SSB Group Licenses ACI Proactive Risk Manager

SSB Group, the largest card processor in Europe, has licensed ACI’s “Proactive Risk Manager” software to address the increasing levels of card fraud in Europe and offer additional fraud detection and prevention services to its core customer base of 200 European banks.
SSB will deploy ACI “Proactive Risk Manager for Debit and Credit Card
Fraud Detection” at its headquarters in Milan to track domestic and
international card transactions for potential fraud activity. SSB handled over 30 million payment cards and 5 billion transactions in 2003.

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Citi Launches the Dividend Merchant Network

Citibank took cash-back rewards to a new level with the introduction of a new merchant network that enables cardholders to earn an extra 5% to 7% at hundreds of the e-tailers, retailers, and cataloguers. The “Citi Dividend Merchant Network,” created for cardholders of the “Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard,” carries no annual cap on the cash-back earned through the special merchant network. Cardholders must activate the merchant program to earn the bonus rewards. Under the current “Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard” program, cardholders receive 5% cash-back on all gas, supermarket, and drug store purchases as well as 1% cash-back on all other purchases; $5 “Dividend Dollars” for each balance transfer of $1,500 or more, and 1% cash-back on all cash advances taken at the standard cash rate. Cardholders are limited to $300 in cash-back rewards earned per calendar year.

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Western Union Financial Granted a Banking License

Western Union Financial Services has been granted a banking
license by Finanzmarktaufsicht Behorde. Initially, Western Union, together with the Western Union agents, will focus on expanding the company’s core money transfer business, both at retail locations and
on-line. The license provides an opportunity to represent agents and the
Western Union business within the European financial services community.

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70% of Gen Xers Revolve Credit Card Balances

Credit card debt among young adults between the age of 25 and 34 has increased 55%, and among the youngest adults, between 18 and 24, it has more than doubled since 1992. The average indebted young-adult household (aged 25-34) now spends almost a quarter of every dollar earned on debt payments while the youngest adult households (aged 18-24) spend nearly 30 cents of every dollar earned servicing debt. The findings come from a new report from New York City-based Demos. The report found that a growing number of Gen-Xers carry a credit card balance. Slightly more than 70% revolve their balances, compared to 55% of all cardholders. Among other key findings: among the two-thirds of young-adult households (aged 25-34) with incomes below $50,000, nearly one in five spend more than 40% of their income servicing debt, including mortgages and student loans, and Americans aged 25-34 have the second highest rate of bankruptcy (just after those aged 35 to 44).

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AXALTO 3Q/04

Axalto, formerly Schlumberger Smart Cards, reported that third quarter revenue increased 15% to $238.7 million. Financial card revenues grew 17% from $40.1 million for 3Q/03 to $47.1 million for the third quarter of this year. POS terminal revenues soared 176% to $26.5 million. This terminal growth was fueled by strong sales in the EMEA region, mainly through supply contracts signed with major European financial institutions. For complete details on Axalto’s third quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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VISA Invests in Vericept Corporation

VISA USA has invested $16.3 million into Vericept Corporation, a firm that helps companies manage risk by analyzing and monitoring network, Internet, email, chat, instant messaging, peer-to-peer file sharing, FTP, and telnet traffic. Vericept enables enterprises to gain control over various risks associated with regulatory compliance violations, corporate governance concerns, internal policy infractions, information leaks and unacceptable Internet use. Vericept’s solutions prevent the loss of valuable information assets and intellectual property as well as help protect the brand and reputation of an enterprise. Tery Larrew, president and CEO of Vericept says that Vericept and Visa will be exploring opportunities about how Vericept technology can be utilized to address the needs of Visa, its member financial institutions, and their customers. Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and largest payment system. Cardholders in over 150 countries have over 1 billion Visa branded cards, which are accepted at millions of locations all over the world. Vericept Corporation is a chief provider of enterprise risk management solutions.

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Smartpay Jieyin Expands to Anhui Unicom

Smartpay Jieyin has expanded its payment system to Anhui Unicom. The most significant application of the system will be the function that allows Anhui Unicom subscribers to pay their phone bills simply by sending an SMS message. Smartpay operates China’s first multi-province mobile payment system. Subscribers in Shanghai and Anhui can now refill their mobile phone accounts and purchase pre-paid mobile “top-up” cards, long distance VOIP minutes, ISP access, online gaming time, and other products and pay conveniently and electronically, using Smartpay. ICBC, the largest bank in Anhui, is already fully integrated into the system, and other large banks will be added in the next month.

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34% of Credit Files Have New Delinquency Posted

New research has found that 55% of U.S. consumers have at least one delinquency on their credit file, and 34% have a delinquency in the last year. Experian Consumer Direct says its “PLUS Score” for consumers with one delinquency in the last year is 598 versus 759 for those with no delinquent payments. Experian’s score can range from 330 to 830, with the average for U.S. consumers at 677. Experian created its “National Score Index” for consumers last year. It is based on the “PLUS Score,” which provides a picture of consumer credit worthiness by region, state, or metro area. A nationwide sampling of three million consumer profiles are used for the “Index.”

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More Consumers Buy Gift Cards for Themselves

The number of consumers who purchase gift cards for themselves has skyrocketed from 2% in 2003 to 21% this year. Of these self-givers, one in five say they use the cards to purchase cheaper gas from large discounters where cash and credit are not accepted at the pump. The findings come from the annual gift card survey conducted by Comdata’s Stored Value Systems. The SVS study found 75% of U.S. consumers, 15 years old and older, have now either purchased or received a gift card compared to 68% in 2003. About 60% of gift card purchasers buy gift cards for relatives outside of their immediate family and 44% purchase gift cards for friends. The average holiday gift card spending is expected to rise by 20% this year to $223. This year, the average card load is $42. SVS also found that 50% of gift card recipients always or often spend more than the value of the card and make up the difference with their own money. More than 40% of those who receive gift cards use them up within one month of receiving it, and only about 4% keep a card without using it for more than one year. The number one occasion for gift card purchases is birthdays (84%) followed by the winter holidays (68%).

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Travelocity and MasterCard Hold a Cruise Sale

Travelocity and MasterCard have partnered again to offer up to $400 cash back on cruises purchased through November 11th. According to Bryan Saltzburg, vice president of packaging and cruises for Travelocity, the promotion with MasterCard enables Travelocity to give travelers opportunities to receive great deals in time for the holiday shopping season. Travelocity negotiates thousands of deals with the top airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines, and other destination services. In 2003, Travelocity had 44 million registered users and booked almost $4 billion of travel. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a wide range of services that support their global member’s credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business, and other related payment programs.

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HSBC Renews the Oreck Private Label Card Contract

HSBC – North America has renewed its private label credit card contract with Oreck Corporation. The new contract will extend a nine-year relationship between HSBC Retail Services and Oreck. HSBC North America’s retail services business enables Oreck telesales and retail store channels to benefit from their strong operational and marketing capabilities. Special financing options including equal monthly payments or no interest financing will be beneficial to Oreck customers. Oreck products are designed to make cleaning easier, healthier, and smarter. HSBC Retail Services is a leader in issuing private label (merchant branded) credit cards in the U.S. HSBC-North America includes all of HSBC’s U.S. and Canadian businesses and has almost $300 billion in assets.

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Discover Taps Fair Isaac Decision Manager

Discover Financial Services has adopted Fair Isaac’s “Enterprise Decision Manager” system. The new software solution will assist Discover in building a decision management infrastructure, which will enhance Discover’s customer decisions. The Enterprise Decision Manager accelerates the development and deployment of decision management applications while reducing IT development and maintenance costs as much as 80%. The solution enables businesses to gain more value from each customer interaction. Discover Financial Services, Inc. operates the Discover(R) Card and the Discover(R) Network for its 50 million plus Cardmembers. Fair Issac assists thousands of companies in acquiring customers, increasing customer value, reducing fraud and credit losses, lowering operating expenses, and entering new markets.

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