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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AmEx/Delta Rewards In-Flight Meal Purchases

Seeking to win flyers over to paying for in-flight meals, Delta yesterday launched a promotion to award 500 bonus miles for first-time in-flight food and drink purchases. Customers must use their “Delta SkyMiles Credit Card” or “Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card” from American Express. The promotion runs through July 31st. The meal items are available on more than 228 Delta U.S. flights. American Express is also currently offering double “SkyMiles” for using a “Delta SkyMiles” credit card for federal income tax payments, plus one “SkyMile” for every eligible dollar spent when paying state income taxes on the card.

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US PIN POS for Canadians Planned

NYCE has inked a deal to provide Canadian debit cardholders the convenience of using their cards at U.S. retailers supporting NYCE PIN POS payments. The agreement with Acxsys Corporation, the architects of the INTERAC network, calls for the NYCE Network to link Canadian debit cardholders to U.S. retailers by offering a gateway service. The service will begin in fall 2004. The Canadian debit marketplace is significant, with Canadians logging more than 2.6 billion debit transactions in 2003. Canadians are among the highest users of PIN debit payments in the world. A recent Interac study found that one out of two Canadians prefer to pay by debit rather than cash, credit card or check.

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NACM CMI Improves in March by 7%+

The National Association of Credit Management’s “Credit Manager’s Index” for March shows a 7.1% improvement over the prior month. The CMI survey asks credit managers to rate favorable and unfavorable factors in their monthly business cycle. Favorable factors include sales, new credit applications, dollar collections and amount of credit extended. The National Association of Credit Management (NACM), headquartered in Columbia, Maryland supports more than 25,000 business credit and financial professionals worldwide with premier industry services, tools and information.

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FFIEC Releases Retail Payment Systems Booklet

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council this week issued revised guidance for examiners, financial institutions, and technology service providers on the risks associated with retail payment systems. The new “Retail Payment Systems Booklet” provides guidance on the risks and risk-management practices applicable to financial institutions’ retail payment system activities, including checks, card-based electronic payments, and other electronic payment media such as person-to-person, EBT, and ACH. The booklet will be distributed electronically at [www.ffiec.gov/guides.htm][1].

[1]: http://www.ffiec.gov/guides.htm

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