ATM Specialist Cardtronics Files for an IPO

Houston-based Cardtronics, which owns 12,000 ATMs nationwide, has filed with the SEC for an IPO with Credit Suisse First Boston as lead manager. Cardtronics, founded in Houston, TX in 1989, is the largest non-bank owner of ATMs in the U.S. with over 12,000 machines located in all 50 states. Cardtronics offers its ATM products and services primarily to retail outlets such as convenience stores, supermarkets, membership warehouses, drug stores, shopping malls and other high traffic facilities.

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2003 LOSSES

The eight credit card specialists posted a net loss last year of 10.47 trillion won, a 31% increase over 2002. LG Card accounted for 53% of the total loss with a 2003 deficit of 5.59 trillion won compared to a 350.3 billion won profit in the prior year. The Korea Exchange Bank Credit Card Service posted the second highest losses of 1.43 trillion won, nearly triple its 2002 losses. According to the Financial Supervisory Service, Woori Credit Card lost 1.32 trillion won and Samsung Card posted a loss of 1.29 trillion won. Hyundai Card, Lotte Card and Shinhan Card posted combined losses of 840 billion won. BC Card was the only issuer to post a profit. BC had net income of 1.2 billion won in 2003. The Finance Minister indicated this week the South Korean government is looking to set up a special bank to absorb the bad loans.

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Q Comm Tests a Prepaid Application on the 3750

UT-based Q Comm International has begun beta testing a prepaid application for the Verifone “Omni 3750” terminal that enables the electronic distribution of prepaid and related services over the terminal. It also has partitioned memory to allow the independent coexistence of other applications such as Q Comm’s prepaid processing software. The company plans to have the Omni 3750 application available for commercial deployment in the third quarter 2004. Q Comm International provides proprietary prepaid transaction processing and information management systems that facilitate electronic recharge or distribution of prepaid products from service providers or their distributors to retail points of sale.

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CU-Branded VISA Gift Card Program Introduced

St. Petersburg, Florida-based PSCU Financial Services has launched a national “VISA Gift Card” program for its 500+ member credit unions. The turnkey solution enables credit unions to market gift cards from their Web site under their own brand. PSCU says the program will help credit unions retain members while providing interchange income and revenue from unused card balances. Under the program, gift cards are ordered from the credit union’s Web site. The recipient then activates the card online or via a toll-free phone call. The solution also enables the recipient to view transaction history and available card balance information online. PSCU sets up a unique branded Web site for each credit union that is accessible from the credit union’s home page. Confirmation emails are sent to the giver and a notice can be sent to the recipient if an email address is provided. PSCU says it will add a reloadable option to the program soon. A payroll card for credit unions is also under development. PSCU is the nation’s largest “Credit Union Service Organization”and is a non-profit cooperative.

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Consumers Want Credit Cards From Their Primary Bank

A new research report has found that nearly two-thirds of Americans prefer to have all their eggs in one basket when it comes to their financial needs. The study also found few Americans actually conduct business with their primary bank when it comes to acquiring a loan as 78% obtained their auto loan from a lender other than their primary bank while 72% secured their mortgage from an institution other than their primary bank. Additionally, 77% use a credit card from a financial institution other than their primary bank. The study by InsightExpress, involving 500 banks, found that the lack of incentives was the key reason the primary bank cannot fulfill all their customer’s needs. About 28% want the opportunity to earn rewards points towards merchandise or travel and 41% want reduced bank/ATM fees.

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KinderCare Offers the Discover Card Payment Option

Discover Financial Services has sealed a deal to become the exclusive credit card payment option for KinderCare Learning Centers and its 1,200 child care centers nationwide. In the past, KinderCare Learning Centers accepted only personal checks, cashier’s checks, and money orders. As an additional convenience, all customers can now pay tuition with their Discover Card or view their KinderCare account 7 days a week at www.kindercare.com. Discover Financial Services, Inc., a business unit of Morgan Stanley, operates the Discover Card brands and the Discover Business Services network for its more than 50 million Cardmembers.

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ATM Manager Pro and Alliance Services Integrate

e-ClassicSystems announced plans for an automated interface between “ATM Manager Pro” and Alliance Services’ internal systems. The interface between ATM Manager Pro and the internal systems at Alliance will save time and eliminate errors by enabling the delivery of ATM cash orders directly from the ATM Manager Pro solution installed at Financial Institutions and ISO deployers. The interface will also enable Alliance to export cash reconciliation information for the ATM cash delivery and report all necessary data including ATM counters and vault residual totals. Alliance Services, LLC, headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, is a recognized leader in the delivery of ATM Cash, and First Line/Second Line Maintenance services.

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SPS Lands the Winmark Gift Card Contract

Minneapolis-based Winmark Corporation, the franchisor of “Play It Again Sports” and “Plato’s Closet”, has signed a stored value gift card agreement with San Diego-based Secure Payment Systems for its 800+ stores. Secure Payment Systems, Inc. ([www.securepaymentsystems.com][1]) was founded in 1996 by Linden (Lin) Fellerman, former 20 year employee and 10 year President of the Telecredit / Equifax Check Services subsidiaries. Winmark Corporation ([www.winmarkcorporation.com][2]) develops franchises, provides business services and operates value-oriented retail concepts for stores that buy, sell, trade and consign used and new merchandise.

[1]: http://www.securepaymentsystems.com
[2]: http://www.winmarkcorporation.com

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Gift Cards to be Hotter in the 2004 Holiday Season

A new study has found that gift cards accounted for 10% of the $226 billion in holiday sales last year. The research found that about 75% of U.S. consumers want to receive monetary gifts during the holiday season. The report goes on to say that nearly 70% of holiday shoppers this year would like to give cash, gift cards, or gift certificates. Packaged Facts and MarketResearch.com this week released “Holiday Retail Strategies 2004: How Christmas Shopping Trends Will Affect the 2004 Season.” The report uncovers new trends in Christmas retailing that have emerged from the last two years and outlines the environment, strategies and tactics, needed to compete in 2004 and beyond.

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CUs Have Nothing to Fear in Agent Card Deals

A brokerage firm executive reassured credit unions this week that selling a card portfolio and entering into an agent relationship does not produce cross-selling by the portfolio partner, loss of identity and control, and increased card rates. Rick Spell of Morgan Keegan explained to attendees of the TNB Card Services “Executive Conference” that cross-selling is prohibited by contract and the credit union name remains on all credit cards and marketing materials, with the credit union having final say over marketing materials sent to its members and potential members. Spell also said most cardholders get a better card rate than they had before a sale/agent contract. The two-day “Executive Conference” is an annual event for TNB Card Services credit union customers.

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