Credit Card Delinquency Hits 13.50% in November, the Fifth Straight Monthly Increase

Toronto-based Xenos has been selected by TSYS’ ProCard subsidiary to
provide a software platform for ProCard’s “Statement Centre” solution.
“Statement Centre” enables cardholders, managers and
administrators to manage statements and invoices electronically, allowing
for real time access of credit card transactions as well as presentment of
cycled statement and invoice images. Once statement and invoice print files
are generated, they are securely transmitted to ProCard’s “Statement
Centre” solution where Xenos’ “d2e Platform” software parses the statements
and invoices and converts them to PDF images. Users can then retrieve and
view the PDF images via the Internet using the advanced features of
“Statement Centre.” Xenos “d2e Platform” transforms legacy printstreams
into standard electronic formats, for applications such as electronic
statement presentment, enterprise content management/archiving, print
automation and customer relationship management.

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Blue ID Keeper

While smart credit cards have been pushed to the back burner by many U.S. issuers, American Express announced yesterday it is adding the first real application to its pioneering “Blue” smart card. The new “ID Keeper” application stores multiple Web sites, online IDs, and passwords. The free application can be obtained by going to a special Web address, inserting the “Blue from American Express” card into the smart card reader, and then downloading the software. “Blue” cardholders can then establish their personal profile of favorite Web sites, IDs, passwords. The Internet download capability was developed through the Datacard “Affina Life Cycle Management System.” AmEx introduced the “Blue” card in September 1999, becoming the first major credit card issuer to launch a smart card in the USA. AmEx has tested various smart card applications with “Blue” in the USA including a feature to enable cardholders to pick up tickets through Ticketmaster, receive special discounts at Virgin Music, and download music at Virgin Music. In 2000, AmEx launched a “Code Blue” contest for technology developers to create new “Java Card” technology applications for the “Blue” credit card. A German developer won first place in the “Code Blue” contest for his “Pass Keeper” application. The “Blue” card is also issued in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. (CF Library 9/9/99; 6/7/00; 7/28/00; 5/9/01; 5/24/01; and 11/21/01)

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GEHA Deploys Payment Optimizer

Government Employees Hospital Association has selected Fair, Isaac’s “Payment Optimizer” fraud and abuse detection solution to make pre-payment detection possible. Payment Optimizer uses Fair, Isaac’s neural network technology, which has been successfully deployed in finding fraud in real-time for credit cards and other financial transactions. The software identifies patterns of unusual behavior and provides a score based on the claim’s degree of risk. The score allows claims professionals to determine which claims need to be taken out of the payment stream for further investigation, and allows the rest of the claims to be fast-tracked for payment.

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CMS Certifies Card Solution

San Francisco-based Credit Management Services has certified its “Credit Management Private Label” card system operating on HP and Oracle platforms. The announcement is the result of CMS’ successful on-going implementation initiatives in Oracle and HP environments. Based on customer-proven projects, now in production, CMS combines it’s consulting services and infrastructure that enables customers to deploy a private-label enterprise-level card solution, and related marketing, promotions, and portfolio management in 90 days or less.

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Oil & War Holds Fed Rates

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to keep its target for the federal funds rate unchanged at 1.25% citing oil prices and a possible war as factors causing restraint on spending and hiring by businesses. The Committee believes that as those risks lift, as most analysts expect, the accommodative stance of monetary policy, coupled with ongoing growth in productivity, will provide support to an improving economic climate over time.

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GE Coles MasterCard

Coles Myer Ltd., a major retailer in Australia, is still mauling its decision on which brand to select for its upcoming co-branded bank credit card. According to tomorrow’s edition of The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]), the retailer already has a private label credit card but has been exploring for the past six months the possibility of expanding to a general purpose card. According to the Australian Financial Review, Coles is leaning towards issuing a MasterCard through GE Capital. Woolworths and Commonwealth Bank recently introduced “Ezy Banking,” which includes a bank-issued credit card.

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

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AMEX INTL

American Express reported that its cardbase outside the USA grew
nearly 8.0% in 2002 to 22.2 million cards-in-force. Gross dollar volume for
cards issued outside the USA grew 5.2% from $73.5 billion to $77.3 billion.
During the fourth quarter, AmEx logged $21.2 billion in volume for
international cards, a 13.7% increase. The spending per basic card during
the fourth quarter was $1,426 compared to $1,469 one year ago. AmEx also
reported it now has 700,000 non-AmEx branded cards in its portfolio which
produce $1 billion in quarterly charge volume. The non-AmEx branded cards
are VISA and Eurocards issued in connection with joint ventures. During the
fourth quarter, AmEx signed a network partnership agreement with the Bank
of New Zealand to begin offering classic and gold BNZ American Express
cards, and “GlobalPlus American Express” classic and gold credit cards.
AmEx also appointed Lotte Card, Ltd. as its new card-issuing and
merchant-acquiring partner in Korea. During the fourth quarter AmEx added
600,000 cards outside the USA.

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UATP Direct Merchants

Washington, DC-based Universal Air Travel Plan said Tuesday it is working with a limited number of corporate travel agencies to expand direct acceptance of UATP cards by travel agencies for service fees and net fare tickets following a successful pilot with a Canadian travel agency. Universal Air Travel Plan Inc. is the global air travel management control and cost savings program. Formerly known as Air Travel Card(r), UATP is the world’s first corporate travel payment system. Founded in 1936, UATP is owned and operated by each card-issuing airline and accepted by over 190 airlines worldwide. Today, ninety-five percent (95%) of the available seat kilometers (ASKs) in the industry can be purchased using a UATP account.

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Smart Cards 2003

A new report found that check conversion in the USA at the POS will continue to expand faster than smart cards and will not necessarily lead to increased debit card use, even by customers who realize that the two processes are virtually identical. SRI Consulting Business Intelligence’s Scan Program says writing checks will remain the preferred payment method for a great many U.S. consumers for years to come. Personal checks provide a running account balance, allow payers some payment leeway, and continue to be valued culturally because many people still see having a check accepted as payment as a measure of personal worth. Retailers should thus not hesitate to invest in check-conversion capabilities at their points of service. SRI also concluded that until smart-card readers are incorporated into home-computer keyboards, consumers will continue to resist readers as too much trouble and move toward server-based online security systems for online payments such as “Verified by Visa.” However, once built-in card readers reach critical mass on home PCs, Web users, including those who have not been Web shoppers, may very well take to them as the preferred authentication method because the card-and-PIN setup will be similar to the typical POS experience.

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SCA Buys Portfolio

NJ-based Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. has acquired the private label credit card portfolio of Farmingdale, NY-based Colorado Prime Foods, and will manage all facets of the card program on an ongoing basis. SCA services brick-and-mortar and catalog retailers throughout the U.S. The company acquires retailers’ receivables or will develop private label credit card programs for merchants who currently don’t offer a house charge. In both situations, SCA assumes responsibility for generating customers’ billing statements; managing credit, collection, and lockbox functions; and creating customized marketing programs.

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COLES CARD

Coles Myer Ltd. is still mauling its decision on which brand to
select for its upcoming co-branded bank credit card. The retailer already
has a private label credit card but has been exploring for the past six
months the possibility of expanding to a general purpose card. According to
the Australian Financial Review, Coles is leaning towards issuing a
MasterCard through GE Capital. Woolworths and Commonwealth Bank recently
introduced “Ezy Banking,” which includes a bank-issued credit card.

Details