SmartReward

PubliCARD, Thursday launched ‘SmartReward’, a smart card-based loyalty program designed for retailers in Europe seeking to improve customer retention and reward customer loyalty. The product allows customers to earn loyalty points redeemable only at the point of sale. A smart card is issued to a customer with products/points ratio determined by the retailer. As a cardholder makes purchases, the card is automatically updated with loyalty points. ‘SmartReward’ also has an electronic purse option that retailers can offer to their customers and cash can be stored on the card for use only at the issuing retailer.

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Associates Manages BP

Yesterday Associates First Capital Corporation announced it reached an agreement with BP Amoco to manage the combined proprietary credit card program in the US. Terms were not disclosed. The agreement follows the December 1998 merger of BP and Amoco. The Associates has managed and issued Amoco’s co-branded card since 1984 and purchased its proprietary oil card portfolio in September 1994.

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April Scoreboard

According to statistics released this morning by CardData (www.carddata.com) Citibank continues to lead the top ten issuers with YTD charge volume per active account. Through the end of April Citibank racked up $49.1 billion of the $195.2 billion charged to cards issued by the nation’s ten largest issuers. MBNA holds the distinction of the highest balance per active account, breaking through the $3000 per account level. The average balance per active account for the top ten stands at $2208 as of 4/40/99.

TOP TEN ACCOUNT ANALYSIS
(as of April 30, 1999)
ISSUER ACTIVES/% of ACCTS BAL VOL
1. Citibank 25.6m or 62% $2715 $1918
2. Bank One/FUSA 26.4m or 58% $2598 $1356
3. MBNA 18.0m or 66% $3156 $1550
4. Discover 22.0m or 59% $1468 $ 836
5. Chase 12.6m or 61% $2500 $1254
6. B of A 10.5m or 61% $1981 $1505
7. Cap One 11.5m or 63% $1235 $ 870
8. Fleet 5.1m or 55% $2745 $1118
9. Household 7.0m or 49% $1857 $1643
10. Providian 7.0m or 56% $1829 $ 743
TOTAL/AVGS: 145.7m or 60% $2208 $1279

Actives- percentage of active accounts versus gross accounts; bal- average balance per active account; vol-year-to-date volume per active account SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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First Data Managing Director

First Data Resources Thursday announced that Roger D. Van Scoy, 42, has been named managing director of its European card business.

In his new role, Van Scoy will oversee First Data’s card processing operations in Europe, including locations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. He will report to David P. Bailis, executive vice president, First Data Corporation.

“With more than 20 years experience in the financial services industry, Roger has extensive knowledge of the card business. Under his leadership, I am confident that First Data Resources will continue to enhance and expand our presence in Europe,” said Bailis.

Van Scoy most recently served as managing director of First Data’s international efforts in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining First Data in September 1996, he held several executive positions in sales, marketing and customer service with Electronic Data Systems.

Van Scoy will relocate from Omaha, Neb. to Basildon, England.

FDR Limited (FDRL) is Europe’s largest independent third party processor, whose services center around card transaction processing and related information services. With 2,500 employees, FDRL serves over 40 clients who include major high street banks, building societies and other financial institutions, both in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.

Atlanta-based First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) is a leader in payment systems, electronic commerce and transaction management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or smart card at the point-of-sale, over the Internet, by check or by wire transfer. For further information about First Data, please visit the Internet at [www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

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

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Start-Up E-Commerce

MDC Communications Corporation Thursday announced the formation of a joint venture with Royal Bank Growth Corporation. The joint venture, named ‘eLab Technology Ventures’, will selectively invest in start-up technology companies that enable e-commerce activity. The joint venture seeks to provide start-up e-commerce technology businesses with a unique combination of access to start-up capital and the business expertise often required by new technology companies. Both MDC and RBGC have each committed start-up capital and value added services, creating a $40 million partnership. The joint venture will officially launch when its CEO has been selected, expected later this summer.

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Customer Loyalty

Yesterday, Total Research Corporation released results, from a survey on loyalty marketing and consumer spending. The survey found that 6 out of 10 people spend more money with the company that offers a loyalty program than before joining. Credit card and airline programs were found to more often give more business to the company than other programs. Credit card loyalty programs showed a 46 percent increase. If a company were to discontinue its loyalty program 60% of consumers said they would spend less with the company. Consumers reported they were participants, on average, of 3.2 loyalty programs.

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Credit Card Mail

Credit card mail offers reached an all-time record high of 3.45 billion for the full year of 1998. This is a 15% increase over 1997 and reflects an increase in the number of households solicited from 69% to 75%. Response rates remained unchanged according to Mail Monitor, the direct mail card acquisition tracking service managed by BAIGlobal. With the increase in mailing, the number of credit card applications generated went up from 39 million to 41 million.

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NextCard Weather Channel Deal

NextCard, creator of the First True Internet Visa, and The Weather Channel Web site, Weather.com, Thursday announced an online marketing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, NextCard will be featured on the Weather.com site and serve as a sponsor of Weather.com’s recently launched shopping area.

“NextCard’s partnership with Weather.com, which has been consistently rated as one of the top five sites among news, entertainment, and information web sites, gives us significant exposure to another attractive audience group,” said Dan Springer, chief marketing officer at NextCard.

“Weather.com is dedicated to providing online consumers with timely weather information and content for all weather-related activities, from making business travel plans to participating in sporting activities like golf and skiing,” said Todd Walrath, senior vice president of online services for The Weather Channel. “We recognize that NextCard is one of the most compelling financial services for online consumers and we are proud to feature them on our site.”

The NextCard Internet Visa

NextCard made history in December 1997 by launching The First True Internet Visa. Today, over 1.5 million people have applied for the NextCard Internet Visa, making it one of the leading online credit cards. Internet consumers are attracted to NextCard’s innovative features including:

My Visa Customized upgrades and personalized PictureCard designs.

NextCard
Rewards Up to double rewards for free travel on any airline,
books, music and more — with no annual fee.

GoShopping! Internet shopping services and a 100% safe online shopping
guarantee.

Customer
Community Complete online account service, sweepstakes and special
offers. View and sort statements online. Plus 24-hour
Internet-savvy telephone support.

NextCard, Inc.

NextCard, Inc., creator of the First True Internet Visa, is considered one of the industry’s leading issuers of consumer credit on the Internet. Since its launch in December 1997, over 2 million people have applied for the NextCard Internet Visa, making it one of the premier online credit cards. NextCard continues to innovate with its Double Rewards program, GoShopping! tools, original PictureCard design, digital wallet and unparalleled online customer service ( http://www.nextcard.com )

About The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel, based in Atlanta, is the nation’s premier provider of weather information. As the only 24-hour national weather network, The Weather Channel can be seen in over 72 million homes nationwide.

The Weather Channel Web site, located at http://www.weather.com, is the leading weather provider on the Web and offers current conditions and forecasts for over 40,000 locations worldwide as well as local radar, satellite, and special lifestyle features. Weather.com averages over 125 million page views every month, and is consistently ranked as the top single content news site by Media Metrix. The Weather Channel provides weather related products and services to several leading edge online organizations, including: CompuServe, iVillage, MindSpring, AOL’s Digital City, About.com, and LookSmart among others.

In addition to its cable network, The Weather Channel offers 900-WEATHER, its interactive telephone service, supplies weather forecasts for radio and newspapers, and provides free resources to educators. The Weather Channel is owned by Landmark Communications, a Norfolk, Va.-based privately held media company with global interests.

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Delinquency Drops

Delinquency rates dropped during April to reach the lowest level in more than two years according to data released this morning by CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Since Jan 1, 1999 delinquency has been stable, but took a significant turn south last month to log in at 4.89%. The last time delinquency hit this level was Dec. 1996.

DELINQUENCY
(dollars past due as a % of avg receivables)

Period 30+dys 60+dys 90+dys 120+dys Total
Apr 99 2.10% 1.16% 0.74% 0.89% 4.89%
Mar 99 2.12% 1.17% 0.75% 0.91% 4.95%
Feb 99 2.12% 1.16% 0.75% 0.91% 4.94%
Jan 99 2.13% 1.17% 0.75% 0.91% 4.96%
Dec 98 2.15% 1.19% 0.75% 0.91% 5.00%
Nov 98 2.17% 1.20% 0.76% 0.92% 5.05%
Oct 98 2.19% 1.21% 0.77% 0.93% 5.10%
Sep 98 2.18% 1.21% 0.77% 0.93% 5.09%

SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Frisco Bay

Frisco Bay, Frisco Bay Industries Ltd., an international provider of automated financial transaction and integrated security systems for financial institutions, government agencies and major industrial corporations, yesterday announced that it has entered into a joint venture with G.M. Automated Teller Machine Services Inc., doing business as ATMS Canada, to supply and service non-financial institution owned (White Label) ATMs in Canada. The new company will brand the machines as Frisco/ATMS.

ATMS Canada, headed by its President, Greg Mitelman, has extensive experience in merchandising ATMs to the off-premise White Label Market, and currently has networks of machines in Florida and Massachusetts, with installations in prominent locations such as the Miami International Airport. Mr. Mitelman will be president of the joint venture and will be responsible for the running of the day-to-day operations. “Teaming Greg’s depth of experience and track record in the ATM business with Frisco Bay’s national infrastructure and reputation in Canada is a win/win situation for us all,” stated Ron Waxman, Vice-Chairman of Frisco Bay.

The White Label Market has experienced much more growth than the total ATM market in the United States and the same growth experience is expected in Canada. Since this market started in Canada approximately 15 months ago, Frisco Bay has been able to establish a national network of machines which, on an annual run rate, generates nearly 4 million transactions and dispenses $240,000,000. Acting as a processor and service link between the machine and the financial network, Frisco Bay derives on-going revenue from fees based on the number of transactions its network produces. This latest move is anticipated to further enhance Frisco Bay’s leading position in the rapidly growing White Label ATM Market.

Frisco Bay Industries Ltd. markets its products throughout Canada, the United States and Latin America where it is recognized as an integrated solutions expert.

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i-Traffic Names VP

i-traffic, a leading interactive direct marketing agency, Wednesday confirmed the hire of Stacey Nachtaler who will join the agency’s New York office as Vice President, Account Director. Stacey will report to i-traffic’s COO, Ron Kovas.

Nachtaler joins i-traffic from MasterCard International where she held the position of Vice President – Global Marketing. Prior to joining MasterCard in 1994, she held senior positions at Ammirati Puris Lintas, Grey Advertising and Griffin Bacall.

At i-traffic, Nachtaler will be responsible for leading client account work around the “3 A’s” of online marketing: online advertising, affiliates, and alliances. Nachtaler’s day-to-day will include responsibility for account team management of all online media planning and buying, test design, stewardship, on-going data analysis and reporting for her assigned clients. Nachtaler will also assist in the pursuit of domestic and international new business opportunities.

“Stacey brings a wealth of marketing and advertising experience to i-traffic,” comments Ron Kovas. “Her hiring reinforces our commitment to grow both our New York and San Francisco offices by seeking out very highly qualified and motivated professionals to build upon and reinforce our already strong base of interactive marketing personnel.”

“I’m looking forward to parlaying my brand building experience with strategically sound, brilliantly executed online advertising designed to acquire and retain customers, for i-traffic’s current and future client-base,” comments Nachtaler.

About i-traffic:

i-traffic helps e-commerce leaders maximize ROI from online marketing programs. The agency serves as the exclusive online media, creative, and strategic planning agency for some of the Internet’s leading marketers, including Bertelsmann, Beyond.com, ConsumerInfo.Com, Disney Online, ESPN, SelfCare, USA Networks Interactive (Internet Shopping Network, FirstAuction), among others. i-traffic has full-service offices on both coasts and a staff of 90-plus. Its corporate headquarters are based in Soho, NYC and the agency recently opened its second office in SOMA, San Francisco. i-traffic can be found on the Internet at .

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How’s My Credit

Women’s Enterprise Development Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurial training, has teamed with Denver’s Oyster Communications for a new, online small business service, “How’s My Credit?.” Developed by Oyster, the site is online now at .

This low-cost product provides users the unique opportunity of seeing credit as the banks see it, without leaving their desks. “How’s My Credit?” is the first in what will be a series of products designed to be a “turnkey” small business credit and financing delivery package.

“How’s My Credit?” provides much more value than a traditional credit report. “How’s My Credit?” pulls a report from leading credit bureaus, then analyses it, translates it , and provides up to four different statements about how the information may affect accessing business capital. This OysterScore of credit worthiness shows what a lender’s assessment might be, and indicates the credit report’s result using an easy to understand “gas gauge” graphic. Results vary from “Go” indicating a good report, to “Caution” reflecting complications, to “Stop” for a bad report. In plain language, “How’s My Credit?” gives potential financing applicants inside information on their credit status and potential before the visit to the loan officer and without divulging their name to any outside entity without the small business owner explicitly giving permission to do so. The fee for accessing the “How’s My Credit?” product is $15.95, and all information remains available to the user at no extra charge for 30 days.

Phil Borden, executive director of WEDC, sees the service as a boon to start-up, fledgling and experienced entrepreneurs. “WEDC’s fledgling entrepreneurs work hard to learn how to prepare for and fund their businesses. Securing capital is most often the key challenge for them, and we work hard to help them with accessing sources for business financing. The user’s anonymity also can help to alleviate the fear of working with traditional financial institutions before they are ready.” Borden predicts that “How’s My Credit?” will be especially useful for women and men who have no previous history with lending institutions, or unresolved concerns about how bankers view them. “This product will have a significant impact on business growth.”

“How’s My Credit?” marks the first in a series of credit products to be offered through WEDC by Oyster. “Where’s The Money?(SM)” which will link applicants directly with appropriate lenders is scheduled to go online later this year.

So enthusiastic is Borden about the potential value of “How’s My Credit?” to entrepreneurs, that WEDC is spearheading affiliations with like-minded non-profit organizations and associations. By providing links for their members to the “How’s My Credit?” site, they receive a commission from Oyster for each completed site use.

“It creates a win-win-win situation, ” states Debra Esparza, special WEDC consultant for the project. “The consumer gains a clear understanding of their credit status, the non-profits have an added value for their members and are put into the profit stream through referral fees, and we are able to provide a full roster of cost-effective tools towards obtaining business capital.”

“How’s My Credit?” also offers a wealth of general credit information — what it means and why it matters — all of which is available to consumers at no cost prior to committing to use the product. WEDC and Oyster Communications have taken special care to safeguard the confidentiality of the online communication, including a secure server and archiving offline, and no sale or reuse of the information during the time it is required to be in Oyster’s possession. Oyster does not sell any personal information gathered from users, and even those who have visited the site or used the product before must verify their identity before receiving information.

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