RBI Seeks Better Behavior from Card Issuers

The Reserve Bank of India is asking credit card issuers to clean up their act with the implementation of new guidelines. The RBI’s new credit card policy includes better disclosure of terms and conditions using simple language and penalties for making a misleading card offer. The guidelines also address privacy issues, telemarketing practices and unsolicited credit cards. The RBI has also asked the Indian Banks Association and other credit card issuers to develop a code of conduct.
The RBI says it has been receiving a growing number of complaints about credit card issuers operating in the country.

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HELOCs to Take a Bigger Bite of Card Debt

New research shows that rising rates, an appreciating housing market and the recently passed Jobs Act may set the stage for a large increase in issuance of home equity lines of credit. Fitch Ratings says the Jobs Act, which went into effect on January 1st, has opened the door for HELOC securitizations. The Jobs Act addresses the revolving nature of a HELOC that allows borrowers to draw on their lines, after the loan has been securitized.

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Marks & Spencer Issues a Black MasterCard

The UK’s Marks and Spencer Money has rolled-out a new black credit card. The “&MORE Black MasterCard” replaces M&S Money’s existing “&MORE” card launched in September 2003, according to last week’s issue of CardFlash International. The “Marks & Spencer Money &more Credit Card” offers 1 point per GBP1 spent in Marks & Spencer UK stores, catalogue and Internet. The card also awards 1 point per GBP2 spent outside Marks & Spencer. The card offers points and a variable rate of 15.9%. The card also offers a 0% intro interest on purchases for nine months as well as a 0% APR on balance transfers.

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MBNA Enters its Fourth Intl Market

MBNA and Mexico’s Ixe Banco have inked a deal to form a joint venture that will issue and service credit cards and consumer loans in Mexico. Ixe-MBNA SOFOL will be owned equally by both firms, however, MBNA will oversee and direct the operations. The companies said that Mexico has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America and the Mexican credit card industry is expected to grow at a rate exceeding 20% per year over the next five years. Ixe Banco is part of Ixe Grupo Financiero. MBNA currently issues cards in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Spain. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter. MBNA’s international loans increased 17% in the first quarter to $25.7 billion, compared to one-year ago, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CFI International 4/25/05)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Transact Technologies Sues FutureLogic

Connecticut-based TransAct Technologies has filed suit against California-based FutureLogic for allegedly disseminating false and misleading statements. The six count lawsuit charges FutureLogic with disseminating false and misleading statements to impugn the business reputation of TransAct with the intent of damaging its business, defamation, tortious interference with contractual relations, tortious interference with business expectancy and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and seeks an award of compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. TransAct Technologies Incorporated designs, develops, manufactures and markets transaction-based printers under the ithaca name worldwide.

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Vesdia Adds Infone Support Services

Loyalty program specialist Vesdia Corporation and Infone have teamed to offer personal assistant services and shop-over-the-phone support services that initially will aid Vesdia’s program members in locating participating merchants. Vesdia manages more than a dozen rewards programs for some of the nation’s leading financial institutions. Metro One Telecommunications, Inc. is the developer and provider of Enhanced Directory Assistance and other enhanced telecom services and handled approximately 306 million requests for information in 2004.

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MS Board Limits Changes to the Discover Spin-Off

Morgan Stanley’s board of directors said that suggestions for management changes or a corporate re-organization beyond the proposed spin off of its Discover Card business would not be in the best interest of shareholders. The board approved some additional changes to include: “de-staggering” the three classes of its directors, creating a “lead director” position and naming two additional outside directors to the board as well as various amendments to bylaws. Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm with more than 600 offices in 28 countries.

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Purchasing Card Volume CAGR is 21%

A new report has found that average expenditures managed via purchasing card programs has grown from $3.1 million to $6.6 million over the past five years. The study also found that annual transactions now average 77,244 per program, representing annual growth of 15% during the same period. “The Purchasing Card Benchmark Report” by AberdeenGroup, says the growth is driven by the diligence of program directors who are deploying card payments in an increasing number of spend categories, with assistance from card issuers, to improve reporting and supplier acceptance. However, the research group also found that many program directors believe their programs have reached a plateau. AberdeenGroup recommends that purchasing card programs challenge program scope and expand the programs by addressing master agreement and contract pricing requirements, examining specific purchase order types that lend themselves to payment via purchasing cards, extending the program to service categories, and proactively exchange electronic payment remittance information on suppliers providing non-traditional, large project or recurring services requirements.

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Diebold Acquires its 4th Security Firm

Diebold has acquired London-based TASC Security. TASC specializes in customizable and scalable electronic security solutions that include alarms, access control, closed-circuit television and video surveillance systems. The company also provides system design, integration, installation and service. TASC is the fourth security systems integration company Diebold has acquired during the past year.

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Starwood Wins its Sixth Freddie Award

Starwood Preferred Guest was once again voted “Program of the Year” in both America and internationally during the “17th Annual Freddie Awards” The Freddie Awards recognize the best loyalty programs in the world and the awards are voted on by frequent travelers. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is a global hotel and leisure company with approximately 750 properties in more than 80 countries.

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Morgan Beaumont Hires Usher Card Exec

Florida-based prepaid card specialist, Morgan Beaumont, has hired Scott Matthews, former founder and CEO of Platinum Financial Group, as VP/Business Development. At Platinum, he launched the “Usher Success” MasterCard card. Matthews also founded International Gateway Exchange, a technology company that developed and marketed the “UTA Cash Card”. He received his bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from Florida State University. Morgan Beaumont, Inc. is a provider of stored value and debit card solutions.

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