Nevada Takes Top Spot in Card Growth

Nevada remains the fastest growing state for credit card activity with an annual growth rate of 13% versus a national average of 9% for last year. Bank credit card balances, excluding retail credit cards, averaged $7,875 per Nevada household versus a national average of $6,276 for 2002. Consumers in Nevada owed $6.3 billion in bank card balances at the end of 2002, compared to $5.6 billion at the end of 2001. According to data complied by CardData and RAM Research Group, Idaho was the second fastest growing state for bank credit card debt, followed by Iowa, New Mexico, and North Dakota.

Bank Credit Card Outstandings
STATE 2002 2001 CHNG
Nevada $6.3b $5.6b +13%
Idaho $4.8b $4.3b +12%
Iowa $5.1b $4.6b +11%
New Mexico $3.9b $3.5b +11%
North Dakota $1.0b $0.9b +11%

Source: RAM Research’s Bankcard Barometer (Aug 03) and CardData (


Starwood to Reign in Upgrades Made Through Pre-Paid Channels

Starwood Hotels, which has a co-branded credit card relationship with American Express, announced last night that as of January 1st it will no longer permit “Elite” members to upgrade or use other special amenities if the reservation was made through a pre-paid channel such as or Members can earn on incidental spend during stays. Stays do not count toward elite level thresholds. Stays are eligible for elite level hotel benefits. No change to current policy.



Banamex has become the first MasterCard financial institution worldwide to offer the new “MasterCard SideCard” as the “Banamex Twin Card.” Banamex, a/k/a Citibank Mexico, is also offering cardholders the ability to set a monthly usage limit per additional card. Issued as a companion card to a full-sized MasterCard card, the new “MasterCard SideCard” is the first companion card capable of incorporating contactless chip technology. This allows issuers the ability to add the MasterCard “PayPass” feature, which provides cardholders with a way to pay in quick payment environments such as fast food restaurants. The “SideCard” has a case which can be attached to a key ring or lanyard while protecting the magnetic stripe. At the point of interaction, the cardholder simply flips the card out of its case and swipes the card through the terminal. Banamex says it has issued the new card to thousands of cardholders since its launch last month.


NPC Signs Dinnerware Specialist Mikasa

Mikasa, Inc. has signed a multi-year credit card processing agreement with National Processing for all VISA and MasterCard transactions accepted at retail stores in the USA. Mikasa is a leader in tabletop dinnerware, stemware, flatware and decorative accessories. Quality and great design have been synonymous with the Mikasa brand for over half-century. Mikasa was acquired in 2001 by Arc International and the two companies compose the largest tabletop company in the world. Mikasa markets its products under the Mikasa and Studio Nova brand names.


ACE Cash Express Revenues Decline 1.5% for 2Q/03

Dallas-based ACE Cash Express reported second calendar quarter revenues of $53.8 million, a 1.5% decline over year-ago levels due to the loss of loan product offers in Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama and its transition to a materially different lending process in Florida. Total revenue increased by $5.0 million, or 2 percent, to $234.3 million in fiscal 2003 from $229.3 million in fiscal 2002. Net income increased to $12.8 million in fiscal 2003 from $10.1 million in fiscal 2002, a 26 percent increase, resulting in fully diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2003 of $1.25, as previously forecast and announced on July 17, 2003.


Three Quarters of Small Business Owners Optimistic

A new survey of small business owners has found that nearly one-third say they need help in obtaining a loan and 44% state that access to capital is a challenge. Of the nearly 2,500 owners of industrial small businesses surveyed nationwide, 50% said they started within the last 11 years and 78% used personal sources to obtain the capital needed to start or purchase their businesses. Only 16% relied on a bank loan. The findings come from the SBA, Thomas Regional and MasterCard, which also found that 78% of industrial small businesses are optimistic about growing over the next 12 months. More than half plan to increase staff, 51% say they will buy new/additional equipment and 26% will either move to a larger facility or open a new one.


Wachovia Picks Interlink/NYCE Over STAR

VISA’s “Interlink” online POS debit card network and “DPS” off-line debit card service beat out Concord EFS and its “STAR” network for the Wachovia contract. Wachovia also announced Thursday it has awarded its ATM transactions business to NYCE. The “Plus” network will continue to serve as Wachovia’s international ATM network and a secondary network to NYCE in the USA. Wachovia has been mulling its contract with Concord EFS for the past year. Concord EFS confirmed yesterday it was notified by Wachovia of its desire to move its network access business prior to its current contract expiration date of December 31, 2004. Concord says it does not expect its earnings in 2003 or 2004 to be affected by this event due to the continuing payment obligations contained in Wachovia’s contract. Last year Concord hired former VISA senior executive Bond Isaacson to assist with the renewal of several expiring contracts. Isaacson is to receive a $500,000 bonus for each large financial institution which renews and an additional $2 million bonus if he renews a certain number of the financial institutions on Concord’s list. He was hired in September of last year as EVP, and was promoted in February to co-CEO and named a director. Isaacson formerly worked for BofA, VISA, and IBM. (CF Library 9/13/02; 2/13/03; 4/1/03).


Connecticut Clearing House Joins NCE

The Connecticut Clearing House has joined the National Check Exchange bringing NCE’s daily check volume to $8.1 billion. NCE is involved in every aspect of the migration from paper checks to electronic transactions. It already settles $775 million in electronic transactions per day for its related electronic check presentment business, Electronic Clearing Services. In addition, NCE is working with ECS to develop a national check image exchange for banks of all sizes, scheduled for operation in the First Quarter 2004.


TNB Signs Four More Credit Unions for Processing

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has signed four new credit union members for card processing services. Tempe Schools Credit Union and Mendo Lake Credit Union converted their current card portfolios to TNB. Nizari Progressive Federal Credit Union and Union Pacific California Employees Federal Credit Union chose TNB to begin offering new card products to their members. Tempe Schools Credit Union of Arizona has 22,000 members and converted 3,800 credit card accounts to TNB. Mendo Lake Credit Union in California with 9,000 members, converted 2,200 credit card accounts and 1,400 debit card accounts to TNB. Houston-based Nizari Progressive Federal Credit Union has 6,500 members and Union Pacific California Employees Federal Credit Union serves 2,500 members.


Oki Electric’s New ATM will Use Kalignite

Tokyo-based Oki Electric Industry Co. has selected KAL’s software for its brand new ATM model, the “ATM21S,” which will be manufactured and distributed in the Chinese market. The new Oki ATM is powered by KAL’s “Kalignite” software suite, which makes the new ATM fully XFS-compliant and Web-enabled. The Oki/KAL deal follows the agreement between KAL and Oki in May of this year under which Oki adopted KAL’s “Kalignite” software suite. Oki is Japan’s number one ATM manufacturer, holding a 40% share of the installed base.


Financial Services Emails Click-Through Rates Hit 5.8%

As telemarketing becomes crimped by the new “Do-Not-Call Registry,” and as Internet advertising regains strength, email continues to deliver strong results as a marketing tool. Click-through rates from email increased from 7.5% in 2Q/02 to 8.3% for the second quarter of this year, but the average revenue generated per email delivered in the second quarter was $0.28, versus $0.29 one year ago. The findings come from DoubleClick’s latest research which also shows that those who clicked on email links clicked an average of 1.6 times per email. The Financial Services emails had the highest category open rates at 48.1% while their click-through rates were the lowest among the categories measured (5.8%), which could reflect increased consumer interest in investments but the highly considered nature of financial services offerings. The second quarter data is based on over 2 billion permission-based emails from hundreds of clients.


Active Card Balances Up 3% Year-Over-Year

Americans carried an average balance of $2,526 on each bank credit card account at the end of July, compared to $2,451 for July of last year, based on data for the top ten U.S. issuers. Year-to-date charge volume, among the top issuers, averages $2,611 per active account, compared to $2,469 for July 2002. Bank One continues to lead the top issuers with the highest average balance per active account of $3,793 and the highest year-to-date volume of $4,767 per active account. While Capital One, an issuer specializing in under $20,000 credit limits, has the lowest year-to-date volume per active account of $1,170.

(ranked by total outstandings as of 7/31/03)

1. Citibank $2506 $3022
2. MBNA $2447 $3054
3. Bank One $3793 $4767
4. Chase $3066 $2994
5. Discover $2350 $2696
6. Cap One $1637 $1170
7. BofA $3059 $3020
8. Providian $2351 $1351
9. Household $1440 $1802
10. Fleet $2607 $2232
AVG $2526 $2611
AAB- average balance per active account; AAV- average year-to-date volume per active account
Source: CardData ( and RAM Research Group’s Bankcard Barometer