MBNA Licenses BabyMint Platform from Vesdia

MBNA has inked a multi-year deal with Atlanta-based Vesdia Corporation for a microinvesting platform and loyalty program. The Vesdia program currently powers the “BabyMint” and “NestEggz” credit card programs, both co-branded by MBNA. BabyMint acquired NestEggz in January for $4.5 million cash. MBNA teamed with BabyMint in May 2003 to launch the “BabyMint MasterCard.” MBNA is reportedly looking to expand the program to other affinity and co-branded partners. Vesdia’s microinvesting platform enables individual investors to receive up to a 20% rebate on every-day purchases made through the company’s network of more than 500 retailers and 127,000 grocery stores. According to Financial Research Corporation, merchant and credit card rebates, such as those facilitated by the Vesdia technology platform, have the potential to represent an incremental $1.1 billion per year in assets to banks and investment management firms. (CF Library 1/30/03; 3/21/03)

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UK Rail Industry Gets New Settlement System

Britain’s passenger train operators and SchlumbergerSema have completed development and implementation of the settlement system for the UK rail industry. Code named “LENNON” (Latest Earnings Networked Nationally Over Night), it is one of the world’s largest ever transport settlement systems capable of handling and allocating more than GBP 3.5 billion in annual passenger revenue to Britain’s passenger train operators.
“LENNON” also provides valuable marketing and customer-related data on 300 million annual ticket sales and usage patterns enabling train operating companies to better plan rail services to ensure that high levels of customer service are maintained at all times.

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Experian Picks Up Two More Bureaus

Experian has acquired Advantage Credit Bureau of Fargo, North Dakota and Credit Bureau of East. Experian’s network of affiliate credit bureaus provides clients in specific geographic areas with a variety of services utilizing the company’s consumer credit, business, automotive and marketing information. Experian acquired the consumer operations of Credit Bureau of East Tennessee, which provides services in Knoxville, and Morristown, Tenn.

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Life Insurance Corporation of India and Capital One May Team

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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Personal Advantage Debit VISA Launched

Los Angeles-based Direct Response Financial Services and Direct Card Services has signed a deal to distribute its VISA pin-based Debit/ATM card on 2,500 Web media outlet partners. The “Personal Advantage” product will be offered at $49.95. The product includes a VISA pin-based Debit/ATM card, with $10 cash on the card, together with a $50 airline credit. The Product will also feature the “Personal Advantage Global Money-Online” Web services.

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ProtectServer Orange and CommerSafe Integrated

CA-based Eracom Technologies and TX-based iBIZ Software have integrated Eracom’s “Hardware Security Module ProtectServer Orange” with iBIZ’s “CommerSafe Access Control Server,” a solution which supports “Verified by VISA” and “MasterCard SecureCode” payer authentication programs. iBIZ Software is now offering this fully integrated solution to the customers and prospects of their CommerSafe Access Control Server. Eracom Technologies is a leading developer and global supplier of cryptographic-based hardware and software products. iBIZ is a pioneer in online payment card security and offers robust authentication solutions for the entire e-payments industry.

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Deutsche Bank to Use Fair Isaac’s Blaze Decision System

Deutsche Bank has tapped Fair Isaac’s “Blaze Decision System” software to build an enterprise-wide credit decisioning and risk monitoring solution. Fair Isaac’s decision engine technology is being used to enable a high degree of automation, improved risk management and preparation for compliance with the “New Basel Accord” requirements. Firms like Deutsche Bank are actively preparing now for the “Accord’s” December 31, 2006 implementation deadline. The lender plans to implement the solution throughout its European branches and credit service centers.

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Unisys and S2 Systems Offer OpeN/2 Suite

Unisys and S2 Systems have teamed to offer the “OpeN/2” suite to provide the architectural basis for flexible online transaction processing on open industry platforms. The Unisys enterprise payments blueprint allows banks to optimize their technology investments to improve ROI by helping identify best practices to manage payment revenues, introduce new products and process transactions, and then apply these models across bank departments and delivery systems to reduce costs. According to a recent study conducted by Unisys, Global Concepts and Talson Associates, almost 50 percent of the top 20 U.S. banks are actively reviewing the overlap of transaction services, internal processes and future infrastructure requirements.

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Oki Electric Selects KAL Software for New ATM

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.

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Chase Launches Another Gas Card

OH-based Marathon Ashland Petroleum and Chase rolled out a high octane, co-branded credit card today. The new “Marathon Platinum MasterCard” enables users to earn a 5% rebate on all Marathon purchases and a 1% rebate on all other purchases. For a 60-day introductory period, Marathon cardholders will earn a 10% rebate on all Marathon purchases made with the card, including gasoline, service repairs and convenience store items. The card carries a $20 annual fee which is waived if the cardholder makes at least nine Marathon purchases throughout the year. The card offers a 9-month 0% APR on balance transfers while purchase interest rates range from 13.99% to 23.99%. Marathon has 3,800 locations throughout the Midwest and the Southeast portions of the country. Earlier this year, Chase introduced the “PerfectCard VISA and MasterCard” offering bonus rebates on all gasoline purchases as well as a rebate for all card purchases. Originally introduced in January as the “Chase Freedom Card” in response to the loss of its Shell co-branded credit card to Citibank, the new card offers a 6% rebate on all gasoline purchases for the first 90 days. Thereafter, cardholders receive a 3% rebate on all gasoline purchases, regardless of the brand. The card also offers a 1% rebate on all other purchases. (CF Library 1/27/03; 7/23/03)

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Hudson’s Bay Company’s Store Card Balances Up 18.5% for 2Q/03

Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Company reported that credit card receivables for the second quarter of $460.3 million were $71.7 million or 18.5% above 2Q/02’s receivable balance of $388.6 million. The retailer also reported there were 2.8 million active Hbc customer credit card accounts at the end of the second quarter, including 1.4 million “Bay” cardholders and 1.4 million “Zellers” cardholders. During the second quarter, the number of charge-off accounts increased by 2.0%. Of the dollars charged-off, the value of bankrupt accounts increased from last year by $2.1 million. Net bad debt expense in Q2 2003 of $24.0 million was $5.2 million higher than the 2Q/02 level of $18.8 million, reflecting mainly the higher gross write-off levels. For the second quarter, Hbc reported an average balance per active account of $463, a 10.7% increase over last year. The average volume per account was $382, an 11.8% increase.

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