US Bank Launches Malibu Affinity Card

U.S. Bank and the City of Malibu, California have teamed to issue an affinity card. The new “City of Malibu VISA” generates a donation to city based on cardholder volume. The card is available in the classic and platinum versions, and offers a low introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first six months. There is no annual fee on the “Platinum” card with one purchase per year, otherwise, $40.00. The “Classic” card also offers no annual fee with one purchase per year, otherwise, $20.00. The go-to interest rate for “Classic” is between 10.24% to 19.24% and the go-to APR for Platinum is between 8.24% and 17.24%.

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Los Angeles-based Bentley Changes Name

Los Angeles-based Bentley Communications Corporation is planning to change its name to Bentley Commerce Corporation on October 30th. The purpose of the name change is to accurately reflect the company’s focus on ecommerce and associated financial transactions, and to confirm its entrance into the $12 billion U.S. barter industry. As part of its new name, it will also be changing its CUSIP number. Bentley is positioning itself to be the domestic leader in the fast growing trade and barter industry. It has an ideal opportunity to apply its expertise in alternative financial transactions and ecommerce services to enable barter exchanges, and the companies that barter through them, access round the clock to a user-friendly, online trade exchange, tailored to their needs.

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Selects Chordiant Software

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has selected Chordiant Software to furnish its customer service processing for its “Card Products Division.” Chordiant’s system automates and manages key business processes from the initial point of customer contact through to the various back-office systems, contact center agents will be provided with real time information from a variety of different sources. Furthermore, the integration of Chordiant “Enterprise Contact Center” with CIBC’s deployment of Chordiant “Marketing Director” will allow marketing campaigns to be directly connected with the contact centers that execute them.

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MBNA Does Fishy Deal in NASCAR Winston Cup Race

Bass Pro Shops and MBNA America have teamed to co-sponsor Atlanta Motor Speedway’s fall NASCAR Winston Cup race for the next four years, known as the “Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500”. Bass Pro Shops and MBNA also sponsored the spring Winston Cup race this season, providing some of the most memorable moments of the racing season, including a unique largemouth bass winner’s trophy. Bass Pro Shops leads the nation in outdoor retail sales while MBNA America is recognized as the world’s largest independent credit card lender.

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Global eTelecom Gets New COO

FL-based Global eTelecom has named Ron Williams, former founder and President of EZ-Check, as its new COO. Ron Williams joined Global eTelecom as President in April 2002. He was elected to erve on the Board of Directors in March 2003. Combined with CEO John H. Beebe, Williams’ vision and direction has been a key force behind the operational efficiencies and recent evolution of Global eTelecom’s product offerings and increased customer service and satisfaction.

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Capital One in Talks to Issue Debit Card in India

The Life Insurance Corporation of India is reportedly in talks with Capital One to issue a debit card in the country. The insurance concern also fielded proposals from SBI Card and Corporation Bank, but preferred the Capital One proposal. LIC wants to issue a debit card linked up to its insurance policies. However, the firm wants a competitively priced card. According to the Business Standard, LIC has asked for a waiver of joining fees and annual fees for card holders, plus a reduced rate of interest for cash advances. LIC was asking for rates that were as low as 0.9% to 1.0% per month against the existing rates of 1.9% to 2.2% per month.

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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 (www.carddata.com)

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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 expedia.com or hotels.com. 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.

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BANAMEX TWIN CARD

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.

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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.

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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.

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