Migration from V/MC to AmEx Cards Hits Turbulence

There is mounting anecdotal evidence that some MBNA customers are unhappy with being switched from a VISA or MasterCard to an American Express card. Reportedly, MBNA is modifying its marketing approach, specifically migrating from an opt-out to an opt-in offer. It is estimated that MBNA has issued more than 500,000 AmEx-branded cards since its October launch. The New York Times cited an MBNA customer who accused the issuer of “slamming” by switching his VISA card to an AmEx card without his consent. The NYT also cited an alumni association, an affinity partner with MBNA, who said they received complaints from members over the automatic switch to AmEx cards. The negative response from some consumers apparently centers on the merchant acceptance gap between AmEx, VISA, and MasterCard.

U.S. MERCHANT ACCEPTANCE
(as of September 30, 2004)
VISA: 5.6 million
MasterCard: 5.6 million
AmEx: 3.8 million
Discover: 4.4 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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BNP Paribas and AirPlus Launch Two Products

BNP Paribas has inked a partnership agreement with AirPlus International to provide corporate customers with a package of
business travel payment options and information management solutions.
Core elements of the new partnership are the “Carte Logee BNP Paribas
AirPlus” and the “Carte Affaires BNP Paribas.” The “Carte Logee BNP Paribas AirPlus” is a payment solution that will enable companies to break down invoices by more than nine criteria including cost center, department, project or employee number. For travel and entertainment expenses on a business trip, travelers can use the “Carte Affaires BNP Paribas.” Companies will also have access to a management information system that can help them spot potential savings while offering an ideal basis for negotiations.

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Credit Industry Almanac 2005 Released

Ireland-based Research And Markets has released its “Banking, Mortgages & Credit Industry Almanac 2005”. In addition, a large number of related services and technologies have a major influence on the lending and credit business. These services include e-commerce, credit risk analysis, call centers and information technologies. It contains thousands of contacts for business and industry leaders, industry associations, Internet sites and other resources. This book also includes statistical tables, an industry glossary and thorough indexes.

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Triton Finds its Oldest ATM in Indiana

King Oil, owner of Mara-Mart convenience stores in Indiana, has won Triton Systems’ “10th anniversary” contest to find the ATM manufacturer’s oldest retail machine still in operation with the original owner. IFS Cash Processing Systems, the distributor, says the “Triton 9500” machine was the first one it sold. King Oil and the independent sales distributor who sold the ATM will receive new “Triton 9100” models. Triton has more than 118,000 installations in 17 countries worldwide.

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Credit Union Business Cards Get a Rewards Option

Credit union issuers now have the option of offering their business credit and debit cardholders a business-focused rewards program. Dallas-based TNB Card Services has partnered with NH-based RewardsNOW to create the option for TNB’s 400 credit union clients. One option in the RewardsNOW business program allows points earned by any of a business’ cardholders to accrue to the business owner’s account, aggregating the points. This enables the business owner to use rewards for employee recognition, customer incentives, or to make purchases for the business. Travel rewards, typically the most popular, are earned as points applicable toward any airline, cruise line, hotel, or car rental company, entirely free of blackout dates, advance purchase requirements, or seat or other limitations.

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Suncoast Schools FCU Joins the CO-OP Network

Tampa-based Suncoast Schools FCU has joined the CO-OP Network with its 175 ATMs boosting CO-OP Network’s Florida fleet of surcharge-free ATMs to 1,568. Suncoast Schools FCU has 37 branches along Florida’s west coast to serve its 353,000 members. CO-OP Network (www.co-opnetwork.org), established in 1981 and located in Ontario, Calif., is wholly-owned by its credit union shareholders and provides volume discounts on products and services that include risk management as well as debit and deposit access.

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Deluxe CEO/Chairman to Retire Next Year

MN-based Deluxe Corporation confirms that its CEO and Chairman, Lawrence Mosner, will retire in 2005. Mosner has held a number of key leadership positions since joining Deluxe in 1995. He assumed his current role of chairman and CEO in 2000 following the spin-off of eFunds Corporation, and is only the seventh CEO in Deluxe’s nearly 90-year history. Deluxe Corporation, through its industry-leading businesses and brands, helps financial institutions and small businesses better manage, promote, and grow their businesses.

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Choice Hotels Names AmEx Card Exec to its Board

Choice Hotels International has named Gordon Smith, President of the U.S. Consumer Card Services Group of American Express TRS, to its Board of Directors. He holds overall responsibility for the company’s consumer card businesses in the United States, including charge, credit and co-brand cards, as well as strategic relationship services. His other previous positions include serving as Senior Vice President in charge of the American Express Service Center in Phoenix, Senior Vice President of Operations and Reengineering for the Latin America and Caribbean region, as well as senior positions in the U. S. Credit and Fraud operations, at Amex Life Insurance Company and in the international card and Travelers Cheque businesses.

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Online Shopping to Peak Tomorrow

Tomorrow, December 14th, is projected to be the biggest online shopping day of 2004. CyberSource Corporation says the estimate is based on analysis of CyberSource transaction volume, shipping days remaining before December 25th, and merchant incentives to encourage earlier ordering. Furthermore, Mondays and Tuesdays are typically the biggest online shopping days throughout the year. The peak shopping day has occurred earlier during each of the past two years: in 2002 it was December 17th, in 2003 it was December 15th. CyberSource believes that is mostly due to store incentives to order earlier — online merchants have learned their lesson in prior years about unmanageable shipping volume the last few days before Christmas.

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