GE Corporate Payment Services launched a MasterCard payroll card, the latest in its suite of stored value products. The payroll card is supported by phone- and Web-based customer service, however, employers can’t view employee transaction activity. An instant issue version of the payroll card, designed for short-term employment, is also available. GE Corporate Payment Services is the commercial card unit of GE Consumer Finance. Cards are issued by GE Capital Financial Inc.Details
A new study has found that Canadians do not like to wait in the check-out line to make purchases and, as a result, merchants are losing an estimated $1.7 billion in sales annually. About 20% of people would wait one to three minutes, whereas 40% of Canadians would wait three to five minutes. According to the research by Leger Marketing on behalf of Moneris Solutions, Canadians who walked away from their purchases due to line-ups estimated that the value of those purchases was an average $127 per year. Payment preference also plays a key role in consumer satisfaction at the point-of-sale. The Moneris survey found that overall, nearly two-thirds of Canadians (64%) prefer to use their debit or credit card for their purchases. And as the value of the purchase increases, so too does the consumer’s preference to use a card for payment. For purchases in the range of $25 to $75, the debit card is the preferred method of payment for about half of Canadians (49%), followed by credit (25%) and cash (24%). For purchases greater than $75, credit and debit cards reign supreme, combining for 81% of all payments.Details
The Strategic Research Institute is producing a conference entitled “Identity Theft in Financial Services: Cause, Effect, and Remedies” They also need to understand, anticipate, and influence pending legislation and regulation. They need to be part of the dialogue. A unified forum to facilitate communication between financial services, credit, retail, regulatory, and federal and state law enforcement entities has up till now been missing.Details
Exxon Mobil has launched a summer promotion for its co-branded “ExxonMobil MasterCard,” offering a $20 rebate credit toward future Exxon and Mobil gasoline and inside convenience store purchases for new cardholders Ongoing rebates of 3 percent on all purchases made with the card at Exxon and Mobil locations and 1 percent on purchases made everywhere else MasterCard is accepted. ExxonMobil, Exxon and Mobil are trademarks of Exxon Mobil Corporation or one of its subsidiaries. The ExxonMobil MasterCard is issued by Citibank.Details
Vancouver-based Ernex, a division of Moneris Solutions, has assisted hospitality provider Travelodge Canada in introducing a brand-exclusive
“Guest Rewards” program. Members of the Travelodge Guest Rewards program can now get updated points information at the point-of-sale terminals of participating Travelodge Canada properties. The points can be redeemed for gift certificates from over 25 leading Canadian retailers as well as cash credits which can be applied towards future stays at Travelodge Canada properties. Royal Host owns the master franchise rights for the Travelodge brand
in Canada, and also owns 39 hotels, manages 75 properties and franchises 118 locations for over 15,500 guestrooms in the mid-market to upscale segments.
Euronet Worldwide announced the launch of its card risk management and fraud detection system, developed by Alaric Systems. The new “Fractals” fraud detection system enables proactive, systematic card fraud suspect analysis detection. It provides an automated way of analyzing card transactions by scoring their likelihood of being fraudulent. This solution is easily integrated within existing Euronet customer systems as well as the systems of most transaction and card processing systems, monitoring both issuing and acquiring transaction activity including ATM, POS, merchant, debit and credit from a single instance of the software. Euronet’s fraud detection system is a modular system with two layers of fraud protection. The first is a rules-only module designed and target to the mid-size banking market where volumes warrant protection but at a lower cost of entry. The solution also offers a system strategy component designed for the high-volume transaction processors. It maintains spending and usage patterns so it can detect fraud at the earliest possible moment. The “Fractals” models recognize complex, hidden patterns of fraud, as well as emerging schemes, while minimizing unnecessary referrals and interference with legitimate transactions. With the integrated suspect analysis it allows investigators to focus on the highest priority transactions.Details
VISA this week launched its second TV spot to promote its sponsorship and card exclusivity of the “ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.” The new “Lap” commercial, which follows the “Snowball” ad launched in January, features Olympic swimmer and VISA “Gold Medal Athlete,” Michael Phelps. The spot shows Phelps making his way from Greece to the Statue of Liberty, with a tag line reinforcing Visa’s role as the only card accepted at the 2004 Olympic Games. “Lap” was filmed on location in Greece, New York and Miami. The first spot of VISA’s Olympic campaign, “Snowball,” debuted during the Super Bowl, featuring U.S. women’s beach volleyball duo Misty May and Kerri Walsh. The “Lap” and “Snowball” spot was created by BBDO New York. (CF Library 1/28/04)Details
VISA Canada announced the third pillar of its consumer e-commerce offering. The new “VISA E-Promise” provides cardholders with a new level of protection when they use their VISA card to shop online, by mail, or by phone. The initiative provides consumers with the ability to contact their credit card issuer directly to resolve disputes that they may have encountered after shopping online, by mail, or by phone. The “VISA E-Promise” builds on existing VISA initiatives such as “Verified by Visa” and “Zero Cardholder Liability.” Once contacted by the VISA cardholder, and provided that the cardholder has legitimate grounds for the request, the VISA issuer will act on the cardholder request, investigate the dispute and provide a refund to the cardholder if the cardholder’s claims are validated. In 2003, consumer online sales in Canada totaled more than $7.5 billion.Details
Detroit-based Catuity has acquired certain rights and assets, including partner company relationships, products and methodologies, from Denver-based Vitesse Worldwide. The Company also hired two Vitesse executives to drive the company’s strategy to offer additional IT services to retailers and their processing partners. The acquired Vitesse services include the “AutoConvert Merchant Program,” a conversion/de-conversion outsourcing custom application, and consulting expertise relating to credit/debit/merchant systems. Catuity named Scott Aicher, previously CEO of Vitesse, as VP of Catuity’s new IT Services Group, and Dion Gonzales, formerly the Chief Development Officer at Vitesse, as the head of sales for the new division. Catuity also announced it has retained payments and technology industry veteran Ron Elmore as a consultant, to organize and direct a restructuring of Catuity’s sales and marketing activities. Catuity’s loyalty software is currently used on nearly 40,000 points of sale throughout the U.S.Details
Elan Financial Services this week reported that its “Fastbank” ATM network, launched late last year, has added 21 financial institutions, 168 ATMs, and more than 122,000 cards to the original network. “Fastbank” complements the existing ATM and debit processing programs with over 7,500 ATMs across 50 states. “Fastbank Free,” the surcharge free option of the “Fastbank” network provides access to more than 3,500 ATMs in 27 states, predominately concentrated in the Midwest and West. Elan, part of U.S. Bancorp, supports 15 million ATM/POS cards and 2 million credit cardholders.Details
Las Vegas-based TransOne is launching a VISA pre-paid debit card using the Symmetrex state-of-the-art processing platform, and an innovative Web-based funds transfer system. Through the sales and marketing organizations of TransOne, Inc., and leading debit card marketing companies, TransOne enables pre-paid stored value cards to be purchased, activated, loaded and used over merchant POS terminal networks, ATM’s and the internet world wide. TransOne coordinated a series of meetings in Sydney, Australia with a leading marketing company of financial solutions throughout the Asia-Pacific region.Details
While it is very likely the Feds will raise rates by 50 basis points in the next two weeks, the impact will largely affect refinancing activity, home prices, and collateral performance in the mortgage sector. Credit card issuers, blessed with lower funding costs over the past three years, will largely have to absorb the first wave of increases, but will recoup the impact by passing the rate increases to consumers over the summer. Some issuers recently switched from fixed rates to variable rates in anticipation of the increases. Discover switched its standard purchase rate from a fixed 16.99% to prime +12.99%, effective April 1st. Effective June 1st, American Express changed its default interest rate from a fixed 23.99% to prime +21.99%. A handful of VISA and MasterCard issuers have rejiggered punitive interest rates from fixed to variable, and have adjusted the effective dates of the prime rate. MBNA recently noted in its SEC filings that a 100 basis point increase in interest rates could reduce net income by $67 million for the year. MBNA said it could offset its costs by raising interest rates for cardholders but the company noted there is a lag of about 45 days before rate hikes takes effect upon cardholders. Fitch said yesterday it remains cautious in its near-term outlook for subprime credit card ABS. Higher rates may put pressure on subprime borrowers to reload available credit lines undermining stable to improving collateral performance. Notwithstanding, Fitch believes excess spread levels in the credit card sector, can absorb higher rates, though a rate increase may cause some spread compression for some issuers in the subprime segment.
[Click Here To View The Notice of Amendment to the Discover Cardmemeber Agreement In PDF Format]