Maestro Cards Up 10%; U.S. Transactions Double

MasterCard yesterday reported that it added 21 million “Maestro” PIN-POS cards during the second quarter, bringing its global “Maestro” portfolio to 545 million cards. At mid-year, cards bearing the “Maestro” brand could be used to withdraw cash from more than 900,000 ATMs as well as to make purchases at more than seven million “Maestro” merchant locations worldwide. In the USA, “Maestro”-processed transactions grew 92% during the first six months of this year. New acquirer and major merchant direct connections to the “MasterCard Debit Switch” and “Maestro” issuer decisions to designate the “MDS” as their preferred routing channel for online debit transactions fueled the increase. Europe continued to be the largest cardholder base for “Maestro” with 253 million cards, a 10% increase over the same period in 2003. GDV for online debit activity in the region for the second quarter was $274 billion. The number of “Maestro” cards issued in Asia/Pacific was 148 million with GDV of $34 billion for the second quarter. In Latin America, “Maestro” card numbers grew 36% to 72 million cards, compared to the end of the second quarter in 2003. GDV for online debit activity in the region for the second quarter was $10 billion. The South Asia, Middle East, and Africa region also experienced exceptional card growth with a 40% increase to 25 million cards at the end of the second quarter, compared to the end of the second quarter of 2003. GDV for online debit activity in the region for the second quarter of 2004 was $16 billion.

MAESTRO CARD HISTORICAL
2Q/00: 336 million
2Q/01: 388 million
2Q/02: 445 million
2Q/03: 495 million
2Q/04: 545 million
Source: CardFlash International

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Providian Ranks as the Best Overall Card Web Site

When it comes to applying for a credit card online, Providian has been ranked the best for a clear and direct application process. National City and Discover round out the top three by showing prospects a concise overview of card rates and features in a easy-to-read grid. Chase placed last due to an application process that requires more reading and data entry than the other sites, in addition to recent changes that have made card details harder to find. American Express was ranked #13. The grading was conducted by Change Sciences Group, which measures the online customer experience provided by top credit card Web sites.

BEST CARD ISSUER WEB SITES
(Based on Overall Customer Experience)
1. Providian 4.51
2. National City 4.73
3. Discover 5.02
4. Capital One 5.25
5. Fleet 5.86
6. Citibank 6.56
7. Bank of America 6.82
8. Bank One 7.16
9. Household Bank 7.35
10. MBNA 7.73
SOURCE: Change Sciences Group

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First Data to Support JCB Issuance and Acquiring

JCB has inked a product development deal wherein First Data will enhance its “VisionPLUS” card processing system to support JCB products, and enable FDC clients to issue and acquire JCB cards. First Data Japan Co., formed in early 2003, has been promoting “VisionPLUS” within the region. However, FDC has been present in Japan since 2001 via a joint venture alliance with NTT Data, DC Card and Diamond Computer Services Co, referred to as Nihon Card Processing Co. Ltd. Currently JCB has 49.6 million card members. JCB cards are accepted at 11.42 million associated merchants and supported by close ties with more than 320 financial institutions worldwide.

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JCB Grants an Acquiring License to EURO 6000

Madrid-based EURO 6000 S.A. has signed a license agreement for JCB acquiring operations. This is the first time that JCB has granted an acquiring license to a payment network in Spain and completes JCB business relationships with the major Spanish acquirers. Thirty-five banks, primarily regional savings banks, participate in EURO 6000’s payment network and processing center services, for a total of approximately 260,000 merchants. EURO 6000 merchant acquiring operations and sales processing will begin by the end of March 2005. JCB card acceptance will be phased in, starting with about 140,000 merchants in the first year and 250,000 by the end of the third year. As a result the JCB card acceptance rate in the Spanish market will nearly double, benefiting not only the “La Caixa JCB Card” cardholders who live in
Spain, but also the large number of visitors from other European
countries.

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RONA to Offer AIR MILES Nationwide

Loyalty Management Group Canada has partnered with a major retailer and distributor of hardware, renovation and gardening products, to offer the “AIR MILES Reward Program.” RONA, a sponsor in Quebec since the launch of the “AIR MILES Reward Program” in 1992, extended its involvement in the established marketing program, with a national, multi-year contract. Effective immediately, collectors can earn one “AIR MILES” reward mile for every $20 spent at RONA and other RONA banners, cumulatively throughout a month. “AIR MILES” reward miles can be redeemed for more than 800 different rewards, such as movie passes, family attractions, CDs and DVDs, electronic merchandise, sports and recreation, travel and more. RONA operates a network of some 530
franchise, affiliate and corporate stores of various sizes and formats.
The “AIR MILES Reward Program” has more than 15.4 million Canadian participants.

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Global Payments and TNS Expand Relationship

Global Payments has selected TNS to deliver its primary transaction network transport in the USA and to provide supplementary transaction transport services for dial-up and Datapac transactions in Canada and transaction transport services in Europe. Global Payments offers processing solutions such as credit and debit cards, business-to-business purchasing cards, gift cards, check guarantee, check verification and recovery, electronic check, terminal management, and money transfer services. Transaction Network Services is a leading provider of business-critical, cost-effective data communications services for transaction-oriented applications.

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Bankard to Enable the GTEL Bankard Card

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s Bankard subsidiary has signed a MOU with Miami-based GlobeTel Communications to enable GTEL to issue and process stored value cards under Bankard. The “GTEL Bankard Card” will allow customers to access 5,000 ATMs locally for about $0.25 a transaction. GTEL has bundled IDD calling cards, insurance policies,
education plans, and other virtual products into its stored value cards for overseas Filipino workers. Bankard is the only listed credit card company in the Philippine Stock Exchange. Bankard issues and acquires VISA, MasterCard and JCB marks, and has a portfolio of about 280,000 cards.

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84% of Cardholders Ignorant When Complaining

More than one out of four U.S. cardholders have no clue where to file a formal credit card complaint against a national bank. Nearly half of Americans believe such disputes are handled by the Federal Trade Commission while a mere 16% correctly say its the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. An informal CardWeb.com homepage poll of 1,061 unique participants, conducted in July, also found that 10% of consumers thought the Federal Reserve Board processed complaints about credit cards issued by national banks. For consumers, the OCC has always been an obscure regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. However, the OCC has been reaching out to consumers. Earlier this year, the OCC added a searchable list of many of the national bank operating subsidiaries that do business directly with consumers. The CardWeb.com survey has a margin of error of plus or minus approximately 5.0 percentage points.

[Click Here For The Operating Subsidiaries of National Banks In PDF Format][1]

[1]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/2004/september/8a.pdf

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CO-OP Incents Members to Meet the DES Deadline

The nation’s largest credit union EFT network is planning to distribute up to $2.3 million in “Triple DES” ATM compliance incentives to its members. The CO-OP Network is offering member credit unions a distribution for each ATM that is certified to be “Triple DES” compliant by April 29, 2005. The incentive, which applies to ATMs that are attached to an intercept processor or driven directly by CO-OP Network, requires that member credit unions submit proof of “Triple DES” certification prior to the deadline. The “Triple DES” standard encrypts data through three separate keys, effectively taking information through a three-round coding process to scramble it beyond all recognition. The CO-OP Network has more than 1,725 credit union members.

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Biometric Smart Payment Cards Finally Deployed

The first biometric smart card deployment in financial services is in the pipeline for a third world country. The top financial institution in the Ivory Coast, Caisse d’Epargne et des Cheques Postaux, has inked a contract with Oberthur Card Systems for 500,000 cards and 300 biometric readers. CECP has 200 branches throughout the country. Oberthur developed a solution that provides two-level authentication of the cardholder with both a photograph and fingerprints. After a three-month pilot deemed successful by both customers and employees of Abidjan’s main branch, the bank will deploy the project, known as “Reference,” in all of its branches.

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I.C.E. Becomes a Significant Gift Card Player

Oxnard, CA-based International Card Establishment has completed its acquisition of Neos Merchant Solutions, an Irvine, CA-based gift and loyalty card provider. The deal which includes cash, debt, and stock is valued at $7.5 million. Neos revenues are expected to be between $6 million and $9 million for 2004 and $9 and $12 million in 2005. I.C.E. has projected revenue of $22 million (pro forma) in 2004, expected to grow to $50 million (pro forma) in 2005. I.C.E reported net revenues of $3.5 million for the second quarter compared to net revenues of about $250,000 in the year ago quarter. The net loss for 2Q/04 was $615,000 compared to $130,000 one-year ago. I.C.E. is aiming to become a direct credit card processor and expects to make more acquisitions in its bankcard unit. For complete details on I.C.E.’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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