Hilton and VISA Launch a Winter Points Promotion

Hilton and VISA have launched a promotion to award 500 bonus points to “HHonors” members using VISA cards to book their stays through April 15th, and automatic entry into a sweepstakes to win one million bonus points. Membership in HHonors is free. Travelers may enroll online by visiting [www.hiltonhhonors.com][1]. Or, to enroll instantly in the program and make reservations, consumers in the U.S. and Canada may call 1-800-HHONORS. Outside the U.S. and Canada, travelers may call the Hilton Reservations Worldwide office in their area. Hilton HHonors is a guest reward program that gives frequent travelers a faster way to earn the rewards they want most. Hilton Hotels Corporation (NYSE:HLT) and Hilton International, a subsidiary of Hilton Group plc, have a worldwide alliance to market Hilton, the world’s best-known hotel brand. Collectively offering more than 2,500 hotels in over 60 countries worldwide, both companies are recognized as leaders in the hospitality industry.

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


PrivateServer HSM Integrated with CommerSafe ACS

Petach Tikva-based AR Ltd announced that its “PrivateServer” hardware security module has been integrated with iBIZ Software’s “CommerSafe ACS,” a 3-D Secure compliant solution for the payment card industry. AR’s “PrivateServer HSM” is used to protect personal information from fraudulent eavesdroppers and ensures that the person making subsequent transactions is indeed the authorized user, significantly reducing the possibility of fraudulent eCommerce transactions. To complete the transaction, the integrated iBIZ and AR solution also offers the ability to digitally sign the online transaction, thereby eliminating the possibility of repudiation of the electronic purchase by the consumer. “CommerSafe ACS” allows payment card issuers to fully authenticate their cardholders in real-time, while the cardholder is making a purchase online. iBIZ Software is based in Bellaire, Texas and has customers and channel partners in the United States, Russia, Central and Western Europe and the Middle East.


LG Card May Be Nationalized this Week

The fate of South Korea’s largest credit card issuer may be determined today as the company may run out of money within the next 24 hours. The 16 creditor banks have been unable to reach a compromise on how to keep the issuer afloat, according to CardFlash International. Kookmin Bank and Shinhan Bank say they are not prepared to back a $4.15 billion rescue plan proposed yesterday. There were rumors yesterday that the state-run Korea Development Bank would nationalize LG Card. This morning KDB is says it is proposing to take over 23% of LG Card to lower concerns by the other creditor banks. The South Korean Financial Supervisory Service reported that LG Card’s delinquency rate rose from 11.4% in October to 14.7% for November.


Past-Due Card Accounts Hit an All-Time High

Credit card delinquencies, based on total dollars outstanding, moved upward to 4.66% during the third quarter, a 15 basis point increase over the prior quarter, and a 21 basis point jump over year-ago quarter. However, the number of past-due credit card accounts hit an all-time high of 4.09%. The data are based on statistics gathered by the American Bankers Association for its quarterly “Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin.” The ABA says the job market has been flying against strong head winds, lengthening the time between jobs and intensifying financial stress. Meanwhile, the composite ratio of closed-end installment loans 30 days or more past due dropped 5 basis points to 2.13% of all accounts from the second quarter. Home equity loan delinquencies rose to 2.52% from 2Q/03’s 2.48%, based on the number of accounts.

(based on total dollars outstanding)

2003: 4.66% 1999: 4.25% 1995: 4.21% 1991: 4.54% 1987: 3.72% 1983: 2.75%
2002: 4.45% 1998: 4.63% 1994: 2.90% 1990: 4.01% 1986: 4.90% 1982: 3.92%
2001: 4.45% 1997: 5.31% 1993: 3.83% 1989: 3.45% 1985: 3.15% 1981: 2.37%
2000: 3.93% 1996: 5.03% 1992: 4.27% 1988: 3.40% 1984: 3.30% 1980: 3.40%
Source: American Bankers Association Delinquency Bulletin


Rentcash Offering Western Union Services

A new deadline of 5:00pm Wednesday has been set for the bailout of South Korea’s largest credit card issuer. If the rescue plan for LG Card is not adopted by its 16 creditor banks, then LG Card will likely suspend cash-advance transactions on Wednesday and possibly seek court receivership or liquidation. The creditor banks have been unable to reach a compromise on how to keep the issuer afloat. Kookmin Bank and Shinhan Bank say they are not prepared to back a $4.15 billion rescue plan proposed Monday. There were rumors yesterday that the state-run Korea Development Bank would nationalize LG Card. This morning KDB is says it is proposing to take over 23% of LG Card to lower the concerns of the other creditor banks. However, some of the creditor banks want KDB to cover more of the losses and spread the rest evenly among the rest of the participants. If a liquidation of LG Card takes places it could produce losses of some $22.5 billion for the creditor banks. The South Korean Financial Supervisory Service reported that LG Card’s delinquency rate rose from 11.4% in October to 14.7% for November.


AMDS Has Record December and Honors Top Producers

Memphis-based ISO American Merchant Data Services says it surpassed its new merchant account projections for December by more than 30% and has named Donna Chenney, Andree Abraham, and Natalie Adkinson as current top performers. Below are the top performers for AMDS during the last two months. These new hires were responsible for more than fifty percent of new merchant accounts for November and December. This strategic rise was due greatly to the aggressive recruitment of top market performers the last six months. American Merchant Data Service is a “value added” independent sales organization engaged in the commercial electronic processing industry.


Travelocity and MasterCard Launch a Winter Promotion

Travelocity and MasterCard have partnered to award travelers a $150 prepaid MasterCard gift card for booking and paying for a minimum four-night qualifying “TotalTrip” flight+hotel, ski/snowboarding package, or “GoodBuy” hotel stay at Travelocity using a MasterCard through February 27th and completing the travel by April 15th. The special MasterCard promotional gift can be used for purchases at millions of MasterCard merchant acceptance locations worldwide for everything from ski apparel to another fabulous getaway. Travelocity pioneered the online travel space and continues to be the most popular travel service on the Web, giving consumers access to hundreds of airlines, thousands of hotels and cruise, last-minute and vacations packages, and best-in-class car rental companies, all backed by 1,000 customer service representatives staffed to provide 24-hour assistance. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs.


PELORUS STV Conference Set for March

NJ-based The PELORUS Group is hosting a special conference about stored value payments on March 2nd and 3rd in New Orleans. There will be numerous issues address during the exclusive “Stored Value: Challenging The Credit Card Paradigm” conference. This is not a trade show. It is a special event dedicated to sharing the vision of stored value, and realizing the opportunities springing from current and future initiatives.


Online Transactions Range from 7 sec to 15 sec

During the last holiday shopping week for 2003, the overall average response time for completing an online retail transaction was 13.86 seconds, while the success rate for completing a transaction was 97%. Keynote Systems says its tracking shows the best performing sites on the index the Week of December 22nd had average response times of 7.26 and 8.49 seconds, and success rates of 99.73% and 99.47%. The worst performing sites on the index had average response times of 24.71 and 24.14 seconds, and success rates of 93.43% and 94.54%. A transaction is defined as a Web site’s ability to allow a consumer to click through a number of pages and successfully make a purchase. Keynote says the low point for response time during the 2003 online holiday shopping season occurred the week of December 8th when the average response time was 15.03 seconds. The low point for success rate occurred the week of December 1 when the average success rate for completing a transaction was 93.68%.


eFund’s ATM Branding Program Tops 7,500 Machines

AZ-based eFunds, the largest provider of off-premise ATMs, says that the addition of North Valley Bank Corporation to its ATM branding program has increased the number of ATMs included in this program to more than 7,500, and that it now has more than 17,200 ATMs under management throughout the USA and Canada. eFunds’ branding program enables financial institutions to increase their brand presence and the availability of surcharge-free ATM access to their customers. North Valley Bancorp is a multi-bank holding company headquartered in Redding, Calif. North Valley Bank operates thirteen commercial banking offices in Shasta and Trinity Counties in Northern California including two in-store supermarket branches and a Business Banking Center. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., eFunds Corporation is an industry leader with nearly 30 years of experience and expertise in electronic payments.


Spartanics Launches a Consulting Service for Manufacturers

IL-based Spartanics is launching a consulting service specifically designed for card manufacturers that will allow them to achieve the greatest through put with 6, 8, and 10-up layouts. This new service from Spartanics will provide gratis consultations to card manufacturers on the types of card punching systems with the flexibility to handle different die configurations and a wide range of materials while maintaining high throughput to give them the edge they need in an increasingly competitive market. Spartanics ([www.spartanics.com][1]) manufactures best-in-class technology for inspection, card punching, die cutting, counting/batching, and special material handling systems for worldwide card manufacturers, among others.

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