The first government credit card in Southeast Asia has been issued by Krung Thai Bank. The new “Government Services VISA” will be used initially by the Department of Trade Negotiations and the Ministry of Commerce. Other Thailand government agencies are expected to join the program. There are currently 200 government agencies. The new card is a joint effort of KTB, Krungthai Card Public Company, and VISA International. Under the partnership, KTB will be responsible for introducing the product to its customers in the field of governmental agencies, while KTC will take charge of issuing and managing the card as well as developing usage campaigns and other cardholder privilege programs. VISA shared best practices, product development and training expertise with issuers and government customers, as well as provide user-agencies with information management services and tools for expense management. In the last 15 years, VISA has successfully implemented over 2,000 government payment programs for government departments and agencies in 22 countries. There are currently 238 million VISA-branded cards in Southeast Asia.Details
Barclays Group’s subsidiary Juniper Bank is launching a co-branded credit card program with the Harvard Alumni Association. The new “Harvard Alumni Association World MasterCard” will provide significant funding for graduate student fellowships as well as unique benefits to Harvard alumni. The card will launch on May 19th and will target 240,000 domestic alumni. Under the program, cardholders will earn one point for every $1 charged and have access to exclusive “Crimson Rewards” including Harvard-related redemption opportunities for alumni travel programs, reunion fees and club dues. Juniper Bank has co-branded relationships with UBS, AirTran Airways, Best Western, Caesars Entertainment, Frontier Airlines, Gulf Petroleum, Midwest Airlines, Sinclair Oil and West Marine. (CF Library 8/19/04; 4/18/05; 5/3/05)Details
MA-based Pipeline Data achieved profitability in the first quarter driven by record gross revenue and gross margin. Gross profit for quarter increased about 150% to $1.3 million, compared to one-year ago. Gross revenues for 1Q/05 grew 58% to $4.5 million, compared to 1Q/04. Gross margin grew 58% for the same period to 29%. Pipeline says the investment in its wholesale card processing division and acquisitions are paying off. During the quarter, Pipeline signed deals to acquire two merchant portfolios totaling 1,500 accounts from ISOs. The Company also signed a letter of intent to acquire Florida-based Charge.com and its 25,000 accounts. Pipeline currently processes for 15,000 merchants. For complete details on Pipeline Data’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]) (CF Library 2/25/05; 3/16/05)
NY-based, American Bank Note Holographics reported that net income for the first quarter rose 50% as revenues increased 28%. The credit card hologram maker posted record sales for the first quarter of $6.4 million and record net income of $600,000. Sales for the fourth quarter of 2004 were $5.5 million and net income for the fourth quarter was $500,000. The Company is in the process of staffing its new state-of-the art facility in Robbinsville, NJ. It expects to move its manufacturing operations from Elmsford and Huntingdon Valley in June and July. ABNH recently signed an agreement with VISA to supply its new “HoloMag” design on VISA-branded cards worldwide. For complete details on ABNH’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]) (CF Library 4/1/05; 4/11/05)
VISA International reports that the total number of cards issued in Indonesia topped 10 million last year, a 75.7% gain. Credit cards grew by 28.8% to 3,649,000 and debit cards increased 188.6% to 6,756,000. Card sales volume soared by 96% to Rp 69 trillion with
retail sales volume up by 32% to Rp 22 trillion. Debit card transactions increased by 137%, while usage of debit cards at merchant point of sale grew by 126%. VISA says there are 60 million consumers with bank accounts eligible for VISA debit cards in the country.
MBNA director, Thomas Murdough, who is Chairman, CEO and President of The Step2 Company, has resigned from the Board of Directors citing time demands. The resignation was tendered May 10, 2005. MBNA is the largest independent credit card issuer in the world and the leading affinity marketing company with the endorsement of more than 5,000 organizations.Details
Consumer credit provider, Cetelem, has inked a license to use
MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus brands on a global basis. Cetelem, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has already issued 3.9 million co-branded MasterCards in seven countries. Cetelem is established in 20 countries and expects to issue MasterCards in Poland, Slovakia and Belgium. The company currently is developing MasterCard programs in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, and Morocco. Cetelem’s relationship with MasterCard dates back to 1997.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue has expanded its payment processing contract with Official Payments to enable businesses to make multiple types of business tax payments electronically through OPC’s credit and debit card systems. OPC currently accepts payments for Minnesota individual income taxes, estimated income taxes, and extension income taxes and has now added certain business taxes including sales and use, withholding, special and petroleum taxes. OPC charges a convenience fee for the service. Official Payments provides electronic payment services for the IRS, 25 states, the District of Columbia and more than 1,700 local government clients nationwide.Details
Atlanta-based PRE Solutions has filed a lawsuit against Dynamic Telecard, alleging breach of its “Transaction Processing Agreement” including the soliciting of PRE’s customers. PRE had previously served a cease and desist letter on Dynamic for soliciting PRE’s customers in breach of the agreement. Additionally, PRE’s suit alleges that Dynamic did not honor its commitment to use PRE’s systems to process merchants with whom Dynamic has distribution agreements. PRE Holdings, Inc. along with its subsidiaries PRE Solutions, Inc. and ITC Financial Services, LLC, is a provider of prepaid transaction processing solutions to more than 60,000 retail locations.Details
Canadian Tire Financial Services reported that its net managed credit card receivables for the first quarter increased 20.5% year-over-year to C$2.82 billion. The average credit card balance in the first quarter hit C$1609, up 19% from one-year ago, largely driven by its “Options MasterCard” product. For the prior quarter, the average credit card balance came in at C$1525. First quarter pre-tax earnings for CTFS were flat at C$25.8 million. Canadian Tire’s MasterCard receivables represent approximately 91% of CTFS’ total managed portfolio. CTFS’ retail credit card and personal loan receivables make up the remaining nine percent of the portfolio. The average number of accounts with a balance decreased year-over-year due to the sale of Canadian Tire’s commercial MasterCard account portfolio to BMO Bank of Montreal in June 2004. CTFS, in conjunction with BMO Bank of Montreal, markets the “Commercial Link MasterCard” while the receivables are owned and managed by BMO Bank of Montreal. CTFS says it plans to increase gross credit card outstandings to C$3.1 billion by the end of 2005. For complete details on Canadian Tire Financial Services’ first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on credit card disclosures this week with Federal Reserve Governor Edward Gramlich testifying tomorrow on the “Truth in Lending Act.” The Committee will meet in an open session to conduct a hearing on “Examining the Current Legal and Regulatory Requirements and Industry Practices for Credit Card Issuers With Respect to Consumer Disclosures and Marketing Efforts.”Details
JCB has launched a new credit card option offering exclusive offers, support services, and discounts to help mothers. The new “Love Mom” service can be added to any JCB card and costs 850 yen per year. One major feature is a chance to win an invitation to a members-only parent and child party with Disney characters at Tokyo Disney Resort. JCB “Love Mom” cardholders also receive a free gift on “Mother’s Day” supplied by participating merchants, members-only opportunities to earn double “Oki Doki” loyalty points, and an exclusive selection of merchandise available for point redemption. JCB’s most successful product launches in the past few years include the “JCB Linda Card” for young working women in their 20s and 30s, and the “JCB E-Go Card” for young men. The “Love Mom” option is available for JCB cards issued by JCB and its 75 franchise issuers in Japan.Details