MD Credit Counseling Firm Sees $1MM in Card Debt

A Maryland-based credit counseling firm says it is not uncommon to deal with clients with more than $100,000 in credit card. Myvesta.org says it has worked with a client who had over $1 million in credit card debt spread out over 78 different cards. The firm says the average credit card and unsecured debt rose from $52,210 in 2002 to $77,036 in 2003 and mortgage debt rose from an average of $168,129 in 2002 to $207,958 in 2003. The average client came to Myvesta.org with 11.3 credit cards, up from 8.1 in 2002; a negative monthly cash flow averaging $2,468; and, 5.4 credit card late fees per month costing $169.

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GE Card Profits Up 80% in the Third Quarter

GE Card Services profits rose 80% in the third quarter to $266 million, compared to $148 million one year ago. Year-to-date, GE’s credit card profits are up 16% to $619 million. Compared to second quarter profits of $172 million, GE credit card 3Q/03 profits are up 55%. During the third quarter, GE teamed in the U.K. with Harrods, and in Australia with Coles Myer, to launch “DualCard,” a new co-branded product offering the benefits of both a store card and MasterCard as well as enhanced in-store benefits and loyalty programs. GE also agreed to acquire GC Corporation, a subsidiary of Promise Co., Ltd., the third-largest personal lender in Japan, adding approximately $1 billion in assets and more than three million credit card holders. Additionally, GE signed a multi-year extension with Brooks Brothers in the U.S. to continue private label credit card programs through 2006. For complete details on GE Card Services 3Q/03 results visit CardData (www.carddata.com.)

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Colorado Summit to Discuss Overarching Money Trends

CO-based DaVinci Institute will hold the “Future of Money Summit” this month that will look at trends such as the emergence of the multi-channel shopper, and how RFID tags are fueling automatic checkout lines. October 27-29, 2003 their researchers and top industry analysts have focused in on some of the forces at play in the money world, most of which are not very obvious. the Future of Money Summit blends historical events with current trends and makes forecasts about the world of money to come.

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Fair Isaac Launches ID Fraud Intercept

Fair Isaac has launched a new online consumer service to fight identity theft and fraud. “ID Fraud Intercept” monitors more than 400 public and commercial databases for changes to the consumer’s personal address or phone number. The service also highlights signs of potential fraud that may appear in a customer’s personal credit report and “FICO” score. Customers also receive detailed, expert guidance and online tools for monitoring their own credit reports and responding to possible identity theft.

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PayPal Enters the UK Market

PayPal has launched its service in the UK. With the launch, PayPal is also reducing or eliminating withdrawal fees for its UK members. Withdrawals of under GBP 50 to a UK bank will cost 50% less or GBP 0.25 and fees will be eliminated completely for withdrawal amounts of GBP 50 and above. PayPal UK is the company’s first international Web site and part of its broader plan to expand the service in Europe. On September 16th, PayPal announced the establishment of its new European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin headquarters provides customer service, fraud prevention and operational support for PayPal members in the UK and other European countries PayPal has 31 million members worldwide.

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VISA and Disney Launch 2nd Major Promotion

VISA and Disney last night launched the second major promotion of their alliance. Disney introduced “Magical Gatherings” while VISA introduced the “Kids Stay and Play Free” promotion. When guests use their VISA card to purchase a “Disney Dream Maker Vacation Package” of four nights or more, one child age 3 to 9 is free with each paying adult. For a family of four with two parents and two children ages 3 to 9 staying in the same room, the promotion offers savings of $443 on a four-night package. Cardholders of the “Disney VISA” from Bank One receive a special bonus of 100 Disney Dollars at check in. The package must be booked by Jan. 2, 2004. It is available most nights from Jan. 4 through June 12, 2004.

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PayPal Opens its First International Website for the UK

PayPal has launched its service in the UK. With the launch, PayPal is also reducing or eliminating withdrawal fees for its UK members. Withdrawals of under GBP 50 to a UK bank will cost 50% less or GBP 0.25 and fees will be eliminated completely for withdrawal amounts of GBP 50 and above. PayPal UK is the company’s first international Web site and part of its broader plan to expand the service in Europe. On September 16th, PayPal announced the establishment of its new European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin headquarters provides customer service, fraud prevention and operational support for PayPal members in the UK and other European countries PayPal has 31 million members worldwide.

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Tesco Launches Euronet’s Electronic Top-Up Service

Tesco Ireland has launched Euronet’s “e-pay” electronic top-up services at its 79 branches. The rollout provides e-top-up services at all Tesco Ireland outlets for the mobile operator customers of Vodafone Ireland, O2 Ireland and Meteor. Ireland has 3.1 million mobile phones, 70% of which are prepaid. Most prepaid accountholders are using electronic top-up to add minutes to their mobile phones. Ireland’s mobile operators report subscriber counts, including Vodafone with more than 1.7 million customers, O2 with more than 1.27 million and Meteor with more than 130,000 customers. Tesco Ireland is the largest food retailer in Ireland.

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Do Not Registry Opens to Telemarketers Tomorrow

Starting today, consumers can once again register their phone numbers in the national “Do Not Call Registry.” Telemarketers may access the registry at telemarketing.donotcall.gov beginning Friday. Earlier this week, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the FTC’s request to stay the order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado that halted enforcement of the registry. The FTC says it will now move forward with implementing and enforcing the registry.

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Nearly 11 Billion Cards Manufactured Last Year

Last year, approximately 10.7 billion cards were manufactured worldwide, a 10.3% increase over 2001, but, when measured in U.S. dollars, the global card market increased slightly from $4.7 billion to $4.8 billion over the same period. Traditional cards represented 84% of the units, while smart cards represent 16.4% of the units. However, smart cards, due to their high cost, represented 75% of the dollars on a global basis. The findings come from the International Card Manufacturers Association “Global Market Survey” which also found that financial hologram cards represent 11.9% of the global card unit market, an increase by 11.3%.

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Senior Citizens Do Not Check Credit Reports

More than half of all those over age 60 admitted in a recent national survey they have never checked their credit reports, according to a report released today by the InCharge Institute of America. The nationwide survey of 1,200 Americans, performed in July 2003, was conducted to assist the organization in its effort to educate consumers on the proper use of credit and management of personal debt. The Federal Trade Commission data shows that 22 percent of all identity theft victims are over age 50.

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On Track Innovations Launches EasyFuel with Practic

Practic Import, one of the main suppliers of products for gas stations in Spain, has teamed with On Track Innovations, to launch a wireless solution for petroleum payment management and loyalty programs for oil companies, commercial transport and transportation fleets, and private motorists. OTI’s “EasyFuel” solution represents the next generation of it gasoline management system developed specifically to meet the challenges of the U.S. and European markets. Several major oil companies, such as BP, as well as commercial fleet companies, have adopted OTI’s solution for petroleum payment and fleet management in Africa, South America, and Europe. The fleet product has been operating in South Africa via BP under the brand name FuelMaster, and currently includes approximately 500 gas stations and 40,000 vehicles.

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