The Cards Asia conference, originally scheduled for this month, has been moved to July. The outbreak of SARS has forced many firms to cancel plans to travel to Asia, notably to destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. The 8th annual “Cards Asia 2003” event will now be held July 23-25 at Suntec in Singapore. Speakers scheduled to appear include Alexander Rittweger, CEO, Loyalty Partner GmbH, Germany; Cindy Cheng, Director of Sales and Marketing, Octopus Cards Ltd, Hong Kong; Rohit Bhargava, General Manager, Personal Financial Services, HSBC Bank, Malaysia; Chang Hong-Jen, President, Bureau of National Health Insurance, Taiwan; Wang Zhong Lin, President of Dalian Pearl Card Co., China; and Jean-Phillip Betoin, Chairman of the Board, SIMalliance. The program includes sessions on “RETAIL PAYMENTS AND TRANSACTIONS”; “CARD MARKETING & LOYALTY”; “e-GOVERNMENT & SECURITY”; and “SIM 2003”. For more information visit http://www.cards-worldwide.com.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore reported that credit and charge card
defaults hit $124 million for 2002, a 56% increase over 2001. This year may
be worse as charge-offs in January hit $12.1 million and in February rose
to $13.1 million. Payment card activity has also declined this year. In
February, payment card volume declined to $861.2 million, compared to $1.1
billion in January, and $887.7 million for February 2001. Credit card
outstandings now stand at $2.5 billion for February, compared to $2.4
billion in January, and $2.2 billion in February last year.
MasterCard International has picked up a number of technology vendors to
support its 16K, multi-application “MULTOS,” US$1.99, smart card program.
Supporting vendors in the “OneSMART MasterCard” initiative include KeyCorp
(Australia), ORGA Card Systems (Singapore), AMS Co (Korea), DZ Card (South
East Asia), FoongTone Technology (Taiwan), KBC Corp (Korea), Kyodo Printing
(Japan), Security Plastics (New Zealand), Shoei Printing Co (Japan), Taiwan
Name Plate (Taiwan), Toppan Form HK (Hong Kong) and Versatile Card
Technology (USA). MasterCard first introduced its MULTOS-based
multiapplication smart card under its US$2.99 chip program in December
2000. The US$1.99 card contains MasterCard’s EMV compliant “M/Chip”
credit/debit application, “Mondex” e-cash, PKI file storage and PKI
identification applications built into the chip, ready for enablement as
required by MasterCard’s member financial institutions.
VISA Asia Pacific reported that thirty members are implementing EMV chip programs, more than
ten million VISA EMV smart cards have been issued in the region, and over 70,000 EMV point-of-sale
terminals have been deployed in eight markets. In the Australia/New Zealand market, ANZ Bank has
issued more than 400,000 EMV-compliant VISA cards and deployed 35,000 EMV terminals. In Japan more
than 10% of VISA cards now carry an EMV chip, with over 7 million cards in circulation. In South
Korea, five VISA members and SK Telecom have collectively issued 1.1 million “Moneta” EMV chip cards
and are now issuing “GlobalPlatform”
chips on mobile handsets known as “Moneta Plus” phones. Taiwan’s National Credit Card Center recently
achieved certification for processing VISA smart cards through VisaNet. NCCC will offer its 37 VISA
members in Taiwan the ability to migrate payments from traditional magnetic stripe cards to EMV smart
cards. In Asia Pacific, VISA has more than 365 million cards in-force.
MasterCard International reported that smart card issuance in the Asia/Pacific region doubled last year. At the end of 2002, there were more than 8.0 million smart cards in the region, compared to 3.8 million in 2001. Globally, more than 127 million MasterCard smart cards have been issued, a growth of 7% in year 2002, as compared to 2001. Therefore, Asia/PacificÂs share of the number of MasterCard smart cards worldwide grew from 3.3% to 6.3% in year 2002. MasterCard says that working with KeyCorp Limited, it has brought down the price of its 16K multi-application MULTOS card to US$1.99. The card contains the MasterCard “M/Chip” credit/debit application, “Mondex” e-cash, PKI file storage and PKI identification applications in the ROM portion of the chip. MC has slated 2006 as the year for which most cards in Asia/Pacific will be migrated to chip cards.
MasterCard International’s latest report on consumer confidence
shows that China, Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand, India and Indonesia have
a more positive outlook for the next six months than other Asia/Pacific
countries. The “MasterIndex of Consumer Confidence,” which measures
employment, economy, regular income, stock market and quality of life,
found less optimism in markets such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the
Philippines .Australia consumer sentiment currently appears to be cautious.
The latest index of 44.6 reverses the trend in Australia, which has
manifested improved consumer sentiment over the four previous “MasterInde”
surveys. There is a decline across four out of five variables, and the
biggest drop is reflected in stock market (from 58.6 to current score of
44.6). Consumers in China are extremely upbeat about the future. Not only
does China presently register the highest “MasterIndex” score in the
region, but there is a substantial increase across all five variables. The
current index of 84.4 is almost at par with the highest China “MasterIndex”
ever of 84.8 (for December 2001 survey). In particular, employment (from
53.6 to current index of 74.6) and stock market (from 57.1 to current 68.3)
show notable gains. Within China, Shanghai (89.5) respondents are the most
hopeful today, although those in Beijing (83.2) and Guangzhou (80) appear
to be almost as positive, registering scores in the 80s levels. The
Japanese “MasterIndex,” at 15.0, is the lowest score for the latest survey.
Respondents are most anxious about the economy (6.6), employment prospects
(8.9) and quality of life (9.3) Within Japan, there appears to be a
slightly more hopeful outlook for the stock market (39.4).
VISA Asia Pacific reported that consumer spending on VISA cards peaked on December 23rd at US$579 million from 9.8 million transactions that day, a 29% increase over December 2001. Worldwide, VISA cardholders spent an average of US$4.3 billion on their debit and credit cards each day during December 2002, a 17% increase over the comparable period a year earlier. The busiest single day in the history of VISA transaction processing was on 12/23/02 when global volume reached US$5.7 billion. VisaNet logged a record processing speed of 4,704 transactions per second on that day. VISA also noted that electronic commerce transactions using VISA grew 77% on volume globally for the month of December. During the four quarters ended September 30, 2002, US$606 billion was spent in Asia Pacific using VISA cards, an increase of 35% over the previous year.
CyberNet has named Roberto Galbiati as VP/Southeast Asia. Roberto
brings more than 14 years of experience in the Asian markets of Payment and
Security, having held key positions in the region for RSA Security and
VeriFone. Galbiati’s appointment follows the creation of CyberNet Poland
and the launch of “JADEBreakthrough,” the EMV solution jointly developed
Philippines-based SMART Money Holdings Corporation has deployed the
“SeeBeyond Business Integration Suite” to power its mobile commerce
systems. The electronic wallet card application, branded as “SMART Money”
in the Philippines, is the world’s first electronic wallet card linked to a
mobile phone. Using SMHC’s mobile commerce systems, subscribers can enjoy
the convenience of mobile banking and money transfers. Features include
reloading of prepaid accounts, bank account-to-bank account fund transfers,
bank account to “SMART Money” wallet transfers, “SMART Money-to-SMART
Money” wallet funds transfers, bills payment for basic utilities,
transaction inquiries and statement requests, and a host of non-financial
services. The systems can also enable subscribers to personalize their
phone menus and download new services over-the-air.
MasterCard International launched a new program to expand the value of its “Platinum” program throughout Asia. The “MasterCard Platinum Collection” features a range of lifestyle experiences from flying with the Red Devil over the Alps and landing on the Les Diablerets Glacier, to dinner cruises in Bangkok and romantic dinners atop the world’s tallest hotel in Singapore. “Platinum MasterCard” cardholders can also play golf at St. AndrewÃÂs Old Course, Gleneagles, Royal Melbourne, and the Pinehurst Golf Course in Thailand. MasterCard has nearly 1 million platinum cardholders in the Asia/Pacific region.
A survey by doAsia for Mastercard International found that women
in Asia/Pacific, with the exception of those in Taiwan, are planning to
either vacation in their home country or visit neighboring countries for
holiday this year. The highest number of respondents who chose to stay in
their home country or near their home country is from Indonesia (51
percent), Australia (48 percent), Philippines (38 percent), Hong Kong (35
percent) and Malaysia (33 percent). Bucking this trend is Taiwan where 29%
of the women polled plan to travel to the United States/Canada and only 28%
plan to vacation in or near their home country. North Asia is the second
most popular vacation destination for women from Australia, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand. Female respondents from Hong Kong chose
South East Asia as their second-most preferred destination, Filipinos chose
United States/Canada and Singaporeans selected Australia/New Zealand.
UK-based nCipher has opened an office in Singapore and has named Eric Graf
von der Recke as Sales Director for the region. nCipher already has
alliances with Hong Kong-based, Automated Systems (HK) Ltd.and Quantiq
International in Singapore and Malaysia. In conjunction with the
announcement, nCipher has also named Automated Systems (HK) as reseller for
nCipher in the People’s Republic of China. nCipher offers hardware security
modules for the e-payments industry including: “nFast,” “nForce,”
“nShield,” and “payShield.” Eric Graf von der Recke was formerly with Certicom.