New MC Board Chairman

MasterCard International announced yesterday that its Global Board of Directors unanimously elected Donald L. Boudreau, 57, its chairman.  Mr. Boudreau is a vice-chairman of The Chase Manhattan Corporation and The Chase Manhattan Bank, responsible for all of Chase’s consumer businesses. Mr. Boudrau succeeds Joseph W. Saunders as chairman of MasterCard’s 30-member Board of Directors.

Details

VeriSign – VeriFone Certificates

VeriSign, Inc. and VeriFone announced Monday a strategic agreement to create a bundled package that combines VeriSign’s SET digital certificate offering  with VeriFone’s comprehensive Internet payment solution.  Under the agreement, VeriFone will resell VeriSign’s SET digital certificate services and technology as standalone products or as part of VeriFone’s Internet commerce product bundle solution for financial institutions, processors and payment card providers.

Details

POS ATM Use Up

Cardholders are using ATM cards for POS and ATM transactions an average of 15.4 times per month, three times more per month than 1996, according to the STAR ATM network.  Much of this increased use can be attributed to the growth in POS usage, which jumped form an average of 4.2 times per month to 6.6 times per month in 1997.  According to the November 1997 survey of nearly 3,100 households in nine Western states the survey revealed:  POS users reported spending on average 24 percent more when they use POS than when using other payment methods.  This is an increase from the 1996 survey, which reported POS users spending on average 15 percent more when using POS; and almost two-thirds of the cardholders surveyed believed there were differences between making a PIN-based POS transaction and making a signature-based POS transaction.  When cardholders were directly asked which of  the methods they preferred, 67 percent believed the PIN-based provides more security and user control, and thus is the most preferred payment method.  Use of the POS cashback option increased form 2.3 times per month to 2.5 times per month (women are more likely than men to use the cash-back feature and to use it more frequently)  The majority of cardholders refer to their cards as “ATM” cards (61 %) vs. “debit” cards (9 %)  Nearly 70 percent of cardholders recalled using their ATM card within one week of receiving it.

Details

Solicitation Response Weakening

The overall response rate to 1997 credit card solicitations declined to the lowest level in 10 years of tracking, deposit platinum card offers driving total mail volume to a record-high three billion pieces, according to Mail Monitor.  The overall response of 1.3 percent declined form the already-low 1.4 percent in 1996.  However, while the response rate was at a record low, the absolute number of 39 million responses in 1997 was six million higher than 1996.  Meanwhile, gold card mailings plunged to a 27 percent share of 1997’s market form 44 percent from 41 percent on 1996, and non-bank card offers dropped to seven percent of 1997’s market form nine percent the year before.  Platinum card solicitations, driven largely by a single issuer that accounted for 26 percent of total mail volume.

Details

Small CU 1Q-98

The traditional first quarter contraction is broad based as smaller credit unions report in to Card Management Information Services’s ‘First Quarter 1998 Portfolio Survey’.

CREDIT UNION 1Q-98 RECV 4Q-97 RECV
Eastern Financial FCU $68,219,353 $67,662,878
Alaska USA FCU $61,487,000 $62,820,300
America First $61,472,216 $78,470,921
Desert Schools FCU $59,746,232 $61,149,996
Georgia Telco CU $22,611,602 $24,680,083

SOURCE: Card Management Information Services

Details

SmartCity Lite

Product Technologies Inc. announced yesterday the availability of SmartCity Lite, the latest addition to PTi’s SmartCity product line.  SmartCity is a turnkey smart card based e-purse application that also provides a multi-application development platform and tools to systems integrators. SmartCity Lite has been developed to meet the needs of corporations requiring a multi-functional corporate card for office buildings and small- to mid-size organizations requiring a cost-effective system that is easy to install, operate, and integrate with existing infrastructure.  The product is a client/server application that runs on a single PC, accommodates a single smart card type, and supports up to 3,000 active card users in a closed environment.

Details

Albertson’s Hypermarket

Albertson’s has launched their project to install gas stations at their stores using the Touch-N-Go based fuel dispenser system from the Wayne Division of Dresser Industries  Touch-N-Go is an interactive touch screen user interface for gas pumps.  Touch-N-Go allows users to select fuel type and payment method simple by touching the screen.  Touch-N-Go offers customer’s added value such as coupons and can display general user information or advertising videos, together with optional news, weather, and sports.  The grocery industry is embracing the notion of “hypermarkets,” stores with gas stations and other convenient onsite.  To date, Albertson’s has installed Touch-N-Go dispensers at five stores in three states.  Albertson’s has ordered 20 additional installations with more planned in 1998.  The company has 839 stores across the United States.

Details

Real Time I-Billing

Portal Software, Inc., announced this morning that American Management Systems, Incorporated will provide Portal’s real-time Infranet solution to Internet access providers around the world.  Infranet’s real-time software architecture will allow AMS to offer a billing solution that supports enhanced IP-based services such as variable bandwidth access, Internet telephony, Internet fax and other measured-service offerings.

Details

Gathering Steam

Following a sluggish January revolving credit picked up steam in February with a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 8.8%. According to February consumer credit figures released by the Federal Reserve, overall consumer credit is growing at an annual rate of 7.8% compared to 5.7% rate for last February. While revolving credit is strong it remains below last year’s pace. For February 1997 revolving credit was growing 9.4% annually. At the end of February American consumers were $1.244 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.

Details

Bloody Mad

U.K. cardholders are getting tangled up in late payment fee policies for credit cards and they’re hopping mad about it. According to yesterday’s London Daily Mail, MBNA and NatWest are hitting U.K. cardholders with late fees if the payment is not posted by the due date. MBNA reportedly said it takes up to three days to have a payment posted after receipt and NatWest indicated it requires the payment to “clear” before it is posted. People’s Bank and Beneficial Bank reportedly have similar policies. The Daily Mail says by contrast RBS Advanta has a 10 day late payment grace period. Also Capital One, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland all consider the payment posted upon the day of receipt.

Details