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.


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)


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


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.


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.


OCC – Bankers Need to Rethink Consumer Debt

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Julie Williams yesterday urged bankers to alter the way they think about consumer credit. She said the focus today for lenders is not so much on consumer loans being repaid, but on the loan as a perpetual earning asset. In other words, it’s not repayment of the amount of the debt that is the focus, but rather the income the credit relationship generates through periodic payments on the loan, associated fees and cross-selling opportunities. As a result, Williams said, American households are more highly leveraged than ever. Millions of Americans faithfully make minimum payments each month and make little progress in reducing their total debt. She said the practices associated with the new philosophy of retail lending have introduced risk elements not previously present in the banking system.


AmeriDebt Shuts Down; Transfers DMPs

The FTC yesterday announced a settlement with AmeriDebt which includes shutting down its debt management operations and transferring all existing DMPs to a third party. The order requires the Company to file a plan of liquidation with the bankruptcy court. In addition, the order contains a judgment of $170 million. The settlement does not include the FTC’s case against AmeriDebt principals Andris and Pamela Pukke and its DebtWorks affiliate. In November 2003, the FTC charged that MD-based AmeriDebt was misrepresented as a nonprofit credit counseling organization, funneling profits to affiliated for-profit entities, including DebtWorks and Pukke. In June 2004, AmeriDebt filed for bankruptcy protection. The FTC says the firm deceived consumers into paying at least $170 million in hidden fees. (CF Library 11/20/03; 6/8/04)


GPN Q Revenues Near $200MM; Income Up 31%

Atlanta-based Global Payments reported that first calendar quarter revenues increased 20.2% to $195.5 million. Net income for the quarter ending February 28th soared 30.9% to $21.6 million. Revenues for the quarter included $14.5 million from the Company’s recent acquisitions of MUZO and Europhil. GPN says the revenue growth was primarily driven by higher than anticipated growth from Central and Eastern European operations and from its consumer money transfer channel. The company raised its annual revenue guidance for fiscal 2005 to $774-$781 million. The just-ended quarter is GPN’s third fiscal quarter. Global Payments acquired Madrid-based Europhil, a group of European electronic money transfer firms, in January. For complete details on Global Payments latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/4/05)

1Q/04: $162.6mm $16.5mm
2Q/04: $181.8mm $18.0mm
3Q/04: $192.6mm $24.2mm
4Q/04: $188.5mm $16.8mm
1Q/05: $195.5mm $21.6mm
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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