With the final regulations of “Section 326” of the “USA PATRIOT Act” now in effect, and with full compliance required by October 1st, a number of firms have jumped on the bandwagon. Yesterday, Certegy announced the launch of “Patriot Guard” which provides financial institutions of all sizes with an all-inclusive framework for developing and administering a CIP, documentation and recordkeeping requirements, data storage and retrieval. VA-based Vastera also announced yesterday that its “GTM” solutions will help financial companies to monitor, interpret and respond to the requirements of the “Patriot Act.” This morning, Experian announced its offering of customized fraud solutions programs that will assess companies’ vulnerabilities, and help them comply with the new regulations.
Vught-based Hagenuk Smart Card Solutions has delivered more than 1 million “e.dentifier” products to ABN AMRO, The Netherlands. The non-personalized cordless device is a little larger than a bank card and, together with the issued and personalized smart card, authenticates the user to sign transactions. Deliveries to ABN AMRO started in 2001 with the introduction of “Multi-Channel Internet Banking.” ABN says that of the 925,000 retail clients with an Internet banking contract, 88% are actively using “Internet Banking.” Of the commercial clients this percentage is 83%. Over 90% of these clients are multi-channel users. Hagenuk Smart Card Solutions is part of Pijnenburg Beheer N.V.
Vancouver-based LML Payment Systems announced that licensee Global eTelecom will provide MedCom USA with an integrated, complete check solution program to service the health care industry. MedCom USA’s multiple solutions improve processing efficiencies and significantly reduce administrative expenses for healthcare providers, hospitals and insurance payers nationwide. MedCom USA, Inc. a publicly traded company (EMED), provides multiple innovative solutions for electronically processing transactions within the healthcare industry. The Corporation, through its subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp., is a financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including electronic check authorization, electronic check conversion (ECC) and primary and secondary check collection including electronic check re-presentment (RCK) to national, regional and local retailers.
The Finnish Population Register Centre has chosen Baltimore “UniCERT” to issue and manage digital credentials for the newly released version of the “eID” card launched in Finland. Baltimore, in partnership with Fujitsu Invia, enables the government of Finland to offer a range of secure online services to its citizens, allowing them to undertake legally binding transactions using digital signatures in compliance with the “EU Electronic Signatures Directive,” which came into force in Finland in February. A unique digital identity on the “eID” card, enables secure access to online banking and insurance services, educational services, as well as to services provided by regional and public administration offices. The card is also an official travel document for Finnish citizens in 19 European countries. Furthermore, the citizen certificate will be added, along with the EMV, to chip cards issued by banks.
Wincor Nixdorf unveiled a solution to enable retailers to migrate from legacy “IBM 46xx” hardware to Wincor’s “BEETLE” POS system, while retaining their investment in “4690” application software and peripherals. The Wincor middleware provides an emulation of the 4690 OS system services. The migration platform is transparent to the POS application, so that the application is unaware of the device layer, middleware and host operating system. The Wincor-hosted terminal application integrates seamlessly with the existing 4690 controller, responding to controller directives and inquiries as if it were a 4690 POS terminal.
MasterCard International reported that gross dollar volume increased in Europe by 10.6%, to US$66 billion in the first quarter. Card issuance in Europe increased by 11.3% to 88.2 million cards over the same year-ago period. The Asia/Pacific region reported GDV of US$54.2 billion in the first quarter of 2003 and the number of cards issued in the region rose 8.5% to 114.3 million. In Canada, GDV rose 17% to US$8.3 billion for the first three months of this year. MasterCard-branded transactions in Canada remained strong, up 17.1% over the same period in 2002 and MasterCard cards issued up by 18.4%. Latin America reported a strong 29.4% increase in GDV for the first quarter to US$8.1 billion, as the number of cards issued in the region increased 14% over the same period in 2002. In South Asia, Middle East/Africa, GDV grew 16.3% to US$2.3 billion during the first three months of 2003, with transaction growth of 12.6%. Overall, cardholders across the globe used MasterCard-branded cards (excluding Maestro and Cirrus) for about 3.4 billion transactions, generating GDV of US$285.7 billion, an increase of 7.3% over the same period in 2002.
A bill to block Internet gambling was pulled Tuesday after two Republican committee chairmen and several top Democrats indicated they would not support the bill in the U.S. House. However, intense lobbying by the gaming industry yesterday and this morning, could return the bill to a vote as early as today, but more likely next week. The bill includes blocking credit card payments to gambling Web sites which is already in practice by most of the major bank credit card issuers. The bill would also bar wire transfer companies from processing Internet bets involving offshore operations. The bill has run into problems as some lawmakers want strong criminal penalties in the bill, while others oppose an outright ban on online gambling.
VISA International has licensed ACI Worldwide’s “BASE24-es” software to enhance the regional scalability of its global payment processing system capabilities outside the USA. ACI is delivering the “BASE24-es” system in partnership with Deloitte Consulting as the prime system integrator and Sun Microsystems, provider of the hardware and “Solaris” operating system. The agreement enables deployment by mid-2004, in VISA’s EU region.
As the ATM celebrates its 30th anniversary this week, a new consumer study shows that 78% rated the convenience of using an ATM machine for banking transactions as an important part of their everyday life. The research also showed that of those using ATMs, 54% use an ATM machine at least once a week, with 70% withdrawing $20-$100 per visit. The consumer survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by eFunds, also revealed that American ATM/debit cardholders endorse additional ATM machine functionalities including purchasing stamps (50%), cashing checks (48%) and purchasing tickets for bus, lottery, concerts or sporting events (36%). On June 4, 1973 an ATM patent was awarded to Don Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain. Meanwhile, the ATM Industry Association, an international trade body for the industry, is launching a new chapter, ATMIA Canada, at a risk management workshop it is hosting this month in Toronto.
The Federal Reserve Board announced Wednesday it is seeking nominations for three-year appointments to its Consumer Advisory Council and that the Council will June 26th to discuss, among other items, the unsolicited issuance of activated debit and credit cards to current cardholders. The group meets in Washington, D.C., three times a year. Nine new members will be appointed to serve three-year terms beginning in January 2004.
Philadelphia-based ICG Commerce has named Christopher Vavricka, formerly VP/President of Operations for Interlink/Executive Director of Interlink/Debit Cards for VISA and former EVP of Global Business Development and Technology at Citicorp Diners Club, as its new COO. Mr. Vavricka has extensive operational experience, utilizing information and technology to create customer value and building large-scale transaction processing and payment systems. He has held senior positions for global Fortune 500 companies as well as entrepreneurial ventures in both the U.S. and Europe.
While the number of VISA debit card accounts rose 13.4% in the first quarter to 100.9 million accounts, the number of VISA credit card accounts continues to shrink, in the USA. At the end of 1Q/03, VISA had 200.9 million domestic credit card accounts, a 2.8% decline over the 206.6 million it had one year ago. In terms of cards, VISA’s total credit cards in-force is up 1.5%, from 259.3 million for 1Q/02 to 263.1 million at the end of the first quarter of this year. In the debit card segment the number of cards rose 11.2% to 132.6 million. During the first quarter of this year, off-line debit cards made up 41% of VISA’s total volume of $245.4 billion. For complete details on VISA’s 1Q/03 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).