Cubic Expands the TAP Smart Card Fare System

Cubic Transportation Systems will provide central computer and clearinghouse integration for the Universal Fare System, a smart card-based fare collection system to connect transportation systems across Los Angeles County. Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. is a full-service systems integrator of automated fare collection systems and has delivered over 400 projects in 40 major markets worldwide.

VISA Says PULSE Logo is Okay on its Cards

VISA has decided to permit its members to continue using the PULSE EFT debit network. The network was acquired by Discover earlier this year. MasterCard is still reviewing its policy in regard to the use of the PULSE logo on its cards. MasterCard said it will determine whether the new “Discover/PULSE” organization may continue as a principal debit licensee and as a sponsor of financial institutions into “Debit MasterCard,” “Maestro,” and “Cirrus” programs. MasterCard will also examine whether the new entity’s network logo may continue to reside on the “Debit MasterCard” card. In November, Discover agreed to acquire the PULSE for $311 million. The merger joins “PULSE” and its 4,100 member banks, credit unions and savings institutions with the “Discover Network” and its 4 million merchant and cash access locations. (CF Library 11/15/04; 1/13/05; 1/20/05)

U.S. Bank Launches Affinity Softball VISA Cards

The Amateur Softball Association of America has partnered with U.S. Bank to create an affinity credit card program designed to support the ASA and the sport of softball. Supporters can access a variety of cards, which include a rewards program with points that can be redeemed for gift certificates, merchandise, cash, travel and college rewards. The Amateur Softball Association was founded in 1933. U.S. Bancorp is the 6th largest financial holding company in the United States with assets of $195 billion.

SCA Releases Paper on Mobile Phone POS Payments

A new report from the Smart Card Alliance reveals that market forces and technical advances is driving increased interest in using mobile phones for payment at point-of-sale. The report details mobile payment implementations that have been deployed worldwide and the opportunities and challenges for implementing mobile payment in the U.S. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology.

First Data Q1 Profit Slides 23%; Revenues Up 10%

First Data reported this morning that first quarter net income nose-dived by 23% due to the cost associated with the merger of Concord EFS. However, overall 1Q/05 revenues increased 10% to $2.480 billion, compared to one-year ago. Payment Services operating profits fell 4% to $314 million during the first quarter on revenues that grew 7% to $1025 million. Revenue for the Merchant Services segment was up 26% to $935 million with operating profit of $185 million, a 20% gain over the year ago quarter. Card Issuing Services’ revenue was $603 million and operating profit was $109 million, an 8% and 11% gain, respectively. As of March 31st, accounts on file were 409 million domestic and 31 million international. Of the 441 million card accounts on file, 112 million were bank card accounts, 237 million were retail accounts and 92 million were debit accounts. For complete details on FDC’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

FDC NET INCOME
4Q/03: $401.6 million
1Q/04: $483.5 million
2Q/04: $466.0 million
3Q/04: $460.6 million
4Q/04: $465.1 million
1Q/05: $374.5 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Another Breach Surfaces at Polo Ralph Lauren

HSBC, f/k/a Household International, has informed more than 180,000 cardholders that made purchases at Polo Ralph Lauren that their card information may have been compromised. HSBC has more than six million General Motors MasterCards in circulation, the most popular co-branded general purpose credit card in the USA. VISA and MasterCard indicated they are aware of the issue and are working with authorities. The news comes on the heels of other recent security breaches at ChoicePoint, LexisNexis, DSW Shoe Warehouse, and PayMaxx. Yesterday, FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras told the Senate Judiciary Committee that despite the fact that data brokers may provide a valuable service both to business and government entities, there are concerns about the aggregation of sensitive consumer information and whether this information is protected adequately from misuse and unauthorized disclosure.

AmEx Hosts the China Business Travel Forum

The Shanghai International Conference Management Organization has teamed with American Express to produce the “China Business Travel Forum.” It is the first large-scale business travel event in China to
receive full support from the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administrative
Commission. The two-day Forum will focus on creating a business-to-business environment for exhibitors and delegates to learn
about and understand new products, share experiences in business travel
and entertainment management, both in China and around the world,
as well as to explore and engage in partnership opportunities.
The Forum is expected to draw more than 700 participants
representing companies from around the world who have an interest in
corporate travel management in China.

Axalto Partners with Al Kharafi for New Plant

Axalto has teamed with Al Kharafi Group of Kuwait to build a smart card plant in Cairo by 2005. Under the deal, Axalto will contribute its know-how in smart card technology and manufacturing
process to enable MAK to manufacture the cards and run the plant in
compliance with the highest quality standards. Al Kharafi manufacturing areas cover a diverse range of products from pre-fabricated homes to brakes on mobility and plastic products. Axalto has 4,500 employees from 70 nationalities and serves customers in more than 100 countries.

ACI Supports Interac Chip Card Migration

ACI Canada announced an aggressive plan to offer shared services using chip cards with a target of early 2007 for the first chip transaction. They have worked closely with Interac on developing EMV debit specifications and achieving full support of the specifications within ACI’s core “BASE24” solutions. Interac recently decided to
have a Canadian chip card infrastructure in place within two years.
ACI provides application software and technical consultancy based on its
extensive experience with EMV solutions around the world. The range of
ACI’s EMV-enabled software supports transactions initiated at multiple
delivery channels, from ATMs and point-of-sale devices to wireless
telephones and PCs connected to the Internet.