SCA Signs LA Jeweler

Los Angeles-based Romano’s Jewelers has retained NJ-based Shoppers Charge Accounts to develop and administer its private label credit card program for its nine stores. Romano’s Jewelers operates in major malls throughout the metro Los Angeles area. The new Romano’s credit card from SCA will offer cardholders special privileges, such as 90 days and six months interest-free from the time of purchase.


In$tant Alerts

Paymentech has launched a mail alert system enabling merchants to view activity reports on out-of-the-ordinary transactions, or exceptions, that occur at any of their locations. “In$tant Alerts” is designed to help merchants reduce losses due to fraud, charge-backs and other payment occurrences by notifying them in as little as ten minutes. The system can flag abnormally high same-day card usage or a high dollar amount of return transactions. Merchants can also identify transactions that take an excessive amount of time to settle or be notified of retrieval requests (on disputed charges) that are about to expire. “In$tant Alerts” is the first Web-based reporting tool on the market that monitors charge-backs, retrievals, velocity and interchange qualification. “In$tant Alerts” is part of Paymentech’s “Re$ource Online” suite.


FDC/Concord Merger

Small bankers are extremely concerned about the ability of the post-merger First Data to exert its market power in shaping routing rules and pricing to the detriment of community banks and their customers. The Independent Community Bankers of America says the combination of merchant processing with the network ownership of First Data and Concord EFS creates a significant opportunity for the combined organization to tie these services to the disadvantage of all other networks and processors and their users. First Data and Concord, in addition to owning the two largest ATM and point-of-sale networks, are also the two largest merchant processing organizations, representing in excess of 50% of the merchant links to all networks in the USA. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice has requested additional information pertaining to the merger. The ICBA says it welcomes the “Second Look” by the DOJ. (CF Library 6/13/03)



Oberthur Card Systems has inked a deal with KBC Bank & Insurance Group NV for the delivery of more than 10 million “Proton Prisma” EMV smart cards. KBC intends to distribute the cards to consumers in Belgium, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary next year. One year ago, KBC and Proton World signed an agreement licensing the “Proton Prisma” multi-application smart card technology in a number of its associated banks in Central and Eastern Europe. In the initial phase, the agreement will involve CSOB Bank in the Czech Republic (with branches in the Slovak Republic), Kereskedelmi es Hitelbank (K&H) in Hungary, and the Poland-based Kredytbank, which also has branches in Lithuania and a subsidiary in Ukraine.


Vegas VISA

The City of Las Vegas now has its own bank credit card, complete with a rewards program. MBNA and have signed a five-year deal to launch “Platinum Plus” or “Preferred” VISA credit card tied to the new “ Reward Program.” Cardholders earn a point for each dollar spent, anywhere. Points are redeemable for meals, entertainment, flights, spa access and services and other activities at Vegas’ hotels through Cardholders receive a 1,000 point bonus on their initial card use. (The redemption schedule was not available this morning.) The card carries no annual fee and a 10.99% fixed APR. There is a 6-month promotional interest rate of 2.99% for checks and balance transfers. However, the card will not reward cardholders for casino spending nor will it have ATM and cash access privileges. says Las Vegas hosted more than 35 million visitors last year, and 80% were repeat visitors. The card will also be targeted at locals. has about two million users in its database and is a sister company of the Las Vegas Sun.


Apunix & Wincor Nixdorf

San Diego-based Apunix, a developer of kiosk application software has signed a relationship agreement with Wincor Nixdorf to market kiosk and self-service solutions to the North American retail and hospitality industries. The platform-independent design of Apunix’s award-winning kiosk software allows for easy deployment on any of Wincor’s open-architecture kiosk and BEETLE POS system products. This flexibility provides retailers with highly-configurable solutions that can be adapted to suit any retail touch point, in any operating system environment including Linux and Windows.


MBNA May Stats

MBNA reported this morning that charge-offs edged up slightly in May while delinquency continues to decline for the fifth consecutive month. The nation’s second largest bank credit card issuer reported that charge-offs increased to 5.04% in May, compared to 5.02% for April. Delinquency declined to 4.36% in May, from 4.49% for April. MBNA also reported that managed credit card outstandings for the end of May were $95.3 billion, a 2.6% gain since the end of the first quarter. MBNA also holds nearly $14 billion in other consumer loans.

MBNA 2003
Month Outstandings Charge-offs Delinquency
Jan 03 NA 5.15% 4.85%
Feb 03 NA 5.10% 4.91%
Mar 03 $92.9 b 5.05% 4.62%
Apr 03 $93.9 b 5.02% 4.49%
May 03 $95.3 b 5.04% 4.36%

Source: CardData ([][1])




Stockholm-based Comex Electronics AB has, teamed with Oberthur Card Systems and Fingerprint Cards, developed an advanced system for network security based on smart card and finger pattern verification technologies. Comex Electronics has now placed a US$260,000 order with Fingerprint Cards for sensors, processors and algorithms. The smart card reader, developed by Comex Electronics, houses Fingerprint Cards’ biometric sensor and processor chip for reading and extraction of finger pattern data. The smart card is a Java card delivered by Oberthur Card Systems.


Summer Vacations 2003

The Travel Industry Association of America predicts Americans will take over 270 million vacations during June, July and August, an increase of 2.5% from last summer. Air travel will up about 1 percent this summer, auto travel will continue to be stronger than air, up more than 2 percent, while RV travel is likely to remain very strong this summer. Americans expect to stay away an average of 7.9 nights on their longest pleasure trip, down slightly from last year. Travelers continue to watch their pennies, planning to spend an average of $1,055 on their longest pleasure trip this summer, stable from summer 2002 but still down about 9 percent from the $1,172 in 2001.