VISA USA unveiled the Web-based “VISA Information Management” service to enable financial institutions to offer sophisticated Web-service technology that makes it easier for their business customers to integrate VISA reporting tools into existing organizational processes and improve their procurement and payment procedures. The service, which can be used either on its own or in conjunction with custom developed solutions from Visa’s leading financial institutions, helps businesses and government agencies achieve greater efficiency and lower their administrative overheads. Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and largest consumer payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and merchant customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives.
Thales e-Transactions’ request for a permanent injunction against MARTA in regard to the bidding for a new smart card-based fare collection system was denied yesterday. The decision paves the way for Cubic Transportation Systems to proceed on the $72.5 million contract to replace MARTA’s existing magnetic ticketing and token-based system with smart card ticketing technology. Cubic says the contract could be worth as much as $104 million if all options are exercised. Thales claimed MARTA did not follow proper procedures in the contract award and was looking to re-bid the contract. Thales’ legal challenge delayed the start of the contract by four months.
During the last holiday shopping week for 2003, the overall average response time for completing an online retail transaction was 13.86 seconds, while the success rate for completing a transaction was 97%. Keynote Systems says its tracking shows the best performing sites on the index the Week of December 22nd had average response times of 7.26 and 8.49 seconds, and success rates of 99.73% and 99.47%. The worst performing sites on the index had average response times of 24.71 and 24.14 seconds, and success rates of 93.43% and 94.54%. A transaction is defined as a Web site’s ability to allow a consumer to click through a number of pages and successfully make a purchase. Keynote says the low point for response time during the 2003 online holiday shopping season occurred the week of December 8th when the average response time was 15.03 seconds. The low point for success rate occurred the week of December 1 when the average success rate for completing a transaction was 93.68%.
Gelco Expense Management has inked a deal with BMO ePurchasing Solutions to integrate its “ExpenseLink” suite of services with BMO’s MasterCard corporate card program. By capturing essential expense data through BMO’s corporate card program and automatically merging it with Gelco’s ExpenseLink suite of services, clients will have total visibility and control of their company’s entire travel and entertainment spend. BMO ePurchasing Solutions (http://www.bmoeps.com) is a dedicated line of business within BMO Financial Group and is a leading North American MasterCard commercial card provider. Gelco Expense Management, a division of Gelco Information Network, is the largest and most experienced provider of expense management and reimbursement programs.
Electronic Clearing House reported yesterday that revenue for the quarter ending September 30th was up more than 28% to $11 million. The processor also reported net income of $518,000 for the quarter, compared to a net loss one-year ago. Bankcard processing and transaction revenue increased 21% to $8.5 million. The increase was primarily due to its merchants’ strong organic growth in bankcard processing volume. Check-related revenues increased 62% to $2.5 million, primarily due to strong growth in the ACH and check conversion services and the revenue generated from the “VISA POS” program. ECHO says a national retail merchant fully implemented the new VISA program in June. ECHO also noted that gross margins from processing and transaction services jumped to 38% in the quarter from 28% in the year-ago quarter. For complete details on ECHO’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Integrated debit at the point of sale in Canada has become a reality. Shift4 Corporation has added the processing of Canadian debit PIN pad transactions into its “$$$ ON THE NET” Web-based e-payment gateway solution. Shift4, in conjunction with its partner Retail Technologies International, has already installed its new Canadian PIN pad debit solution in some Canadian retail outlets, including Niagara Parks Commission and Build-A-Bear Workshop. “$$$ ON THE NET” also includes a comprehensive accounting application that provides the ability to report, review and correct transactions before settlement, as well
as archive and retrieve them to assist with charge back requests.
Concord EFS reported this week that its alliance with Money Network has generated more than 100 new payroll card clients in the past 12 months and 25 in the past 60 days. New clients include major U.S. retailers and employers including Auto Zone, Best Buy, Kmart, Payless Shoe Source, American Airlines, and six of the nation’s largest temporary staffing firms, representing nearly 400,000 cards. All Money Network payroll programs currently issue PIN-secured debit cards including the STAR network. Concord and Money Network established a strategic alliance in 2001.
Sainsbury’s supermarket stores has inked an agreement to use Euronet Worldwide’s electronic top-up services. Euronet’s “e-pay” service enables consumers to purchase additional prepaid minutes for their mobile phone accounts at participating retailers. When the Sainsbury’s rollout is completed, “e-pay” will add more than 10,500 points of sale across 750 locations, including 220 petrol stations, to its retail network for top-up services. “e-pay” now provides this service to all five major UK retailers. “e-pay” currently supports top-up purchases for mobile service providers at more than 73,000 POS terminals in approximately 27,000 retail locations.
Roxio’s new Napster prepaid music card has picked up another major distribution channel putting it well on its way to hit 20,000 locations by year’s end. TX-based RadioShack will now distribute the “Napster Music Card” in its 7,000 outlets nationwide. At its launch in late October, Roxio has signed up Best Buy, CompUSA, Kroger, Safeway, RiteAid, ExxonMobil, Duane Reade, Diamond Shamrock and Speedway/SuperAmerica as distributors. The card was developed in partnership with InComm and offers 15 downloads for $14.85. A scratch-off surface conceals a PIN that recipients use to activate the credits for permanent downloads from the Napster service. The Company also announced yesterday it is offering a free trial of its premium service and has launched the “Napster Burnpak” which allows music fans to produce their own CDs, complete with custom labels, and add music to their photos and videos. Napster offers access to the largest catalog of online music with more than 500,000 tracks spanning all genres and artists. (CF Library 10/27/03)
Electronic recharge solutions provider Ezipin has entered the Canadian market using Keycorp “K23” terminals to deliver prepaid communications products at the POS. Ezipin retail customers around Australia have installed approximately 3,400 Keycorp “K23” terminals. Ezipin has launched its service in Canada and has licensed its IP and business processes for the electronic distribution service in China. In Canada, Ezipin has initially ordered 500 “K23” terminals to enable retailers to sell prepaid mobile phone top-ups, long distance telephone PINs and other prepaid services across the counter. Ezipin customers can use the “K23” as a dedicated recharge terminal or combined with a debit/credit application for electronic payments, including cash back, surcharging and tipping.
Atlanta-based PRE Solutions has added “Moviso Prepaid Ringtone Cards” to its product portfolio. Different ringtones are available in the following categories: Hip Hop/R&B, Rock, Movie & TV, Pop and Alternative music. Each Moviso ringtone card includes a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that can be used to download popular songs to a phone over the Web or WAP interface or a 1-800 number. PRE Solutions will be offering Moviso prepaid ringtone cards for $4.99, which includes two polyphonic or three monophonic ringtones. Moviso PINs are valid for 180 days. PRE Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of prepaid transaction processing solutions designed to offer retailers powerful revenue opportunities in the prepaid products and services category.
Sao Paulo Transporte has selected Gemplus’ “GemEasy8000” cards for the city’s new contactless ticketing system. Gemplus BankNote will initially deploy 2.5 million such cards in Sao Paulo, Brazil to students, pensioners and employees that receive corporate-sponsored travel passes. Students and pensioners currently travel free under government regulations, and Brazilian companies are also legally obliged to subsidize 100% of employees’ public transport costs. Approximately 16,000 vehicles in Sao Paulo are being equipped with smart card readers that will enable faster and more efficient fare checking. The public bus transportation system in Sao Paulo is one of the world’s busiest networks, serving over five million commuters every day. The system will go live in 2004.