Experian Consumer Direct has rolled out a new “Stickman” TV commercial, created by The Response Shop and produced by Auster Productions, to promote its FreeCreditReport.com service. This winter, viewers will see Stickman get married, be surprised by a visit from the family stork, and learn how good credit can help protect his new, rather large family. The spot will begin airing on network and cable television stations in January.Details
Fair Issac is buying its first Super Bowl commercial this year to promote its credit score service to consumers. The 30-second commercial, which is reportedly scheduled for the fourth quarter, will cost more than $2.2 million. The TV spot which will promote myfico.com is being produced by MN-based Space 150. ABC says it has sold more than 90% of the Super Bowl slots as of today. Meanwhile VISA, a prime NFL sponsor, has scheduled two commercials for next week’s Super Bowl XXXVII. American Express is also expected to air some commercials before or during the Super Bowl. MasterCard and Discover, however, like last year’s event, have not committed to running ads in this year’s event.Details
California-based ACCPAC International, a subsidiary of Computer Associates
International, has acquired all the assets of Toronto-based AGS Software,
including the POS software developed by AGS. The POS application offers
extensive storefront automation, an intuitive web-based interface and
support for multi-site operations. An addition to ACCPAC’s suite of
end-to-end business management applications, the
product is fully integrated with ACCPAC “Advantage Series” accounting
software. The product will be marketed as ACCPAC “ePOS.”
U.S. credit card asset-backed securities issuance should grow about 5% and exceed $70 billion this year. Standard & Poor’s said this morning that growth partially reflects the large quantity of refinancings associated with maturing securitizations. S&P projects that refinancings of receivable portfolios backing maturing securities should total roughly $54.2 billion compared to $51.6 billion in 2002. Last year, there were no new players entering the ABS credit card market and very few subprime issuers participated. With many households focused on balancing their budget and consumer spending projected to grow 2.5%, expectations are that, in 2003, receivables growth will be slow as well. During 2002, both Bank One and CapitalOne adopted the new de-linked master trust technology. They now join Citibank and MBNA as the large frequent issuers who use this new structure as their primary issuance vehicle. The new structure improves issuers’ flexibility and ability to respond to potential investors’ reverse inquiries, and allows these banks to issue larger blocks of subordinated triple-‘B’ ERISA-eligible notes without having to sell senior classes at the same time.Details
Sears, Roebuck and Co. reported this morning that fourth quarter domestic credit revenues increased 4.4% from a year ago, to $1.4 billion due to higher average receivable balances. The “Sears Gold MasterCard” segment hit $12.3 billion in outstandings, compared to $5.3 billion one year ago. Revenues for credit services was $1.5 billion for 4Q/02, a 4.1% increase over 4Q/01. Overall credit card outstandings at EOY 2002 hit $30.8 billion, an 11.5% increase. The overall net charge-off rate for the fourth quarter increased to 5.40% from 5.23% last year primarily due to increased customer bankruptcy filings over last year. Delinquencies for the quarter increased to 7.69% compared to 7.58% last year. The domestic provision for uncollectible accounts increased by $160 million or 40.9% over last year’s period due to higher charge-offs and a $150 million increase to the allowance for uncollectible accounts. The allowance increase reflects the growth in “Sears Gold MasterCard” receivables, as well as increases in the net charge-off rate and delinquencies. The charge-off rate for the “Gold MasterCard” segment was 6.36% for 4Q/02 compared to 5.77% one year ago. For complete details on Sears’ 4Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Global Payments reported yesterday that more than 85 gaming establishments and 500,000 cardholders currently use its “VIP Preferred Card” cash access products. The VIP Preferred Card offers gaming establishments the ability to reduce the risk associated with cashing checks, as well as improve the potential for increased revenue. Global Payments’ VIP Preferred proprietary software provides the gaming industry with the ability to quickly establish consumer revolving check-cashing limits, while reducing the risk associated with the cashing of checks. The service also allows consumers the convenience of gaining fast access to cash.Details
Ireland-based FreeStar Technologies has acquired Helsinki-based Rahaxi
Processing Oy. Under terms of the agreement, provides for FreeStar to make
incremental cash payments of $4.3 million to the Rahaxi’s owners over the
course of 13 months. In addition, Rahaxi’s owners are entitled to receive
10% of the net profits generated by Rahaxi for the next year.
National City reported a 4.7% increase in credit card outstandings for the fourth quarter, from $2,203,055,593 for 4Q/01 to $2,307,403,461. Charge-offs, on a managed basis, edged up from the previous quarter, due to seasonal increase in losses, but remained below year-ago levels. National City reported a 4Q/02 charge-off rate of 5.69%, compared to 5.12% in the previous quarter, and 5.22% for 4Q/01. Charge volume was up 7.5%, from $1.2 billion for 4Q/01 to $1.3 billion for the latest quarter. After three quarters of declining growth in its account base, National City added 18,544 net new accounts for 4Q/02 for total accounts of 1,692,356. The issuer’s active account rate is running at 63.9% of total accounts. At the end of 2002, National City had 1,363,917 cards-in-force. For complete details on National City’s 4Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Groupement des Cartes Bancaires CB has selected Sagem to develop a new
generation of bank cards: “CB/EMV/DDA.” Besides an EMV application, the new
bankcard will also allow for other applications such as loyalty, electronic
signature and electronic purse. The new smart card will also contain a
cryptoprocessor, which uses “Dynamic Data Authentication” to make every
transaction unique. Currently there are in excess of 45 million CB cards in
circulation, and the CB banking community plans to issue the new CB/EMV/DDA
card as of 2004.
The SCO Group announced plans to work with Wincor Nixdorf to provide Linux-based retail POS solutions to based on its “SmallFoot” Linus-based template and toolkit. The joint retail solutions will rely on Wincor Nixdorf’s BEETLE(R) POS family and SCO’s Linux POS solution, SmallFoot. With over 600,000 installations, Wincor Nixdorf’s BEETLE family is one of the most prolific non-proprietary POS platforms ever sold.Details
The National Retail Federation, Food Marketing Institute, International Mass Retailers Association have teamed to issue an appeal to consumers to stop using debit cards like credit cards. The retailers say consumers should be careful when they use debit cards so that they don’t get “fooled” into making a choice that ends up adding, what is, in effect a “hidden tax of roughly two percent on every purchase.” The appeal did not address the fees that cardholders may incur from making a PIN transaction. The retailers described the “debit card deception” as follows: “If a consumer chooses debit and punches in their secret PIN for a $100 purchase, the transaction costs merchants about 15 cents. But if a consumer signs a debit receipt instead, the transaction fee soars to more than $1.50. And that signature debit transaction is much slower and much more prone to fraud.” The retailers say the their lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard, slated for trial in April, will not end up pulling debit cards out of the hands of consumers but it will give merchants and consumers the “proper choice” to use on-line PIN debit.Details
Capital One has hired Thomas Emerson, formerly EVP/General Auditor at Wells Fargo, as SVP/Chief Auditor, replacing Dale Bateman who is being moved into a new audit-related function. Prior to Wells Fargo, he was executive vice president, chief auditor and chief examiner for Norwest Corporation, which he joined in 1986. Emerson was recruited to Norwest from Bank of America, which he joined in 1970, where he was Vice President and Deputy Chief Auditor for the World Banking Audit Division.Details