Loyalty programmes

Barclays India launches new reward scheme

Barclays Bank in India has announced it is to team up with credit
card and payment solutions provider ElectraCard Services to launch
a new loyalty system. The new platform means that Barclays
customers can now benefit from various loyalty programmes and
receive rewards across multiple banking channels.

Barclays Reward Points programme is a loyalty plan where customers
are incentivised to use alternative channels of the bank. These
loyalty points are earned for transactions done on Barclays debit
cards, mobile banking, internet banking and ATMs and for
registration and activation on various banking channels.

Ramesh Mengawade, CEO of ElectraCard Services, said: “In a dynamic
business environment like today’s, customer expectations are to be
met before they realise it themselves. Barclays’ loyalty management
programme is designed to ensure that. We are happy to deliver an
end-to-end solution for this loyalty programme.”


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Mergers and acquisitions

Far Eastern Bank to buy AIG credit division

Taiwanese bank Far Eastern International has stated it intends to
buy failed insurer AIG’s Taiwanese arm, AIG Credit Card Taiwan, for
between NT$2.3 billion ($70 million) and NT$3 billion.

In a statement filed with the Taiwanese Stock Exchange, the bank
said it wanted to buy the entire credit operation of AIG Taiwan,
which will mean the bank will have 1.25 million credit cards in
circulation with NT$14 billion ($430 million) of revolving
balances, and will become one of the top 10 credit card issuers in

Currently, Far Eastern International Bank has about one million
credit cards in circulation with NT$9 billion ($270 million) of
revolving balances, and according to the statement, the acquisition
is part of the bank’s credit card business expansion project, which
also looks to enhance the company’s presence on the Taiwanese

AIG is also expected to shortly announce its plan to launch an
initial public offering (IPO) for its Asian life insurance
subsidiary, American International Assurance Co Ltd (AIA).



MoneyGram expands into India with Punjab National

Global money transfer company MoneyGram International has joined up
with Punjab National Bank, the second-largest state bank in India,
to offer a money transfer service across the bank’s network of over
4,600 branches in India.

MoneyGram expects to activate the Punjab National Bank locations in
phases, launching the first 3,500 branches in large cities such as
New Delhi and Ludhiana and smaller communities all over the country
by the end of the year.

The expansion is part of an agreement signed through MoneyGram
agents Thomas Cook and UAE Exchange Financial Services.

“MoneyGram’s growth in India is a vital part of our global
expansion plans,” said Anthony Ryan, MoneyGram president and chief
executive officer. “India represents one of the largest remittance
markets in the world and a significant growth opportunity for
MoneyGram. Punjab National Bank caters to the needs of 37 million
customers and has a network with the capability to deliver
MoneyGram’s convenient and reliable money transfer services to more
customers in more communities across India.”


Card acceptance

Malaysian merchants to accept China UnionPay

Global Payments, the global payment processor and merchant
acquirer, has partnered with Chinese bankcard network China
UnionPay (CUP) to launch CUP card acceptance services to merchants
in Malaysia.

The service will allow merchants to accept electronic card payments
from CUP cardholders at their stores, by re-programming their
existing Global Payments POS terminals, and marks an extension of
Global Payments’ CUP card acceptance programme, which previously
had only been offered in Hong Kong and Macau. The number of CUP
cards in circulation has reached over 1.8 billion.

Global Payments Asia-Pacific president Ian Courtnage said: “We are
very pleased to launch the China UnionPay card acceptance service
in Malaysia. China is contributing significantly to outbound
tourism in Southeast Asia and Malaysia is attracting the lion’s
share. Merchant establishments in Kuala Lumpur and other premier
tourist destinations throughout Malaysia will now be able to enjoy
the dual benefits of reducing the burden of managing cash payment
from Chinese patrons as well as generating higher ticket


Prepaid cards

TSYS launches Visa prepaid card in Japan

Global payment processor TSYS has announced it is to begin
processing Visa-branded prepaid cards for the Japanese market in
July 2009. The prepaid cards will be issued by Travel Bank, a
financial services company that is part of the JTB Group. Consumers
can use the cards to make payments at Visa merchants when
travelling overseas or to withdraw cash from Visa ATMs.

TSYS is one of the world’s largest processors for branded prepaid
cards. In Japan, the company offers payment-related services for
debit, credit, retail gift, loyalty and prepaid products to a
variety of industries through its wholly owned subsidiary, TSYS

“Prepaid cards are a trusted alternative to travellers’ cheques in
many countries, and the number of issuers that are interested in
prepaid is increasing worldwide,”” said Gaylon Jowers, president of
TSYS International. “We are delighted to be expanding the service
to the Japanese tourism industry, and we applaud Travel Bank’s
decision to offer prepaid cards that are safe, flexible and can
satisfy consumers’ unique needs.”


Growth strategies

BC Card sets sights on US


South Korean card issuer and payment services provider is
considering the possibility of entering the US market with a view
to becoming a global payment services provider. The possible move
follows BC Card’s foray into the Chinese market in 2004 due to a
partnership with China UnionPay. In March the two companies jointly
issued the Zhong Guo Tong card, which now numbers around 600,000 in
issuance. More recently, the two issued Zhong Guo Tong debit card.
The two entities are also discussing ways to enhance cooperation in
areas of joint marketing to Chinese tourists to South Korea and
member service expansion within the Chinese market.

BC Card is looking to enter the US market in the third quarter of
2009 by establishing a business alliance with a US network in order
to provide ATM services, before expanding the alliance to include
card acceptance at US merchant locations.

Each South Korean holds an average of 3.78 cards as of August last
year, behind the US with 5.3 cards on average per person.