Juniper Bank Launches Caesars Entertainment MasterCard

Park Place Entertainment Corporation, which is changing its name to Caesars Entertainment next month, has launched a co-branded credit card that offers “comp dollars” as a cardholder reward. The new “Caesars Entertainment MasterCard,” issued for Park Place by Juniper Bank, offers cardholders a one percent “comp dollar” credit for all purchase transactions, plus 10 bonus “comp dollars” the first time they use the card. The “comp dollars” earned with the new card can be used to pay for hotel rooms, dining, show tickets, spa services, golf tee times and other amenities at 15 domestic casino resorts. Park Place operates Bally’s, Caesars, Flamingo, Grand Casinos and Paris resort casinos in the USA. Through the gaming resort company’s existing “Connection Card” loyalty program, guests earn a bank of comp dollars that can be spent like cash in its casino resorts. Members earn rewards through slot machine and table game play, as well as through hotel cash folio charges. “Connection Card” members who use their “Caesars MasterCard” to pay for a hotel stay at a participating property will receive the one percent credit in “comp dollars,” in addition to the three percent hotel rewards benefit the “Connection Card” program currently offers. The “Caesars MasterCard” carries a six-month 0% intro on balance transfers and a variable 12.99% APR thereafter.

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Euronet Worldwide Names New Board Member

Budapest-based Euronet Worldwide has named Andrew Schmitt, Layne Christensen Company president and CEO, to its Board of Directors. Euronet offers outsourcing and consulting services, integrated EFT software, network gateways, and electronic top-up services to financial institutions, mobile operators and
retailers. The Company operates the largest independent pan-European ATM network, and is a leading provider of electronic distribution services, or top-up services, for prepaid mobile airtime and other prepaid services. The company has processing centers located in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and processes electronic top-up transactions at more than 83,000 points of sale across 37,000 retailers in Europe, Australia and the U.S.

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VISA Retail Spending Last Week Up 7.4%

VISA USA reported that daily card dollar volume fluctuated dramatically last week due to the East Coast weekend snowstorm. VISA says on Thursday, December 4th, total volume jumped 22% as consumers prepared for the storm, while on Saturday, December 6th, growth was a more modest 5%. For the third holiday shopping week retail spending on VISA cards was up 7.4% compared to last year. VISA data show spending in discount stores was up nearly 9%, while department store spending was up nearly 4%. Total VISA volume for the week ending December 7th was up 13.3%, to more than $21.9 billion. Overall retail spending volume on VISA cards was $9.0 billion for the week, compared to $8.3 billion for the previous week. Debit card retail spending was $3.0 billion for the week, a 15% jump over the same year-ago period. Credit card retail spending was up 4% to $5.9 billion. VISA alson reports that spending in the e-commerce channel was up 51% to about $2.0 billion.

VISA VOLUME
(Week Ending 12/07/03)

Home & Garden $1.3 billion +12%
Personal Entertainment $1.2 billion +11%
Speciality Stores $1.4 billion + 9%
Discount Stores $1.4 billion + 9%
Department Stores $3.6 billion + 4%
Source: VISA SpendTrak

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PayPal Sets Processing Fees for Online Music

PayPal announced Monday new micro-payment processing fees for high volume online digital music companies at 2.5% plus $0.09 for each transaction, a 30% to 50% reduction off the industry’s current payment processing rates. The reduced fixed fee represents a 30-50% savings compared to the industry’s current payment processing rates of approximately 2% plus $0.20-$0.30, which encompasses interchange, processor and gateway fees. PayPal, an eBay Company, enables any individual or business with an email address to send and receive payments online securely, easily and quickly. PayPal’s service builds on the existing financial infrastructure of bank accounts and credit cards and uses the world’s most advanced proprietary fraud prevention systems to create a safe, global, real-time payment solution.

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XTREME INTEGRATED

Dione has launched a new version of its EFTPoS payment terminal
which includes an integral modem and printer. The new
“Xtreme Integrated” is designed as a compact counter-top solution that can
read magstripe and chip cards, is fully PIN enabled and approved to the
“VISA PED” standard. The printer is self-feeding and features a clam-shell
design for easy paper loading. Dione introduced its “Xtreme Handset”
terminal earlier this year.

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BitPass Introduces a Micro-Payment System

CA-based BitPass has launched its micro-payment system following a five-month beta program. With no upfront or fixed monthly fees, artists, bands, and authors can register with BitPass and immediately begin selling their music, documents, and video content directly from their respective web sites. The BitPass system also revenue-enables businesses selling web-based services such as distance learning, classified ads, and proprietary searches for unique content. The system allows users to make purchases through a virtual prepaid debit card funded through trusted third parties, including PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

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ADS and CardinalCommerce Ink a Broad Deal

Alliance Data Systems and CardinalCommerce have signed a five-year strategic agreement under which ADS will provide additional hosting and processing capabilities for Cardinal’s existing payment authentication software applications and provide a multi-lingual call center support, and Cardinal will offers its authentication services through ADS. Alliance Data Systems is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services. CardinalCommerce Corporation is a leading provider of a technology-neutral authentication platform for securing electronic and wireless commerce, thus ensuring that individuals, businesses and government agencies can process electronic transactions and access confidential information safely, securely and privately.

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Edgar, Dunn Hires Card Expert Beth Costa

San Francisco-based Edgar, Dunn & Company has hired Beth Costa, who has held significant positions with Dove Consulting, Mellon Bank, and Transaction Processing, as a director in EDC’s financial services practice. Ms. Costa has been predicting market trends and building winning growth strategies for payments executives across the industry. She has particular strengths in ATM, debit, EBPP, and consumer payment preferences, including the development of national, syndicated consumer payments research studies. Edgar, Dunn & Company is a global strategy consulting firm specializing in payments and financial services.

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Online Card Design Studio Introduced by Oberthur

Oberthur Card Systems has introduced an online studio to enable card issuers to design their own debit and credit cards. The new “Variety Card Design Online Studio” contains hundreds of creative options including backgrounds, photos, logos and even embossing color, and allows banks to visualize the finished product before they place an order for manufacturing and printing. Oberthur is also offering an in-house creative team to assist issuers. Oberthur says the creative team will save issuers up to 50% of the cost to use external creative agencies. The card manufacturer says the online studio service reduces the time from design to manufacture by allowing Oberthur to provide a quote within hours. Oberthur is the manufacturer of the “Discover 2GO” and “AmEx Blue” designs. The company is also the number one supplier for VISA and MasterCard payment cards.

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MasterCard’s Motion to Enjoin VISA Exit Fee By-Law is Denied

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones yesterday denied MasterCard’s motion to enjoin VISA from enforcing its “Settlement Service Fee” by-law, which penalizes larger debit card issuers for moving from VISA to MasterCard. Judge Jones ruled that the Court did not have jurisdiction at this time to issue the injunction that MasterCard seeks. However, if the Final Judgement in the government’s lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard is upheld on appeal, then MasterCard could return to the Court and move to enjoin VISA’s “By-Law 3.14.” VISA said yesterday that if MasterCard chooses to continue its challenge to the “Settlement Service Fee,” it will continue to vigorously defend its approach to meeting its settlement obligations as fair and equitable to all of VISA USA’s 14,000 member financial institutions. In September, MasterCard decided to take VISA to federal court after VISA declined to act on its “cease and desist” letter. The “Settlement Service Fee” by-law requires VISA top off-line debit card members, who switch to a competing off-line debit card, to pay a $20 million fine for each percentage point of lost VISA off-line debit volume. Following the recent settlement of the Wal-Mart litigation, VISA told its top 100 debit issuers that for the next 10 years, they would face significant fines, based on a share of VISA’s $2 billion settlement with the merchants, if they reduced their VISA debit volume from September 30, 2002 levels. In October VISA announced it will waive its new by-law for members switching to American Express or Discover. (CF Library 11/13/03; 11/26/03)

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BankOne/Avon VISA Rewards Cardholders and Representatives

Avon Products and Bank One have launched a co-branded card that rewards cardholders as well as Avon representatives. The new “Avon Platinum VISA” offers cardholders a full one percent back on card purchases and offers Avon representatives the opportunity to earn $25 for each approved account they generate after a new cardholder makes a purchase. After their first VISA purchase, cardholders also receive Avon’s “Anew RetroActive,” one of Avon’s most popular skincare products, worth $25. Every time cardholders accumulate 2,500 points, they will receive a $25 “AVON BEAUTY Rewards” certificate on their billing statement that can be redeemed for Avon products. Avon has 600,000 representatives in the USA.

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