MEI and USA Technologies have sealed a deal to co-market credit card payment systems next year by combining MEI “EASITRAX” vending management software, USA Technologies’ wireless payment processing technology and MEI “EASITRAX” remote data port. The Company, along with partners and industry experts, such as IBM, MEI, Dixie-Narco (a division of Maytag), and others, has continuously worked with a large number of the industry’s leading vending operators, bottlers, and OEM manufacturers, as well as the National Automatic Merchandisers Association.Details
CA-based Ventura County Credit Union is converting to Corillian “Voyager Special Edition” to provide enhanced online banking services to its members. It will also provide integration with the Open Financial Exchange (OFX) data standard to allow members real-time access to their financial information through personal finance management software like Intuit’s QuickenÂ® and MicrosoftÂ® Money.Details
A new survey of 5,000 small businesses has found that more than half say payment cards have become a more important to their businesses over the past year. The survey, conducted by MasterCard and Thomas Regional Directories, also found that 65% of small industrial businesses say accepting payment cards simplifies collections. About 56% say it eliminates the need for credit checks for new customers and 35% say customers buy more when they use a payment card. Four out of ten agreed that payment cards improves relationships with customers. Forty-five percent of those selling online say customers buy more when using a payment card.Details
A survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that one-fourth of Americans pay at least one bill late each month and that households with children are 75% more likely to miss a payment than those without. The study, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation and the Western Union “SwiftPay” service, revealed nearly 75% of men report that they pay all of their bills on time. On the other hand, only 69% of women report paying their bills on time. People in the West typically pay bills late most often, while those in the Northeast are the least likely. The bill most likely to be paid late is the utility bill.Details
CO-based NAREX has developed a method to evaluate portfolios of debt. For prospective buyers, NAREX uses advanced artificial intelligence-based analytics to establish a baseline comparison of the portfolio under consideration against portfolios the buyer has collected in the past. For sellers, NAREX analytics help determine which accounts should be sold, worked in house, or placed with a collection agency or attorney. The new offering is an extension of NAREX’s “UniScore” service. The service costs $500 per portfolio evaluated, plus related “UniScore” scoring fees.Details
Clarus Corporation has signed a definitive “Asset Purchase Agreement” with Epicor Software Corporation to sell substantially all of its core products and operations in an all cash transaction for a purchase price of $1 million. Under terms of the agreement, Epicor has agreed to acquire substantially all of Clarus’ assets related to its eProcurement, sourcing, and settlement software products. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year. Clarus solutions are deployed globally at customer sites including: the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company, Cox Enterprises, MasterCard International, Union Pacific Corporation, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, and Parsons Brinckerhoff.Details
South Korea has opened its first EMV smart card center to bring the total number worldwide to seven. The Seoul center, the second in Asia, is being operated by ICTK Ltd and has been accredited by EMVCo. There is already one in Japan and five in Europe. Visa Asia Pacific has established an aggressive timeline to migrate cards and infrastructure to EMV standards and has put in place a series of initiatives to drive chip migration. VISA expects the number of VISA terminals in Asia Pacific to reach 80 000 by the end of 2002, and the number of smart cards to double to 11 million with Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Australia contributing the majority of the growth.Details
VISA and MasterCard argued in The Federal Court of Australia last week that it may take up to six weeks to present their case against the Reserve Bank of Australia over new credit card laws pertaining to merchant fees. The Court has set a trial date of May 5th but will hold related hearings on November 18 and April 18, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com]). The card associations argue that the Reserve Bank of Australia hasn’t complied with its obligations under the Payment Systems Act, and that the proposed changes don’t meet the public-interest test required under the act. In August, the Reserve Bank of Australia released its final reforms on credit card programs which include dropping average interchange fees by 40% and lifting the restriction imposed by credit card programs which prevent merchants from recovering from cardholders the costs of accepting credit cards. Under the new RBA rules, interchange fees will decrease from around 95 basis points to approximately 55-60 basis points by July 1, 2003. The Reserve Bank’s standard on merchant pricing will come into force on January 1, 2003. The RBA also announced an end to restrictions imposed by credit card networks which limit the entry of new competitors. Specialist credit card institutions authorized and supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will now be eligible to apply to participate in credit card programs. All the reform measures will apply to the credit card networks operated in Australia by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA, which were formally designated by the Reserve Bank as payment systems subject to its regulation under the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998. American Express and Diners Club have each indicated to the Reserve Bank that they will remove their restrictions on merchant pricing.
People’s Bank reported that managed net charge-offs for credit cards have decreased every quarter since September 30, 2001 and managed delinquencies have been declining since June 30, 2001. From the peak level in the third quarter of 2001, managed net charge-offs improved $22.3 million, or 34%, and were $7.9 million, or 15%, lower than the second quarter of 2002. Managed delinquencies declined $3.5 million, or 3%, from the second quarter of 2002. The net charge-off rate declined by 92 basis points from the second quarter of 2002 to 5.99% for the third quarter. Managed third quarter credit card receivables totaled $2.0 billion, a decline of $18 million from the second quarter. Delinquencies as a percentage of quarter-end managed loans for the credit card services segment were 3.41%, compared to 3.56% for 2Q/02 and 4.19% for 3Q/01. For complete details on People’s third quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
The Sears “Gold MasterCard” topped $10 billion in outstandings during the third quarter. More than 28 million consumers now carry the Sears bank credit card compared to 17 million on year ago. Outstandings for the Sears retail credit card declined to $18.5 billion compared to $23.2 billion one year ago. Overall, Sears’ Credit and Financial Products unit had operating income of $284 million, down 28% compared to the prior year. Revenues for the division increased 4% from a year ago to $1.4 billion, due primarily to higher average receivable balance growth. The net charge-off rate for the quarter decreased to 5.55% from 5.62% last year, reflecting increased charge-offs offset by the effect of receivables growth. Year-over-year delinquencies declined 17 basis points from 7.41% to 7.24%. The domestic allowance for uncollectible accounts of $1.6 billion is 5.57% of ending credit receivables, compared with 5.10% at the end of last quarter. For complete details on Sears’ third quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).