Big Changes for Visa and MasterCard

Several changes are afoot in the credit card industry. Private retailer Neiman Marcus has stepped off the high horse. For years the high-end retailer accepted only Amex (NYSE:AXP) credit cards or, of course, cash. Effective Nov 1, Neiman Marcus will also accept Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA).

Targeted at younger, but maybe not so wealthy clientele, this move will likely stem lost sales due to its earlier policy of cash or Amex (NYSE:AXP). The move could also be the outcome of its not-so-hot profitability in the recent past. For the year ended on July 30, 2011, Neiman made a measly $31.6 million on sales of $4 billion. CEO Karen Katz said, “we’d love to invite new, affluent customers into Neiman Marcus, and this gives them the possibility of shopping with us.”

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In the other big development, Huntington (NASDAQ:HBAN) has switched its debit cards serviced by Visa (NYSE:V) to MasterCard-branded (NYSE:MA) Platinum debit cards. As part of the partnership, Huntington (NASDAQ:HBAN) will also implement the world-class debit and ATM transaction processing capabilities of Mastercard Integrated Processing Solutions. Debit card usage remains free of fees for Huntington customers.

“We are excited to partner with MasterCard (NYSE:MA) to give all our customers a much better, value-enhanced platinum debit card making it part of our Fair Play Banking philosophy of bringing superior value to our customers”, said Huntington (NASDAQ:HBAN) CEO Steve Steinour. “This is an alliance of two strong financial brands with a shared commitment to their customers. This debit card is free to use and automatically comes with Asterisk-Free Checking, which Money Magazine cited in naming Huntington (NASDAQ:HBAN) Best Regional Bank Midwest in their September issue, or Huntington Plus Checking. These enhanced features will be very beneficial to our customers”.

  • Mastercard (NYSE:MA) is trading at $341.01 today, up 3.63%. Shares are up 33.89% in one year. The stock’s trading range for the year is between $215.00 and $361.94.

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