MBI Beefs-Up the Flex Convenience Card

MA-based MBI has added three software enhancements to its debit card technology linked to flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, or health plans. The new features include: health plan co-payment matching; real-time transaction splitting; and, electronic substantiation of recurring expenses. MBI’s new real-time transaction splitting feature gives cardholders one-swipe convenience by automatically accessing both pre-tax and post-tax accounts simultaneously. In October, MBI introduced the first paperless, IRS-compliant system for electronically substantiating the reimbursement of over-the-counter medications. To date, over 9,000 employers and 900,000 cardholders have adopted the MBI card for use with FSAs, HRAs, Transit and DCAs.

Details

BannerDirect Brings Joy to the Agency

New York City-based direct marketing agency, BannerDirect, has hired Joy Hall, formerly with Morvil Design Group and J. Walter Thompson as Production Manager. BannerDirect is a full-service direct marketing agency recognized for the development and execution of direct response marketing programs for clients in the financial, entertainment, telecommunications, associations, retail, medical, insurance and publishing industries.

Details

Hotels.com Extends Bill Me Later Option

Hotels.com has launched a promotion to extend the “Bill Me Later” payment period provided by MD-based I4 Commerce. This powerful new payment choice enables travelers booking accommodations now through March 31, 2004 to defer payment until June 2004. Qualified travelers who choose the Bill Me Later payment option for reservations of $350 or more can defer payment without interest charges until June 2004. Hotels.com is the largest specialized provider of discount lodging reservation services worldwide, providing service through its own websites, thousands of affiliated websites, and its toll-free call centers (1-800-2-HOTELS).

Details

Catuity Came to the Brink of Profitability

Catuity, Inc., provider of loyalty software for transaction processors, card issuers and merchants, reported its 2003 results.

For the year ending December 31, 2003, Catuity recorded revenue of $4,982,000 as compared to 2002 revenue of $2,972,000. For the year the company reported a net loss of ($595,000) or ($.06) per share as compared to last year’s net loss of ($2,829,000) or ($.34) per share.

Catuity, Inc. is a leading provider of loyalty program management and e-coupon software to merchants, card issuers and processors. Clients of Catuity use the software to establish and administer a new breed of customer loyalty and e-coupon programs that immediately reward profitable behavior by customers at the point of sale. The patented software can be used to attract and retain customers and to encourage more valuable purchases, thereby resulting in greater revenue for the merchant or card issuer. The Catuity system supports many forms of customer ID, including mag stripe, smart cards, bar codes and RFID tokens. Catuity’s smart card loyalty applet has been loaded on millions of chip-based credit cards. Catuity’s software is in use in thousands of U.S. stores, including multi-lane mass merchandisers and local independent retailers. In addition to its innovative software, Catuity also provides marketing expertise and support services to its clients. For complete details on Catuity’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

Fujitsu and NCR Co-Develop a New ATM Cash Module

NCR and Fujitsu have developed a new cash deposit and recycling module for ATMs. The new module provides sophisticated bill-validation and cash-recycling functionality that can be flexibly adapted to meet the requirements of particular national or regional markets and customers. Enabling deposited, validated and sorted notes to be dispensed to customers making cash withdrawals, the module has the capability to make bunch-note acceptance and validation available for up to 200 notes, with support for multi-currency deposits and cassette-based note storage for up to 9,200 notes. Fujitsu will manufacture the new module for both companies’ respective ATM product offerings, which they will continue to distribute, sell and service separately.

Details

AmEx Renews NYC Sponsorship Deal

Madison Square Garden and Radio City Entertainment have signed a multi-year renewal sponsorship agreement with American Express. To launch the new agreement, American Express is offering Cardmembers an exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets, prior to public sale, for the Phil Collins concert on September 17th at Madison Square Garden. In addition to early on-sale ticket offers, per the agreement, American Express Cardmembers will be able to take advantage of a number of other exciting and unique benefits throughout the year. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.

Details

Komercni Banka Begins Mass Issuance of Multi-Application EMV Cards

Prague-based Komercni Banka, part of the Societe Generale Group, is now issuing mass volumes of Gemplus EMV multi-application cards. Gemplus has provided smart cards, consulting services, a turnkey
personalization solution and a set of applications ranging from micro-payments to authentication and loyalty. Komercni is issuing both EMV Maestro and VISA cards. The project between Komercni and Gemplus is an outcome of a two years cooperation in other smart card projects, such as “Guaranteed Payment” with major retail chains & channel authentication, whilst modelling and designing an EMV migration plan to reflect the long term business plans, market opportunities and customer expectations of the bank.

Details

IntelliPay Desktop Terminal Product Unveiled

IntelliPay has unveiled a new software-based credit card terminal enabling a business to accept credit cards from any personal computer, operating on all Microsoft operating systems. This product offering represents a joint effort between IntelliPay, First Tennessee Bank and First Horizon Merchant Services who will provide the initial distribution for the product. Pacific WebWorks provides a comprehensive suite of affordable, easy-to-use software programs for small businesses that want to create, manage, and maintain an effective Web strategy including full e-commerce capabilities.

Details

Low APRs Drive EU Credit Card Volume Up 76% Last Year

Europeans charge nearly three times as much on debit cards as they do on credit cards, however, credit card charge volume increased 76% last year. Consumers in EU countries used debit cards to charge 673 billion euros and credit cards to charge 244 billion euros during 2003. According to a new report by Mintel, there are 105 million VISA- and Mastercard-branded credit cards in the EU, about 8 million more than the previous year. The UK holds the lion’s share with 63.9 million credit cards, followed by Spain with 17.9 million credit cards. At the end of 2003, the number of credit cards in Italy was 5.7 million, Greece 4.3 million, France 2.8 million, and Germany 2.3 million. There are more than 450 million credit and debit cards in circulation across the 15 EU member states. Mintel says low interest rates across drove the increase in credit card volume last year.

Details

Discover Delivers Record Profits in Q1

Morgan Stanley reported this morning that its Credit Services division, including the “Discover Card,” posted a record $365 million in pre-tax profits for the quarter ending February 29th, a 26% gain over the year-ago quarter. The Company says it decreased its promotional efforts during the quarter to focus on improving profitability, pumping up the yield to 12.20%. Merchant and cardholder fees were $519 million, down 5% from last year’s first quarter. Discover says an increase in cardholder rewards and a decline in late fees, was partially offset by an increase in merchant discount revenues. Managed credit card loans of $47.3 billion at quarter end were 8.7% lower than a year ago, mainly due to lower balance transfer volume. Total transaction volume declined 7.3% to $24.2 billion. The account base contracted during the quarter by 1.3% year-over-year, down 200,000 accounts since the prior quarter. Active accounts also declined 9% from 1Q/03. The credit card net charge-off rate was 6.31%, 14 basis points higher than a year ago, but 56 basis points lower than the fourth quarter. The net charge-off rate declined as Discover’s bankruptcy losses dropped to their lowest level in nearly three years. The over-30-day-delinquency rate declined 53 basis points from 1Q/03 to 5.80%, and the over-90-day-delinquency rate declined 9 basis points over the same period to 2.86%. The decline in the over-30- day-delinquency rate was the fourth consecutive quarterly decrease. For complete details on Discover’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

DISCOVER CARD PORTFOLIO SNAPSHOT
1Q/03* 2Q/03* 3Q/03* 4Q/03* 1Q/04* Y/Y CHNG
Outstandings: $51.8b $50.9b $50.0b $48.4b $47.3b -8.7%
Volume: $26.1b $24.0b $24.8b $23.0b $24.2b -7.3%
Accounts: 46.5m 46.4m 46.3m 46.1m 45.9m -1.3%
Actives: 22.3m 21.8m 21.3m 20.8m 20.3m -9.0%
Chargeoffs: 6.17% 6.50% 6.90% 6.87% 6.31% +14bps
Delinquency: 6.33% 6.21% 6.05% 5.97% 5.80% -53bps
Yield: 11.78% 11.97% 11.94% 12.05% 12.20% +42bps
1Q/03 ended 2/28/03; 2Q/03 ended 5/31/03; 3Q/03 ended 8/31/03;
4Q/03 ended 11/30/03′ and 1Q/04 ended 2/29/04.
Source Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

Details

MY-EMV

SCM Microsystems unveiled the “myEMV,” a two-factor authenticator designed for use with EMV smart bankcards and the MasterCard “Chip Authentication Program.” “myEMV” is a battery operated smart card reading device with a display and keypad for entering PIN codes. It is only slightly larger than a credit card, with a highly stylized design featuring an oval shape and perimeter key placement. The device generates a one-time password or transaction authentication number for the authentication of online transactions such as e-commerce or e-banking. When a smart bank card is inserted, the cardholder is
prompted to enter his or her PIN. The reader then generates the one-time transaction authentication code, which the cardholder enters when making an online purchase using a standard Internet browser. The authentication data is transferred across the network and validated by the issuer, providing a type of card-present verification method for online transactions. SCM will market the terminals to banks and their systems integrators in countries migrating to EMV.

Details