JCB Launches Contest to Drive International Spending

JCB is launching a sweepstakes offering a total of US$1 million in cash prizes to boost international spending. Japanese cardholders who spend at least Y30,000 abroad on the JCB card over the next six months will be eligible. After the promotion period JCB will select 700 cardholders from this group and award them with Y100,000 each. Cardholders in Hong Kong must charge at least HK$2,000 abroad to be eligible to win HK$10,000. JCB has 48 million cardholders.

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Lizzie McGuire, er, er, Hilary Duff, Offers VISA Gift Cards

Lizzie McGuire, Kelly Collins, known in real life as Hilary Duff, has launched a line of “VISA Gift Cards.” The teenage actress and recording artist is targeting American teenagers for the one-time use prepaid card. The first card designed features Hilary afloat in the swimming pool. Other “Hilary” card images will be rolled out next year. The card will be marketed by Legend Credit and managed by Clarity Payment Solutions. The card is available in $25, $50, $75, and $100 denominations. It is being sold through a special “Hilary” Web site.

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MBNA and Providian to Issue eBay MasterCard

The dominant online auction marketplace, and two of the nation’s top ten bank credit card issuers, have teamed to launch a co-branded MasterCard. MBNA and Providian will both issue the new “eBay Anything Points MasterCard.” MBNA will issue the card to “super-prime” and “prime” credit, while Providian will issue the card to “prime” and “sub-prime” credit. The new card will offer cardholders points on all purchases. Each point will have an eBay currency value of $0.01. The eBay currency can be spent on virtually anything for sale on the eBay site. Cardholders must be enrolled in the “Anything Points” program to begin spending points earned from the MasterCard. Members’ points are accumulated in their PayPal accounts. The points can then be used to purchase items from any eBay seller accepting PayPal for payment. In addition, the points can be applied towards eBay selling fees. Sellers will also be able to award points to their buyers on eBay. Participating companies of the “Anything Points” program can give points as rewards for purchases, incentives for new customer sign-ups, or in exchange for points accrued in their own loyalty programs. The new credit card is the latest expansion of the “eBay Anything Points” program, launched in May. In 2001, Providian launched the co-branded “PayPal VISA” card. PayPal was acquired by eBay. (CF Library 6/18/03)

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Via One Technologies and Debisys Partner

Via One Technologies and Debisys have teamed to provide prepaid distribution companies with an electronic turnkey solution delivering all the major prepaid wireless programs including wireless handset equipment and accessories through standard credit card terminals, telephones or web terminals. The Via One Payment and Provisioning Systems platform connects the wireless distribution supply chain of telecommunications carriers, cellular equipment manufacturers, fulfillment companies, distributors, POS operators and POS. Debisys, Inc. supplies proprietary technology-based transaction processing solutions to leading telecommunication carriers, service providers and prepaid distribution companies.

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AUGUST LOSSES

Bank credit card issuers based in Singapore continue to post a 20% increase in monthly charge-offs compared to last year. However, losses in August remain well below June’s $17.5 million, a twelve year high. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, credit card issuers wrote-off $15.7 million in August compared to $13.1 million one-year ago. Much of the rising losses this year were due to the outbreak of SARS, which sacked the local economy. According to the MAS, bank credit card issuers lost $14.0 million in May, $15.6 million in April, $13.6 million in March, $13.7 million in February, and $12.1 million in January. The total number of cards in the country at mid-year was 3.3 million, which included 2,295,027 primary cards and 992,555 supplementary cards.

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MoneyWi$e Boot Camp is Held in Texas

Capital One and Consumer Action yesterday kicked-off their two-day “MoneyWi$e” financial literacy training program in Texas, with representatives from more than 80 local, non-profit groups in attendance from communities across the state. MoneyWi$e was created to provide consumers at all income levels with both the information and practical assistance they need to help better manage their finances. Capital One is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 index. Consumer Action and leading credit card provider Capital One announced that their joint MoneyWi$e financial literacy partnership will provide free training to more than 80 non-profit groups from communities across Texas.

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Crumley to Run Vital’s VIP Program

Vital Processing Services has hired Kathy Crumley, former VP of the “Global Alliance Channel” for Hypercom, to serve as VP, “Vital Integration Partners” program. Vital is focused on extending its reach into the POS marketplace through enhancing its relationship with System Integrators and Software Developers to add value to Vital’s acquiring clients. Today, Vital has more than 500 companies and 1,000 POS applications approved to process on its system. The world’s recognized leader in technology-based commerce enabling services, Vital Processing Services Vital brings the power of pure commerce to more than 300 acquirers and one million merchants.

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American Express Launches STV Travel Card

American Express has expanded its prepaid card offerings with the introduction of a reloadable travel card. The new “TravelFunds Card” can be used at both the POS and ATM. The card is available in U.S. Dollar, Euro and British Pound Sterling, enabling cardholders to lock in exchange rates. AmEx will provide refunds on a 24-hour basis if the card is ever lost or stolen. AmEx says the card will also protect users against identity theft. AmEx also offers users free passport and credit card replacement services. The issuer says it is working with its partners, namely, Continental, Delta, Starwood, Alamo, and National Car Rental, to distribute the card. The TravelFunds Card can be purchased over the phone or online. AmEx’s prepaid products include “Cheques for Two,” “Gift Cards,” “Gift Cheques,” the “Be My Guest” dining card, as well as a range of corporate incentive prepaid products through American Express Incentive Services.

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Singapore Issuers Still Reeling from SARS Impact

The impact of SARS is still affecting Singapore-based bank credit card issuers. According to this week’s issue of CardFlash International, monthly charge-offs in Singapore are running 20% above last year. However, losses in August remain well below June’s S$17.5 million, a twelve year high. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, credit card issuers wrote-off S$15.7 million in August compared to S$13.1 million one-year ago. Much of the rising losses this year were due to the outbreak of SARS, which sacked the local economy. According to the MAS, bank credit card issuers lost S$14.0 million in May, S$15.6 million in April, S$13.6 million in March, S$13.7 million in February, and S$12.1 million in January. The total number of cards in the country at mid-year was 3.3 million, which included 2,295,027 primary cards and 992,555 supplementary cards.

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ICICI Bank Turns Up the Heat on Citibank in India

India’s ICICI Bank is ramping up competition and may unseat Citibank as a market leader in the country. According to this week’s issue of CardFlash International, the issuer is adding 150,000 debit cards and 100,000 credit cards to its portfolio each month. ICICI has become the second largest issuer of credit cards in the country with 1.6 million. In the debit card market, ICICI has about 4.0 million cards. Citibank remains the credit card leader in India with 1.8 million cards, but could be overtaken by ICICI within the next twelve months. The third and fourth largest credit card issuers are Standard Chartered Bank and SBI Cards, respectively. ICICI is reportedly focusing on co-branded cards to fuel its growth. The bank currently has co-branded deals with HPCL, BPL Mobile, and Trinetra.

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MBNA Earns Top Ranking as Card Servicer

Standard & Poor’s has assigned its highest servicer ranking of “Strong” and an outlook of “Stable” to the MBNA’s U.S. credit card operations. S&P’s cited MBNA’s “highly experienced management team,” “solid internal controls and risk management environment” and ability to execute strategic initiatives as a basis for the ranking. They also recognized MBNA for its “superior level of automation,” expertise in default management, and ongoing investments in technology aimed at improving the bank’s effectiveness and efficiency. The ranking makes MBNA America Bank one of the earliest recipients of this ranking among credit card lenders.

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