VISA Opts for ABNH’s New HoloMag on its New Cards

American Bank Note Holographics has inked an agreement with VISA to supply “HoloMag” for use on VISA-branded cards worldwide. A new custom “HoloMag” design will be incorporated on VISA-branded cards starting later this year. The deal is part of VISA’s new initiative, announced last month, to evolve its brand framework. “HoloMag” will be implemented during initial card production in place of traditional magnetic tape and merchants will require no special equipment since HoloMag cards can be read by existing card-reading machines. The new dove hologram will be relocated to the back of the card. The dove hologram, which was adopted in 1984, will be integrated with the magnetic stripe and the “CVV2” code will be moved off the signature panel. New VISA brand guidelines will be available to member banks and card manufacturers in June. (CF Library 3/15/05)

Details

Ambiron’s TrustedApp Leads PABP Compliance

Chicago-based Ambiron has announced that Aircharge’s Aircharge J2ME,VeriFone’s RiTA Server, LaGarde’s StoreFront, Mercantec’s PowerCommerce, Radiant System’s Exhibitor Suite and Aloha Suite and TPI Software’s SmartPayments Server and their SmartPayments Client are on VISA U.S.A.’s List of Validated Payment Applications. These companies and applications have completed Ambiron’s TrustedApp assessments and are compliant with the Payment Application Best Practice (PABP) standard. Ambiron provides data security and compliance services to more than 25,000 clients including financial organizations, global electronic exchanges, educational institutions and business services firms.

Details

VisaNet Software Adds 1.2 Million Code Changes

VISA reported that it implemented a software release on April 1st that contained 1.2 million code changes in all four data centers around the world. The upgrade contains significant enhancements to VisaNet, making it easier for Visa and card issuers to track purchases that qualify for rewards, broadening VISA’s ability to track and process chip and contactless transactions, simplifying the activation and loading of prepaid VISA products and streamlining the charge-dispute process. VISA says it invested more than $29 million related to 33 discrete projects, involving nearly 200,000 person-hours of work by programmers, testers, analysts, designers and managers who spent the last nine months preparing for the April 1st release. VISA upgrades its network twice a year.

Details

EMV2000 Miniature Smart Card Reader is Unveiled

Cypress, CA-based ID TECH has introduced a miniature smart card reader that is about two inches wide and an inch deep. The new “MiniSmart” is also rated for more than 1 million card cycles. The device’s gold-plated contacts also meet the requirements of the “EMV2000” specification for contact force, ICC signal timing and reliability. It connects to a host terminal or computer via flex cable, and its TTL output can be configured to be compatible with any other reader. The “MiniSmart” chassis is molded from a glass and lubricant-filled engineering plastic that supports a landing-style smart card connector. An enclosed “card seated” switch provides confirmation of full chip-to-connector contact. An optional molded bezel can attach to the chassis to guide the card. The new device will ship in May.

Details

US Dataworks Expands Clearingworks Functionality

US Dataworks has introduced Distributive Capture, enabling users to digitally capture both the image and data of checks received remotely and retrieve electronically for clearing, eliminating the need to physically transport checks. US Dataworks provides payment processing solutions for the financial services market, federal, state and local governments, billers and retailers.

Details

Postbank Acquires Bulgarian Euroline Credit Card

Greece-based Postbank has acquired the credit card business of Bulgarian Retail Services, the issuer and acquirer of the Euroline credit card. The Euroline credit card was launched by BRS in January 2003. The Postbank acquisition was closed on March 26th, according to last week’s issue of CardFlash International. Euroline is the leader in the Bulgarian market with over 180,000 cards which are accepted at over 3,500 merchant locations all over the country. Postbank and BRS are both part of EFG Eurobank Ergasias (Greece).

Details

Carreker & ID Analytics to Fight Deposit Fraud

Dallas-based Carreker Corporation and ID Analytics have formed an alliance to improve detection of identity fraud at the point of application and deposit as well as during a change to a deposit account and will assist both companies better manage identity risk. Carreker Corporation provides integrated consulting and software solutions for the financial industry. ID Analytics’ real-time ID Network manages identity risk.

Details

MBNA’s Early Retirement is an Employee Smash

MBNA yesterday confirmed it would take a one-time $785 million pre-tax 1Q/05 charge, after more employees responded to a voluntary retirement program offer than anticipated. Approximately $500 million of the charge is related to the voluntary early retirement program and voluntary severance program announced in January. Approximately $115 million of the charge is related to the disposition of fixed assets resulting from MBNA’s previously announced review of its operations. In January, MBNA announced it would take a first quarter pre-tax charge of up to $350 million to cut its staffing by 3% through the voluntary early retirement program and a voluntary employee severance program. MBNA indicated it would consolidate some of its facilities in 2005. MBNA also yesterday announced the termination of a marketing agreement with a third party vendor that marketed the Corporation’s products to endorsing organizations. MBNA also terminated a limited number of other agreements. The total exit costs of these agreements for MBNA will be about $170 million. (CF Library 1/21/05)

Details

MC’s U.S. PIN Debit Grew 4X+ in 4Q/04

“Maestro,” MasterCard’s global PIN-based debit brand, now appears on nearly 563 million cards worldwide, an 8% increase over one year ago. Europe continued to be the largest cardholder base for “Maestro” with 258 million cards as of December 31st, a 7.6% increase over the same date in 2003. At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 148.1 million “Maestro” cards issued in Asia/Pacific, a slight decline from the third quarter. Latin America increased nearly 29% to almost 81.0 million, while the South Asia, Middle East and Africa region surged by 44% to 29.4 million cards. In the United States, PIN debit purchase transactions grew 456% for the fourth quarter compared to 4Q/03. As of December 31st, there were nearly 1.5 million merchant locations accepting MasterCard and Maestro, as well as 383,000 Cirrus ATMs.

Details

FDC to Use Austin Logistics’ EarlyDetection

Denver-based First Data will incorporate Austin Logistics’ new predictive analytic EarlyDetection System into its credit card processing system. EarlyDetection System is an analytic software solution that reliably predicts revenue, varying levels of activation and fraud/delinquency risk as early as the first day of account activity. First Data Corp. serves approximately 4.1 million merchant locations and 1,400 card issuers. Austin Logistics provides analytic software and solutions that predict customer value and behavior.

Details

Card Debt Growth Remains Sluggish in Feb

Revolving consumer credit hovered above the $800 billion milestone in February. However, Americans added $4.1 billion to revolving credit during the second month of the new year, compared to nearly $8 billion one-year ago. The change from last year validates the higher monthly payment rates reported by the nation’s top issuers. The monthly payment rate remains between 17.50% and 18.00%. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owed $803.5 billion in revolving credit at the end of February, compared to $799.4 billion for January. One-year ago revolving credit stood at approximately $754.8 billion. The annual growth rate is now 6.1%, compared to 8.9% in the previous month. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the fourth quarter was $684.9 billion, or roughly 85% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). At the end of February, Americans were $2122.5 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Feb 05 Jan 05 Dec 04 Nov 04 Sep 04 Jun 04 Mar 04
GRWTH: 6.1% 8.9 8.6 0.9 5.5 10.4 -1.9
$OWED: $803.5 799.4 793.6 790.4 784.0 765.2 768.9
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 4/07/05;
For complete historical data, visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Details