Benny Card Lands Another Benefits Patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to CT-based Evolution Benefits for “Methods and Systems for Processing Transactions Involving Accounts for Reimbursing Medical Expenses or Patient Responsible Balances with Multiple Transactions Substantiation Modes” Cardholders can use their “Benny Prepaid Benefits” to debit their FSA or HRA and achieve the highest level of substantiation available. In February, EB was awarded the “Most Innovative Consumer Directed Health Care (CDHC) Product or Solution” in the payment card arena at the CDHC Expo in Las Vegas. Evolution Benefits provides payment services for consumer-directed benefits.

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ASK PAPER PAYPASS

ASK and MasterCard have inked a development agreement to create paper-based contactless payment solutions utilizing “PayPass” for deployment in transit and other payment environments. More than 50 million ASK contactless paper tickets are already being used globally in mass transit automatic fare collection systems. MasterCard is currently participating in a contactless trial in the New York City subway system and on the Ohio Turnpike, while “PayPass” is now accepted in many Philadelphia and NYC taxi cabs and Utah buses. MasterCard is also leading the effort to develop new “PayPass”-enabled devices, such as key fobs, mobile phones, wristwatches and wristbands. There are nearly 13 million MasterCard “PayPass” cards in use at more than 46,000 merchant locations worldwide. ASK provides contactless cards, tickets, RFID tags, e-passport inlays and readers addressing the mass transit, access control, banking, e-identity and supply chain markets.

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26% of Teens Know How Credit Cards Work

A new survey has found that 41% of teens consider themselves knowledgeable about how to budget money, 34% know how to pay bills, 26% know how credit card interest and fees work, 24% know whether a check cashing service is good to use and 14% know how income taxes work or what a 401(k) plan. More than half believe that “it is easier to buy things with a credit card than cash” and, given the choice, 29% would actually prefer using a credit card, a 61% increase in this stated preference over last year. The research by Charles Schwab also found that American teens confidently predict a future in which, based on the career that interests them most, they will be earning an average annual salary of $145,500 (boys expect $173,000 vs. girls, $114,200). The reality: Only five percent of the U.S. population currently earns a six-figure income, and the average national wage stands at approximately $40,000.

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Akbank Implements Fair Isaac’s Falcon ID

To protect customers from identification fraud, Akbank of Turkey has
implemented Fair Isaac’s “Falcon ID Solution”, the first European lender
to do so. Using predictive analytics, “Falcon” uses an authentication
process and multiple sources of data for validating identities,
including the use of an ID Clearinghouse which accesses external data to
detect when an identity is compromised. Furthermore, the solution allows
the lender to apply predictive data in order to determine whether an
application for credit is genuine or fraudulent, resulting in faster and
more precise origination decisions.

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VeriFone Vx 670 Receives SAMA Certification

Upon the completion of Douglas G. Bergeron’s four-day tour of the Middle
East that consisted of meetings with VIPs of the region, the Saudi
Arabia Monetary Agency has announced that it has certified Verifone’s
GPRS and WiFi-enabled “Vx 670” for use in restaurants, hotels and
retailers. Companies in these industries have already begun
implementation of pay-at-table transactions using the compact
device. Verifone is expanding in the region because of growing demand
for payment and value-added services, such as electronic cellular
top-up and will address the regional demands and needs. This also
represents the company’s further commitment to this growing market and
reflects their focus on the needs of customers.

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ISO SmartCard Includes GlobalPlatform Technology

GlobalPlatform technology has been included in the ISO Smartcard, which
is intended to support implementations in a multi-application
environment. GlobalPlatform has already started work towards
incorporating the new “ISO/IEC 7816-13” international standard into the
“GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.2” and will be the first standards
body to be fully compliant to “ISO/IEC 7816-13” by the end of 2007. With
the migration to the ISO standard, GlobalPlatform Specifications will be an
authority on smart card standardization specifications. Since 2004,
GlobalPlatform has been intrinsically involved in the creation of the
international standard for multi-application smart card infrastructures.

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EU Ministers Agrees on a SEPA Directive

The Payment Services Directive necessary for the creation of SEPA and
SEPA products will be agreed upon by the 27 EU Finance Ministers in
April. Following approval by European Parliament, the Directive will
create security to providers of payment services and create equal legal
conditions for payments in the European Union. With this, every
cross-border payment can be treated as a domestic payment providing
customer benefits. The Directive creates equal legal conditions for
payments in the European Union.

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APEX Analytix Offers Vendor Risk Tools

APEX Analytix has introduced “FirstStrike Fraud Detect” software and “Vendor Risk Analysis” services. The software was developed to identify payments to fictitious companies, conflict of interest vendors, kickback vendors, prohibited vendors associated with the U.S. Patriot Act, and other potentially fraudulent vendors and transactions. APEX Analytix’s new systems work by monitoring data that is already in company financial systems. In addition, the company’s accounts payable system may be continuously monitored or reviewed on a regular basis to detect new cases of high-risk activity. Some of the attributes for vendor flagging include use of initials in vendor name, private mail service address, appearance on a Government Watch List, benfords (mathematical distribution), even dollar amounts and consecutive invoice numbering. APEX Analytix provides a software solution for the identification and prevention of A/P errors.

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Economic Growth Likely to Outperform the USA

TD Economics has projected that the Canadian economy will grow 2.4% in
2007. This is a rate only slightly slower than 2006, unlike that of the
U.S. economy which will see significantly less growth than the previous
year. Slow American growth is mostly because of a sluggish real estate
market and low consumer confidence. Mortgage lenders whom did not
diversify their portfolio when real estate was booming are now feeling
the pressure because of the present slow down. In Canada, however,
housing will slow only in the West, but will average high activity
across the entire country. The Canadian economy is slowing at an average
pace and the only significantly vulnerable areas are those with exposure
to external demand. An improvement in U.S. demand in late-2007 and 2008
is expected to generate productivity in Canadian manufacturing.

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IXI Hires a Credit Card Services Exec

VA-based IXI Corporation announced that Hugh Lloyd-Thomas, previously with eFunds, has joined the firm as Senior Vice President of its Credit Services Practice. In this new role, Hugh will be responsible for developing relationships with credit card clients, leveraging IXI’s proprietary data to identify relevant credit solutions, and partnering with credit industry leaders to test and analyze IXI’s proprietary data. At eFunds, Lloyd-Thomas was Director of Major Accounts with responsibility for domestic and international business development for the company’s CitiGroup and American Express relationships. Previously, he was an account executive with Fair Isaac. IXI provides information for strategic and tactical marketing decisions, customer analytics, prospect targeting solutions, and market-share tracking systems.

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Value Retail & Alphyra to Issue Village Cards

Alphyra, in conjunction with Mastercard, has developed a prepaid gift
card program for Value Retail’s Bicester Village. The program will first
introduce the “Bicester Village Gift Card,” then, in May, ones for Kildare
Village in Ireland and Maasmechelen Village in Belgium. Cards for the
other Villages in France, Spain, Italy, Germany will follow later in the
year. These gift cards can be used just like a Mastercard and uses the
same processing terminals. Alphyra works with networks in over twenty
countries and this is the first of the companies projects with
Mastercard. With over nine shopping outlets, Bicester Village has 3 1/2
million domestic and international visitors a year.

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