VISA Locks-Up Vancouver International Film Festival

VISA cardholders have the inside track for the “25th Vancouver International Film Festival” scheduled for September 28th to October 13th. VISA cardholders can buy tickets a week ahead of the general public through September 15th. The “VISA Screening Room Pass” allows cardholders to enjoy the Festival’s hot-ticket films at the “VISA Screening Room.” “Gala Packages” and the “VISA Gold Pass” are available to “VISA Gold” and “VISA Platinum” cardholders at significant savings.
This is the ninth year that VISA has been the exclusive card of the “Vancouver International Film Festival.”

Incard Wins a DUET Award from BGS

Geneva-based Incard has been awarded the “DUET Award 2006” in the “Smart Partner” category by Austrian company “BGS Smartcard Systems.” The “DUET” payment application is a system that is used
to implement domestic payment schemes and has a number of advantages in
emerging markets, where traditional payment systems can sometimes be
unsuitable. Incard’s smart card application for the “DUET” system offers advanced features and a high degree of flexibility and allows direct payment transactions both in on- or offline mode without requiring a third-party authentication. The application is broadly used in Russia and the interest for this product is rapidly growing in other countries such as Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Iran, Nigeria, India and Vietnam. Incard is part of STMicroelectronics.

Americans Use Spare Cash to Pay Card Debt

A new poll shows that 41% of Americans use their spare cash to pay off credit card debt and that 38% use spare cash to put in savings. The new AC Nielsen study of consumers in 40 markets worldwide also found the U.S. has lost its usual top spot among countries whose consumers have no cash to spare. The year Portugal led the list. About 22% of U.S. respondents said that once they have covered their basic living expenses, they have no money left over. The percentage of American consumers who say they have no spare cash remains the same from the last survey, conducted in November 2005, after dropping from 28% in the May 2005 survey.

Credit Card Marketing Symposium Planned

Direct marketing specialist, Harte-Hanks, is hosting two one-day symposia dedicated to the marketing of credit cards and the retention of credit card customers in China. The two events to be in held in Shanghai (September 12th), and repeated in Beijing (September 15th) are
designed for banks and financial institutions. Speakers will come from the State Post Bureau of the People’s Republic of China, China
Union Pay, MasterCard, Oracle and the China Direct Mail Association, as well as Harte-Hanks. Harte-Hanks has been involved in marketing in the Asia-Pacific region for nearly 10 years, and more than three years in the People’s Republic of China.

FreeStar Technology Names a New CTO

FreeStar Technology announced that Jose Enrique Perez has been
named chief technology officer. He replaces Angel Pacheco, who was recently promoted to vice president of new business development. Perez joins FreeStar Technology from Hypercom. He was senior vice president, chief of global offshore development, and general manager of SIA Hypercom Latvia. FreeStar Technology is a payment processing company and owns Helsinki-based Rahaxi Processing.

Oberthur’s First Half Revenues Rise 2.3%

Los Angeles and Paris-based Oberthur Card Systems reported that during the first half of 2006 revenues increased 2.3% to $311.9 million. During the six-month period smart card shipments increased by 30% to 114 million cards. However, in the Microprocessor Payment card segment, volumes went down by 25.5% to 31 million units compared to the first half of 2005. Sales of “Other Cards” (magnetic stripe cards, scratch cards and memory $44.4 million, had a 12.2% increase compared last year. The Payment and services segment represents 49.2% of Oberthur Card Systems’ current global revenue. For complete details on Oberthur’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

GEMALTO 1H/06

The newly formed Gemalto, that combined Gemplus and Axalto, reported that revenues for the first half of this year declined slightly to $1.036 billion and that gross profit dropped more than 8% during the same period. Net profit fell sharply to $34.4 million, down 47% year-on-year due to extraordinary expenses associated with the merger.
On a geographic basis, revenue was up 3% in Asia, driven by Identity &
Security and Secure Transactions. In EMEA, revenue was almost stable,
while in the Americas revenue was down 6%. Microprocessor card shipments grew 39% to 561 million units. Point-of-Sale terminals revenue fell 22% to $38.6 million. For complete detail on Gemalto’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

U.S. Issuers Offered MC’s OneSmart Program

AZ-based TranSend International this week introduced MasterCard’s internationally successful “OneSMART” program to the U.S. market. The program covers every aspect necessary to launch a smart card program with maximum flexibility. TranSend co-developed over seven years the “CAP” protocols and co-developed “MODS” for MasterCard based on its proprietary “PocketServer” software. One-year ago MasterCard purchased “PocketServer v3.2” for issuance on its European smart cards. “PocketServer” and “PocketServer Plus” have more than 5 million users, providing a convenient and secure online experience coupled with two-factor authentication. The firm also offers “CardTouch,” a stored value clearinghouse platform. (CFI Library 8/5/05)

WaMu and ESPN Create a Credit Card Team

Washington Mutual has teamed with the number one sports multimedia company in the world to launch a co-branded sports credit card today. The new “ESPN Total Access VISA” card extends ESPN’s powerful, middle market brand into WaMu’s core middle market consumer audience. The relationship also gives WaMu access to unique marketing channels including the ESPN Network, ESPN Magazine, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, as well as to fans at select sporting events. The new card offers consumers rewards, access and competitive pricing. Cardholders receive five points for every dollar spent on purchases made from ESPN and one point for every dollar spent anywhere else. Cardholders can earn insider access to a wide range of sports experiences and VIP Access to the “X Games.” Cardholders can also earn access to ESPN The Magazine’s “NEXT Big Weekend” event at the pro football championship host city, pre-draft parties, and a behind-the-scenes look at ESPN studios. Other rewards include: gift certificates to ESPN Zone and ESPNShop.com; instruction at ESPN Golf Schools; the opportunity to host your own private party at ESPN Zone; and the opportunity to drive a race car on a championship track; plus earn sports merchandise and collectibles, as well as traditional travel, dining and retail rewards. The no annual fee card carries risk-based interest rate from 9.99% to 23.99%.