcy and another 536,300 pre-discharge education sessions to individuals who have filed for bankruptcy but are waiting for their debts to be discharged. Those sessions would be in addition to NFCC member agencies non-bankruptcy counseling sessions, which totaled nearly 800,000 in 2004.Details
Banco Patagonia and American Express have launched a credit card
denominated in both in pesos and U.S. dollar denominations. The new
“Banco Patagonia American Express Card” will be available as a
standard and a gold card. The card will be designed, issued and managed by
Banco Patagonia. Banco Patagonia ranks fifth among the Argentine
financial system’s privately held domestic banks. American Express
Global Network Services has entered into 91 strategic alliances to issue
cards in over 104 countries. In Latin America, American Express GNS has
25 alliances in 19 markets, therefore ensuring the successful growth for
the business in the region.
The Cambridge “Consumer Credit Index” rose seven points in September to 65. The Cambridge Consumer Credit Index is a forward looking economic indicator gauging consumer spending and debt. It is released on the fifth business day of every month to coincide with the Federal Reserve Board’s G19 release of consumer credit outstanding data.Details