Credit Card Grrl

The 411 on the marketing side of the credit card industry

20060131

Kinda like the SmarTrip card

Credit key may end subway swipe gripe
NY Post
1.31.06
By Jeremy Olshan



Straphangers may never have to "please swipe again."
This spring some subway riders will get to toss out their MetroCards and zip through turnstiles with a wave of their credit card or key chain.
The MTA is teaming up with MasterCard and Citigroup to put "smart card" readers at turnstiles on the 4, 5 and 6 lines in Manhattan, as well as two key outerborough hubs.
During a six-month trial paid for by the two companies, Citibank will offer certain customers debit/credit cards and matching key-chain fobs embedded with special chips that can be read by radio frequencies instead of magnetic stripes.
If the trial is successful, the MTA would like to expand the technology - or one similar to it - across the transit system, shaving precious seconds off commuting time.
MasterCard's PayPass technology works like a regular credit or debit card in terms of billing - but there is no need to sign for purchases under $25. It is mostly in Big Apple drugstores and fast-food restaurants now, but the MTA hopes it will make turnstiles into express lanes.
"Transit is the perfect application for this technology, given the speed it can get customers through the turnstile," said Cathleen Conforti, product manager for PayPass.
The trial will only be for specially selected customers on the Lexington Avenue line between 125th Street and Bowling Green, as well as Jay Street/Borough Hall in Brooklyn and 23rd Street/Ely Avenue in Long Island City.
Riders will still get every sixth ride free but will not be able to make free transfers to buses, which will not be equipped with the new readers.
The MTA is considering replacing the often frustrating magnetic-stripe MetroCards with a quicker, more reliable technology, and will use the results of the trial to determine how best to proceed, transit officials said.
But the MetroCard isn't about to go the way of the token just yet. "This way we get to learn about, test and see how our customers respond to the new technology at almost no cost to us," said NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges.
Smart cards are already used by transit systems in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Though radio-frequency identification technology (RFID) has been around for years, transit officials said they wanted to make sure all the kinks were worked out before trusting it to 7 million daily commutes.
"People will be happy to give up the swipe," said Beverly Dolinsky, director of the NYC Transit Riders Council. "We've been calling for this for a long time. The greatest benefit will be not on the subways but on buses, which really get slowed down by waiting for the cards to run through."
The MTA has also toyed with the idea of a smart card that could be used for purchases other than rides on buses and subways, Fleuranges said.
Next month, the Port Authority will begin testing different smart-card readers on the PATH train as part of a joint program with the MTA and NJ Transit. That test - which doesn't use PayPass technology - could one day lead to a universal transit card.



A Test At 25 Stations: Subway Riding Without The Swiping
By SEWELL CHAN
31 January 2006
The New York Times
Late Edition - Final
It is too early to predict the demise of the MetroCard, but yesterday the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced what could be a step in that direction: an experiment letting riders enter the subway by tapping or waving a credit card or payment tag.

The six-month trial, scheduled to start this spring, could lend momentum to efforts toward a ''smart card'' valid on subways, buses and commuter trains throughout the region. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has championed that concept, but the transportation authority has been reluctant to embrace it.

The experiment will involve a commercially available technology, the MasterCard PayPass, which can already be used at parking lots, fast-food restaurants, drug stores, gas stations and movie theaters. The PayPass comes in two forms -- a standard-size card or a tag that can be hung on a keychain -- and has an embedded microchip and radio antenna.

The Citibank MasterCard PayPass will be accepted at 25 stations where turnstiles will have specially equipped readers. The PayPass functions like a normal credit or debit card, and the turnstile will be activated instantly, as with a MetroCard.

Citigroup, the country's largest financial services company, and MasterCard International, which first tested the PayPass in 2003, are paying for the experiment, with no cost to the authority. MasterCard has also issued PayPass credit cards with J. P. Morgan Chase and with MBNA America, but only the Citibank cards can be used in this experiment.

Citibank began issuing the payment devices to New York City customers last fall and plans to start making them -- and the card readers that go with them -- available across the country this spring.

Katherine N. Lapp, the executive director of the transportation authority, said that ''contactless payments'' -- waving or tapping a card instead of swiping or inserting it -- ''hold the promise of simplifying fare payment for customers who travel throughout the M.T.A. network, while also providing for operating efficiencies and cost savings.''

It took nearly nine years for the MetroCard, unveiled in 1994, to completely replace the token, which had been in use since 1953. Riders have not been clamoring for more technological innovation in fare payment.

The MetroCard is flexible and has been partly credited for record-high ridership. Riders get a 20 percent bonus for purchases of $10 or more and can also buy unlimited-ride cards good for 1, 7 or 30 days.

On the other hand, subway riders are often frustrated by the ''Please Swipe Again'' message that appears when a card has not been swiped properly or the machine malfunctions.

The PayPass will be accepted at the 23 stations from 125th Street to Bowling Green on the Nos. 4, 5 or 6 lines in Manhattan; the 23rd Street-Ely Avenue station on the E and V lines in Queens; and the Jay Street-Borough Hall station on the A, C and F lines in Brooklyn.

Riders who use the PayPass will get every sixth ride free, the equivalent of the MetroCard bonus, but will not have the unlimited-ride options.



MC, Citi To Test Contactless Transit Card
American Banker
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
By Daniel Wolfe
Some New York City subway riders will soon be able to use a contactless MasterCard International card to pay their fare at the turnstile.
MasterCard, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Citigroup Inc. said Monday that they plan to test a contactless payment system for six months starting this spring.
Commuters in Washington have been using stored-value contactless fare cards since 1999, but the New York test will involve authorizing transactions across the MasterCard network as people walk through the turnstiles. Citi will issue credit cards and debit cards linked to a bank account.
With the MTA, “everything is about timing and getting the consumer through the turnstile quickly,” said Cathleen Conforti, the global manager of MasterCard’s PayPass contactless cards.
Ms. Conforti said the MTA specified to MasterCard how fast the turnstile transaction had to be before it would allow the test to begin. Steve Frazzini, the chief officer for automated fare collection program management and MetroCard sales in the MTA’s NYC Transit unit, said the payments must be authorized within 300 milliseconds.
MTA officials have said that people are unwilling to wait at the turnstile for even a few seconds while cards are authorized.
The test will be with a group of Citi customers. The MTA will temporarily install contactless-card readers at 73 turnstiles in 25 stations along the MTA’s Lexington Avenue line - its 4, 5, and 6 trains.
Ms. Conforti would not say how MasterCard was able to keep its transaction times low.
However, Aaron McPherson, a research manager for payments at Financial Insights Inc., said that because of the small amount of each transaction, it would make sense if they were delayed or aggregated. The standard New York subway fare is $2.
MasterCard, of Purchase, N.Y., and Citi, of New York, are testing a contactless card for Washington commuters. It has a standard magnetic stripe for general purchases and a contactless chip linked to a stored-value account.
Greg Garback, the executive officer for finance with the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, said that since 1999 the transit system has been offering stored-value contactless cards that could only be used for transportation; in November 2004, Citi and MasterCard began issuing the combination card.
He said that 1.5 million of the dedicated-use cards have been issued, and that the MasterCard test will not involve more than 20,000 cards. That test is scheduled to run through mid-2007.
Ms. Conforti said New York MTA riders would also be able to buy rides in advance by loading a prepaid account linked to their card, and would receive discounts for buying several fares. The cards will also function as standard credit or debit cards that can be used at other merchants.
Dan Schatt, a senior analyst for the Boston market research firm Celent Communications LLC, said the New York test would be significant since it does not require consumers to go through the “extra hurdle” of preloading their cards.
However, he said that using contactless cards for transit is especially difficult for banks and card associations. “The gold standard is public transport,” Mr. Schatt said. “There is no other situation that has such an intensive volume attached to it, and time pressure.”



Plastic May Swipe Metrocard's Crown
NY Daily News
1.31.06
Pete Donohue

It could be the beginning of the end of the line for the MetroCard.

Manhattan subway riders on the Lexington Ave. line soon will be able to pass through turnstiles by holding plastic payment cards - or tags small enough to fit on key chains - in front of electronic readers, authorities said yesterday.

That could mean speedier trips through turnstiles that sometimes reject MetroCards, which rendered tokens obsolete two years ago.

"No more multiple swiping," cheered Beverly Dolinsky, executive director of the New York City Transit Riders Council, which has clamored for "smart card" technology in the tubes for years.

So-called smart cards use computer chips to transmit information and are increasingly being used to pay for mass transportation and other purchases across the country.

A total of 26 stations will be rigged for a six-month pilot program, set to start this spring, involving the MTA, Citigroup and MasterCard.

They will include all the Lexington Ave. stations in Manhattan, the 23rd St./Ely Ave. station (E,V) in Queens and Jay St./Borough Hall (A,C,F) in Brooklyn.

It's a significant step toward the creation of a single payment pass for subways, buses and commuter railroad trains in the tristate region.

The technology will tap into MasterCard's existing PayPass program, in which small purchases can be made without signatures or pin numbers at fast-food joints, gas stations and other stores.

To participate, riders will need a debit or credit card issued by Citigroup.

The same 20% discounts available to riders who buy pay-per-ride MetroCards will be available in the pilot.

For every five paid rides, the MTA doles out a freebie.

The MTA, Port Authority and New Jersey Transit have formed an alliance to pursue a regional fare-paying system.

The PA will launch a smart-card pilot program on the PATH system next month.



MTA To Launch Pilot Paypass Program
By BRADLEY HOPE - Special To The Sun
January 31, 2006

If you thought subway entry couldn't get simpler than swiping, think again.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday announced a pilot program with MasterCard and Citigroup that could lead to subway riders being able to simply tap a device the size of a key against a scanner to pass through turnstiles.
The device uses MasterCard's Pay-Pass technology, which is in use at some city movie theaters, restaurants, and stores. The card is tapped gently against a reader, which sends a signal to the bank to transfer funds to the vendor by debit or credit. Subway riders involved in the test also will have the opportunity to limit their card to prepaid amounts, as with a MetroCard. The 20% bonus offered on MetroCards of more than $10 also will apply to the new Citigroup cards, but riders won't be able to board buses.
Citigroup is planning to choose a small group of people for the pilot program, slated to start in the spring at 25 stations mostly along Manhattan's East Side. Readers for the device will be installed at 23 stops along the Lexington Avenue line between the Bowling Green and 125th Street stations. A reader also will be added to the Jay Street/Borough Hall station, which serves the A, C, F, and 2,3 lines, as well as the 23rd Street Ely Avenue station serving the E,V, and 1 lines.
With MasterCard and Citigroup footing the entire expense, the MTA sees the pilot program as a chance for innovation.
"From our perspective, this is a learning experiment," a spokesman for the MTA, Paul Fleuranges, said. "We are trying to determine if this is a technology that will work in the transit system."
Along with New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the MTA is developing a Smart Card technology of its own that is similar to the E-Z Pass system on toll roads. The Port Authority has begun a trial phase of a card of its own design using employees and selected groups of senior citizens. The Smart Card technology is almost identical to the Citigroup-MasterCard device, but the two projects aren't related at this point.
The chief innovation officer at Citigroup's Global Consumer Group, Amy Radin, said her company has aspirations to outfit the entire system with the technology.
"Our expectation, based on what consumers have told us so far, is this is something we want to go forward with," Ms. Radin said.



Product Testing
By THE JOURNAL NEWS
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original Publication: January 31, 2006)

Product Testing
Purchase-based MasterCard International and a unit of Citigroup expect to begin testing a payment system this spring that would allow New York City subway riders to pay for fares at the turnstile using an electronic-payment device. The companies will work with the Metropolitan Transit Authority and MTA New York City Transit to test MasterCard's PayPass payment system allowing certain Citigroup customers to tap their payment tags against a reader to pay subway fares. The trial will take place at select Lexington Avenue Line 4, 5 and 6 stations and last for six months. Participating commuters will receive a discount on fares, however, no passes or transfers to buses will be issued.


MTA to test 'smart' fare cards in pilot program
Newsday (NY)
Associated Press Newswires
January 31, 2006, 7:10 AM EST

NEW YORK (AP) _ Commuters used to swiping magnetized fare cards at subway turnstiles could soon be waving themselves through instead, as transit authorities experiment with key-chain tags meant to guarantee instant entry.

The six-month pilot program, which would make use of technology already available to MasterCard PayPass users, is expected to begin in the spring at 25 stations, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Monday.

Commuters will be able to wave the special passes _ credit cards or key-chain tags equipped with microchips and radio antennae _ in front of specialized readers. They will be instantly charged for the fare.

The readers will be installed at Manhattan stations on the Lexington Avenue line and at two hub stations in Brooklyn and Queens, according to published reports. Participants will be unable to buy weekly or monthly passes, and will pay the standard fare of $10 for every six rides.

The experiment is to be paid for by Citigroup Inc. and Mastercard International Inc. Only PayPass cards issued by Citibank will be used in the pilot program.

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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

20060125

One from American Express / Discover® Gold Card

From a sub-affiliate network:

Great News - We have just added some new and previous offers to the network. Here are the new and returning offers;

American Express
One From American Express


One_300x250

Discover
Discover® Gold Card




The banners and approved text are now available in your Member's Area.

Important Reminder - The Discover® Titanium Card will no longer be available as of Friday, January 27, 2006. Please remove all banners and links for this offer on or before this date. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

Delta SkyPoints American Express cards

SBSDSP_120x600

SKYPOINTSTM BUSINESS CREDIT CARD FROM DELTA AND AMERICAN EXPRESS
Save up to $50 on Delta or Song® airfare
— 3,000 bonus points with your first purchase — redeemable for up to $50
No annual fee for the first year, a savings of $49
Always Double SkyPointsTM in select categories
Payment flexibility—pay in full or over time

So I guess the advantage of the SkyPoints platform is that you can redeem for SkyMiles if you want free award travel, or you can redeem points for DISCOUNTS on Delta tickets if there's a block out or something on "free" tix. Sounds like a bit more flexibility. But isn't Delta bankrupt???

IAQN34_250x250.jpg


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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

20060124

Chase & HSBC affiliate marketing guidelines

From an affiliate network ...
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**Chase**

Chase is implementing a new and more strict compliance policy. Anyone that has not complied with a request within a given time frame could potentially be removed from the Chase program. Please ensure that your site is 100% compliant to avoid this altogether. If you are on an audit, please make the requested changes as soon as possible to keep from being removed from the program.


**Reminder**

HSBC does not allow affiliates to bid on their trademarked terms. Please make sure you are not bidding on any trademarked terms for the Orchard Bank or GM cards.

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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

20060116

U.K.: Citi Cards Launches First Purchase & Cash Advance Repayment Plan Card

January 17, 2006

U.K.: Citi Cards Launches First Purchase & Cash Advance Repayment Plan Card

London – Consumers wishing to make larger purchases until now have had only two main ways to raise finance: arrange a loan with all of the attendant hassle of form-filling and approval or use their credit card or overdraft limits and hope that they are sufficiently disciplined to reduce the balance each month.

Now Citi Cards has increased the choice available by offering all of the convenience of using your existing credit card limit but with the reassurance of structured monthly repayments and a fixed - typically lower - interest rate. Citi Cards calls this product Citi Flex Payments and believes it to be the UK's first repayment plan for both card purchases and cash advances.

Citi Cards customers wanting to make a purchase or a cash advance of at least £250 can telephone the bank and arrange to make repayments at a competitive fixed interest rate over a time period set by the customer using Citi Flex Payments (1). This new to the UK credit card service gives shoppers the flexibility to take advantage of special offers without the need to arrange finance in advance.

With Citi Flex Payments, customers can make their desired purchases and then convert them into planned monthly payments(2). Alternatively customers can request a cash advance(3) on their credit card to make purchases as they wish. The payment plan helps customers to be more structured and disciplined with their payments. They will either receive a cheque to pay into a bank account or have the money paid directly into their bank account if they make monthly repayments by direct debit.

Up to 10 separate Citi Flex Payments plans can be arranged. For cash advance repayment plans, the total must not exceed 90 per cent of a customer's existing individual credit limit. The maximum repayment term is 24 months for each purchase repayment plan and either 12 or 24 months for each cash advance repayment plan.

Allan Silverman, Head of Citi Cards UK, said: "With a single hassle-free phone call, Citi Flex Payments makes managing the potential cost of larger value credit card purchases that much easier for our customers. So far the new service is proving very popular with individual purchases averaging £1,600 on items such as electrical, home improvement and holidays converted to Citi Flex Payments."

Allan added: "We are proud to launch Citi Flex Payments in the UK in the same way that Citigroup, as the world's largest credit card issuer, has already made the service available in many countries around the world."

The bank is currently offering Citi Flex Payments to specially selected Citi Cards customers. The new service will be open to all existing and new customers in early 2006.

Features of Citi Flex Payments:
For purchases or cash advances from £250 to a maximum of £10,000.
Customers may set up as many as 10 separate Citi Flex Payment plans. For cash advance repayment plans, the total must not exceed 90 per cent of a customer's existing individual credit limit.
The rate charged can be below the standard rate for purchases.
Over-payments and early repayment of Citi Flex borrowing do not incur any penalties or charges.
No annual fee or hidden charges.
To request a cash advance, customers simply telephone the bank and then can spend the money on whatever they wish.
Purchases can be repaid in either 12 or 24 monthly instalments.
Cash advances can be repaid in either 12 or 24 monthly instalments.
Minimum of three months as a Citi Cards customer to be eligible for Citi Flex Payments.
Citi Cards is committed to providing security and protection for its cardholders through its Citi Identity Theft Solutions free caseworker service, Fraud Early Warning, Online Fraud Guarantee, Transactional Disputes assistance, Chip & Pin and Emergency 24 hour legal & medical advice overseas. Citi Cards continues to offer free price protection, extended warranty, price match guarantee and travel accident insurances.

Further information about Citi Cards services and products, which include the Citi Platinum and Citi/AAdvantage® Gold Visa cards, is available at www.citibank.co.uk.

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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

20060113

New Advanta card

Announced to an affiliate network ...

**Advanta**

To celebrate the New Year, Advanta has introduced a brand new card offer: The Life-of-Balance Platinum Card.

This card features 2.99% Fixed APR for LIFE on balances transferred within 3 months, PLUS:

o Up to 6% Cash Back or Travel Rewards
o No annual fee, and No limit on earnings
o Exceptional offers to help your business

Oh my word, there are so many credit cards in the market. My head hurts!

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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

20060112

New American Express cards

1. Blue Sky® Credit Card

blue sky

Reminds me of the Citi PremierPass card ...

2. Platinum Business FreedomPass® Credit Card


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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

20060111

Discover updates

From an affiliate network ...

Discover has just released updated approved text and/or card art. Here is a summary of the changes that need to be taken care of;

Platinum Gas Card - Changes Due by Friday, January 13
All Gas Card banners and bulleted copy for the Gas Card are changing from listing “Up to 5%” to “Full 5%” New banners have been added.

If your site lists the Gas Card in a comparison area for Cashback, please list either “Up to 5%” if space is limited or “Full 5% or Up to 1%” if more space is available. “Full 5% on Gas Purchases” may also be used, but ONLY in reference to the Discover Gas Card.


Student Cards - Changes Due by Friday, January 13
All 3 Student Cards have new bullets and copy.
Bulleted copy must be used in the order listed below. For example, if you only have room for three bullets, you must use the top three points listed below.

· 0% APR for 6 Months
· 24/7 Easy Online Account Management
· No Annual Fee
· 5% Cashback Bonus(R) on Get More Program purchases throughout the year*
· Up to 1% Cashback Bonus(R) on all your other purchases*
· Build Your Credit History
· Unlimited cash rewards that never expire as long as you use your Card.
· DOUBLE your Cashback Bonus® (turn $20 into $40) when you redeem for gift cards or certificates from many of our 40 brand name partners.

Change Due by Friday, January 27
The As Low as APR for all Student Cards is changing to 16.99% as of February 1.

All cards except Student Cards - Changes due by Friday, January 27
The As Low as APR for all non-student cards is changing to 10.99% as of February 1.

Titanium Card - Changes Due by Friday, January 27
The Titanium Card is being removed from online marketing as of February 1. All listings and links referencing the Titanium Card must be removed by Friday, January 27.

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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.

20060106

Discover card changes

**Discover Updates**

Below is a list of program changes that we need completed for Discover Card. We request that these changes be made in a timely manner.

Platinum Gas Card -

Changes Due by Friday, January 13

- All Gas Card banners and bulleted copy for the Gas Card are changing from listing "Up to 5%" to "Full 5%"
- If your site lists the Gas Card in a comparison area for Cashback, please list either "Up to 5%" if space is limited or "Full 5% or Up to 1%" if more space is available. "Full 5% on Gas Purchases" may also be used, but ONLY in reference to the Discover Gas Card.


Student Cards

Changes Due by Friday, January 13

- All 3 Student Cards have new bullets and copy.
- Bulleted copy must be used in the order listed below. For example, if you only have room for three bullets, you must use the top three points listed below.
· 0% APR for 6 Months

· 24/7 Easy Online Account Management

· No Annual Fee

· 5% Cashback Bonus(R) on Get More Program purchases throughout the year*

· Up to 1% Cashback Bonus(R) on all your other purchases*

· Build Your Credit History

· Unlimited cash rewards that never expire as long as you use your Card.

· DOUBLE your Cashback Bonus® (turn $20 into $40) when you redeem for gift cards or certificates from many of our 40 brand name partners.


Change Due by Friday, January 27

- The As Low as APR for all Student Cards is changing to 16.99% as of February 1.


All cards except Student Cards

Changes due by Friday, January 27

- The As Low as APR for all non-student cards is changing to 10.99% as of February 1.


Titanium Card

Changes Due by Friday, January 27

- The Titanium Card is being removed from online marketing as of February 1. All listings and links referencing the Titanium Card must be removed by Friday, January 27.


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Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.