ATM-BANKIT

Oki Electric Industry has introduced a new ATM with improved lighting, higher banknote capacity and integration with mobile phones and contactless cards. The new “ATM-BankIT,” available after July 1st, can also connect to CRM servers and bank branch terminals. The new ATM enhances its security functions by mounting light shielding filters to protect PIN numbers from prying eyes and by responding to various biometric identification such as smart cards, finger veins, palm veins, iris, in which financial institutions can choose which method suits their service. The new ATM also enables a longer period for unmanned operation as the banknote capacity is increased to 14,500 notes, the largest in the industry in Japan.

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Discover Drops its Universal Default Policy

Discover is dropping its universal default clause and implementing several cardholder changes with the April billing cycle. Any late payment will terminate all promotional APRs (instead of two late payments in 12 months) and trigger the rate to the standard rate or a rate as high as prime +10.99. Cardholders with two late payments or over-limits within a twelve month period, will receive an APR as high as prime +15.99%, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). Three late payments or over-limits within a twelve month period will trigger an APR as high as prime +19.99%. The late fee for balances of $1,000 or more will now increase from $35 to $39. Discover also reserves the right to limit the amount of credit available for balance transfers similar to the current cash advance credit limits. Discover is also modifying its minimum payments to comply with new FFIEC rules. The minimum payment for accounts with APRs above 22.99%, but less than 26.00%, will pay the greater of $10 or 2.2% of the new balance. If the APR is above 26.00% then the minimum payment is $10 or 2.5% of the new balance. Discover is also dropping JAMS as an arbitration option.

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

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TSYS Lands its First European Card Issuer

ABN AMRO has become the first card issuer to sign a processing agreement with TSYS in continental Europe. The seven-year agreement covers the processing of ABN AMRO consumer and commercial credit cards, according to this week’s CardFlash International (www.cardflashinternational.com). All of ABN AMRO’s Dutch accounts will be converted to “TS2,” the multi-currency and EMV-compliant processing system from TSYS that supports more than 20 million accounts in Europe. Conversions are tentatively planned for the first and second quarters of 2005. ABN AMRO’s portfolio will be processed at the new TSYS European Data Center in Knaresborough, England. The TSYS Operational Services Center is located in Barneveld and opened earlier this month.

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MBNA Anchors a New NASCAR Rewards Program

MBNA and NC-based Stoneacre Partners have partnered to launch a rewards credit card to enable NASCAR fans to earn officially licensed merchandise, special event access and exclusive experiences. MBNA is the first issuing partner of the new free “NASCAR RacePoints” rewards program. Stoneacre Partners expects the other 200+ official NASCAR sponsors, licensees and partners to join its program. The new “MBNA NASCAR RacePoints VISA” generates one point from each dollar in purchases. Accumulated points can be tracked and redeemed online for race-related rewards from the exclusive “NASCAR RacePoints” catalog, beginning May 31st. The catalog currently has 60 rewards among four categories. The categories include: “Access & Experiences,” “Collectibles & Memorabilia,” “Apparel” and “Merchandise.” Turner Sports, which owns NASCAR.com is converting its NASCAR “Fan Miles” rewards program to the “RacePoints” program by May 31st. MBNA America has been the official credit card issuer of NASCAR since 1993. (CF Library 1/28/99)

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RBS Nabs a Former Chase Exec for Partnerships

RBS National Bank has named Matthew Mongoven as SVP of Partnership & Brand Management. Mongoven previously worked for Chase since 1999. At Chase, he was most recently VP/Marketing and Director of Chase Reward Products. Prior to Chase, he worked at General Electric Capital Corp in card services. RBS National Bank is the U.S. credit-card arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. In the U.S., RBS Group owns Citizens Financial Group, the RBS National Bank credit card business and Lynk Systems, a merchant acquirer. For more information on Mongoven, visit CardExecs ([www.cardexecs.com][1]).

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

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SCA to Support Transportation Smart Cards

The Smart Card Alliance, in association with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), announced the formation of the Transportation Council to support contactless inter-operable smart card use. The Council is open to participation from vendors and transit organizations and managed by a steering committee to include a broad spectrum of leaders from the transportation and smart card industries. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical public transportation services and products.

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Credit Cards Rise 13% as Debt Grows 3%

While the number of credit cards rose 13% last year, charge volume only grew 5% and revolving balances inched up a mere 3%. At the end of 2004, consumers in Singapore owed S$2.6 billion on 3.95 million credit cards. For the full year, charge volume topped S$14.0 billion. In December, charge volume was S$1.43 billion compared to S$1.37 billion for December 2003. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, credit card issuers wrote-off $196 million last year compared to $194 million in the prior year. The total number of cards in the country at year’s end included 2,985,973 primary cards and 946,784 supplementary cards.

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