BMO Mosaik MasterCard Goes Online

Bank of Montreal has signed an agreement with Canada Post to enable its 3 million “BMO Mosaik MasterCard” holders to receive and pay their monthly statements online. BMO Mosaik MasterCard joins a list of more than 65 Mailers sending mail through the online epost service. epost provides a free service that enables consumers to receive, pay and manage their mail in a central, secure location on the Internet. Customers of BMO Mosaik MasterCard who wish to receive their statements online simply sign up for a free epost mailbox at epost.ca and add BMO Mosaik MasterCard to their personal list of Mailers to begin receiving their documents online, rather than in the physical mail.

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U.S. Bank Now Offers 0% APR through Agent Banks

U.S. Bank has extended its six-month 0% APR credit card offer to its 1,200 agent banks in the Elan Financial Services program. The intro rate is offered to customers opening a new Elan Visa Platinum, Elan Travel Rewards Visa Platinum, Elan Visa Classic, Elan Cash Rewards Visa Platinum and Elan Cash Rewards Visa Classic cards. In addition, The Elan Cash Reward card gives cardholders up to one percent cash back on purchases. Elan Financial Services, part of U.S. Bancorp, supports more than 6,500 ATMs, 14 million ATM/POS cards, and 8 million credit cardholders with a complete range of products and services including credit card issuing, ATM, debit card, and merchant processing.

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Barnhisel Joins Embarcadero Management Team

Former senior management executive at VISA and Citibank, Katherine Barnhisel, has been hired by Embarcadero Technologies as VP/marketing. Ms. Barnhisel will assume responsibility for all areas of marketing for the organization. Prior to Embarcadero, Ms. Barnhisel held senior director and vice president of marketing positions at BEA Systems and WebLogic, and most recently served as vice president of marketing for AltoWeb. Embarcadero Technologies, Inc., is a leading provider of software solutions that enable organizations to build, optimize and manage relational databases, the key underlying technology of business critical applications.

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ABN AMRO P-CARD

ABN AMRO N.V. has launched a “MasterCard Purchase Card” that features “Smart Data OnLine” for Web-based, real-time information management. The new card is powered on Card Tech Limited’s “PRIME BIZ” platform which provides enhanced level-3 data, that is fully compliant with the latest MasterCard requirements. “PRIME BIZ” is a consolidated card and merchant management solution designed to address the specific processing requirements of the commercial card market, while also supporting retail card programs. The new p-card program builds on a five-year relationship between CTL and ABN AMRO.

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USD ATMS

ABN AMRO is installing the first US dollar ATMs in the Netherlands at Schiphol Airport this week. 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.

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Thin Excess Spreads in ABS Raises Investor Concern

Among credit card asset-backed securities, recently reported excess spread levels on several fixed-rate, high-coupon transactions are now thin, and could trigger early amortization. At the end of May, six credit card ABS fixed-rate series reported three-month average excess spread below 2.00%. Fitch Ratings says this noncredit-related early amortization risk has also caused investors to gain a greater appreciation for trust structural nuances, particularly the prepayment protection offered by the various socialist, semisocialist, and nonsocialist structures. Fitch says that although limited, issuers maintain some flexibility in managing performance and prepayment risk. However, these options are broader portfolio management initiatives that would likely boost performance over time, including re-pricing accounts to boost portfolio yield, accelerating receivable growth in an attempt to dilute reported losses, and adding newly originated or better performing accounts to the trust. Fitch says that a relatively simple way to protect against the excess spread margin compression in these fixed-rate deals is to incorporate interest rate swaps into the transactions. A good example is MBNA Master “Credit Card Trust II,” which has several high-coupon, fixed-rate deals but has effectively hedged against the falling rate environment by employing interest rate swaps and their payments within the trust. As such, excess spread for MBNA fixed-rate transactions has remained relatively strong.

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iBIZ Software Inks Authentication Deal with UK’s Kwikpay

Kwikpay Technologies Limited of London has selected iBIZ Software of Texas to supply its cardholder authentication program. Under the deal, iBIZ will supply its “CommerSafe MPI” to provide Kwikpay merchants payment authentication services under the “Verified by Visa” and “MasterCard SecureCode” programs. Kwikpay’s online service reaches into the UK, EU, USA, Asia and Africa. Founded in 2000, iBIZ is a pioneer in online payment card security and offers robust authentication solutions for the entire e-payments industry.

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Fifth Third Signs GNC for Back Office PIN Debit Operations

Pittsburgh-based General Nutrition Centers has chosen Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions to fully automate their back office PIN-based debit card operations for 5,300 retail outlets. Fifth Third Direct enables retailers to scan receipts, handwritten notes, or other documents into the system for responding to inquiries from customers or financial institutions. Fifth Third Bank processes 8.2 billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 185,000 retail locations and financial institutions worldwide. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based GNC, is the largest nationwide specialty retailer of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements and sports nutrition products.

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Card Payments Drive Consumer Spending

A research report has found that the growth in card payments in the USA has added an additional $6.5 trillion to real consumer spending between 1980 and 2000. The study says electronic payments, including card-based payments, has also driven international economic growth, as well as economic efficiency, and capital accumulation. The white paper by Global Insight, and sponsored by VISA International, says that without the growth in domestic card spending, the cumulative loss to U.S. GDP would have been nearly $10 trillion, reducing GDP growth by 0.5% per year. Global estimates this loss could have cost 1.3 million new jobs. Furthermore, an analysis of 50 countries worldwide, ranging from Egypt to Canada, found that on average, an increase of just 10% in the existing share of card payments in a country would stimulate an increase of 0.5% in consumer spending. The study says electronic payment networks, by increasing the efficiency and velocity of payments, have the potential to create cost savings of at least 1% of GDP annually over paper-based systems in any given economy. In a simulation of the U.S. economy by Global Insight, it was found that a 10% shift of currency into deposits or other reserves that can be used for lending has the potential to increase the level of GDP by more than 1% annually.

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Diners Launches Refurbished Restaurant Savings Program

Citicorp’s Diners Club this week officially launched its new “Restaurant Savings Program” In April, Diners signed an agreement with FL-based iDine Rewards Network to make-over the program for Diners Club personal and participating corporate cardholders in the USA. The program offers up to 20% off the entire bill at 4,000 participating restaurants and applies to the “Personal Diners Club Charge,” “Carte Blanche.” or “Montage Card.” In November, Diners Club announced it was discontinuing its “Restaurant Savings Program” after terminating its relationship with Chicago-based Clever Ideas. Clever Ideas launched a charge-card-based dining savings program in 1990 under the “LeCard” name. The “LeCard” program replaced Clever’s paper-based “Dining Dollars” program launched in 1977. Miami-based iDine Rewards Network offers its members a variety of dining savings and rewards programs at more than 10,300 restaurants throughout the USA. The Company currently has 17.9 million credit cards registered through 13.3 million enrolled accounts. (CF Library 11/6/02; 4/11/03)

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FDIC Issues Payday Loan Guidance

The FDIC yesterday issued examination guidance for FDIC-supervised institutions that offer payday loans. Payday loans are small-dollar, unsecured, short-term advances offered at high annual percentage rates. Banks that participate in payday lending frequently do so through a third-party vendor. The guidance also focuses on concentrations of credit, capital adequacy, the allowance for loan and lease losses, and policies towards rollovers or renewals of credit.

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