Top Consumer Credit Seminar to be Held Next Month

A highly regarded consumer credit management training program, usually offered internally at major banks and financial institutions, such as Chase and Wells Fargo, is now open to executives from all financial institutions. The “Consumer Credit: Managing Risk and Reward” is slated for New York City, September 21st through the 23rd. The seminar is led by former Citibank and Ford Motor executive David Lawrence and his partner, Arlene Solomon. Mr. Lawrence is also the author of “The Handbook of Consumer Lending” and co-author, with Ms. Solomon, of the 2002 book, “Managing a Consumer Lending Business.” The three-day program uses case studies, exercises, and a computer-based profit-modeling game to ensure active involvement. The faculty at this offering will also include Alan Schiffres, of Portfolio Management Associates, for the front end of the credit cycle and scoring, and Don Griffin, of The Center for Business Solutions, for collections.

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EST to Offer CommerSafe ACS to Issuers

EST has agreed to license iBIZ Software’s “CommerSafe ACS”
to authenticate cardholders in real-time. EST will manage the localization, deployment and ongoing sales of “CommerSafe ACS” to Turkish and Polish card issuers. Issuers will have the choice of deploying “CommerSafe ACS Classic” or “thinServer” depending on their preference to have independent sources of data, or to have it all centralized on their current host database. iBIZ Software’s “CommerSafe Product Suite,” has been compliant with each of the 3-D Secure programs from their very launch, including “Verified by Visa,” “MasterCard SecureCode,” and “JCB J/Secure.”

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Postal Rate Commission Wants More NSAs in the Pipeline

The Postal Rate Commission is reaching out to credit unions and smaller banks to encourage them to enter into “Negotiated Service Agreements” to lower their mailing costs. To date, only Capital One has been approved for an “NSA,” but Discover and Bank One struck similar deals with the Postal Service in June that are now awaiting approval from the PRC. Since September 2003, Capital One has been able to mail credit card solicitations using First-Class Mail at discounts up to 6 cents per piece. Under the Cap One “NSA” and the two proposed “NSAs,” mailers receive pricing incentives if they send more First-Class Mail than they typically do in a year and convert to using the “Address Change Service,” which provides electronic notification of forwarded mail and undeliverable pieces, eliminating the return of undeliverable mail. Currently, NSAs are complex and time-consuming to create but the Postal Service says it is aiming to streamline the process. Once negotiated, the NSA is presented to the Board of Governors and authorization is requested to file the case with the PRC. The Postal Service and the customer then litigate the case before the PRC, presenting documentation and evidence that the agreement is in the best interest of the mailing public. This process can take 10 months. If the NSA is recommended by the PRC, it is returned to the Board of Governors for final approval and implementation.

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Dollar General to Accept Discover Nationwide

Discover has inked an exclusive acceptance agreement with Dollar General. The “Discover Card” will be the only credit card accepted for payment at more than 5,500 Dollar General stores in 27 states and will be accepted at all of Dollar General’s more than 7,000 stores chain wide. Previously, Dollar General accepted only cash and personal checks as forms of payment. Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions has been selected as the electronic card processor for all electronic payments.

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Metris Rolls-Out a Monthly Jackpot Card

A new MasterCard has been introduced that gives cardholders a chance to win a monthly cash jackpot of at least $25,000, every time they spend $1 on purchases. The new “American DreamCard Platinum MasterCard” awards one sweepstakes entry for every net $1.00 spent on the card, up to 1,000 entries per a $1,000 transaction. Consumers also receive 1,000 entries for applying during the promotional period which ends September 30th. If approved, cardholders will also earn 100 entries by enrolling in the online account servicing platform, and one hundred entries each time they pay their “American DreamCard” bill online. Monthly winners will receive 0.50% of the total amount of net dollars spent by the cumulative number of cardholders on their “American DreamCards” during each drawing period. The maximum monthly prize is expected to vary between $30,000 and $100,000. Metris/Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank is the issuer of the innovative card.

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Debit Cards Play a Major Role in School Purchases

A new survey shows that 70% of parents with children younger than college age said they plan to use their debit card for back-to-school purchases and that one in five parents, with children in college, plan to give their child a debit card to help the student manage spending while at school. The “Back to School Spending Index” survey, sponsored by MasterCard and conducted by Harris Interactive, found that on average, parents of U.S. students college age and younger expect to spend $412 this year on back-to-school items. More than one-third of parents expect to spend more this year than last and one-sixth anticipate 2004 back-to-school costs for books, clothes, and supplies to exceed $500. The MasterCard survey also revealed that households with children are more likely to have debit cards than those without (72% for those with children vs. 58% for those without children).

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Paymentech to Offer eFunds’ SCAN

Paymentech has negotiated a contract with eFunds’ Deposit Payment Protection Services to offer “SCAN” check authorization services to its top retail and e-commerce customers. By making SCAN available to all their merchant channels, Paymentech will provide retailers with the opportunity to leverage and contribute to multi-channel information to mitigate risk, protect their business and their bottom line.

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COUNTERFEIT LOSSES

New research suggests that America’s reluctance to adopt the
chip and PIN technology used in the UK and France will contribute to a sharp rise in counterfeit card fraud losses as organized crime is likely to turn to the U.S. where the protection against counterfeit is weaker.
The study says that counterfeit card fraud rose by 121% in the last
five years, from $95.6 million in 1999 to over $211 million in 2003.
According to London-based Datamonitor, one of the obstacles to the EMV implementation in the U.S. is the high cost of transition, estimated to be in the region of $13 billion. This compares to annual fraud losses of $1.5 billion in 2003. Given this imbalance it is difficult for card issuers to build a business case for investment in anti-fraud measures. However, Datamonitor forecasts the losses associated with counterfeit card fraud will show the strongest increases over the next five years.

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MBNA Kicks-Off an NFL Extra Points Card

MBNA yesterday rolled-out a new credit card offering football fans a variety of NFL and NFL TEAM experiences such as dinner with a coach, golf with former players, sideline passes, game tickets, etc. The new “MBNA NFL Extra Points” credit card is available with the team logo of any of the 32 NFL clubs, or the NFL shield. Cardholders receive one point for each dollar charged. “Extra Points” redemptions include VIP Draft Party Access for 8,000 points, two game tickets for 35,000 points, dinner with a coach for 80,000 points, and two “Super Bowl” tickets for 200,000 points. MBNA is the official credit card issuer of the NFL and all 32 NFL teams.

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AmeriCard Becomes OneBridge

Card processing company, AmeriCard, has changed the company name to OneBridge. This name change comes along with the announcement that they have also expanded their business focus with a new vision of specializing in making money move by providing comprehensive card processing solutions. The expansion includes offerings to enhance the card transaction process beginning with the recent introduction of its new proprietary system.

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