MasterCard to Launch BusinessCard Sweepstakes

MasterCard plans to launch its new “Get Wired” sweepstakes in the
United Kingdom, Netherlands and Canada. The sweepstakes launched this
week in the USA and is for business cardholders. The
sweepstakes is one component of a larger global “Get Wired” campaign
that will run into 2006. To support the U.S. “Get Wired” campaign,
MasterCard plans to roll-out new broadcast, print and online “priceless”
advertising that highlights the difference technology can make for small
businesses. A new television commercial titled “Flex” launches this week
and will be featured during television broadcasts of this year’s World
Series. The sweepstakes provides all “MasterCard BusinessCard” and
“Debit MasterCard BusinessCard” cardholders with a chance to win one of
three $50,000 technology makeovers for their small business, including a
technology expert to help put it all together. Business cardholders will
automatically be entered into the sweepstakes with each card transaction
between September 1st and November 30th.

Digipass Receives MC Chip Authentication Approval

VASCO Data Security International has announced that its “Digipass”
unconnected secure smart card readers has been EMV-CAP 2004 certified by
MasterCard. “Digipass” secure smart card readers used in conjunction
with an EMV smart card allow customers to use the same EMV card and PIN
at ATMs, pay for purchases and perform secure online transactions. VASCO
provides user authentication products for over 390 international
financial institutions and approximately 1,700 corporations and
governments worldwide. VASCO has sold over 6 million
smart card readers worldwide.

PayPal Reprices Fees for Micropayments

PayPal announced new micropayments processing fees for payments less than $2. The new fees will enable merchants to process payments at a rate of 5% plus 5 cents per transaction. PayPal’s current standard, volume-based transaction fees, ranges from 1.9% to 2.9%, plus 30 cents per transaction. PayPal says that because of the reduced fixed fee, merchants can save 40% to 60% when processing low-cost payments, compared to the industry’s current payment processing rates of approximately 2% plus 20 to 30 cents per transaction. At the end of the second quarter, PayPal had 78.9 million accounts and handled 113.2 million payments during the quarter. (CF Library 7/22/05)

MasterCard Delays Foreign Conversion Fees

MasterCard International has postponed plans to levy fees on all foreign transactions. MasterCard had planned, effective October 1st, to charge a fee of 0.8% for all cross-border transactions and an additional 0.2% whenever a merchant’s foreign currency needed to be converted into dollars. VISA previously suspended its 1% foreign transaction fee which also applied to all transactions including dynamic currency conversion transactions. MasterCard says the new fees will now go into effect on April 7th. Some issuers, such as MBNA, levy a 3% conversion fee on all foreign transactions including transactions converted to U.S. dollars at the point of sale.

Axalto Palmera Earns EMV Certification in China

Axalto’s “Palmera” product has achieved the first EMV certification issued in China. Based on the debit/ credit specification by People’s Bank of China, this certification is awarded by the China Banking Card Test Center. It is also fully compliant to the international EMV2000 standard. With this certification, Axalto “Palmera” has also become the world’s first product that supports VISA, MasterCard, JCB and the latest China EMV applications all on a single card.

Standard Bank Expands Experian-Scorex Deal

Standard Bank of South Africa is implementing “Strategy Management Generation 3” from Experian-Scorex. Standard Bank has been working in partnership with Experian-Scorex for more than 10 years. It was one of the first users of Experian’s credit bureau in South Africa and an early adopter of credit scoring and customer-level decisioning.
“Strategy Management Generation 3” will allow the bank to maximize the power of this data and further enhance decisioning for its customer base, enabling both reactive and proactive customer management.

Vegas Takes Parking to the Next Gen

The City of Las Vegas has deployed pay by cell phone service for parking using Reino Enforcement Technology and payments processed by Peppercoin. The city has replaced old parking meters with 15 new meters, covering 150 parking spots, in the city’s downtown business district. The service has free registration and can helps drivers avoid parking tickets by sending a reminder SMS text message to a subscriber’s phone approximately 10 minutes before their meter time expires. Drivers can then purchase more time by making a cell phone call. Reino is the supplier of parking solutions. Peppercoin provides small payment products.

PayPro Names a Chief Executive Officer

Texas-based PayPro has named Jack Brown, currently serving as Secretary of PayPro and Chairman/CEO of ChexCard, as the new CEO. Mr. Brown has been aggressively pursuing loan commitments for ChexCard to finance the Company’s long-term growth strategies. He is currently engaged in direct discussions with several Central and South American financial institutions that have shown significant interest in providing financing packages for ChexCard. PayPro stored value debit cards are sold under the brand names CHEXCARD and MYBANKCARD to businesses, governmental agencies and individuals.

OPC Signs Cobb County, Georgia

Official Payments has signed an agreement with the Cobb County, Georgia Tax Commissioner’s Office to provide electronic tax payment processing services. Official Payments charges citizens a convenience fee for the service, however, taxpayers using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards. Tier is a leading provider of transaction processing and packaged software and systems integration services for public sector clients.

Encore Buys a Bankruptcy Services Firm

San Diego-based consumer charge-off management specialist, Encore Capital Group announced the acquisition of Ascension Capital Group, a provider of bankruptcy services to the finance industry. The deal is comprised of $17.8 million in cash, $4.0 million in common stock and assumption of approximately $450,000 in debt. Last year, Ascension generated revenue of $12.3 million and is expected to hit $14.2 million this year. Ascension’s services include negotiating consumer bankruptcy plans; monitoring and managing the consumer’s compliance with bankruptcy plans; and recommending courses of action to clients when there is a deviation from a bankruptcy plan. Erich Ramsey, Ascension Capital Group’s founder and CEO, and other senior managers have signed employment agreements with Encore. Encore posted $53.8 million in second quarter revenues, a 23% increase over 2Q/04, according to CardData.

U.S. ATM Annual Operating Costs to Rise

A new study estimates that U.S. financial institutions will spend over $3.3 billion this year in total operational costs (including asset depreciation) for their on-premise and off-premise ATM fleets. Montreal-based Celent projects the figure will reach $3.9 billion by 2008. In its report, “ATM: Strategies for Lowering Total Cost of Ownership,” Celent examines two frameworks that it believes to be key trends in ATM operations. The first is a trend of banks outsourcing significant portions of their ATM operations-driven by a desire for cost savings, cost certainty, and service consistency. The second framework reviewed is a trend toward branding of third-party ATMs by financial institutions.