Report: VISA May Drop ICC-Cal

LOS ANGELES — Israel Discount Bank subsidiary Israel Credit Cards-Cal Ltd. has been levied a fine of nearly $13.5 million dollars and according to some reports, may have its international clearing permit revoked by VISA Europe — and could even be ousted from the card association itself.

The news may be of particular interest to adult operators who rely on ICC-Cal at some point in their transaction chain, as the company and its subsidiary, Cal International, specialize in clearing transactions from hi-risk markets including online adult and gaming websites.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a large portion of ICC-Cal's success came from international transaction clearing, with an emphasis on adult websites and offers for Viagra, among other drugs.

"ICC-Cal is the only Israeli company that engages in international clearing in these sectors," Haaretz reported. "The higher risk associated with them has two main sources: Customers are more likely to regret, and deny, such transactions on the one hand, while on the other hand the businesses that engage in them are less likely to be legitimate."

The company's problems, however, seem to stem from its processing of transactions for nutritional supplements — a market segment which exceeded the two percent chargeback rate set by VISA Europe. Haaretz cites a VISA Europe report, which claims that 90 percent of the problem transactions were for nutritional supplements.

The card association is demanding immediate action to bring down the high number of canceled transactions, including a three-month risk-reduction plan. If these demands are not met, ICC-Cal's international payment clearing plan may be revoked.

ICC-Cal is said to be taking such steps.

The news comes amidst rumors of a stock offering — plans that some analysts believe may have to go on hold, given the controversy now surrounding the company.