MBNA and Ixe Banco have announced signing a definitive agreement to form Ixe-MBNA SOFOLasa, a joint venture that will issue and service credit cards and consumer loans in Mexico. Each partner will contribute 50% of the necessary capital.
"Partnering with Ixe Banco is a terrific fit for MBNA," said John Cochran, MBNA's Chief Operating Officer. "Ixe is led by a proven management team and the Mexican market for credit card products and consumer loans is large and growing. The demographics of the customers who are attracted to Ixe are ideal for MBNA. We will benefit from Ixe's experience in Mexico, and Ixe will benefit from MBNA's experience in marketing and servicing credit cards. Together, Ixe and MBNA will offer an exceptional range of products, backed by outstanding Customer service."
The Evening Times reports on unauthorized withdrawals from ATM's in Glascow, Scotland over the last ten days.
EE Times reports that NTT Docomo has announced a new phone-based credit card service.
NTT Docomo will collaborate with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (SMFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co. Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) to establish a platform for a credit-payment service using Docomo's phones equipped with the Felica wireless IC chip for cashless payments.
Under the deal, Docomo will shortly launch a new credit card brand and acquire 34 percent of the equity of Mitsui Card, paying approximately 98 billion yen (about $925 million). Docomo expects that Sumitomo's card network will accelerate deployment of its new credit card network.
Business Week reports on S&P's downgrade of Visa International's credit rating from A+ to A.
S&P believes Visa's risk profile has significantly changed in the past decade, with its ongoing legal challenges having emerged as a major risk component. The speed, number, and potential severity of events in aggregate elevate business risk to new levels. Concerns about legal risk and, to a lesser extent, changing industry dynamics, reduce the ratings on Visa by one notch. The negative outlook highlights further potential ratings pressure due to the negative effect of current litigations.
David Bank reports for the Wall St. Journal on a lawsuit filed by BJ's Wholesale Club against IBM seeking compensation for losses following a compromise of credit card information.
The sensitive information encoded in the magnetic stripe on credit cards "was out there more than we thought," says John Shaughnessy, senior vice president for risk management at Visa USA. These secret codes are "jewels" for thieves, Mr. Shaughnessy says. "The fact that it's stored anywhere is troublesome."
American Express reported first quarter financial results today with net income rising 19 percent to $946 million for the quarter on a 10 percent increase in revenues.
Cards in force grew 7 percent to 66.1 million while card payment volume grew 15 percent to $109.3 billion. Amex's Global Network Services payment volume rose over 35% reflecting growth in non-US partner volumes and MBNA-related volumes in the US. Average lending balances grew 4%. Amex grew its marketing, promotion, and rewards expenses aggressively in the quarter -- growing 29 percent.
VeriSign has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Lightbridge's PrePayIN platform and customer base for $17.45 million in cash plus the assumption of certain contractual liabilities.
"Adding the PrepayIN(TM) platform to our existing pre-paid and billing portfolio is a compliment to our already extensive solution offering," said Vernon Irvin, executive vice president, VeriSign Communications Services. "This is a system that will enrich our prepaid offering domestically, while extending our customer base to markets internationally."
Separately, Lightbridge also announced that it has engaged investment bankers to advise the company on strategic alternatives for its Telecom Decisioning Services business.
Moneris Solutions has announced a new end-to-end wireless payment processing solution for merchants.
Mercedes-Benz and Bank of America have announced two new rewards-based credit cards.