United Airlines Offers 3X Miles for Cruises

United Airline customers can earn triple miles by using their Mileage Plus Visa cards to purchase a United Cruises vacation. Mileage Plus members have opportunities to earn miles with 31 different cruise lines and are able to redeem miles on any cruise vacation with redemption starting as low as 10,000 miles. United Mileage Plus has over 45 million enrolled members. United Airlines is the world’s second largest airline.

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Bank’s Payment Business is Under Fire in 05

A new report says that large U.S. banks must move quickly to protect their lucrative payments business amidst the acceleration from paper to electronic consumer payments. DiamondCluster International says the impact of technology on the bank payments business since the 1980s has shifted from the back-end of the payments value chain (creating economies of scale on the acquiring side of payments transactions), to the front end in the 1990s (applying advanced technology to improve issuing of payment instruments such as credit cards), to the middle link: the use of the payment instrument itself in the consumer’s purchasing process (including the store). DiamondCluster says one of the first steps a bank must take to compete in the payments future is to develop a decision-making process that crosses payments businesses. The silos in banks? payment businesses must also be reconfigured. Above all, DiamondCluster says banks need payments strategies that cross their payments businesses.

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Petco Settles Card Fraud Patent Litigation

Acacia Research Corporation announced that its subsidiary, Financial Systems Innovation LLC, has entered into a non-exclusive license and settled patent infringement litigation covering a patent that applies to credit card fraud protection technology with Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. The Acacia Technologies group develops, acquires, and licenses patented technologies.

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National City Card Loans Slip 4% in Q1/05

OH-based National City reported that its first quarter credit card outstandings were down 4% year-on-year, and down 7% sequentially. NCCS reported $2.35 billion in first quarter managed outstandings, compared to $2.44 billion one-year ago, and $2.52 billion in 4Q/04. In the current quarter ended March 31st, National City had 1,716,664 gross accounts and 1,104,126 active accounts, according to CardData. ([www.carddata.com][1]). For complete details on National City’s 1Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

NATL CITY CARD LOANS
1Q/03: $2,271 million
2Q/03: $2,417 million
3Q/03: $2,179 million
4Q/03: $2,558 million
1Q/04: $2,443 million
2Q/04: $2,426 million
3Q/04: $2,432 million
4Q/04: $2,518 million
1Q/05: $2,352 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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USA Technologies Launched a Vending Campaign

USA Technologies kicked off its campaign to demonstrate its Intelligent Vending technology at NAMA (National Automatic Merchandising Association) Spring Expo. USA Technologies currently has more than 100,000 Intelligent Vending installations worldwide and provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries.

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Credit Card Tax Payments May Triple in 05

Another survey confirms the increased popularity of Federal income tax payments via credit cards this tax season. The most recent “Cambridge Consumer Credit Index” found that 11% of Americans plan to use their credit cards to pay their tax bill this year, up from only 3% who used credit cards in 2004. The Cambridge survey also found that 31%, up from 27% in 2004, plan to save their tax refunds in a bank account or invest the money in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Earlier this week, Ipsos-Insight reported that a recent survey showed that payment of Federal income taxes via a credit card will increase to 5% this year, compared to 1% in 2004.

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Horizon to Retrofit Citibank’s ATM Screens

California-based Horizon Technology has been selected by Citigroup to design and manufacture kits to retrofit existing CRT screens for its ATM machines across North America. The customized kits will cover several size applications and includes an LCD screen, controller board, inverter, OSD board and cabling. Horizon Technology is a independent distributor specializing in storage and display products for the OEM, EMS and ODM markets.

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Cross Country Accepts Wright Express Cards

Wright Express cardholders can now take advantage of Cross Country Automotive Services to provide 24-hour roadside assistance and towing services nationwide by calling one toll-free number. Payment can be made using the Wright Express card. Wright Express is a provider of payment processing and information management services for over 280,000 commercial and government fleets containing more than 3.9 million vehicles. Cross Country Automotive Services is a provider of integrated vehicle and driver programs in North America.

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First Data Iberica Selects TNS for Connectivity

First Data Iberica has signed a three-year contract with Transaction Network Services S.A. to be the sole provider of dial-up connectivity in Spain. TNS will provide FDI with dial-up connectivity anticipated to transmit millions of dial-up transactions per year between the company’s headquarters in Madrid, 10,500 terminals in newsagents and tobacconists, and 3,000 terminals in gas and petrol service stations in Spain. Using its private network, TNS will also provide back-up services to the 1,500 GPRS terminals that FDI will introduce this year to speed up processing of payments and to reduce the costs of processing payments in remote rural locations. First Data Iberica is the First Data subsidiary for Spain and Portugal. Transaction Network Services S.A. is the Spanish subsidiary of TNS, Inc.

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Airlines Can Easily Cut Card Costs by 20%

A new study indicates that airlines could lower their credit card costs by 20% if they followed a two-fold strategy of reducing credit card costs and enhancing revenue with products such corporate travel accounts or alternative forms of payment. The report noted that airlines could achieve a savings equal to $12.50 per ticket if they: optimized their payment mix in favor of lower cost forms of payments; streamlined and automated payment related business processes; negotiated lower merchant discount rates with traditional credit cards; launched co-brand card programs; and became a primary or part issuer of other forms of payment. The white paper analysis by Edgar Dunn and Company cited Continental Airlines and America West as two of the early adopters of this payment strategy. EDS also listed the “UATP Corporate Travel Account” as good example of a way to enhance revenues. Other alternative forms of payment cited were PayPal, Bill Me Later and ElectricCheck.

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CTFS Plans to Grow Card Receivables by 15%

Canadian Tire Financial Services has set a course to grow credit card balances, insurance revenues, and test new financial products. The company plans to grow credit card receivables by approximately 12-15% annually, by increasing the number of accounts that have balances by 3-4% and, by increasing average balances by 8-12%. In order to achieve these targets, Financial Services plans to continue its in-store acquisition program and balance transfer promotions. It also plans to introduce new types of credit cards. The firm also wants to enhance Financial Services’ offerings of insurance and warranty products to credit card customers. CTFS also plans to expand Financial Services’ personal (term) loan products based on the successful testing of these products in 2004. Additionally, they plan to test and explore additional financial products, which might include lines of credit, savings accounts and mortgage offerings. Partnering with other financial institutions will be considered as a way of sharing any potential risk associated with new product offerings.

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