Nearly Half of Consumers React to Card Surcharges

Research conducted by Coredata and News.com.au has shown, of the 1500
consumers surveyed, 46% have begun using payment alternatives other than
credit cards because of the surcharge fees and 23% argue that the fees
are unfair. Research also showed that 61% of those surveyed have had
enough of late fees, 56% felt taken advantage of by the credit card
companies and 22% are considering closing their accounts. Furthermore,
60% of cardholders surveyed are only able to make the minimum payment
due on their credit cards.

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ViVOtech and Mobile Candy Dish Partner

ViVOtech has partnered with Mobile Candy Dish to provide consumers with mobile phone commerce applications. As a result of the partnership, ViVOtech will extend its “Over-The-Air Provisioning Server Software” for NFC Mobile Phones with “Mobile Candy Dish’s Blaze” — a fully hosted suite of mobile phone commerce services. The combined offering will allow mobile phone users to purchasing movie tickets (sports, concert, and theater tickets will launch this summer, get event information (movie show times and trailers, sports scores, venue seating charts, provide financial management tools, getting directions and maps and will allow for customization. Consumers will also be able to use their NFC-enabled phone to make purchases at thousands of retail locations by simply tapping their cell phone on a payment terminal that uses ViVOtech contactless NFC readers. ViVOtech provides contactless/NFC payment software, over the air (OTA) provisioning and transaction management infrastructure software, smart posters, and readers. Mobile Candy Dish provides mobile phone commerce applications.

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Rahaxi Inks Distribution Agreement With Tietosauma Oy

Rahaxi Processing, subsidiary of FreeStar Technology payment
processor, has signed agreements with independent POS software vendor,
Tietosauma Oy. The agreement requires Tietosauma’s software to be
migrated to meet Rahaxi standards and will distribute and market
Rahaxi’s Open Terminal Interface(OTI) middle-ware solution. FreeStar
works with merchants and acquirers in more than twenty countries and has
partners including market leaders such as IKEA, Finnair and Stockmann.

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MasterCard Assigns PayPass Protocol to EMVCo

MasterCard has assigned the “PayPass ISO/IEC 14443” spec to the EMV standards body, EMVCo. It is an established specification already in use by JCB, MasterCard and VISA. The MasterCard contribution will be the basis for the “EMV Contactless Communication Protocol Specification,” to be released in the second quarter. Until then, EMVCo will administer the licensing and distribution of the “PayPass ISO/IEC 14443 Implementation Specification v1.1,” which defines a contactless communication protocol and associated testing requirements for radio frequency-based contactless payments at the POS. EMVCo is currently operated by JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and VISA International.

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INSIDE Contactless Hires an Oberthur Exec

France-based INSIDE Contactless has hired Brent Bowen, former VP of Financial Sales of Oberthur, as VP/Sales and Business Development for Canada, the East Coast and Midwest. At Oberthur Card Systems, Brent was responsible for strategic relationships with US Bank Card Issuers and Merchants as well as many other accounts. Prior to Oberthur, Brent managed merchant services for Transaction Payment Systems, from 1999 to 2002, where he introduced electronic gift card and loyalty card processing applications and helped establish Transaction Payment Systems’ reputation as a full-service electronic benefits provider to the payments industry. INSIDE is a fabless semiconductor company solely dedicated to the advancement of contactless technology.

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ECHO Coughs Up $2MM in I-Wallet Gaming Profits

CA-based Electronic Clearing House has called-off its Intuit merger and has agreed to disgorge $2.3 million in profits related to online gaming Web sites. ECHO mutually agreed with Intuit to terminate the merger agreement entered into by the companies in December. Both firms agreed to release each other from all claims arising under or related to the terminated merger agreement. Meanwhile, ECHO also confirmed it has been cooperating as a witness in a federal investigation relating to its Internet wallet customers that provided services to online gaming Web sites. ECHO has agreed to disgorge its profits from processing and collection services provided to its Internet wallet customers since 2001 and to continue cooperating as a witness in that investigation. In return it is expected the government will sign-off on a non-prosecution agreement.

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MobileLime and Cuesol Sign a Boston Merger

Boston-based MobileLime is merging with Cuesol, a provider of interactive shopping, marketing and self-service solutions for grocers. Cuesol, founded in 1999 and also based in Boston, is well known for its wireless shopping cart-mounted touch screen browser, in-store kiosks, and Web applications and components. MobileLime provides integrated mobile rewards, promotions and payment solutions to merchants. Consumers benefit from cardless rewards programs, paperless coupons and special promotions that are targeted and personalized by the merchants they frequent.

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Mobile Sweepstakes Generator Introduced

CA-based Smith Micro Software has rolled out “Mobile Sweepstakes Generator”, an intuitive ‘digital scratch card’ technology that transforms a one-way marketing program into a dynamic interactive experience via MMS. The consumer purchases an item and receives an SMS code to send from their cell phone. The “Mobile Sweepstake Generator” then generates a random “digital scratch card” displaying a series of pictures and sends it via the company’s Multi-Media Server gateway back to the consumer’s cell phone. The user’s goal is to match the pictures by clicking on the image. A “digital scratch” similar to scratching a lottery ticket is animated and the user continues to click until the prize is revealed or the game is over. The consumer then gets an SMS to their mobile phone or email instructing them to call a phone number to arrange delivery/redemption of the prize.

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GlobalPlatform To Host Informative Workshop

GlobalPlatform will be hosting a workshop at Cards & Payments Asia 2007
on April 26th and will be open to the conference-attending delegates.
Called “Applying GlobalPlatform Specifications in Mobile Payment
Applications”, the workshop will discuss how GlobalPlatform smart card
specifications are being applied to the financial payment and mobile
sectors, and the unique position of the technology to accelerate the
convergence of these applications in a highly secure and standardized
manner. GlobalPlatform sees this conference as a great opportunity to
raise awareness of their technical developments in the mobile payments
sector.

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Coinstar to Market Charter One Gift Card

Charter One Bank and Coinstar have entered into an agreement for Coinstar to distribute the universal “Charter One MasterCard Gift Card” through Coinstar gift card malls in drug, grocery, mass merchant and convenience stores across America. The program is being facilitated through RBS Lynk. Coinstar’s category management process includes inventory control, management of card sourcing, display design, and merchandising and technology integration for point-of-sale.

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SEPA AWARENESS

Less than one in ten European debit cardholders have
heard of the “Single Euro Payments Area” that will enable their card to be used uniformly across Europe beginning early next year. Of those who have heard of “SEPA,” only 9% say they have a good understanding equating to fewer than 1% of debit cardholders across Europe. According to research undertaken by KRC Research on behalf of MasterCard, “SEPA” awareness is very low in The Netherlands (2%), France (3%), the UK (5%),
Germany (5%) and Belgium (8%). Nevertheless, 73% of European debit
cardholders are in favor of having their existing debit card replaced by one that can be used uniformly across Europe. From January 1st 2008, throughout the “SEPA” zone, debit cardholders must be provided with
payment cards which allow them to make payments under the same basic
conditions, rights and obligations, regardless of their location. The study also found that consumers would rather reach into their pockets for a debit card ahead of cash, with 80% finding debit cards more convenient than cash as a means of payment, while 67% feel more secure using their debit cards over paper money.

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DCI Promotes a 39-Year Veteran to SVP

DCI has promoted Melvin Mac Kay, Jr. to SVP of Application Development. Mac Kay’s responsibilities as senior vice president include management of all DCI product development, third-party product development and relationships and customer support. Mac Kay has held prior positions at DCI as vice president for Product Management, Research and Development and Programming. DCI is a privately-held provider of full-service bank technology and processing solutions to the financial industry, nationwide.

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