Nextwave TitaniumPlus Prepaid MasterCard Launched

DataWave Systems has launched the first instant-issue prepaid MasterCard
card program in Canada. Consumers can purchase and reload the “Nextwave
TitaniumPlus Prepaid MasterCard” cards at participating Money Mart Stores
throughout the country. The card can be used to purchase goods and
services from millions of locations worldwide where
MasterCard is accepted. This includes Internet and mail-order purchases.
In addition, cardholders can withdraw cash from ATMs displaying the Cirrus
logo. As cardholders register with Money Mart, a Nextwave
TitaniumPlus card personalized with their name will be mailed to them to
replace the instant-issue card. DataWave is a developer of prepaid and
stored-value programs. Money Mart provide check cashing and
other basic financial services with more than 1,600 locations in Canada,
the U.S. and the U.K.

GECF 1Q/06

GE reported that profit for its Consumer Finance unit climbed 14% in the first quarter to $836 million as GECF produced revenues of $5.1 billion, an 8.6% increase over 1Q/05. During the quarter, GECF launched the “Dillard’s American Express Card,” becoming the seventh U.S. partner for American Express. GECF also agreed to make a strategic investment in Cosmos Bank, a major banking and consumer finance player in Taiwan, forming a strategic alliance to acquire a 10% stake. Additionally, GECF awarded a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to VeriFone to supply as many as 20,000 units annually of its “Vx Solutions” payment systems. For complete details on GE’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ( (CF Library 1/23/06; 2/24/06; 3/21/06)

Financial Services & Crime Prevention

A new survey of financial service providers from Datamonitor on behalf of
Norkom Technologies reveals a significant shift in the way the providers
manage their regulatory compliance obligations and their efforts to stem
financial crime. It reveals that 21% either are or plan to integrate the
departments that address financial crime and compliance, along with the
technology infrastructures that support their activities. The research
also reveals that traditional corporate structures hamper progress.
Organizational inflexibility; the departmental silos that
discourage cross functional communication, shared processes and pooled
approaches, were named as the number one barrier to consolidation by 67% of
respondents. The research also reveals that ID theft and money laundering
are the financial crimes which give financial institutions the most
widespread cause for concern, named as top three issues by 87% and 86% of
respondents respectively.

MasterCard Names a President of LAC Region

MasterCard International has named Richard Hartzell as President of its Latin America and Caribbean Region. He succeeds Javier Perez, who was recently named President of MasterCard Europe. Hartzell had been Senior Vice President, Regional Key Accounts, overseeing a team dedicated to business development, customer competitive strategy, product development and market opportunities for key customers. Hartzell started his career at MasterCard in 1993, and held a number of roles including Senior Vice President, Operations and Administration, for the Latin America and Caribbean region. In 2000, he left MasterCard to become General Manager of Latin America for Oasis Technology, an e-funds company and provider of software solutions for the payments industry, and returned to MasterCard in 2002 as Senior Vice President, Regional Markets. Prior to joining MasterCard, Hartzell worked in the payment services industry internationally for 13 years with Bank of America and Chase Manhattan Bank.

HSBC Bank UK Implements VASCO’s Digipass GO3

VASCO has announced that HSBC
Bank will use its “Digipass GO3” strong authentication device for corporate
banking. HSBC will start the roll out of “GO3” to 180,000 UK Business
Internet Banking customers in May 2006. “Digipass GO3” is a lightweight, low cost strong user
authentication token, especially designed for the large volume banking
market and is easy to use. The customer generates a unique one-time
password with a touch of a button. “Digipass GO3” also supports a host
(website) authentication functionality.

European Commission Attacks Payment Card Fees

The European Commission is continuing to analyze the high market concentration and lack of competition in some countries in the business of providing payment card services to merchants. This week, the EU reiterated the need for creating a “Single Payments Area” to make cross-border payments which could save the EU economy between 50 billion euros and 100 billion euros per year. The interim report by the EU says
even without interchange fees, card issuing remains profitable. The evidence suggests that card issuing would generate positive profits in 20 out of 25 countries even without interchange fee income. Profitability in card acquiring varies, though is quite satisfactory overall. Credit card acquirers across the EU have a 15% profit-to-cost ratio as a weighted average, while debit card acquirers average around 5%. Businesses in some countries pay a far higher merchant fee on average than others. The EU says this pattern is particularly pronounced. Merchants in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Portugal have to pay an average fee of between 2.5% and 3.1% of the total transaction value to accept a MasterCard/VISA credit card. This is 3 to 4 times higher than in Sweden, Finland and Italy.

VendTek Signs New Agreement with Pioneer

VendTek Systems’ wholly owned subsidiary Now Prepay has entered into a new
agreement with Pioneer Petroleums based in Burlington, Ontario to
implement Point-of-Sale Activation terminals. The new software allows
physical cards to be sold through the “e-Fresh” system along with virtual
products. It will also allow Now Prepay to add other swipe activated
products as they become available. Additionally, Now Prepay is working
with Bell Canada to deliver a set of prepaid long
distance products that can be activated at Pioneer Petroleum Snack Express
sites. Pioneer has 150 locations throughout Ontario and initially 88
Express stores will have the POS activation terminals. VendTek develops
and licenses automated transaction system software and supporting

Datacard Provides Turnkey EMV Smart Cards

The Datacard Group has announced that it has successfully implemented a
fully-integrated EMV smart card solution for the Industrial Commercial
Bank of China. The “Affina” smart card issuance and management
software suite enables card issuers to introduce smart cards into their
existing Datacard production environments affordably for pilot and rollout program phases. The modular and scalable platform allows an issuer to reuse the same software and hardware resources as the size and needs of their smart card program change over time. Datacard Group provides secure
ID and card personalization solutions in more than 120 countries.


Montreal-based BMO Financial Group has introduced an enhanced “Corporate
MasterCard” that offers businesses automated purchasing and management
tools that improve control over decisioning and automation and
significantly reduces the time and cost associated with traditional paper
processing. The new Corporate MasterCard makes it easy for businesses to
consolidate tracking, managing and analysing purchasing activities using
BMO details Online, a service which allows them to access, manipulate,
export and integrate purchase data into their own existing data management
systems. BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American
financial services organization with total assets of $306 billion.

Xi-Sign 4500 Introduced for Visually Impaired Users

XIRING has introduced “Xi-Sign 4500,” the first CAP-compliant device to
offer a smart card based authentication solution for visually impaired
users. “Xi-Sign 4500” features a specific audio interface based on the
patented “Chip-to-Speech” technology that enables the device to recite
any text displayed on the screen in a clear recorded voice and is
accessed with a discrete earphone. Using this function, the device can
“read” the one-time password calculated by the EMV banking card and
also read back the transaction logs from the card so a user can audibly
check the amounts charged to the card.

NCR Teradata to Support Argencard

Argencard has selected NCR’s Teradata to deploy an enterprise data
warehouse. The Teradata Warehouse, the Teradata Financial Services
Logical Data Model, Teradata Warehouse Miner and associated professional
consulting services will support the business initiatives of Argencard,
which provides MasterCard services for 70 issuing financial institutions
with more than two million cardholders and 300,000 affiliated merchants.
In addition, Teradata Warehouse Miner data mining software will enable
Argencard to enhance its fraud prevention capabilities. Teradata provides
enterprise data warehousing, analytic applications and data warehousing