VeriFone and Paymentech Certify New Edge

Vancouver, WA-based New Edge Networks has been awarded certification for an end-to-end solution allows merchants to keep their existing POS systems that currently use dial-up telephone lines, yet make the move to broadband networks that use different high-speed transmission protocols. New Edge Networks provides managed network services for multi-location wide area networks (WANs).

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RewardsNOW Introduces Music Downloads

NH-based loyalty marketing specialist, RewardsNOW, has introduced a new service for banks or credit unions that enables their credit or debit cardholders to download music with their rewards points. Designed as a completely online, do-it-yourself rewards program, “Music RewardsNOW” offers access to a library of more than 800,000 songs, each available for a small number of rewards points. The new program was jointly designed by RewardsNOW and technology developer PF Rewards. The songs, from Real Networksâ™ database of hundreds of thousands of songs, can be downloaded in formats such as MP3 or iPod, either to computers or handheld devices. One of its early Music RewardsNOW customers is Clout Financial Services, a provider of credit cards and other financial services to the college and young professional market. The Company says the program will be further expanded with the addition of downloadable wireless phone ringtones later this year.

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Cardholders Use the Phone for Expedited Payments

A new survey shows that forgetfulness is the major reason consumers make late payments. Of those making expedited payments, 71% did so within three days of the bill’s due date, and 21% waited until the day the bill was due. Another 19% pay after the due date, but before a late fee is assessed, taking advantage of their billers’ grace periods. The study by Edgar, Dunn & Company for Fort Knox National Company, also found that 52% of consumers made expedited payments via phone, while 31% were Web-based payments. Only 8% of those making expedited payments do so by rush delivery or overnight mail, and a mere 6% use walk-up money transfer and/or wire services. The EDC study also found that most consumers are hustling to pay the ubiquitous family credit card (42%), followed by mortgages (12%), and auto loans (8%). More than 60% of survey respondents say they are most concerned about the late fee while 52% cite a black mark on their credit rating. According to CardData, the average bank credit card late is now $32.98.

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VA & DC Credit Union Leagues to Promote Fiserv EFT

Wisconsin-based Fiserv EFT has renewed a joint marketing agreement with the Virginia Credit Union League for an additional three-year term to market Fiserv EFT’s ATM and network gateway services to its membership and will be joined by The District of Columbia Credit Union League. Both leagues will promote Fiserv EFT debit card services to their members. The Virginia Credit Union League represents 5 million members and combined assets in excess of $43 billion. The District of Columbia Credit Union League represents approximately 60 credit unions and 470,000 members with a combined $5 billion in assets. Fiserv Fiserv EFT operates more than 16,500 ATMs, owns the ACCEL/Exchange Network and reported $3.4 billion in processing for 2004.

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ARC Volume Drives ACH Payments Up 20% in 2004

ACH payments rose 20% last year to 12 billion, primarily driven by the accounts receivable check conversion application (ARC), which has exploded more than 50-fold in its first three years. Americans also used the Internet to initiate more than 1 billion ACH payments valued at $350 billion during 2004. Overall, the nation’s financial institutions originated 21.6% more ACH payments than in 2003 valued at $25.5 trillion. NACHA also reports that thee number of Direct Payments in 2004 increased by 6.7% to 3.0 billion payments. Financial EDI on the ACH Network grew by 21.6% in 2004. Last year, there were 764 million EDI-formatted remittance records accompanying ACH payments. The total number of business-to-business ACH payments grew to 1.8 billion in 2004, up 8.9% over 2003.

ACH Volume (in millions)
2004 2003 % Increase
Commercial
Inter-bank 8,174 6,607 23.7
On-Us 2,884 2,485 16.0
Commercial Total 11,057 9,092 21.6
Federal Government 951 924 3.0
Total 12,009 10,017 19.9
Source: NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association

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Annual Banking in China Conference is Booked

The Asian Banker will be holding the Fifth Annual Future of Banking in China Conference 2005 to be held in Shanghai, October 26-27 2005. Almost 90% of the Chinese financial institutions are represented at the event. Sample topics to include: implementing credit risk management systems, building growth in retail banking and increasing customer retention and loyalty.

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Direct Merchants Gets Lower Min Cap Requirements

Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Metris Companies has amended its modified operating agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, designed to reduce the minimum amount of capital required to be held by subsidiary Direct Merchants Bank from $213 million to $100 million, in order to pay down debt. Metris Companies Inc. is one of the largest bankcard issuers in the United States.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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