Gemplus International and Valista announced the commercial launch of their “Gem-eCash,” an on-line prepaid solution, to coincide with its first deployment with Paynet Group in the Czech Republic.”Gem-eCash” is a new solution for micro payment purchases over the Internet. By combining a prepaid card with online purchasing power, users can make simple and secure purchases for digital content, such as mp3 music files, videos, games, newspaper articles and horoscopes, etc. Online buyers simply scratch off a panel on the phone card to discover the secret code, which corresponds to their prepaid credit. Valista was recently formed from the merger of Network365 and iPIN.
Citi Merchant Services has been selected as the exclusive payment processor recommended to its members by the United States Chamber of Commerce. Citi will offer credit and debit card processing solutions to the nearly three million businesses and organizations that the USCC represents nationwide. Citi Merchant Services says it has developed a customized program designed to meet the needs of the USCC’s large and varied membership that includes a highly competitive rate and fee structure, special equipment offerings, online reporting service, and customized processing solutions. Citi Merchant Services is the U.S. merchant card processor of Citigroup.
Dublin-based Datalex and Bibit have teamed to integrate Bibit technoology with Datalex’s premier Internet booking engine. Bibit specializes in processing payments originating from multiple sales channels, including Internet, call centers, mobile applications and point-of-sale, over an Internet infrastructure. The company’s multi-lingual, end-to-end payment service adds a proven payment component to Datalex’s already extensive solutions offering. Datalex’s customers include Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Amadeus, American Express, ATA Airlines, Amtrak, Best Western International, California State Automobile Association, Delta Air Lines, Deutsche Telekom, Disney Cruise Lines, Emirates Airline, Galileo, GoHop.ie, Japan Travel Bureau, KLM, Korean Airlines, LasVegas.com, Malaysia Airlines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Page & Moy, Siemens UK, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, SNCF, South African Airways, Thomas Cook, Trailfinders, TravelBag, Travelcare, T-Systems, Vail Resorts Inc., Unisys, WEXAS and Worldspan.
Select Comfort, the creator of the “Sleep Number” bed, has inked a multi-year deal for Paymentech to process its $200 million in bank credit card annual volume produced by its 356 locations nationwide. Select Comfort cites Paymentech’s all-in-one advantage and advanced technology, especially web-based reporting tools, as key factors in its decision. Select Comfort Corporation is the nation’s leading bed retailer, holding 26 U.S. issued or pending patents for its personalized sleep products. Paymentech, L.P. processes more payment transactions than any other company in North America – and more than half of all Internet transactions – for retailers accepting U.S. and international payments via traditional point of sale, Internet, catalog and recurring payments.
OR-based Fred Meyer has launched the “Fred Meyer Rewards Card” offering customers points for all purchases over five dollars. The Rewards Card will pay Customers a rebate for simply using the card when they shop Fred Meyer. Customers earn one “point” every time they spend at least five dollars at Fred Meyer. If a Customer earns at least 100 points during a 13-week period, he or she qualifies for a rebate. Fred Meyer Stores is based in Portland, Oregon and features 129 large multi-department stores in four western states that offer one-stop shopping for a wide range of food, apparel, and general merchandise products.
Atlanta-based sub-prime specialist, CompuCredit, reported a first quarter profit $17.7 million, a 64% gain over the prior quarter, but well below 1Q/03’s net income of $29.5 million. The “Aspire VISA” issuer also reported improved first quarter metrics with delinquency dropping 280 basis points, charge-offs declining 460 basis points, and its net interest margin jumping from 15.5% to 17.5%, compared to one-year ago. The 60-plus day delinquency rate was 10.5% for the first quarter, compared to 13.3% at March 31, 2003. The net charge-off rate was 15.7% percent in the first quarter, as compared to 20.3% for the first quarter of 2003. The adjusted charge-off rate was 8.2% in the first quarter, as compared to 10.2% for 1Q/03. Total managed receivables for the first quarter were $2,090,644,000 compared to $2.34 billion in the fourth quarter, and $2.47 billion one-year ago. As of March 31st, CompuCredit had 2,276,000 accounts compared to 3,169,000 at the end of 1Q/03. CompuCredit also announced the appointment of William McCamey, formerly Director of Wachovia Securities’ Corporate and Investment Banking Group, as the Company’s new Treasurer. For complete details on CompuCredit’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
COMPUCREDIT NET INCOME SNAPSHOT
1Q/03: $29.5 million
2Q/03: $20.3 million
3Q/03: $56.5 million
4Q/03: $10.8 million
1Q/04: $17.7 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
The UK National Audit Office reports efficiency savings of GBP28 (US$50) for every transaction made using the “VISA Government Purchasing Card” program, as well as environmental savings of 1 million pieces of paper per month. The U.S. Government estimates an average savings of US$54 per transaction, just in administrative costs using VISA payment solutions, versus traditional paper-based processes at federal agencies. VISA says the number of government departments and agencies worldwide that are using VISA solutions to increase efficiency and save money, doubled between 2001 and 2004, generating at least US$4 billion in savings over the same period. VISA says travel card programs can offer similar types of savings, particularly when integrated with electronic expense reporting. VISA International’s own integration of employees’ travel cards with its corporate data systems cut administrative costs of processing expense claims in half from an average of US$52 to US$27 per claim and increased the compliance of expense claims with travel policies to nearly 100 percent.
British Columbia-based VeriFone has chosen the Sierra Wireless “EM3420,” a CDMA2000 1X embedded wireless module, for VeriFone’s “Omni” family of mobile and countertop IP-enabled, wireless POS payment terminals. This high-speed, always-on family of terminals allows mobile retailers to execute secure debit and credit card transactions anywhere there is CDMA2000 1X coverage. VeriFone, Inc., ([www.verifone.com]) recognized worldwide as the trusted leader in secure electronic payment technologies, provides expertise, solutions and services for today with a smart migration strategy for tomorrow. Sierra Wireless is a leader in delivering highly differentiated wireless solutions that enable our customers to improve their productivity and lifestyle.
The CO-OP Network has signed an agreement with WesCorp and its Pacific Operations Division to become partners in serving 27 credit unions located throughout the Hawaiian Islands and Guam. These credit unions are slated to become the first South Pacific financial institutions to join the nation’s no. 1 credit union ATM network. CO-OP Network ([www.co-opnetwork.org]), established in 1981 and located in Ontario, Calif., is wholly-owned by its credit union shareholders and provides volume discounts on products and services that include risk management as well as debit and deposit access. WesCorp is Western Corporate Federal Credit Union-America’s largest corporate credit union, serving more than 1,000 member/owner credit unions located throughout the United States and Guam.
U.S. Bank has selected the Coeur d’Alene, ID area for a new service and call center facility to handle debit, small business and consumer credit card accounts, creating up to 500 new jobs over the next five years. The new 60,000 square foot facility will support U.S. Bank’s growing retail payment solutions division, which includes debit, small business and consumer credit card accounts. The call center will be located on the northeast corner of the Mill River development, which lies between Seltice Way and the Spokane River. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets of $192 billion, is the 7th largest financial services holding company in the United States.
Lipman Electronic Engineering has launched the “NURIT 8100,” its newest multifunction countertop POS terminal. The “NURIT 8100” is designed to address the POS market that requires high-level features and functionality by enhancing and expanding upon the key technological capabilities of previous NURIT terminals. The “NURIT 8100” provides users with a variety of value-added features and options, including a large graphic display with ATM-style control buttons for simple operation and browsing. Connectivity methods such as Ethernet LAN, Cellular GSM / GPRS and fast landline modem, with Internet and web protocol support, make it ideal for varied communication environments. Together, these features allow NURIT users to benefit from vertical market applications in addition to the traditional payment functionality that is the foundation of the POS terminal, further increasing the value of the terminal for retailers. In addition, the “NURIT 8100” terminal provides a superior level of security, meeting or exceeding all widely recognized standards including regional standards, VisaPED and MasterCard requirements.
KANA and Bearing Point have released “KANA Agent IQ” and “KANA Customer IQ for Credit Cards” to provide automated self-service options for service representatives and customers. The IQ for Credit Cards applications are part of KANA’s Service Resolution Management approach to providing customized solutions that address the specific pain points of key vertical markets and strengthen KANA’s already existing financial services, retail banking and branch banking applications. KANA provides knowledge-powered customer service applications enabling organizations to better service, market to, and understand their customers and partners. BearingPoint, Inc. is one of the world’s largest business consulting and systems integration firms, KANA’s Credit Card applications allow companies to optimize service delivery and decrease overall operational costs.