The International Currency Exchange and MasterCard Europe have teamed to launch a PIN secured, pre-paid “Maestro” debit card to replace paper travelers cheques. The new “Cash2Go” card can be loaded with sterling, US dollars or euros. The minimum load value is GBP50, US$50 or 50 euros and the maximum is GBP2,500, US$2,500 or 2,500 Euros. The card is currently being piloted at ICE exchange bureaux in the UK, including those at Heathrow Airport, and selected branches of Travelcare, a UK travel agent. Full roll-out is scheduled to take place in the UK over the next three months.Details
Distra and Oracle have recently performed operational integration tests of a simulated end-to-end payments solution with Ohio-based Synoran. Synoran specializes in enterprise-wide payment solutions and check image processing. Distra is a software company that specializes in electronic payments and transaction processing applications. Oracle is the world’s largest enterprise software company.Details
Michigan-based charge-off purchaser, Asset Acceptance Capital, reported a 32.7% increase in total revenues, a 23.3% increase in cash collections. Revenues climbed to $66.0 million and cash collections of $80.4 million for the first quarter. Net income for the quarter was a record $15.1 million, compared with a net loss of $36.2 million for the first quarter of 2004. Asset reported that its average number of collectors grew 15.7% on a year-over-year basis to 1,000 collectors in the current period. For complete details on AACC’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Arizona-based eFunds posted an 8% increase in first quarter net revenue to $114.2 million, excluding its ATM deployment business which it sold in November. During the quarter, eFunds acquired ClearCommerce Corporation, a provider of fraud prevention for card-not-present transactions. The Company also executed an agreement to acquire India Switch Company, a provider of ATM management and processing services in India, in the second quarter. Additionally, eFunds recently executed an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of National Check Protection Services. The Company expects 2005 full year net revenue to increase 8% to 12% and net income to increase 17% to 22%. For complete details on eFunds 1Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Montreal-based Optimal Group announced that revenues for the first quarter were $37.4 million, compared to $10.3 million for 1Q/04.
Underlying earnings from continuing operations before income taxes for
the first quarter were $4.6 million, compared to a loss of $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2004. Compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2004, underlying earnings increased by 10% from $4.2 million. For the second quarter, Optimal anticipates underlying earnings from continuing operations before income taxes to be approximately $5.4 million. Optimal Payments processes credit card payments for Internet businesses, mail-order/telephone-order and retail point-of-sale merchants, as well as processing checks and direct debits online and by phone. For complete details on Optimal’s first quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).
Pay By Touch recently announced the addition of Jack Penrod, Arthur J. Petrie and Roy Speer to its board of directors. Penrod began his global investment career in 1983 with Penrod’s Beach Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Petrie brings more than 45 years of real estate development and investment experience. He is chairman of Petrie Development Company. Speer is the founder, chairman and CEO of Home Shopping Network. Pay By Touch is a biometric payment service free to consumers to quickly and securely pay for purchases or cash checks using a finger scan.Details
MBNA and American Express have teamed with Celebrity Cruises to launch a co-branded credit card. The new “Celebrity Rewards American Express Card” offers the MBNA “Worldpoints” program, not AmEx’s “Membership Rewards.” Cardholders can redeem points for stateroom upgrades, onboard credits, or a free cruise on Celebrity. Points can also be redeemed for airfare, hotels, cash, and merchandise. Under the program, MBNA is awarding double points for travel and dining purchases until 2006 and double points on all spending with Celebrity Cruises. Otherwise, cardholders earn one point per dollar for all other spending. MBNA, which issues VISA and MasterCards, began issuing AmEx cards in October.Details
Credit Payment Services has ordered 50,000 debit cards from Texas-based Payment Data Systems. Payment Data Systems, Inc., is an integrated payments solution provider to billers and retailers for the processing and management of electronic payments via the Internet, point of sale, or payments taken by Customer Service Representatives or an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and the owner of the electronic bill payment portal Bills.com.Details
Canada’s RBC Royal Bank and Esso have teamed to integrate their rewards programs. Under the agreement, members of both “RBC Rewards” and “Esso Extra” programs will have the ability to transfer blocks of points between each program. “Esso Extra” is the first loyalty program for which RBC Royal Bank developed a reciprocal points exchange process. Esso and RBC Royal Bank began their relationship in 2000 with the launch of the “RBC Esso VISA.”Details
Billing Concepts and Switzerland’s Webpay International have formed a joint venture to offer the Webpay “Click & Buy” service for online digital content in the USA. This will combine Billing Concept’s Enabill multi-channel payment system to Webpay’s Click&Buy software solutions for global Internet payments as well as access to its Click&Buy Alliance Network. Billing Concepts, Inc provides telecommunications and network billing services. Webpay International has five million consumers and thirty-five hundred online merchants using Click&Buy in fourteen countries worldwide.Details
Fair Isaac reported that its myFICO consumer division and its partners have sold the 10 millionth FICO score to U.S. consumers. The myFICO program was introduced in March 2001. In 2002, [myFICO.com] introduced the “FICO Score Simulator” and a Web tool matching consumers’ FICO scores with current auto, home equity and mortgage loan rates in their states. In 2003, [myFICO.com] launched a three credit bureau score options and myFICO “Identity Theft Security.” Last year, myFICO and Equifax introduced “Score Watch,” the first product to continuously monitor subscribers’ FICO scores and credit files and alert them to changes that could qualify them for better interest rates.
Experian is acquiring LowerMyBills.com for $330 million, plus up to a $50 million on performance-related earn-out over the next two years. LowerMyBills.com offers savings through relationships with more than 400 service providers across 17 service categories including home loans, credit cards, long-distance and wireless services, and auto and health insurance. Experian provides global information solutions to more than 50,000 clients. Annual sales exceed $2.5 billion.Details