MC Aims for Better Merchant Communications

MasterCard has launched a special Web site for the merchant community, providing insight into its rules manual. MasterCard also announced that it has expanded it “Priceless” ad campaign to spotlight merchant partners. The new “MasterCard Merchant Rules Manual” includes rules covering a wide range of topics relevant to merchants, such as the steps that a merchant must follow to complete a sale, how MasterCard transactions are processed, and programs that MasterCard has put in place to reduce fraud. Regional variations of these rules are also included in the manual. MasterCard is also communicating to merchants that its credit and debit interchange program rates for the U.S. are now being established solely by MasterCard management, with no Board participation. The print ads, developed by McCann Erickson/New York, will debut with a number of high-profile national merchants, including Banana Republic, The Gap, Kmart, Pier 1, Travelocity, RadioShack, Shell and Williams-Sonoma.

Details

Welcome Wagon Joins AmEx Business Savings

Homestore’s Welcome Wagon has joined the American Express “Business Savings Program”.Through the program, businesses that accept the American Express Card will be given preferred pricing for advertising in Welcome Wagon’s Address Book, which is delivered to more than two million new homeowners each year, as well as Pinpoint Mail, a personalized postcard product that can be targeted to a specific audience. Business Savings from American Express is offered at no cost to any and all merchants in the American Express network across the United States, regardless of size or location. There is no enrollment process; merchants can access the many expense savings offerings through or by calling the toll-free numbers provided by the partners.

Details

Sovereign Bancorp Becomes an MBNA Agent

Philadelphia-based Sovereign Bancorp has signed an agent bank agreement with MBNA for consumer cards, student cards, and small business cards. As part of the agreement, cards will be marketed under the Sovereign Bank brand name, and MBNA will own and service the loans and provide all the administrative support for the program. Cards will be marketed in Sovereign Bank branch locations, as well as via phone and through Sovereign Bank’s Web site, . Benefits of the Sovereign Bank Visa and MasterCard credit cards include no annual fee, the highest credit lines in the industry, a low introductory annual percentage rate and MBNA’s world-class customer service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Sovereign Bank Platinum Plus Visa and MasterCard credit cards will include MBNA’s dynamic WorldPoints rewards program, under which cardholders earn points for every purchase made with the card, and can redeem points for airline travel, merchandise or cash.

Details

MBI Launches a FSA Education Program

FSA debit card specialist, MBI, has formed a partnership with McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals to educate consumers on the advantages of enrolling in healthcare flexible spending account programs.A benefit offered by a rapidly growing number of employers, FSAs allow consumers to use pre-tax dollars for select healthcare expenses, including over-the-counter drugs. Nearly 12,000 employers now offer MBI benefit debit cards to their employees, including Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, Staples, Citigroup and Toshiba. Today, there are nearly one million cardholders, and the company expects to reach 2 million cardholder accounts over the next seven months.

Details

Cap One Finalizes College Mascot Team

Capital One unveiled the members of the “3rd Annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team” with online voting set to start October 11th. Over the past three years, Capital One has helped thrust the spotlight on these unsung heroes of the gridiron. In addition to starring in a national advertising campaign, team members each receive $5,000 worth of funds for their school’s mascot program. This year’s fuzzy crew was chosen from Division IA and IAA athletic programs with college football teams. A panel of judges, including mascot guru and historian, Dr. Roy Yarbrough; former college mascot and current sports marketer from Richmond Sports Backers Scott Schricker; and representatives from ESPN and Capital One, carefully analyzed each contender and scored them based on the following criteria: (1) interaction with fans, (2) sportsmanship and (3) community service.

Details

GPN & Lipman Target Retail & Restaurants

Global Payments has teamed with Lipman to introduce new wireless and dial-up products for U.S. retail and restaurant industries. The new “Retail @dvantage NURIT Wireless” and “Retail @dvantage NURIT Dial” products provide processing for credit, debit and EBT cards. The new Dial product also provides optional electronic check, as well as gift and loyalty card processing. The “Restaurant @dvantage NURIT Dial” is a complete payment processing tool targeting a variety of restaurants, taverns and bars. “Restaurant @dvantage NURIT Wireless” offers processing capabilities ideal for mobile and temporary locations such as outdoor concessions, stadiums, kiosks, delivery services and pay-at-the table establishments.

Details

TCF Ties a Credit Card with a Checking Account

Minnesota-based TCF Financial has launched a innovative program that ties a rewards VISA credit card with a checking account. The platinum VISA credit card is automatically paid-off each month. The new, free “TCF Miles Plus VISA” credit card is packaged with the high-yielding “TCF Premier Checking Plus” account. TCF says the program is uniquely suited for customers who maintain checking account balances of $5,000 or more and pay off their credit card balance each month. Cardholders of the new “TCF Miles Plus VISA” credit card earn one point for every dollar of purchases made with their card. The points can be used as miles for free air travel. TCF customers receive a combined account statement, which shows not only all checking account activity but also all of their credit card purchases made with their “Miles Plus” card during the same time period. Card purchases are then automatically deducted from the checking account 15 days after the statement is generated. TCF is also offering its new “Premier Checking Plus” customers 5,000 points to get their reward account started after their first card purchase.

Details

VISA Check Card Prevents Arm Injuries

VISA is showcasing a new TV spot today during the Olympic Ceremony for its “Check Card.” The new “Injury” commercial features the Yankees’ Joe Torre and George Steinbrenner. In the spot George Steinbrenner injures his arm by writing too many checks. The commercial then demonstrates the convenience of automatically paying bills with the VISA’s debit card. It was shot in the Yankee Stadium training room and was created by agency BBDO, New York. The commercial plays on the previous theme of two VISA ads which spoof the relationship between George Steinbrenner and Derek Jeter. Based on purchase volume, VISA USA has an 80% share of the U.S. off-line or signature debit card market, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

Crane Vending Machines Integrates e-Port

Crane Merchandising Systems has added USA Technologies’ “e-Port” cashless transaction solution into its vending machines. The e-Port allows end users to purchase items from vending machines using a credit or debit card, whether the machines are connected to the Internet by land line or wireless. The cost is automatically charged to the consumer’s credit card or bank account. Crane plans to target vending machine owners and operators who sell their products for $1.00 or more, and to customers vending higher priced non-traditional items.

Details

The Apprentice to Speak for Advanta

Advanta has signed Bill Rancic, a successful business owner and recent winner of the television series, “The Apprentice,” to serve as its corporate spokesperson.This is the first corporate spokesperson agreement for Rancic, an entrepreneur who launched a cigar business out of his studio apartment and grew it into a successful global company. Last spring, Rancic won the televised competition on “The Apprentice,” which was one of the highest-rated television series of the year. The hit series tapped into the entrepreneurial dreams of millions of young Americans and has sparked renewed interest in people who own their own businesses. Rancic will be an ambassador for Advanta in public appearances, media interviews, marketing and promotional campaigns. He will be promoting the features and benefits of the company’s credit card.

Details

DeltaBank & GE

GE Consumer Finance is acquiring Moscow-based DeltaBank, a VISA issuer with more than 103,000 credit cards in-force. The acquisition is GECF’s third major acquisition in the past thirty days, following the purchase of the assets of Dillard National Bank and the Mervyn’s credit card portfolio from Target. Over the past year, GECF’s assets have grown more than 20%, from $97.1 billion to $116.9 billion. During the second quarter, GECF produced net income $600 million on revenues of $3.8 billion. DeltaBank was founded in 2000 and provides bank cards, personal loans, and sales finance through branches and more than 70 imbedded points of sale in established retail outlets, such as IKEA and other major retailers. The DeltaBank deal is GECF’s largest in Russia and is expected to close by year end.

Details

CMKXTREME Prepaid VISA Launched

Las Vegas-based CMKXTREME has launched a prepaid VISA card for its race fan affinity group and CMKX DIAMONDS Inc. shareholders. The VISA Pre-Paid Stored Value card is neither a credit card nor a debit card and does not require a banking account to be opened when applying. The card is signature based for point-of-sale transactions and PIN based for ATM transactions. Cardholders can securely add additional funds to their card through a free Web site or through a toll-free telephone system from an existing checking account or credit card.

Details