Bankruptcy Losses for Card Issuers Still Significant

Bankruptcy losses continue to remain near record levels for card issuers, however there was a slight decline during October. As a percentage of gross charge-offs, bankruptcy makes up nearly 48% of total card losses. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the total number of bankruptcy filings during the third quarter were 412,989, a 2.9% increase over 3Q/02. The 3Q/03 data were the second highest level of quarterly filings. During the second quarter a total of 440,257 filings were made. (CF Library 11/17/03)

Bankruptcy Card Losses
1994: 34.0%
1995: 29.8%
1996: 39.7%
1997: 42.4%
1998: 40.8%
1999: 41.0%
2000: 37.4%
2001: 47.2%
2002: 47.7%
2003: 47.6%
Note: Bankruptcy-related charge-offs as a percentage of gross
charge-offs. Excludes American Express and Discover.
Data are based on October performance data of each year cited.
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Nonprofit Group Offers Free Gift Cards

A Los Angeles-based nonprofit group calling itself the Consumer Assistance Network says it is offering free gift cards to consumers who help market researchers gather information. Information about style, color and feature preferences received from consumers when they redeem the gift cards will be used to help market researchers, who pay for this program, to improve products and the selection of merchandise in the future. Consumers who receive retail gift cards redeemable at chain stores will be required to check selling prices on a few competitive price survey items in the store when they redeem their gift card at a location in their neighborhood. Besides the gift card giveaway program, the group is offering interest free cash advances of up to $1,563 to individuals with annual incomes below $30,300.

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TenderCard Cleared for Hypercom Terminals

MA-based TenderCard has certified its gift, reward and loyalty applications on Hypercom’s “T7Plus,” “ICE 5500Plus” and “ICE 5700Plus” card payment terminals. The certification lets hundreds of TenderCard resellers and the thousands of merchants they serve quickly take advantage of the profit-building capabilities inherent in Hypercom’s smart, fast and easy-use card payment terminals and feature-rich, multi-function software. This certification, the latest in a series for our technology, is another important step in continuing the momentum that is making Hypercom’s technology the overriding and undisputed payment solution of choice for merchants globally,” said O.B. Rawls IV, president, Hypercom North America. TenderCard provides closed loop private label stored value card products and services to merchants. Hypercom Corporation is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers.

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NBS Wins DoD CAC Printer Contract

NBS Card Technology has been awarded the centralized printer contract for the Department of Defense’s “Common Access Card” program. Following an extensive evaluation process, the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) selected the NBS Horizon Printer for use in its CAC central issuance facility. Common Access Cards are used by over 4 million people in the Department of Defense, including active-duty personnel, reservists, department civilians, and contractors. The high-speed, high-volume, in-line Horizon Card Issuance System was chosen to produce the CACs precisely because of the system’s ability to meet the DMDC’s exacting requirements for speed, volume, and especially security. NBS Card Technology Corp. has been a global leader in the manufacturing and marketing of card personalization equipment and software solutions since 1975.

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Barclays Renews Falcon and Triad Contract

Barclays Bank has extended its commitment to use Fair Isaac’s “Falcon Fraud Manager” to protect its credit, debit and corporate card portfolios from payment card fraud for another five years. Barclays also extended its commitment to use “Falcon” as the exclusive fraud protection solution for its “Monument” credit card portfolio. In addition to Fair Isaac’s fraud detection solution, the issuer is currently utilizing Fair Isaac’s “TRIAD” adaptive control system for both customer and account management. Barclays is Europe’s largest card issuer with more than 19.5 million debit and credit cards.

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Jackson Hewitt to Offer Russell Simmons Card

UniRush Financial Services has inked a deal with Jackson Hewitt to offer direct deposit of income tax refunds onto the “Rush Prepaid VISA Card. Rush Prepaid Visa Card holders will be able to walk into over 4,500 Jackson Hewitt Tax Service locations nationwide, redeem a discount coupon when filing their taxes, choose free electronic filing of their return and ask to have their refund loaded for free onto their Rush Card. Jackson Hewitt Inc. is the nation’s fastest growing and second largest tax preparation service company, with over 4,500 Jackson Hewitt Tax Service locations in storefront, mall and retail locations in 49 states and the District of Columbia, as well as alliances with several of the largest retailers in the country. UniRush LLC is a joint venture between Rush Communications and Cincinnati-based Unifund Corporation, and was created to offer individuals without relationships with traditional banking institutions access to a unique array of financial services.

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American Express Names Comptroller

American Express has named Joan Lordi Amble, formerly of GE Capital Services, SVP/Comptroller, effective January 5th. Ms. Amble has served in a number of financial management positions at GE Capital Services, Inc. since joining General Electric Company in 1989. Ms. Amble worked in various GE corporate positions and in 1992 was appointed chief financial officer of GE Capital’s Commercial Real Estate business. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.

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UATP Names General Counsel

Washington, DC-based Universal Air Travel Plan has named Patricia Vercelli, formerly with Drinker, Biddle & Reath, as general counsel. Vercelli had been a senior associate in the Washington, DC office of the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP, where she represented U.S. and foreign clients on matters ranging from technology transfer and intellectual property to general commercial contracts. UATP is the world’s first corporate charge product. UATP accounts are actively issued by 14 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.

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Americans Pay Bills With Tax Refunds

A new survey by Cambridge Consumer Credit Index found that 48% of Americans used their Bush tax refund checks to pay off bills including credit cards (15%) and other bills (33%). At that time, 28% said they would save the money in a bank account, 23% planned to use it to pay off bills, 19% expected to use it to pay off credit card debt, 9% would spend it on everyday items, 9% would purchase things that they had always wanted to buy, 6% spent the money in other ways and 6% planned to invest in stocks and bonds. These findings are the result of monthly nationwide telephone poll of 1000+ adults conducted by ICR/International Communications Research in the past week, sponsored by The Debt Relief Clearinghouse.

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DataWave Systems Launches NextWave Cash Cards

Vancouver-based DataWave Systems has signed a deal with Money Card, Moneris Solutions, CU-Connection, Nextwave Card, and PACE Savings & Credit Union to launch cash cards in the Canadian market. The cash card program is being spearheaded by Nextwave Card (50% owned by DataWave.) Nextwave will market the cash card to customers in the financial services sector providing the hardware and software required to activate and reload cards, as well as monitor and report transactions to vendors. Moneris Solutions in Toronto is responsible for settlement of funds from card transactions, while CU-Connection in Scarborough, Ont. is responsible for authorizing all transactions and providing switching services to facilitate settlement of funds. PACE Savings & Credit Union in Vaughn, Ont. is acting as the authorized Bin number issuer for all prepaid cards. National Money Mart is the first customer to use the Nextwave cash card system. Following the successful pilot of Nextwave cash cards at five Money Mart branches in Victoria, B.C., the company plans to introduce branded personal cash cards at its 295 Canadian branches in a phased rollout starting in 2004.

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PPP ORGA, and CPI Take Top Elan Honors

The International Card Manufacturers Association, which met in Cancun last month, has released the names of this year’s winners of the “Élan Awards for Card Manufacturing Excellence.” The “Best Financial Card Design” award was given to Perfect Plastic Printing and ORGA Card Systems for their dual effort in creating the “Public Bank MasterCard.” Finalists for the “Best Financial Card Design” included Security Plastics for its “MBF Gaia VISA Gold Card” and Trub AG for its “VISA Classic Special Edition” featuring Wassily Kandinski Art. The “Best Non-Financial Card Design” winner was CPI Card Group for its “Starbucks VESPA” card. Finalists for the “Best Non-Financial Card Design” included Plastag Corporation for its “Discovery Channel Gift Card” and Innovative Plastic Printing Corp. for its “Friedman’s Advantage Plus Card.” The ICMA also presented its second annual “Spiritus Award” to Pune, India-based M-Tech Innovations and the UK’s ID Data Systems.

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