MasterCard Hires a Top Australian Policeman

MasterCard International has hired a former Director of National Investigations for the Australian Federal Police to spearhead its development of solutions to manage risks and enhance fraud control in Asia/Pacific. Tim Morris, who served with Australian Federal Police for 18 years, will become MasterCard vice president & regional head for Security & Risk Management for Asia/Pacific. He will be based in Singapore, working closely with law enforcement agencies to combat payment card crime, as well as work with government institutions to provide support in aid of legislation for card fraud. During his tenure with AFP, Morris created a new counter terrorism division and led the Australian contribution to the successful investigation into the bombings in Bali. He was also a member of the Australian Prime Minister’s business task force on critical infrastructure protection and a member of the inter-governmental committee on identity fraud.

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Capital One Ranks #1 in Online Experience

A new study has found that Capital One, American Express, and Discover provide the best overall online customer experience, while Fleet and MBNA customers are the least satisfied with their online experience. The research also found that one in four customers of Fleet, MBNA and Bank One experienced a problem finding or accessing customer support online. The findings are based on interviews with 2,000 credit card customers for the “Customer Experience Rankings for the Credit Card Industry” survey conducted by Vividence. The study shows that customers are motivated to transition to managing their accounts online primarily by the ease of paying their credit card bill and the ability to receive statements online. Customers are most likely to sign up for online services when applying for their card online. Vividence research also found that the ease of applying online, and Web site design and organization, were primary drivers in customer acquisition. Only the credit card offer itself (including annual fee and interest rate) had a stronger effect. American Express and Discover were the only sites to rate highly both among current and prospective customers-and although Capital One ranked last with prospective customers, the company ranked first among its own current customers. The Vividence study also looked at the reasons for increased card usage, finding that consumers use their credit cards primarily because of the convenience of doing so (49% mentioning as a factor); to earn travel and rewards points (29% mentioning); for purchase protection (25%); and to finance purchases (21%).

BEST OVERALL ONLINE EXPERIENCE
1. Capital One
2. American Express
3. Discover Card
4. Citibank
5. Wells Fargo
6. Bank of America
7. Chase
8. Bank One
9. MBNA
10. Fleet
Source: Vividence CE Rankings

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Utah CCCS Closed after Funds Go Missing

Washington, DC-based Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions reports that the Utah Division of Consumer Protection seized control of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Utah last week to investigate why more than $60,000 is missing from a trust account. Each month, an estimated 1,400 Utahns sent money orders or cashier’s checks to the company, which put the money in a trust account before paying clients’ bills. Beginning in January, however, checks written on the trust account started bouncing and clients’ bills went unpaid. Under the court order, the Utah CCCS President is forbidden from any contact with CCCS or its bank accounts. He also must return all CCCS assets in his possession, including cell phone, credit cards and a 2000 BMW.

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Beijing Sunkart and Asia Pay Team to Launch a Co-Branded VIP Card

Beijing Sunkart Investment Management Co. has signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with U.S.-based Asia Payment Systems to develop a co-branded “VIP Card” service for the government employee and commercial sectors in China. The agreement calls for a joint investigation of the commercial, technical and legal issues relating to the launch of the proposed card within three months. Asia Pay is a credit card processing merchant services company. It says it is in the final stages of negotiation with several Asian clients. The Company is a Nevada incorporated company with offices in Seattle, Washington, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China. Its mission is to become a leading China-wide provider of world-class third-party processing services to bankcard-accepting merchants and issuers of bank credit cards, petroleum station, merchandise and other retail cards.

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Bank One Trumps the Competition

Continuing its aggressive co-branding strategy with the most visible brands, Bank One this week announced a deal with Donald Trump’s enterprise. The new “Trump Rewards VISA” offers a 1% rebate on all purchases, and a 2% rebate on purchases at Trump casinos. The Trump card joins Bank One’s growing list of recent co-branded deals including Disney, Starbucks, Avon, and Sony. Under the Trump program, cardholders receive one point for every dollar spent for everyday purchases and two points for every dollar spent in qualified purchases at the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza and Trump Marina. Every time cardholders accumulate 2,500 points, they will automatically receive a $25 “Reward Certificate” that can be used for either purchases at Trump property owned restaurants, gift shops or toward hotel stays. Cardholders also receive a $25 “Reward Certificate” after their first card purchase or balance transfer. The card has no annual fee and offers a 0% six-month intro rate. After that, 10.99% variable, 12.99% variable or 16.99% variable, depending on the applicant’s credit score.

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Low Cost Terminals to Drive Maestro

MasterCard has launched the “MasterCard/Maestro Terminal Implementation Program” to build global acceptance of “Maestro” through low cost terminals. The “M-TIP” program is being supported by Dione, Hypercom and Verifone. Dione is offering the “Xtreme” and “Xplorer” terminals as well as field teams to provide a fully managed service. Verifone implemented its first “M-TIP” trial last year in Argentina for Argencard, who started their program of upgrading over 8,000 merchants to “Maestro” and PIN functionality. MasterCard says countries with relatively low terminal penetration such as India, Argentina and Indonesia are looking to MasterCard to support rapid, low cost “Maestro” accepting terminals, while more extensively penetrated card acceptance markets, such as the UK, Brazil and Switzerland, face a different challenge as they replace their local debit card brands with “Maestro,” meaning that they need to upgrade their entire terminal estate to “Maestro” as they replace their terminals to support “EMV Chip and PIN.” MasterCard noted that terminal offers have already been delivered to acquirers in over ten countries, including among others Argentina, Tunisia, South Africa, Brazil, India and Egypt.

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RBC Centura Doubles its ATM Network

Publix Super Markets has inked a deal to give RBC Centura Bank customers free access to Publix’s 850 “Presto!” ATMs. This agreement more than doubles RBC Centura’s ATM network, providing customers fee-free access to 850 Presto! ATMs across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. RBC Centura Bank offers a wide range of financial services and advice, including a complete line of banking, investment, loan, mortgage, life insurance, and other services, to individuals and businesses in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida.

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MasterCard Europe Aims for Borderless Transactions via a SEPA License

Effective May 1st, MasterCard Europe is introducing the first ever “Single European Payments Area” license to provide a fast-track approach to the licensing of MasterCard brands across the SEPA zone.
Covering 28 countries, the SEPA zone includes the new grouping of the 25 “European Union Member States” plus the three “European Free Trade Area” countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. May 1st is the day that ten accession countries enter the European Union. MasterCard says the SEPA license recognizes the individual national legislative variations as set out by the regulators and domestic bodies within the 28 SEPA countries, as well as the applicable European Union regulations. In fact, MasterCard?s work on developing a single European licence, anticipated the recommendations of the Cards Working Group, a think tank on cards established by the European Payments Council, the body created by the European banking industry in order to achieve its vision of a “Single European Payments Area.” The SEPA license program covers all brands promoted by MasterCard Europe including “MasterCard,” “MasterCard Electronic,” “Maestro,” and, “Cirrus.”

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CPI Renames Companies After its Nevada Move

CPI Card Group has renamed Colorado Plasticard as CPI Card Group – Colorado, and California Plasticard as CPI Card Group – Nevada. The change is in name only and designed to represent the new location and commonality between the companies. There are no changes to the companies’ ownership, corporate management, or corporate structure. CPI Card Group, a world leader in plastic card manufacturing for over 20 years, offers a single source for plastic cards-from foil cards and holograms, to translucent and smart cards-with services that include card design, manufacturing, personalization, fulfillment and mailing.

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Global Check Services Offers ECHO’s VPCS

Electronic Clearing House has successfully completed a “VISA POS Check Service” pilot with San Diego-based Global Check Services, and Global will now roll-out the service to 5,000 of its merchant locations this month. Global Check Services will also sell the Visa POS Check product to new merchants. ECHO ([www.echo-inc.com][1]) provides a complete solution to the payment processing needs of merchants, banks and collection agencies.

[1]: http://www.echo-inc.com

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PPP Boosts Production Capacity and Workforce

IL-based Perfect Plastic Printing has increased its production capacity by 35%, and has expanded its workforce by 20% to meet the current and projected needs of the credit card industry. Among the enhancements PPP has made to its manufacturing capabilities is the introduction of computer-to-plate technology to speed the front end of the production process. It has also installed a new Heidelberg six-color press that increases capacity by more than a third. Perfect Plastic Printing Corporation has been a pioneer in the printing and manufacturing of credit cards.

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KLM Embraces a Prepaid Maestro Card

MasterCard this week announced the roll-out of its twelfth “Maestro” pre-paid card in Europe. KLM, the Royal Dutch airline, is now using the prepaid card to replace its existing system of providing cash to customers following over-booked or delayed flights. The “KLM Maestro” card is issued by ABN AMRO, and was the first to be piloted in the airline sector as a business tool. Under the program, KLM staff can load the card on the spot. The customer can then choose to withdraw their cash from an ATM in local currency, or spend it at merchants. KLM says it is looking to expand the program to pay expenses to airline staff or as rewards, or gift-cards. The “Maestro” brand mark now appears on more than 520 million cards worldwide.

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