Spiegel Cards

The Spiegel Group confirmed Monday it has inked an agreement for Alliance Data Systems to establish a new private-label credit card program for its merchant divisions. ADS will issue new Eddie Bauer, Spiegel Catalog and Newport News credit cards next month. The new credit card program will be separate from and have no relation to The Spiegel Group’s existing or prior credit card programs, and there would be no transfer of existing receivables. Under the proposed agreement, Alliance Data will establish credit criteria for account acquisition, issuing and activating new cards, extending credit to new cardholders, authorizing purchases made with the new cards, customer care and billing and remittance services. Spiegel is currently in bankruptcy.

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Cap One MilesOne

Capital One announced it has revamped its “MilesOne Rewards” card. In addition to earning miles for airline travel, consumers now have a choice of redeeming miles for one percent cash-back, electronics and merchandise, gift certificates at select merchants or donations to a charitable organization. Under the “MilesOne” program, miles are redeemable on any U.S.-based airline, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. The new cash-back feature enables cardholders to earn one-percent cash back for miles. Miles can also be redeemed miles for gift certificates from retailers such as Banana Republic, Bloomingdales and J. Crew. Miles can be donated to charities such as the Habitat for Humanity; Christian Children’s Fund; United States fund for UNICEF; or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The card was first introduced in 1998.

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HERO HONDA CARD

New Delhi-based Hero Honda Motor Ltd., GE Capital India, and the State Bank of India have teamed to launch a co-branded credit card. The new “Hero Honda SBI VISA Card” will initially be marketed to Hero Honda’s seven million customers. Hero Honda is India’s largest two-wheeler maker with annual sales of 1.7 million units. SBI Cards is a joint venture between SBI and GE Capital. SBI Cards currently has 300,000 classic VISA credit cards issued across 25 cities in India. The card will feature no annual fee for the first year, no transaction fees at IOC and IBP petrol pumps on fuel purchases of over Rs 250, and a one-year road accident insurance of Rs 100,000.

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FREESTAR TRANSFER

FreeStar Technology Corporation, a processor of ATM and debit card transactions via the Internet, with corporate headquarters in Santo Domingo, and offices in Dublin, Ireland and Helsinki, Finland, is being acquired by FreeStar Acquisition Corporation. The deal is valued at $75 million in cash or US$0.49 per share. Consummation of the merger is expected to occur during the third quarter.

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Credit Counseling & Bowling

Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp., a nationwide nonprofit credit counseling agency, announced that it is partnering with College Bowling USA, to design a series of debt management seminars for students at over 450 colleges and universities. Under this agreement, Cambridge Credit will also sponsor numerous CBUSA events and offer a variety of free educational debt management “tools” to participating college students.

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AMEX INTL 1Q/03

While card growth has been relatively flat in the USA, American Express’ international payment card business has expanded significantly over the past year, and overseas charge volume is now growing at nearly double the AmEx domestic pace. At the end of the first quarter, American Express had 22.4 million cards-in-force outside the USA, a 7.8% increase over 1Q/02. International charge volume for 1Q/03 hit $19.9 billion, a 15% surge over the same period one year ago. In the USA, during the same period, American Express cards were up 1.7%, and volume increased 8.4%. During the first quarter AmEx launched the “Gold Credit Card” in Indonesia, and began issuing the “Centurion Card” in Japan. The company also signed a network partnership agreement with Vietcombank to issue the “Green Credit Card” and “Gold Credit Card” in Vietnam. Earlier this year, AmEx partnered with TD Bank Financial Group in Canada to become the exclusive provider of corporate cards to TD’s commercial and corporate banking customers. The company also opened a Shanghai business travel center in China.

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NCR 1Q/03

NCR reported that its ATM business generated first-quarter revenue of $226 million, a 10% gain over 1Q/02, helped by foreign currency fluctuations. First-quarter operating income in the ATM unit, or Financial Self Service segment, was $9 million, compared to break-even operating performance in the first quarter of last year. NCR’s Retail Store Automation business recorded revenue of $149 million, up 18% from the first quarter of 2002. Retail Store Automation improved its operating performance by $7 million from the $30 million operating loss recorded in 1Q/02. NCR’s Customer Services division, which provides hardware and software maintenance, deployment and management services around the world for NCR’s Financial Self Service, Retail Store Automation and Payment and Imaging customers as well as for third-party technology providers, produced first-quarter revenues of $448 million, up 4% from the first quarter of last year. Operating income for the Customer Services division declined from $11 million to $3 million due to adverse changes in revenue mix and continued price erosion. For complete details on NCR’s 1Q/03 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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DIEBOLD 1Q/03

Diebold reported that total Asia-Pacific revenue for the first quarter increased 27%, compared 5.3% for the Americas on a fixed exchange rate basis. The company also says ATM orders for Asia-Pacific increased in the high double-digit range, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa orders decreased in the high single-digit range. Significant orders for the quarter included: five significant self-service orders totaling more than $24 million from large financial institutions in Europe. Orders for 700 new ATMs from two banks in India. Orders valued at more than $8 million from three financial institutions in Brazil and a self-service order for nearly $5 million from a large bank in China.

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Hypercom 1Q/03

Although Hypercom reported a larger loss in 1Q/03 than 1Q/02, the company continued to strengthen its balance sheet as cash balances increased to $42.9 million at the end of the first quarter, compared to $29.8 million at year-end 2002. The payment card terminal manufacturer says a significant reduction in working capital requirements plus current quarter operating results helped strengthen its cash position. Hypercom’s 1Q/03 loss, before discontinued operations, was $1.1 million compared to a loss of $900,000 in the same quarter last year. First quarter net revenues were $55.7 million compared to $70.8 million in 1Q/02. Hypercom says seasonal fluctuations, the soft global economy, and the ongoing conflict in Iraq contributed to lower first quarter revenues. The company says its projection for 2003, excluding the impact of discontinued operations, is net revenues between $265.0 million and $273.0 million, and income from continuing operations between $19.7 million and $24.0 million. For complete details on Hypercom’s 1Q/03 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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