TSB Reviews Co-Branding Programs

Lloyds TSB has notified its credit card partners that it is making a review of all co-brand programs. TSB also says it will suspend spending on marketing for co-branded credit cards. The issuer expects to complete the review by the end of March. TSB says it is prepared to pay penalties if it terminates some or all of its partner programs. Lloyd’s has 200,000 co-branded credit cards-in-force out of a total card base of seven million.

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MasterCard Activates the MATCH Fraud Database

MasterCard Europe is activating its “MATCH” global database to monitor merchants that have been involved in irregular business practices. “MATCH” (“Member Alert To Control High Risk”) operates as a global system holding the details of any merchant that has been involved in irregular practices for a maximum period of five years, after which they are automatically removed. This information will assist banks in making informed decisions when entering into contracts with new merchants. The new database is expected to save banks 200 million euros a year.

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ZiLOG & USTT Launch the eZ-APN Module

California-based ZiLOG and Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies have launched the “eZ-Authorization, Payment and Networking Module” for non-PC embedded, everyday devices. The eZ-APN module can be attached to any non-PC embedded device, which allows the device to be wirelessly network enabled with the capability to authorize use or access and process cashless payments via debit, credit or any other designated payment card. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries. USAT is an IBM Business Partner and has marketing agreements with AT&T, Honeywell and MEI. ZiLOG, Inc. is a leading global supplier of 8-bit micro-logic devices and designs, manufactures and markets a broad portfolio of devices for embedded control and communication applications used in consumer electronics, home appliances, security systems, point of sales terminals, personal computer peripherals, as well as industrial and automotive applications.

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Barclaycard and BSkyB to Launch SkyCard

Barclaycard has teamed with the British Sky Broadcasting Group to launch a general purpose credit card that will be fully integrated with interactive television. The new “SkyCard” will enable subscribers to earn “SkyPoints” for their purchases and make purchases through the television using a remote control. The card is inserted into a new interactive card slot provided on the “SkyBox.”SkyCard” is expected to roll-out in April. BSkyB has more than seven million direct-to-home customers across the UK. Barclaycard has 11.2 million U.K. cardholders, 2.9 million international cardholders, 550,000 corporate cardholders and 90,000 retailer/merchant relationships.

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Chamber of Commerce Endorses Citi’s Biz Cards

CitiBusiness credit cards have received the exclusive endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Specifically, the COC endorses the “CitiBusiness Card” and the “CitiBusiness Card with the ThankYou Network.” This is the first time the COC has endorsed a credit card. Members of the Chamber receive special incentives including a reduced purchase annual percentage rate and an introductory rate on balance transfers.

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VISA Adds Return Protection to its Arsenal

VISA USA has taken purchase protection coverage to a new level with the introduction of “Return Protection.” The new optional enhancement for issuers will reimburse cardholders who are dissatisfied with items paid for with their VISA card within 90 days of purchase and the retailer will not accept the return. This benefit is applicable except when a retailer clearly states “No returns” or “As is.” Coverage is limited to $250 per eligible item and $1,000 per year per account. Under the “Return Protection” program cardholders file their own claims.

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Discover Waives Fees for Tax Payments Too

Discover has launched a convenience fee-free offer for cardholders who file and pay their 2004 income taxes online. In addition, cardholders earn a “Cashback Bonus” award of up to 1% when they use their Discover for tax payments. Cardholders who file and pay their taxes online using their Discover Card with H&R Block through Discover Card Tax Center will receive a 0% convenience fee offer. This is the seventh year that Discover has offered its tax center service. However, this is the first year the fee-free option has been offered.

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MasterCard Offers Fee Free Tax Payments

MasterCard International is now offering “Debit MasterCard” cardholders the option of paying their Federal Tax Year 2004 Form 1040 balance-due payment online without incurring a convenience fee. The new option is being offered in conjunction with H&R Block and Link2Gov. MasterCard has been part of the federal tax card acceptance program since its introduction in 1999. This is the first time MasterCard has offered the convenience fee-free option for tax payments. Last year, taxpayers paid nearly $200 million in federal tax obligations with MasterCard cards. Nashville-based Link2Gov provides online payment processing for many U.S. government agencies.

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Plug & Pay Completes Level 3 P-Card Certification

Plug & Pay Technologies has completed “Purchasing Card Level 3” certification on the Paymentech Tampa credit card processing platform. Plug’n Pay Technologies, Inc.,is a provider of payment and digital fulfillment solutions for Internet merchants. Plug’n Pay’s payment systems allow merchants to accept and manage both credit card and electronic check payments in a secure environment. Plug’n Pay’s digital fulfillment systems allow merchants to offer digital goods for real-time fulfillment and to manage and maintain online membership and recurring billing services.

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Wright Express Adds Online Payment to WEXOnline

Maine-based Wright Express has added an online payment feature for the company’s private label and co-brand partners as well as fleets using its “Wright Express Universal Card” that eliminates the cost of cutting and mailing a check and provides fleet managers a high degree of integration between invoice, payment, account maintenance and other functions. Wright Express is a provider of payment processing and information management services to the U.S. commercial and government vehicle fleet industry. Wright Express provides these services for over 280,000 commercial and government fleets containing more than 3.9 million vehicles and markets these services directly as well as through 83 strategic relationships.

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Encore Card Services Signs 4 D.C. FCUs

Massachusetts-based Encore Card Services & Merchant Services has recently signed four credit unions in Washington, DC including the AFL-CIO Employees FCU; Department of Labor FCU; General Services Administration FCU and the Transit FCU. Encore ® Card Services offers credit unions full service MasterCard or Visa credit card issuing and processing solutions. Encore ® Merchant Services is a division of Primax Payment Systems, currently has over 5,000 merchants located in 48 states. Encore ® Merchant Services targets new business through credit unions to offer full service credit and debit card acceptance services to credit union member businesses nationwide and offers check guarantee, electronic check conversion, Internet processing solutions, and private label card support. Full service help desk support is also provided as well as point-of-sale equipment and supplies.

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