GE Card Profits Improve, but Off 2% Over Last Year

GE Card Services reported a 2% decline in profits for the second quarter to $172 million, compared to $175 million one year ago. The decline was significantly better than the 13% drop in first quarter profits and helped in part by GE’s recent acquisition of Conseco’s private label credit card portfolio. Year-to-date, GE’s card profits are off 8%, $353 million compared to $384 million for the first half of 2002. However, GE’s global consumer finance business more than offset the decline in the credit card business. GE’s Consumer Finance division had total revenues of $3.0 billion and profits of $514 million for the second quarter. Revenues were up 24% and profits increased 10% over last year. During the second quarter GE added $2.4 billion in receivables from Conseco’s retail sales finance business. The company also added $8.2 billion in U.K. assets by completing the acquisition of First National, and agreed to acquire the personal loan and auto loan businesses of Allbank from Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG, which will add over $2 billion in assets in Germany. GE also renewed an agreement to service the Lowe’s private-label credit card program in the U.S. through 2009, and signed card agreements with Carrefour in Mexico and Indonesia. GE said this morning it expects third quarter revenues for its Consumer Finance division to be up 20-25% and third quarter profits to be up around 20%. For complete details on GE’s second quarter performance visit CardData ([][1]).



Trans Union Launches New CRM Products

TransUnion this week introduced “Rapid Notify Account Acquisition” and “Rapid Notify Cross Sell” services. Rapid Notify Account Acquisition is suited for securing new customers and offers additional benefits not currently available in the marketplace. Rapid Notify Cross Sell is fully customizable, providing clients key information quickly, ideal for building customer loyalty and maximizing current customer relationships.


Brokerage Deposits via STAR and NYCE Available

PNC’s PFPC, the nation’s largest full-service mutual fund transfer agent and second largest provider of mutual fund accounting and administrative services, is now offering customers the ability to deposit funds into brokerage accounts via ATMs that accept deposits within the “STAR” and “NYCE” networks. This service allows cardholders to deposit funds in the form of a check at any one of the participating ATMs. By using electronic records, firms can speed the processing period for deposits.


Agilis 91x Live with First U.S. Commercial Bank

Diebold announced that Long Island Commercial Bank is the first U.S. financial institution to have Diebold’s “Agilis 91x” software running live on NYCE’s EFT processing platform. Agilis 91x is a prepackaged application for use in ATMs that communicate to networks using the Diebold 911/912 message format. Agilis features a unique design that minimizes integration costs because it’s fully backward compatible with the existing host download. Founded in 1990, Long Island Commercial Bank is an independent New York State chartered bank.


TNB Acquires Three Texas CU Portfolios

Dallas-based TNB Card Services announced this morning it is buying the credit card portfolios from three Texas based credit unions. Members Choice of Central Texas Credit Union is selling its $1.6 million card portfolio to TNB. The other two credit unions include Irving-based General Technologies Federal Credit Union with $139 million in assets, and Reed Credit Union in Houston with $17 million in assets and 2,100 members. The three CUs have entered into an agent relationship with TNB. TNB Card Services is owned and directed by credit unions, and provides full-service credit and debit card processing.


2Q/03 Outstandings Up 11.2% Among Mid-Sized Players

Early returns in the “2Q/03 Portfolio Survey” has found significant growth in credit card outstandings among mid-sized players. MI-based National City reported a 10.9% jump in outstandings, while BB&T cranked out an 11.3% gain for the second quarter. FL-based SunTrust posted a whopping 31% gain to hit $128 million in card loans. However, smaller players continued to post weak growth. TX-based Farm Bureau Bank reported a 4% decline in card loans for 2Q/03. For complete details on the latest 2Q/03 portfolio reports visit CardData ([][1]).

2Q/03 Early Bank Credit Card Early Snapshot
Issuer 2Q/03 OUT 2Q/02 OUT CHANGE
National City (MI) $2,417,290,407 $2,179,717,152 +10.9%
BB&T (NC) $ 890,340,000 $ 799,924,000 +11.3%
SunTrust (FL) $ 128,449,808 $ 97,801,360 +31.4%
Farm Bureau Bank (TX) $ 93,608,002 $ 97,499,807 – 4.0%
TOTAL $3,529,688,217 $3,174,942,319 +11.2%

Source: CardData ([][2])



InstaPay Systems Signs First Merchant for payENKRYPT

InstaPay Systems announced that LAROSE.COM has contracted to be the first merchant to utilize its “payENKRYPT” service which offers Internet merchants the ability to accept ATM card payments. payENKRYPT will enable customers to swipe their ATM card and then enter their PIN on a device about the size of a computer mouse that conveniently connects to their computer, then the payment data is encrypted and transmitted from the consumer’s PC directly to the Instapay/Kryptosima payment gateway, thereby protecting the consumer’s payment data from risk of theft. The payment gateway then obtains real-time authorization of the transaction via its connections to ATM networks.


Best Western Launches Second STV Card

The world’s largest hotel chain has come up with a unique, re-loadable prepaid card that enables guests to pay for stays in units rather than dollar amounts. The new “Best Western International Unit Travel Card” is loaded with one unit for $25. Some BW hotels offer rooms for as few as two units, but the rate can vary between two and nine units depending upon the location and season. The “Unit Travel Card expires 12 months from date of issue, when last reloaded, or when the stored value of the card is used. After twelve months, a one unit service fee will be deducted every 60 days from the remaining balance. To kick off the program, Best Western is offering a free upgrade coupon from AVIS Rent a Car. For every purchase of $200 or more, the buyer receives a coupon for a third rental day free. The launch of the “Unit Card” follows the launch six months ago of the “Best Western Currency Travel Card” that is available in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, and Euros. The “Currency Travel Card” reached sales of more than one million dollars since launch. Best Western has more than 4,000 hotels in 80 countries. (CF Library 12/4/02)



The Shoprite Group of Companies, Africa’s largest food retailer, has embarked on a three-year project to upgrade store equipment to EMV using “VeriFone SC 5000” programmable smart card PINpads. The US$4 million contract is being handled by Prism Holdings, an international partner of VeriFone. The “SC 5000” supports not only global smart card solutions based on the EMV specifications, but also existing magnetic stripe debit and credit cards, which are likely to remain in use for at least five to 10 more years in Africa. The “SC 5000” is PED-compliant and offers a range of security protections including tamper-detection circuitry, “VeriShield” file authentication, and the flexibility to develop and support virtually any key-management scheme.


Netherlands’ Schiphol Airport Gets USD ATMs

ABN AMRO has installed the first US dollar ATMs in the Netherlands at Schiphol Airport. A second US dollar ATM will be deployed in mid-July. The installation of these US dollar ATMs will complement the following services that ABN AMRO already provides to leisure and business travellers at Schiphol including 8 branches, 5 foreign currency exchange machines, 6 sealed bag dispensers, 12 euro ATMs, 2 coin roll dispensers, and 15 cash card loading points.



VASCO reported that revenues for the second quarter are expected to be in the range of $6.3 million to $6.5 million, compared with $5.6 million for the first quarter of 2003 and $4.2 million for the second quarter of 2002. The Company indicated that its backlog at June 30th for firm orders to be delivered in the third quarter of 2003, was approximately $5.0 million, which was comparable to the backlog of orders on hand at the beginning of the second quarter for delivery in the second quarter of 2003. VASCO’s identity authentication software is delivered via its “Digipass” security products, small calculator hardware devices carried by an end user, or in a software format on mobile phones, other portable devices, and PCs.


Internet Mileage Firm Abrupty Shuts Down

A firm offering Web surfers free air miles for visiting or shopping at a participating merchant or for transferring low-balance air miles from carrier-based frequent flyer programs is shutting down. Houston-based MileSpree notified members last night that accounts with less than 25,000 miles will have no redemption value. The firm, also well known for sending spam, is also limiting the number or miles earned from merchant clicks. Customers will be limited to using no more than 7,500 “Click Miles” towards a free airline ticket which requires 25,000 miles. Customers with valid miles have until August 7th to make redemptions.