Asia Payment YTD Volume Tops $35MM

Asia Payment Systems reported that the company’s card-processing
systems processed more than 150,000 transactions in its first six months
of operations. Gross dollar volume exceeded $35 million in the same
period. Asia Pay is developing a credit card processing network that
provides clearing services to merchants, oil companies, and financial
institutions in China, Japan, and in related markets elsewhere in Asia.
The Company has offices in: New York City; Seattle, Washington; Beijing
and Shenzhen in China and Hong Kong.

Consumers’ Spare Cash Goes to Debt Repayment

A new survey has found that 28% of U.S. consumers say that once they have covered their essential living expenses they have no money left over. The ACNielsen survey found that U.S. figure to be higher than any other country. Of U.S. consumers who do have spare cash, 37% said their first priority for that money continues to be debt repayment. One-year ago the figure was 33%. ACNielsen also found that when it comes to spending the only area to increase was “Home improvements, decorating.” Areas such as entertainment, clothing and new technology declined. ACNielsen says Americans’ biggest concern over the next six months is the economy, far out-distancing concerns over terrorism or war.

NAG and EWA Team to Create New Data Mining

Numerical Algorithms Group and EWA Systems have teamed to blend NAG’s strength in procedural language-based mathematical and statistical computing with EWA’s abilities in object-oriented language-based data mining algorithms for the benefit of financial institutions. NAG provides cross-platform mathematical, statistical and data mining components and tools for developers as well as 3D visualization application development environments. EWA Systems offers data mining and advanced analytical products and services to a wide array of enterprises, including finance and banking, e-commerce, semiconductor, manufacturing, and government.

Catuity Receives a European EMV Patent

The European Patent Office has granted Catuity a patent covering the
use of its EMV-compatible loyalty solution at the point of sale and over
the Internet to a wide range of popular devices. It is the first patent
grant for the company in Europe. Catuity may now seek registration of
the patent in up to 19 specific European countries that comply with the
EPO decisions. The technology covered by the new patent expands on the
company’s existing intellectual property portfolio by adding, optimizing
and refining the methods used to manage loyalty data stored on a smart
card. By increasing the efficiency of data storage, more loyalty programs
can be added to the chip, further enhancing the appeal of smart cards to
retailers, issuers and consumers. Importantly, the patents cover the use
of loyalty on widely used devices including PCs, PDAs or handheld
computers, mobile phones and electronic kiosks.
The grant by the European Patent Office brings to 11 the total
number of EMV-compliant patents pending or granted to Catuity in markets
around the world.

JALCARD Deploys MicroStrategy Platform

JALCARD has deployed the MicroStrategy “Business Intelligence Platform” to enhance service to its approximately 1.35 million
customers. JALCARD will use MicroStrategy for customer analysis applications such as customer segmentation and customer behavior and purchase analysis, which will enable JALCARD to enhance current services and offer targeted new services to customers. In addition to offering mileage to customers’ Japan Airlines “Mileage Bank” accounts, JALCARD provides value-added offerings such as shopping, insurance and travel services. JALCARD offers credit cards in conjunction with VISA, MasterCard, JCB and Diners Club.

Government Officials Want Efficient Payments

A survey of 50 government officials from Japan, Korea, South Africa, Thailand, U.K., and the U.S. found that 68% believe that there is further opportunity for improving their procure-to-pay process. The VISA survey also found that 22% of government officials expect that improving process automation will be the most important benefit their organization will derive by implementing a commercial card program, followed by replacing cash (18%) and increasing procurement transparency (18%). Almost all government services agencies surveyed report that within the next five years they plan to implement a variety of new measures, including new technologies, such as enterprise resource planning systems, centralized processes and outsourcing to third parties. All of these measures support e-purchasing and expense management initiatives and translate to improved efficiency and cost savings. The survey was released in conjunction with the 7th annual “VISA International Government Services Conference.”

Tourism Recovery is Slow Except Bali

A survey shows that tourism recovery in selected tsunami-affected countries remains volatile, with international traveler confidence showing signs of weakening following the series of earthquakes and aftershocks on Nias Island, Indonesia in March.
The VISA visitor card spending in the three tourist destinations hardest hit by the tsunamis of December, Maldives, Phuket and Sri Lanka, after a period of steady positive recovery through February and March, has fallen since April and is still experiencing year-on-year decline.
During the week ended May 8th, international VISA cardholder spending
declined by 35% year on year in Maldives, and by three percent in
Sri Lanka. To support the recovery of tourism into Bali, VISA is
running a “Visit Bali 2005” program till October. In collaboration with 56 merchants in Bali, the VISA program promotes the best of the tourist destination to domestic and international cardholders, offering them special privileges and discounts with a “VISA Savings Passport.”

Shanghai Shen JCB Card Launches this Month

China’s Bank of Shanghai is gearing up to launch its first JCB branded credit card next month. The new “Shanghai Shen JCB Card” will be denominated in both local Chinese currency and U.S. dollars and be issued in both “Standard” and “Gold.” The new card is targeted at Shanghai’s business travelers and expects to issue 50,000 cards in the first year, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. JCB is currently working with other Japanese partners to develop new services for JCB cardholders in China such as discounted package prices for tours in Japan and special deals on mobile phone rental in Japan. JCB has 12.2 million merchants in its network and 53.6 million cardholders worldwide.

Asia Pay Launches APAYcard Platform

Asia Payment Systems has completed technical development of its “APAYcard” transaction processing platform for use in China. The IP-based “APAYcard” system facilitates credit and debit card
transaction processing from anywhere in China via Asia Pay’s new data center in Shanghai. Live testing is now underway. Asia Pay is
developing a credit card processing network that provides clearing
services to merchants, oil companies and financial institutions in China, Japan and in related markets elsewhere in Asia.

BOS JCB CARD

Bank of Shanghai is gearing up to launch its first JCB branded credit card next month. The new “Shanghai Shen JCB Card” will be denominated in both local Chinese currency and U.S. dollars and be issued in both “Standard” and “Gold.” The new card is targeted at Shanghai’s business travelers. Bank of Shanghai expects to issue 50,000 cards in the first year. JCB is currently working with other Japanese partners to develop new services for JCB cardholders in China such as discounted package prices for tours in Japan and special deals on
mobile phone rental in Japan. JCB has 12.2 million merchants in its network and 53.6 million cardholders worldwide.

Dauair Joins the UATP Network

The recently launched German regional airline, Dauair, has joined the UATP network. AirPlus International, UATP’s largest account issuer, is the leading form of payment for business travel in Germany.
Dauair began accepting all UATP cards on May 6th. Dauair’s main distribution tool is the online booking engine and is a ticket less carrier; however, traditional methodology may also be used by booking through travel agencies or through the Dauair call center. Dauair offers flights from Dortmund to Berlin-Tempelhof and Poznan, Poland. UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business
travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.

Arthur Blank to Use Infineon RFID Chips

Boston-based Arthur Blank has signed a deal to integrate Infineon’s packaged RFID chips into its card production process. The entire range of advanced production processes, including high quality six-color presses, high-speed laminators, and punch presses are available to any size RFID card order. Arthur Blank & Co., Inc.specializes in custom printed plastic cards. Infineon Technologies AG, with sales of Euro 7.19 billion, offers semiconductor and system solutions for automotive, industrial and multi-market sectors worldwide.