Recently, American Express introduced – Pay with Points rewards program through its membership. It is a feature that makes booking flights easier and faster than before for its Platinum cardmembers and the Platinum Reserve credit cardmembers.

About the “Pay with Points”, economictimes.indiatimes.com, an online news portal writes, “American Express, through its Membership Rewards program, has introduced ‘Pay with Points’, a feature that makes booking flights easier and faster than before for its Platinum cardmembers and the Platinum Reserve credit cardmembers. Pay with Points feature allows cardmembers to instantly redeem membership rewards points for all or part of the cost of any leading airline ticket without blackout dates or restriction when booking travel through American Express Membership Travel Services.”

The “Pay with Points” allows card members to redeem membership rewards points for all or part of the cost of any leading airline ticket without blackout dates or restriction when booking travel through American Express Membership Travel Services.

Simran Kalra who is the vice president, product management & development, American Express, said to the ET, “In the past, American Express cardmembers were able to convert rewards points to frequent flyer miles with Membership Rewards partner airlines. Now in addition, with this ‘Pay with Points’ feature, our cardmembers have an option to use their membership reward points to fly on any leading airlines free of blackout dates or restrictions or memberships to Frequent Flyer programmes.”

With this “Pay with Points”, American Express Card Members will fly on any leading airlines free of blackout dates or restrictions.

Further the news portal writes, “Cardmembers can call American Express Membership Travel Services to book tickets availing of a choice of airlines to fly including leading domestic and over 50 international airlines. Cardmembers can pay for tickets by combining points with part payment on their American Express Platinum Cards as well as pay fully with the points earned.”

The feature allows you to fly including leading domestic and over 50 international airlines. It is the biggest news just like World Travel Card of PNB.

Recently, LIC announced to launch credit card protection service. According to the service, LIC credit card hold were able to report loss any of their cards from anywhere in the world to a 24-hour helpline.

About the company said in a statement to ET, “LIC Cards Services Ltd has launched Card Protection Plan for its credit card customers in partnership with CPP Assistance Services… and it safeguards all of the LIC cardholder’s payment cards – credit, debit and ATM cards.”

Further they add, “Besides, customers will be able to retrieve important details on lost/stolen documents like passport, PAN and driving license. Customers would need to purchase a membership plan offered by LIC and register their cards.”

For the service, customers have to pay an annual fee of Rs 995 and Rs 1,295. About the service charges ET quotes a statement, “The difference between the two is in the Assistance services limits and fraud protection limits provided to the consumer”.

In another article, Economic Times writes about the tips of protection of credit cards fraud, “Never write your personal identification number (PIN) on your card. Instead memorise it or keep the number separately from your card.”

“…Do not provide photocopies of both the sides of your card to anyone. This is because the card verification value (CVV), which is required for online transactions, is printed on the reverse of the card. Anyone can use the card for online purchases if the information is available with one.”

“…Before shopping online, make certain the internet shopping sites are secure. For this you should check out the encryption software it uses.”

“…Don’t give out your credit card number online unless you know and trust the company in question.”

“…Do not give any information to persons seeking credit card information over phone unless you have yourself initiated the talk. They may even claim to be a bank’s representative, but you actually don’t know who they really are.”

So, if you are going to use your credit cards, follow above mentioned suggestions to protect from fraud. We already have discussed about how to enhance online security.

Recently, Aditya Birla Group and SBI Card announced to offer co-branded credit cards to all customers of the Aditya Birla Group companies. In a press release the statement was released by Aditya Birla Group’s Chief Executive, Financial Services, Ajay Srinivasan, and SBI Card’s CEO, Diwakar Gupta.

Co-Branded credit cards of Aditya Birla Group and SBI Card will be available for 8-million customers of Aditya Birla Group companies–Aditya Birla Retail, Aditya Birla Financial Services Group (which includes Birla Sun Life Insurance and Birla Sun Life Mutual Funds), IDEA and Madura Garments.

Initiative for the card will be taken by the financial services arm of the Aditya Birla Group – Aditya Birla Financial Services.

Economic Times writes a statement of Srinivasan about the card, “The Aditya Birla Group already has a strong presence in the financial services business, as a significant player in the non-bank space. And we are committed to meet all the felt and unfelt financial needs of our target customer. Today, we take yet another step in that direction, with the signing of a MoU with SBI Card, to offer a co-branded credit card to the customers of the Aditya Birla Group.”

On the other hand, Gupta said to ET, “We are pleased to partner with the Aditya Birla Group…bringing new products that offer greater value to our customers has been an ongoing endeavor for us at SBI Card.”

Co-Branded credit cards of Aditya Birla Group and SBI Card will be made available across more than 2000 retail outlets of Aditya Birla Group companies. The news was published in ET online news paper.

It is not first co-branded card of SBI but the bank already have launched many co-branded credit cards. In spite of, co-branded credit cards with Aditya Birla Group will surly increase the financial strength of State Bank of India.

Recently, SBI had introduced mShop card with the collaboration of GE Capital. It is the second step of State Bank of India to introduce new co-branded card services in just 2 months.

Recently, State Bank of India Credit Card offered mShop from the SBI and GE Capital. mShop card is enabled for customers shop from over 100 merchants across the country. They can use the card by using their mobile phones.

“mShop offers SBI Card customers the convenience of transacting anytime, anywhere, while ensuring complete security of their transactions.” The statement is said by SBI card in a press release.

Diwakar Gupta who is the chief executive of SBI card said to ET, “We are delighted to launch mShop, yet another way to make life simple for our customers. mShop will further enhance our cardholders’ experience with SBI Card. It will also open up a new revenue stream for our business.” Both statements were published in the online news portal of Economic Times.

The mShop Card of SBI is a joint venture between the State Bank of India and GE Capital. The card offers wide range of payment and products services. mShop offers extensive access in payments for domestic consumers.

A customer can buy air tickets, cinema tickets and pay utility bills by using his mobile phones by mShop SBI credit card.

A customer has to just download the mShop application on mobile phones. In the initial step, the customer has to register on the application to begin shopping on the go.

Recently, Money Travel Currency Card by Reliance Group and World Travel Card by Punjab National Bank had been launched for tourists. Both cards had gotten good popularity by the tourist customers.

Now, the mShop has tried to cover the higher class people of the society. A customer life will surly be convenient by using the mShop card.

Currently, the mShop card has not a wide range of shopping and paying bills but in coming future; the card will surly introduce more and more possible areas of consumers needs on the application.

There is good news for world travelers. Public sector bank, Punjab National is to launch World Travel Card. The bank has already introduced Global Credit Card earlier this year in February. Now, the company has planned to introduce World Travel Card for globetrotters.

Chief General Manager of PNB from credit card venture division, Ranjan Dhawan said to ET,

“It would be the safest and the convenient currency instrument to carry. Instead of carrying traveller’s cheque or global currency like Dollar or Pound, the World Travel Card holders would be able to withdraw local currency convertibles from any bank ATM of respective countries they visit. The holder has to pre load the card with the amount he would like to carry.”

The World Travel Card of Punjab National Bank will be introduced by November this year. This card would be pre-loaded with that amount which you want to carry along with on your tours of world.

You will be able to withdraw relevant currency of that country where you are traveling. This can be Dollar, Pound, Euro or Yen. It is just like a credit card that will be for tourists. The card will make your way easiest. Now, you needn’t to worry about currency converter. You are free to carry that currency which you want to carry. That will be relevant to your traveling country.

Yes, the World Travel Card is very good thing for world travelers but surly, it is not a new product. Recently, Reliance Group had also introduced the same card that was known as Reliance Money Travel Currency Card. The card was also for travelers. It was also equipped with multi currency.

So, there is no new offer by PNB as World Travel Card but surly, it is incorporated offer to make easier world traveling. The World Travel Card will be available for travelers only.

Online credit cards dealing are not easy now. From the security point of view, RBI has made more deep security for online credit cards dealing. The new rule is effective from 1st of August, 2009. According to the rule, you need to register and verify your credit cards to enhance one more step online security.

We have already faced credit cards fraud reports in the near time. Banks were suffered from fraud very much. There was no rule to reduce the deception but now it is available by RBI. Reserve Bank of India already announced that to use credit cards online there is needed one more step security.

During the purchasing and booking any services, we had to already fill – credit cards number, expiry date and three digits CVV security code number but now you have to know your secret 6 digits credit cards pin number also. Some banks had already made the mandatory of online login to buy or book any services. ICICI had made mandatory rule of debit cards numbers which are printed on cards, during the online transactions.

Banks had intimate to their customers when he made any transactions that exceed Rs 5,000 by SMS. It was also the rule of RBI. But all these were not effective for hackers.

So, we are talking about the new rule of RBI which is effective from 1st August, 2009. According to this announcement you need a credit card pin number also while any online transactions whether it is a service or purchasing.

The rule is same for Master cards and Visa cards both. If you are a holder of Master card then you should follow the link: http://www.mastercard.com/us/personal/en/cardholderservices/securecode/sign_up.html and have to choose your credit cards related bank. You have to register your name, credit card number, CVV number and a desired pin number which will able to make any online transaction. Visa cards holder have to follow this link: http://www.visa-asia.com/ap/sea/cardholders/security/activate.jsp and have to do same thing as Master card.

Once you complete the registration for the verification of online credit cards, you will be able to use your credit cards for any online purposes. It is mandatory and it will surly enhance the security against the fraud. I welcome the rule because it is simple and very effective against any fraud.

Recently, the news effectively came in light that all credit cards companies are trying to reduce rewards points.

Credit Cards issuers are much frustrated due to huge losses and more expensive while, they are getting less attractive redemption points as rewards. They are attracting to the card holders that if they use cards more often to earn the redeem points, they can get cash back or to fly somewhere.

An analyst at FBR Capital Markets, Scott Valentin said,

“To the extent that interchange is cut, you will see a pretty lineal impact on rewards. You could see rewards being 10 or 15 percent more expensive for consumers. If you have a 25,000 reward points for an airline ticket, it might go to 35,000 or 40,000”

To cut rewards or on raise fees, Michael Kon who is the analyst of Morningstar Inc said to ET,

“You either cut rewards or raise fees, because you have to have a credit card industry that is viable and generates a reasonable return.”

According to the analysts, the credit card industry is not making money until 2011. However, companies are trying to great reform in this industry.

Above analysis clearly state that banks are busy in reducing credit cards redemption points. We always see to promote banks their cards along with some great offers. Customers also are going to make their payment frequently to get some redeem points. In these conditions banks should decide to cut the charges from their clients not from their customers.

Here all things are opposite; banks are busy in reducing redemption point which is benefits of customer. They are not targeting corporate or sales offices where the credit cards being used to purchase goods very frequently.

Things are clear here, it is the collaboration of banks and corporate world. Here is nothing for a customer who uses credit cards.