CT-based Open Solutions has acquired IN-based re:Member Data Services for $20 million in cash. RDS will become part of Open Solutions’ Core Systems Group and continue to be located and run operations from Indianapolis. Current RDS Chairman and CEO David Becker, who will be leaving RDS to pursue other interests, will be assisting with the transition and will remain an RDS client in his capacity as Chairman and CEO of First Internet Bank of Indiana. RDS is a core data processor for financial institutions. Open Solutions Inc. offers a fully featured strategic product platform that integrates core data processing applications, built on a single centralized Oracle(R) relational database, with Internet banking, cash management, CRM/business intelligence, financial accounting tools, Check 21, imaging, interactive voice response and loan origination solutions.
AccesRail, a general sales agent for rail carriers based in Quebec is a new Universal Air Travel Plan Merchant, now accepting UATP as a form of payment for rail fare. AccesRail settles all UATP transactions through UATP Settlement Services. USS is UATP’s weekly settlement system also used by travel agencies and non-clearing house carriers to process UATP transactions. AccesRail was created to provide railways with an interface to GDS companies using standard airline systems. Its objective is to allow rail carriers to distribute their product using the global GDS and BSP systems originally created for the airline industry. UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.
Canada’s AccesRail, a general sales agent for rail carriers based in Quebec, has begun accepting UATP as a form of payment for rail fare. AccesRail enables UATP account holders to have a convenient means of payment for rail tickets. The UATP program has increased in Europe after the launch of the SAS Corporate Card and the introduction of UATP electronic billing in important European markets. UATP is a worldwide travel payment network. 15 member airlines issue UATP accounts and over 200 airlines accept UATP as a form of payment for corporate business travel.
Universal Air Travel Plan has expanded its Merchant base by adding TravelCorp and Denim Airways. UATP is achieving steady growth in recruiting travel agencies into the USS program because it delivers a low-cost settlement solution and adds value to the agency s relationship with corporate customers, Ralph Kaiser, UATP s president and chairman, said. TravelCorp, is a medium-sized agency based in New Orleans that specializes in personalized customer service. UATP is the global corporate travel payment network. UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.
Russian Standard Bank is set to launch the first “MasterCard M/Chip 4(1)” smart credit/debit cards. Gemplus International delivered the new “GemShare” smart cards to RSB, in association with long term partner IVK Systems (the personalization solution) and TietoEnator (the host system.) The new cards will handle point of sale debit or credit, as well as pre-authorized debit payments, which enable secure off-line debit transactions. “M/Chip 4” is the most recent specification for debit and credit applications for smart cards set by MasterCard. This new version contains a range of features designed to tackle many of the industry’s most pressing needs and takes full advantage of the benefits brought by EMV 2000. Russian Standard Bank has issued more than 460,000 credit cards. Charge volume was 114 million rubles last versus 35 million in the previous year. RSB focuses on Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Kazan, Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Samara, Cheljabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Barnaul, Ufa, Perm and Nizhni Novgorod.
MS-based Triton announced that its “Encrypting PIN Pads” (EPP) on the Triton RL5000 and FT5000 ATM have been certified as being compliant with new VISA security requirements. Visa mandates that all ATM EPPs be Visa tested and certified by July 1, 2004. Triton’s new EPP is the latest in a series of enhanced ATM security features, which include Triple DES encryption capabilities, now standard on all Triton ATMs. Triton is the largest provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America and has more than 100,000 installations in over 17 countries worldwide.
Australia and Detroit-based Catuity yesterday confirmed it will begin to either sell or exclusively license its patented off-line smart card loyalty technology as the company focuses solely on the growing market for online loyalty and other retail POS software and service solutions. The developer of loyalty software for retailers and their partners was significantly affected by Target’s recent decision to phase-out its smart card loyalty feature on its VISA program. Despite the setback, Catuity expects to achieve profitability by 2006 or sooner, if a merger occurs. Catuity plans to leverage its experience in developing POS-focused applications to tap into existing budgets of retailers for loyalty and other applications which are managed from the point of sale. For the first quarter, the company reported revenue of $479,000, compared to first quarter revenue in 2003 of $1,475,000. The Company posted a net loss of $604,000 for the first quarter, compared to a profit of $305,000 for 1Q/03. For complete details on Catuity’s 1Q/04 performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).
The Universal Air Travel Plan reports that total charge volume for 2003 exceeded $7 billion, a 10% gain over 2002 volume, and that charge volume for March 2004 surpassed all forecasts and exceeded 10 year historic volume highs usually set during peak travel booking times in the fourth quarter. UATP is beginning to see the same type of numbers it was posting prior to 11 September 2001, Ralph Kaiser, UATP s president and chairman said. Since taking over as president and chairman of UATP in October 2003, Kaiser has reduced expenses and pushed strategic investment initiatives to reverse UATP’s downward trend during the airline industry down cycle. UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.
San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems has landed Nicole Carroll, former marketing director for the Oyster Card, as VP of Card Services. Carroll will have global responsibility for identifying and evaluating new smart card applications that can evolve from Cubic’s core transportation-related customer base including market analysis, proposal development, and participation in industry meetings and conferences through speaking opportunities and committee memberships. Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. is the world’s leading turnkey solution provider of automated fare collection systems for public transport, including bus, bus rapid transit, light rail, commuter rail, heavy rail, ferry and parking.
Elan Financial Services has teamed with Merchants Bank and Trust of West Harrison, Indiana to provide electronic services to its customers, including access to the “Fastbank” ATM network with its surcharge-free option. They currently partner with Elan to issue their credit card program, and will now utilize Elan to process their ATM and debit card programs, as well as provide their customers with access to Fastbank. Elan Financial Services, as part of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), supports more than 7,000 ATMs, 15 million ATM/POS cards, and 2 million credit cardholders with a complete range of products and services including credit card issuing, ATM, debit card, and merchant processing. Merchants Bank and Trust is a full-service financial institution with four branches in Dearborn County, Indiana and Western Hamilton County, Ohio.
Portland, OR-based ShoreBank Pacific has launched the “Salmon Nation VISA” card. The new card will support the “Salmon Nation” initiative of Portland-based Ecotrust, a non-profit organization promoting the interdependency of regional economic and ecological systems. Launched last fall, Salmon Nation is raising awareness of issues and behavioral choices that contribute to enhancing the health of regional watersheds and the economies of the people that live in them. More than 3,500 people have declared their “Salmon Nation” citizenship to date. The bank will contribute 50% of the income it generates from the card to Ecotrust’s efforts to build and promote “Salmon Nation.”
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has entered into a partnership to issue the first American Express-branded credit cards in the country. ICBC, which already has 100 million cards-in-force including the “Peony” card, expects to issue the new card by the end of this year, and possibly 4 million AmEx cards within the next ten years. The AmEx/ICBC card will be denominated in both renminbi and U.S. Dollars. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval. In January, Citibank and HSBC Holdings were approved to issue local-currency denominated credit cards in China. HSBC will issue cards through Bank of Shanghai, while Citibank will work through Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Currently, there are 25 million credit cardholders, and virtually all of them are secured credit cards. American Express has now established card-issuing partnerships in 90 countries around the world. It recently signed a card-issuing agreement with MBNA, its first U.S. bank partner in the United States.