Fiserv Credit Processing Services’ “PLUS System” has been selected by OR-based Aequitas Capital Management enhance its CarePayment program. CarePayment is designed to help Aequitas’ hospital clients improve net revenue collections by simplifying the growing out of pocket expenses for their patients. Through its CarePayment card, Aequitas is partnering with hospitals nationwide to offer a custom-branded finance program that provides patients the option of paying their medical bills over extended terms with no interest. Aequitas Capital Management is an alternative investment firm providing integrated corporate advisory and commercial finance products and services and has structured and invested more than $1.5 billion in customized financial transactions to the middle market, energy and healthcare sectors. Fiserv provides information management systems and services to the financial and insurance industries. Fiserv reported more than $4.5 billion in total revenue for 2006.
Cellular South and Kyocera Wireless have launched a multi-city consumer trial for its new “Wireless Wallet” technology starting mid-May 2007 in Memphis. The Wireless Wallet trial allows participants the opportunity to use the technology at multiple retail locations in the multiple trial cities. Participants will be equipped with a Wireless Wallet-enabled Kyocera cell phone – giving them a new, high-tech kind of purchasing power. The phone acts as a digital credit card that allows Cellular South customers to make payments and purchases by tapping it against a NFC-enabled wireless reader. The company plans to complete the trial by August 2007, with an anticipated widespread consumer roll-out of “Wireless Wallet” in Q4 2007. Cellular South is the largest privately held wireless provider in the U.S. Kyocera Wireless is a supplier of CDMA wireless devices and accessories for customers worldwide. In 2006, Kyocera Corporation’s consolidated net sales totaled approximately US$10 billion.
C-MAC Industries yesterday announced the release of a test of a new portable e-cash device. Residents of Sherbrooke, Quebec will soon test a new smart card device designed and manufactured by C-MAC Industries. The new ‘C-MAC Electronic Wallet’ will allow Royal Bank clients to transfer electronic cash from person to person. Some of the features of the wallet include a calculator and a log of the cardholder’s last 10 e-cash transactions as well as being able to view the current balance on the card. New, capabilities, such as Internet loading or other smart card applications, are also expected to be added to the wallet in the future.
The Smart Card Forum, yesterday announced that eight new corporate and government members have joined the ranks of the organization as Auditing Members. The new members include: Authentic8; Baltimore Inc.; Cylink Corp.; First Consulting Group; MobiNetix Systems; Mondex Canada; National Security Agency; and TeleCommunication Systems. This membership category provides privileged access to the Smart Card Forum Consumer Research, other Forum sponsored research and documents, along with attendance at the Technical Working Group sessions, Educational Institute programs, and the Annual Meeting. S CF currently has about 200 members.
The Smart Card Forum , a multi-industry organization working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of smart card technology, today announced that it has created a new membership category to serve the education sector.
This mirrors the fact that colleges and universities are enjoying a great deal of success in the deployment of smart cards and systems on campuses across the continent.
“College and university campuses have proven very successful environments for community-wide adoption of smart card technology, so the Forum is expanding its membership spectrum to both reflect and support that growth,” says SCF President and CEO Donna Farmer. “Now that educational institutions have a formal seat at our table, we can learn from their successful marketplace experience and they can benefit from access to all the know-how and networks our current members offer them.”
There is a very unique dynamic within the education arena that is conducive to rapid rollouts of smart cards to large numbers of people. Campuses are concentrated and “closed” communities that allow the multi-application possibilities and benefits of smart cards to be realized by large numbers of people. From the library to the laundry room to the campus bookstore, smart cards make sense for students. They also make sense for local merchants, whose businesses profit from proximity to students able to use a new form of payment that they are able to accept.
The Forum also announced that the University of Illinois has joined its ranks as an Education Member. While the university*s card program is currently magnetic stripe and bar code, the school is planning a move to smart cards to provide more applications and greater security.
“We look forward to the tremendous benefit we’ll receive from the market-driven data and expert information to which we will have direct access as a member of the Smart Card Forum,” says Gary Brinkley, technical director with the University of Illinois. “The combined knowledge and experience of the Forum*s members will help us make better decisions and design systems that will work together. The campus environment is ripe for smart cards, and the addition of a new membership category to serve the unique needs of organizations like ours will help speed the deployment of smart cards on campus.”
The University of Michigan, which runs a campus smart card program nearly 100,000 cards-strong, has been a member of the Forum since early last year. U of M adopted the *Mcard* in 1995. It serves as a photo ID, access/entry card, and ATM, debit, calling, library and entree card. In addition to that, many off-campus Ann Arbor merchants accept the card for payment.
“Some of our corporate members are now involved in more than 25 campus card programs in the U.S. and Canada,” says Farmer. “This kind of cross-sector cooperation is what the Forum is all about — and these partnerships are resulting in a fast-increasing number of successful implementations. What we have called a ‘rising tide’ of acceptance in other contexts is now becoming a tidal wave on many campuses. That’s why this is the right time for universities and colleges to join the Forum.”
The Forum is inviting universities and colleges to join its growing ranks. To qualify, the institution must be accredited and either run a smart card program now or express clear interest in exploring the possibility of smart card deployment in the future.
The Forum is currently holding its latest Educational Institute and Work Group Meetings in Salt Lake City. SCF Work Groups — including education, health care, interoperability, legal and public policy, multi-application, network applications, retail, technology, telephony, transportation, and travel and entertainment — serve the needs of many key sectors and reflect the diversity of both the Forum’s membership and the new applications being developed and implemented by them.
In Salt Lake City, the Joint Work Group Meetings will address the issue of secure access in the college campus environment during one of its many information sessions.
In addition to the new Education category, the Forum’s membership types include: Principal, Auditing and Government.
The Smart Card Forum ([www.smartcardforum.org]) is a non-profit, multi-industry organization of 200 members working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multiple application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors.
American Express awarded $1 million to thirteen performing arts organizations yesterday. The ‘American Express Performing Arts Fund’ was established last year to support organizations in markets which are important to American Express. Yesterday’s announcement represented the first round of funding with RFPs for the second round being released in April. Funding competition is by- invitation-only. Among yesterday’s recipients $200,000 to the New York Philharmonic, $100,000 to the Chicago Symphony and $100,000 to the San Francisco Ballet.
The first smart card system to be implemented in a public library in the U.S. will go on line this month with the opening of a new library facility in Hickory, NC. In addition to using the smart card system to check out library materials, the card can be used for cashless transactions for copies, fees and printing costs from the library’s Internet centers. The Diebold reloadable smart card system utilizes a ‘Diebold Value Terminal’. The cards include a photo of the patron and barcodes used for the circulation system. Community leaders say they are considering expanding the system to offer public transit and utility payments.
The largest full scale launch of Mondex took place this week in Hong Kong. HongkongBank and Hang Seng Bank Limited announced that all customers are now eligible for Mondex cards. Over 5,000 Hong Kong merchants have agreed to accept the card. The initial launch of the card was limited to two retail sites in Hong Kong nevertheless more than 40,000 cards were issued. Meanwhile Mondex says its Guelph, Ontario program has grown to more than 10,000 cardholders.
International Verifact Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada announced today that they will install Canada’s first complete electronic payment solution for debit, credit and Mondex smart cards in Guelph, Ontario.
Guelph was the first city in North America to be chosen for a community-wide launch of the Mondex system. The launch has been under way since February 1997, and nearly 600 merchant outlets are participating.
The payment solution to be installed in Guelph is an innovative approach to handling Mondex and traditional card payments while preserving the hardware and software base that Royal Bank merchants have invested in. A new IVI PIN (personal identification number) Pad will be attached to Royal Bank terminals to accept the Mondex smart card as well as to allow PIN entry for debit transactions.
“Consumers will either insert their Mondex card into the hand-held `PIN Pad’ to complete a smart card transaction or enter their PIN to complete a debit transaction,” said Frank Moore, Vice President, Merchant and Point of Sale Service, Royal Bank. “We believe this will increase user acceptance of the new solution because consumers do not have to adapt to an unfamiliar process.”
IVI is using a newly-developed PIN Pad that interfaces with Royal Bank’s existing hardware. The PIN Pad was developed jointly by IVI and their strategic partner, Ingenico S.A. of Paris, France.
“When you bundle the unique designs and small card capabilities of Ingenico with IVI’s PIN security and Canadian point-of-sale software expertise, as well as with Royal Bank’s support and knowledge of Mondex payment technology, you come up with a winning combination for advanced card technologies and traditional POS solutions,” said L. Barry Thomson, IVI’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Royal Bank is a member of Royal Bank Financial Group, one of North America’s largest financial institutions and Canada’s leading provider of traditional banking services, investment banking, investment management, and securities custody.
IVI is engaged in the design, development and sale of electronic payment solutions for retailers, financial institutions, governments and other businesses. IVI’s hardware and software products include point-of-sale debit/credit/EFT/EBT terminals, check readers, smart card readers, POS printers, and secure PIN entry devices. Additional company information is available on the IVI website at [www.ivinet.com.]