Ketchum was awarded five Silver Anvils from the Public Relations Society of America’s for work done during 2001. Ketchum also received five Awards of Excellence. One of the Silver Anvil awards was for work done for Equifax on “‘Demystifying Credit Scores’ – Launch of FICO Score to Consumers.” One of Awards of Excellence involved the VISA project “Banking on the ‘Unbanked’ World Visa USA.” Ketchum’s has won 73 awards since the annual competition began 53 years ago.Details
British Airways has asked the District Court in New York to determine if it breached its contract with American Express. AmEx reportedly threatened to end its relationship with British Airways over a dispute in regard to discounted ticket payments. The beleaguered airline then filed suit to stop the AmEx action. British newspapers said two weeks ago BA stopped paying fees on corporate card transactions involving discounted fares in the UK to save cash. AmEx declared a breach of its merchant contract with BA and threatened to pull the plug on the entire BA account with thirty days. The newspapers suggested BA is looking to pay a flat minimum fee instead of a percentage for each airline ticket purchased. BA has been offering deeply discounted tickets to UK corporate travelers. Reportedly, more than 70% of major British companies use corporate AmEx cards for travel expenditures. In the interim, British Airways continues to accept all American Express cards as payment for all published fares.Details
Sub-prime processing specialist Applied Card Systems is set to open a new corporate headquarters in Glen Mills, PA. The new facility has 37 acres of landscaped grounds and an 8,000-square foot fitness center as well as a full-service cafeteria, convenience store, and dry cleaning service. Applied says it is relocating approximately 600 positions from its Wilmington center and will host a grand opening job fair next week. The new facility will provide enough space for up to 1,000 additional positions. Applied Card Systems manages over three million credit card accounts, primarily those issued by its affiliate Cross Country Bank. The company also has operating centers in Boca Raton, FL; Huntington and Beckley, WV; and Ashland, KY.Details
Montreal-based SureFire Commerce and Edmonton-based Intuit Canada have launched a direct deposit service for small and medium-sized businesses. QuickBooks 2002 Direct Deposit, powered by SureFire Commerce’s transaction processing engine, is available to all QuickBooks 2002 customers and allows approved businesses to begin automated payroll deposits within three business days from the date of application.
SureFire first began offering service to QuickBooks customers in December of 2000. The launch of QuickBooks Credit Card Service allowed small business owners to accept credit cards as payment from their own customers. The service was later extended to include Intuit customers who use Quicken Home & Business.
United Airlines and First USA have upgraded the Mileage Plus VISA program to business class. The new United Mileage Plus Platinum VISA Business Card enables business owners to accrue up to 150,000 air miles per year from all card purchases, including those made to employee cards. The card also offers business owners a 5,000 mile sign-up bonus, a $25 Discount Travel Certificate, and a free One-Class Upgrade Certificate, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com]). The card carries a $75 annual fee and employee cards carry a $25 annual fee. Business owners will receive two Mileage Plus miles for every dollar charged on United purchases and one Mileage Plus mile for every dollar charged on all other purchases. The APR is prime +9.99%. Mileage Plus has more than 40 million enrolled members and about 3 million bank credit cardholders.
Vancouver-based DataWave Systems reported that its involvement in the Canadian prepaid long distance telephone market generated revenues of US$5.3 million since July 13, 2001 following its purchase of AT&T’s Canadian prepaid card business. DataWave has pioneered the concept of online, point-of-sale activation through a vending unit, ensuring the secure distribution of high value, high shrinkage prepaid products, such as cash cards and phone cards. Wireless communications are combined with point-of-sale technologies in the DataWave System to enable it to process transactions, accept a variety of payment methods, and generate a number of different reports aimed at assisting the customer. The System works equally well over the Internet, through intelligent free-standing vending machines or with over-the-counter “swipe” units. The Company has placed more than 2,000 DTMs, OTCs, and traditional vending machines and provides prepaid card “batch activation” services to an additional 500 sites. The Company also wholesales prepaid phone cards to over 8,000 retail locations in Canada.Details
The Philadelphia Gas Works has begun accepting MasterCard and VISA as payment options starting this week. By dialing 215-235-1000 from any touch-tone phone, customers can use PGW’s Easy Access Line to pay their bills. When calling, customers should have their PGW account number as well as a MasterCard or Visa available to access the system. Voice prompts will then guide callers through the entire process.Details
The International Card Manufacturers Association’s 11th Annual EXPO, to held in Vancouver this fall, announced that two top industry experts from Canada will keynote the event. Catherine Johnston, president and CEO of the Advanced Card Technology Association of Canada, and Kenneth Wong, faculty member of Queen’s School of Business, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, will each present a keynote address at the event.
Johnston will discuss the effects that the events of September 11, 2001 had on the future of smart cards. She will also provide an overview of the impact of identity theft and secure ID, and the global trends, issues and opportunities related to smart, optical and emerging card technologies. Wong will examine the link between marketing, manufacturing and customer service, the reasons why these areas can become uncoupled, and remedial measures to ensure smooth operations for businesses.
Official Payments Corp. has signed seven Connecticut towns to enable residents to make credit card payments for various taxes and fees such as real estate taxes, personal property taxes, motor vehicle taxes, and utility payments. These seven towns are located within three of the state’s most populous counties: Fairfield, Hartford, and New Haven. Combined, these seven towns collect more than $600 million in the aforementioned tax types.Details
The New York Banking Department notified PayPal this week that it has concluded that PayPal is not currently engaged in illegal banking, but encouraged PayPal to submit an application to obtain a New York money transmitter license. The issue of PayPal’s banking status delayed the company’s IPO earlier this year. PayPal also announced Wednesday it is going ahead with plans to make a secondary public offering of 6,000,000 shares from selling shareholders. The firm filed a registration statement with the SEC yesterday. PayPal also said it is on track to meet or slightly exceed previously announced estimates of results for the second quarter. The e-payments firms estimates second quarter revenues could range from $53 million to $54 million, up from initial guidance of $52 million to $53 million. Additionally, PayPal estimates that its total payment volume for the three months ending June 30, 2002 could range from $1.61 billion to $1.63 billion. PayPal enables businesses or consumers with email to send and receive Internet payments.Details
Universal Air Travel Plan has promoted Emily Carter to VP of Marketing and Industry Relations. Ms. Carter began her career with UATP in January 2001, as the Manager of Member Programs Development and has served as acting Director of Marketing since December 2001. Ms. Carter was previously employed with Ansett Australia, serving in various managerial roles. While at Ansett, Ms. Carter was responsible for the development and launch of its UATP program.Details
Nearly 42% of young people ages 18-24 would enroll in a recurring payment service to help pay monthly expenses according to a new survey released this morning. In addition, the findings revealed 33% of those under the age of 44 embraced the idea of recurring payments with 24% of those Americans late in paying bills indicating they would be willing to take part in a recurring plan. The Paymentech survey says 29% of Americans admit to being late paying bills and 15% said the reason was some aspect of `human error’ (10% forgot the bill, 4% misplaced the bill and 1% said they didn’t have enough checks). More than a quarter of the population is currently enrolled in a recurring payment plan. About 46% used the service to satisfy utility bills, cable television and home security system payments with an additional 22% using it for insurance payments. Highest participation rates are among New Englanders (39%), those with household incomes over $50K a year (36%), 35-44 year olds (33%).Details