VISA Global Internet Volume Up 56%

Payment card transactions via the Internet will celebrate its tenth anniversary this month. VISA says its on track to top $150 billion in e-commerce sales for this year, a five-fold increase since 2001. VISA says its global Internet volume is up 56% over 2003. Online VISA sales originate in over 90 countries, purchased with VISA cards issued in over 150 countries. VISA noes that a secure foundation coupled with increased demand for specialized products not offered in local markets continues to drive cross-border transaction volume growth. Cross-border transactions now represent 16% of all VISA e-commerce transactions, up from 15.2% a year ago. Average e-commerce transaction value at $107 versus $70 in the physical card acceptance environment.

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JCBEAM

JCB is launching a three-month pilot today for its mobile infrared credit payment system using NTT DoCoMo phones at 30 merchant locations near its Tokyo headquarters. The “JCBeam Trial” will involve about 100 participants, primarily employees of JCB, who will download a credit card payment application and their own credit card information to their “MOVA 505i” or “FOMA 900” phones. JCB participated in KDDI’s Kei-Credit trial and in NTT DoCoMo’s “i-mode FeliCa Service” preview, both in 2003, and is currently running a trial of the “QUICPay” contactless payment system using NTT DoCoMo’s mobile wallet service. JCB cards are issued in 18 countries and territories, with 51.6 million cardholders.

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ID DATA & TESCO

Tesco is issuing a pack containing a newly redesigned “Clubcard,” which incorporates a magnetic stripe and barcode, but it will also carry two unique and durable keyfobs. ID Data spent 18 months researching and developing the keyfob to ensure it would be the best product of its kind in the marketplace. Keyfobs are manufactured from the advanced material Teslin and utilize a sub-surface bar code which gives the fob an extended life. In addition ID Data has installed a custom-built, three-way matching system for application which adds security and also maximizes the visual impact of the delivered pack.
ID Data, who already supplies Tesco’s “Clubcard,” the leading UK retail
loyalty scheme, has won in addition a deal worth approximately GBP1
million a year.

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MoneyGram Establishes Manila Flagship Location

MoneyGram Payment Systems has teamed with Currency Connections Corporation to expand in the Philippines by opening up additional
flagship locations and by recruiting sub-agents. MoneyGram says it expects to have four flagship locations by the end of next year. In the Philippines, MoneyGram currently has more than 1,000 locations nationwide in affiliation with Equitable PCI Bank, Bank of Commerce and the Philippines Post Office via Peragram. MoneyGram provides global
person-to-person money transfer services which enable customers to send
money electronically to more than 70,000 locations world-wide in over 160 countries.

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Discover Dresses-Up its Gift Cards

Discover Financial Services has beefed-up its suite of gift cards with nine new holiday designs. Launched one-year ago, the “Discover Gift Card” is available only to Discover cardholders for a fee of $5.50 for each card. Cardholders also earn a “Cashback Bonus” award every time they purchase a “Discover Gift Card.” The prepaid stored value card is available in denominations from $25 to $500. Discover is also promoting its “Card Gift Finder” this year, a free online tool that helps shoppers find the perfect present for everyone on their list. Additionally, Discover cardholders can double their “Cashback Bonus” award for purchases at any retailer that accepts the “Discover Card” at 40 participating malls throughout the USA. The promotion runs through January 31st. Discover has approximately 50 million cardholders. (CardTrak 10/15/03)

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Rahaxi Poised for Rapid Growth in 2005

FreeStar Technology says next year looks like a banner year for the firm as it places it primary focus on its wholly owned subsidiary Rahaxi Processing Oy. Rahaxi has relationships with Euroline (Sweden), Luottokunta, CEKAB (Sweden), Aktia Bank (Finland), Oko Bank (Finland), estcard PKK Estonia and Nordea Bank (Sweden). The firm also has a distribution agreement with Hypercom to deploy the “ICE” family of terminals, bringing fully EMV compliant terminals to the Finnish market.
In August, Rahaxi was chosen by IKANO Rahoitus Oy, a member of The IKANO Group, as the transaction management provider for the “IKEA Hei Card.”

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Dividend Miles Co-Brand Contract Modified

A federal bankruptcy court has cut the number of annual miles US Airways has to fund to Bank of America for its co-branded credit card program. Last week the court reduced the annual funding from one billion miles to 200 million miles for the “Dividend Miles” program. The change applies to the second and third anniversaries of the contract which expires year-end 2008. In return US Airways agreed not to change its redemption schedule. US Airways is currently operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Nationsbank, now Bank of America, introduced the “Dividend Miles” co-branded program more than a decade ago.

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Black Friday Retail Card Volume Up 10-12%

VISA reported that overall retail volume on credit and debit cards for November 26th was up 12%. MasterCard processed over 35.1 million credit transactions on “Black Friday,” a 10% growth over the same day in 2003. VISA says the increase in sales volume for “Black Friday” was largely driven by a 20.9% increase in Discount, Mass Retailers and Drug Store purchases, a 15.7% growth in Department and Apparel purchases, and, a 15.6% rise in Home and Garden purchases. Specialty Retail, Gift and Hobby purchases remained relatively flat. Overall, sales volume on VISA-branded payment cards on November 26th totaled more than $4.1 billion, a 15.5% increase over the same day last year. For “Black Friday,” consumer spending on VISA credit cards exceeded $2.1 billion while debit spending grew to more than $1.7 billion, a 10.0% and 21.6% increase from the same time in 2003, respectively.

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