Hilton HHonors Ties a Best Program Award

Business Traveler magazine has awarded a tie for “Best Hotel Rewards Program” to the “Hilton HHonors” loyalty program. Business Traveler magazine each year surveys its readers — among the most frequent business travelers in the world — to attain their nominations for airlines, hotels, reward programs, credit card companies, websites and other travel-related companies. Approximately 30 awards were announced. Hilton HHonors(R) is a guest reward program that gives frequent travelers a faster way to earn the rewards they want most.

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AsiaPay to Distribute Softforum’s XecurePay ACS

AsiaPay has partnered with Softforum to promote and distribute
Softforum’s “XecurePay ACS” products in Greater China and Asia. The deal covers “ACS Server,” “Enrollment Server,” “ACS Manager,” “WAP Extension,” and “SMS Extension.” Softforum’s “XecurePay” is a 3-D Secure product suite designed to provide a advanced cardholder authentication security for payment with credit card on the Internet. AsiaPay is a secure electronic payment service and solution provider and ePayment security product vendor in Asia.

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SkyCash MasterCard Attracts a New Investor

FL-based Xtreme Distribution Network has become an investor in ChexFirst, a firm that offers a check guarantee program and “SkyCash,” a MasterCard payroll card. ChexFirst is the company’s check guarantee program, and guarantees 100% of all checks collected. SkyCash is a debit MasterCard that retails for $19.95, carries no activation fees, and earns the merchant $5 on each sale. It acts as a fully functioning debit card and a personal bank account, including direct payroll deposit and payday loan. XDNI is a division of Phoenix Telecommunication Group (http://www.phoenix-tel.com), one of the largest licensed wholesale carriers in prepaid telecom.

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Hypercom Gets ICE and S9 Order

Hypercom distributor Alhamrani Universal has ordered 5,000 “ICE 5500Plus” and 5,000 “S9” card payment devices for Saudi Arabia’s
major banks. This marks the largest one-time order ever for Hypercom
Middle East. AU planes to offer the terminals and devices to its clients who include The National Commercial Bank, Arab National Bank, Al Rajhi
Banking and Investment Corporation, Riyad Bank, The Saudi British Bank
and Saudi Hollandi Bank.

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Shell Card Links Up with Jiffy Lube

Shell Oil Products this week announced that the Shell gasoline credit card for consumers and the Shell fleet credit card will now be accepted at most Jiffy Lube service centers. Shell has a 23.1 percent share of the gasoline credit card market, according to the September 2004 issue of The Nilson Report, a newsletter that covers consumer payment systems. Jiffy Lube and Shell have aggressively used credit card marketing programs to retain customers and attract new ones. In November, the two brands began offering a rebate to Jiffy Lube customers who pay for services with their Shell MasterCard(R) credit card. Jiffy Lube, with more than 2,200 service centers in North America, serves millions of customers each year.

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Lipman Names a New U.S. CEO

Lipman Electronic Engineering has named Robert Striano as
as President and Chief Executive Officer of Lipman USA. Striano replaces Mony Zenou, who stepped down as President and CEO following the expiration of his contract on September 30th. Striano, who most recently
served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Konica Photo
Imaging (US), will be responsible for leading the growth efforts of
Lipman USA, seeking to expand the Company’s presence by penetrating
new segments of the US market and pursuing new vertical applications
for Lipman’s products. Lipman develops, manufactures and markets a variety of handheld, wireless and landline POS terminals, electronic cash registers, retail ATM units, PIN pads and smart card readers, as well as integrated pin and smart card solutions.

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Spa Gift Cards a Hot Item This Year

Gift cards linked to beauty and health services are a hot area this year. Day Spas of America says its card has been extra hot this year with sales up more than 30%. Meanwhile, two other spa companies announced new gift cards this week. The “giveBeauty Gift Card” can be used at health and beauty professionals nationwide participating in the giveBeauty network. The value that is purchased on the “giveBeauty” card is exactly what the recipient gets, with no added activation fees, usage or non-usage fees. Also, the gift card has no expiration date. Red Door Spas also introduced the “Lifetime Guest Card” which offers a lifetime of unlimited pampering, rest and relaxation at its spas nationwide. The “Lifetime Guest Card” allows the purchaser to select the card’s monthly dollar amount, ranging from $200 to $2,000. Once services have been redeemed up to the preset amount, the gift card is automatically replenished at the beginning of each month and the refill is reflected on the purchaser’s credit card.

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Asia Pay to Launch a Consumer Credit Bureau

Asia Payment Systems and Shanghai CRC Telecom have teamed to launch a pilot project for the establishment of an International
standard China Consumer Credit Bureau. Asia Pay also agreed to provide payment processing services to CRC Telecom. The discussions for these projects include enabling acceptance of both debit and credit cards at Railway Station Ticket Counters. At present, railway tickets in China are paid for in cash and Railway Ticket Counters do not accept debit or credit cards. Upon successful completion of the pilot project, Asia Pay and SCRC will deploy Credit and Debit processing systems in all
2,000+ Railway Ticket Counter locations across China.

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Q Comm Buys Terminals from Shera Technology

UT-based Q Comm International has formed a manufacturing relationship with China’s Shera Technology to purchase 5,600 terminals at an average unit cost of $225 each. Q Comm International provides proprietary prepaid transaction processing and information management systems that facilitate electronic recharge or distribution of prepaid products from service providers or their distributors to retail points of sale. Shera is an American run EMS (Electronic Manufacturing Service) provider located in the heart of China’s Shanghai-Suzhou high-tech corridor.

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Australians Carry $1,000 Each in Card Debt

Credit card debt in Australia hit US$20.9 billion in September or about $1,000 per son. Gross dollar volume for purchases on credit card and charge cards during September dipped slightly from the prior month, but up nearly 10% from one-year ago. However, total outstandings for September were up slightly compared to August, and up more than 12% since September 2003. Revolving balances, or balances accruing interest, decreased slightly to US$14.5 billion during September, and up 10% from one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. During September, Australians charged US$9.5 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards compared to US$8.7 billion one-year ago. Card credit limits reached US$56.4 billion at the end of September, compared to US$50.1 billion for September 2003. There are 11.3 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 10.6 million one-year ago.

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Chinese Bank Launches AmEx-branded Cards

The first American Express-branded card in China has been launched by the largest commercial bank in the China. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is offering standard and gold card versions, that are denominated in both Reminbi and US dollar currencies. The new cards can be used both at ICBC’s merchants and the China Union Pay network of merchants throughout China, as well as American Express merchant locations worldwide. Beginning today, Chinese residents in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen can apply for the cards. The cards will be available in other cities across China in the coming months. The launch of the “ICBC American Express Card” comes nine months after American Express and ICBC inked their partnership in March this year.

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CARD SEP 04

Gross dollar volume for purchases on credit card and charge cards during September dipped slightly from the prior month, but up nearly 10% from one-year ago. However, total outstandings for September were up slightly compared to August, and up more than 12% since September 2003. Revolving balances, or balances accruing interest, decreased slightly to A$19.4 billion during September, and up 10% from one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. During September, Australians charged A$12.7 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards compared to A$11.6 billion one-year ago. At the end of September, consumers owed A$28.0 billion on credit cards versus A$24.8 billion for September 2003. Card credit limits reached A$75.3 billion at the end of September, compared to A$66.9 billion for September 2003. There are 11.3 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 10.6 million one-year ago.

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