U.K.’s Co-operative Bank Intros a Clear VISA

The U.K.’s Co-operative Bank has introduced the “Clear VISA Card”. The card carries a variable rate of 8.9% for both purchases and cash advances, according to last week’s issue of CardFlash International. Unlike many other U.K. cards, there is no fee for cash advances. There is also no annual fee and the minimum credit line is GBP 500. The card is available in two colors, black or white. Co-operative says the card does not offer a 0% teaser promotional rate because most consumers want a straightforward rate. They cite the “Lloyds TSB Classic” card, which has a standard rate of 17.9% and balance transfer rate 0% for six months, as a card with higher costs.

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DSW Information Theft Involves 1.4MM Cards

The recent theft of credit card and other purchase information from DSW Shoe Warehouse was worse than projected. The firm’s parent, Retail Ventures, yesterday released findings from its investigation that shows transaction information involving 1.4 million credit cards was illegally obtained. For each card, the stolen information included credit or debit card number, name and transaction amount. Transaction information involving 96,000 checks was also stolen. In these cases, checking account numbers and driver’s license numbers were obtained. In total, information from 108 DSW Shoe Warehouses was stolen. The data stolen was purchase information from customers who shopped at the DSW stores primarily between mid-November and mid-February. (CF Library 3/9/05)

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GCA Lands the Trump Casino Resorts Contract

Trump Casino Resorts has signed a multi-year agreement with Global Cash Access and will continue to use GCA’s QuikCash cash advance kiosks, customer-activated, touch screen terminals that provide casino patrons with POS debit and credit card cash advance transaction options. Global Cash Access, Inc. provides cash access and related marketing services to approximately 960 gaming properties worldwide.

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Trilegiant Expands its Rewards Cash Program

VA-based Trilegiant Loyalty Solutions has teamed with Destination Rewards to launch a new incentive program for businesses. With the new “Rewards Cash Plus” program, TLS’ clients provide membership cards to their customers. Each account has a “Rewards Cash” balance that gives the customer real cash value, providing instant point of sale savings. Customers access the business’ brand-specific Web sites, which TLS provides, to make their purchases. After using the “Rewards Cash Plus” dollars, the customer can use a major credit card to pay any remaining balance. On a regular basis, businesses can “reload” each customer’s “Rewards Cash Plus” account with a dollar amount, rewarding them for their loyalty. Earlier this year, TLS launched the “Rewards Cash” incentive program. Unlike the new reloadable “Rewards Cash Plus,” “Rewards Cash” is meant to be a one-time incentive or premium for businesses to offer their customers.

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GECF 1Q/05

GE reported that profit for its Consumer Finance unit climbed 22% in the first quarter to $735 million. First quarter revenues hit a record $4.7 billion, a 31% increase over 1Q/04. GECF posted fourth quarter revenues of $4.3 billion. During the quarter, GECF brought the “Dual Card” to Thailand by teaming up with Central Retail Group to launch the “Central MasterCard” and launched an unsecured personal loan product in Singapore called “ezyCash” through a co-operation agreement with the Singapore Post Office, one of the first of its kind in
Asia, which makes full use of the Post Office’s extensive network in Singapore. The Company also launched GE Money Care Credit in Australia to finance discretionary procedures such as dental care, laser eye surgery and veterinary care, a $6 billion segment not covered by
government programs or insurance. In the USA, GECF launched the “Wal-Mart Dual Card,” which offers cash back, gasoline discounts and low
rates to Wal-Mart shoppers, and which is accepted at more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations on the Discover Network. Also, GECF signed a seven-year extension of its private-label credit card agreement with SAM’S CLUB and launched “SAM’S CLUB Dual Cards” for consumers and businesses, with the business card being the first such card ever offered on the Discover Network. For complete details on GE’s first quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Pay By Touch Names a Chief Security Officer

Pay By Touch has named Larry Hollowood chief security officer. Hollowood brings more than 25 years of experience in the technology and security industries. Previously, he worked with Bank of America as SVP, Corporate Information Security and managed information security at Mellon Bank. Hollowood earned a B.S. Summa Cum Laude in Mathematics from Temple University. Pay By Touch is a biometric payment service free to consumers that allow shoppers to use a finger scan for identification.

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Citi Card Profits Up 9% as Growth Downshifts

Citigroup reported that first quarter profits for its credit card business in North America grew 9% to $911 million. However, credit card outstandings for North America inched up by a modest 2% over 1Q/04 to $140.5 billion, which includes $24.7 billion in private label card outstandings. Charge volume increased 6% year-on-year, to $71.7 billion. Citi’s account base at the end of the first quarter declined by more than one million accounts from the prior quarter and was down 2% from one-year ago. At the end of 1Q/05, Citi had 118.9 million accounts in North America. Citi’s charge-offs dropped from 5.59% in the fourth quarter, to 5.50% for 1Q/05. Charge-offs for bank credit cards declined to 5.20%, compared to 5.22%% in the fourth quarter, and 6.60% one-year ago. Charge-offs for private label credit cards dropped, from 7.24% in the fourth quarter to 6.91% for 1Q/05. Charge-offs for private label cards remain well below year ago levels by 179 basis points. Delinquency (90+ days) declined slightly from 1.80% for 4Q/04 to 1.76% for the first quarter 2005. Delinquency for bank credit cards was declined sequentially at 1.55%, and down 28 basis points from the year-ago level. For complete details on Citigroup’s 1Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CITIGROUP
North American Credit Card Net Revenues
1Q/04: $832 million
2Q/04: $850 million
3Q/04: $1067 million
4Q/04: $1190 million
1Q/05: $911 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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La Quinta Introduces the Returns Loyalty Card

Dallas-based La Quinta Corporation has launched a combined enhanced guest loyalty program, “Returns”, allowing guests of the La Quinta family of hotels the opportunity to earn points that can be redeemed for airline miles/credits, free night certificates and gift certificates. La Quinta Corporation is the owner/operator of more than 590 limited-service hotels.

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BofA Card Loans Up 8% as Profits Hit $750MM

Bank of America’s credit card loans grew 7.8% in the first quarter ending with $57.9 billion. The issuer opened 1.3 million new credit card accounts during the quarter as pre-tax card income hit $750 million. First quarter charge-offs were 6.17%, compared to 5.90% in the prior quarter, and 5.05% one year ago. BofA says that card charge-offs grew as a result of the Fleet acquisition, card portfolio growth and seasoning and increases in minimum payment requirements as compared to the first quarter of 2004. The managed 30+ day delinquency was 4.20%, compared to 4.37% in the fourth quarter and 3.75% for 1Q/04. Managed 90+ day delinquency was 2.10%, compared to 2.13% in the fourth quarter, and 1.81% for 1Q/04. BofA also reported that its merchant acquiring business handled $75.8 billion in processing volume during the first quarter on total transactions of 1.6 billion. The issuer also noted that active online banking users increased to 13.1 million, while online bill payers reached 6.3 million in the first quarter of 2005. For complete details on Bank of America’s 1Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

BOFA CARD LOAN HISTORICAL
1Q/03 $29.1 billion
2Q/03: $30.8 billion
3Q/03: $33.6 billion
4Q/03: $36.6 billion
1Q/04: $37.3 billion
2Q/04: $52.0 billion
3Q/04: $55.4 billion
4Q/04: $58.6 billion
1Q/05: $57.9 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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UBS Plans to Launch a VISA-AmEx Rewards Program

UBS will launch a dual-card program late this year offering a consolidated rewards program for an American Express-branded charge card and a “VISA Signature” credit card. Barclays Group’s Juniper Bank will issue both cards to UBS’ wealthy clients. The program effectively gives UBS clients access to charge card, credit card and ATM services through their UBS “Resource Management Account.” The points will be redeemable for a broad range of rewards categories, including travel, gift cards and certificates, specialty merchandise and unique experiences. The cards will also be customized with high value benefits and distinctive rewards.

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