CORPORATE MASTERCARDS

The top issuer of commercial cards in the country, Societe Generale, is introducing “MasterCard Corporate” cards to service large and multinational corporations. The issuer will also launch an “Executive” version of the corporate card for senior managers and executives within its corporate customer organizations. The new cards available to major corporations will feature “MasterCard Smart Data onLine” which provides comprehensive MIS reporting. The new “Societe Generale MasterCard Corporate Card” can debit either corporate or individual accounts, benefits from a wide range of insurance and assistance services, and offers the choice of PIN code, a unique feature of Societe Generale card products. The “MasterCard Corporate Executive Card” has all the features of the standard “Corporate” card, but also includes a range of additional features, for example higher spending limits and additional privileges and VIP services, appropriate for senior or executive employees. Societe Generale serves more than 15 million retail customers worldwide.

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Genpass Wireless is Introduced

Genpass Technologies, Ventus Networks, and Lipman USA, have introduced Genpass Wireless. Genpass Wireless uses Ventus Networks’ CDMA technology to enable ATMs to process transactions without telephone line connections. It can support Lipman ATMs configured for dial-up or TCP/IP communications. The companies expect the wireless service to be a popular alternative to dial-up. Genpass, Inc. is a leading provider of PayCards and processes over 360 million transactions in one year. It is owned and operated by GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC, a leading private equity investment firm, which manages over $6 billion in equity capital. Ventus Networks’ secure cellular solution has units in operation in all U.S. regions and has commitments for over 1600. Lipman Electronic Engineering Ltd. is a chief global provider of electronic payment systems.

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SBM & Aconite to Lead the Smart Card Migration

Jeddah-based Saudi Business Machines has signed an alliance with
UK-based Aconite to expand financial smart card technology in the country. The launch of smart cards is expected next year, following EMV Saudi Arabia requirements issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. As a result, the number of cards in circulation is expected to increase by 76% to 18.2 million, according to Euromonitor.

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Security & Emerging Technologies Event Planned

GA-based GO Software has scheduled its first annual “Security & Emerging Technologies Conference” for November which will examine card association security programs. The two-day conference will feature industry experts from American Express, Discover, Federal Bureau of Investigation, MasterCard, Visa, and IHL Consulting. Speakers will discuss issues relating to electronic payment security and emerging technologies. GO Software, Inc., is a chief provider of POS payment processing software. More than 125,000 businesses use GO Software’s solutions to process payments.

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Asia Pay Japan Set to Launch

Asia Payment Systems is set to launch its Asia Pay Japan
credit card processing network. The network is currently able to process all Japan domestic cards and International VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, JCB and Diners Club card transactions. It is the first network to provide IP-based transaction processing for Japan credit card transactions.
In addition to the Asia Pay Japan transactions, Asia Pay has also
completed client integration (U.S. credit card transaction
processing) for two Hong Kong-based clients, CTUSA and Telecom
Innovation Limited. Asia Pay’s mission is to be a national provider of third-party credit card processing services in China.

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TRM Buys eFunds ATMs; Nears 22K ATMs

TRM has inked a deal to acquire a broad-based ATM network from eFunds for $150 million in cash. The agreement will increase TRM’s international network from 4,616 ATMs to 21,816 ATMs, the single largest international ATM network. The eFunds ATM portfolio is comprised of approximately 2,200 full placement and 15,000 merchant owned units located in geographically diverse retail locations. As part of the deal, TRM has entered into a five year managed services agreement with eFunds which includes a new ATM processing contract at a substantial reduction from TRM’s current cost structure. The deal was funded by a syndicated loan facility underwritten and arranged by Banc of America Securities plus cash on hand. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

TRM ATM NETWORK HISTORICAL
2Q/03: 3,273 ATMs
3Q/03: 3,352 ATMs
4Q/03: 3,416 ATMs
1Q/04: 3,522 ATMs
2Q/04: 4,616 ATMs
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Citi’s Mandatory Arbitration Attacked

A broad coalition of nine civil rights and consumer groups have called for Citigroup to eliminate mandatory arbitration in sub-prime mortgage loans. Citigroup’s failure to stop requiring mandatory arbitration in its subprime loans knocks it out of alignment with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the largest buyers of home loans in the country. Citigroup has reduced the number of abusive home loans and recently announced that it will not charge more than 3% in upfront fees. This announcement is a positive step, however it doesn’t change the fact that Citigroup has failed to end forced arbitration in its subprime mortgage loans. Many Americans sign loan contracts unaware that they contain mandatory arbitration clauses that will deny them access to justice. This has been very detrimental where it disproportionately puts homes at risk for elderly, low-income, and minority families.

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I-Advertising Continues to Set New Records

Online advertising revenue increased 43% in the second quarter to hit a record $2.37 billion. This is the seventh consecutive quarter of increases according to data gathered by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The latest figures are above records set during the “dot com boom.” Credit card advertising has been rebounding slowly over the past two years. After being dominated by NextCard, Providian, and Capital One during the “dot com boom,” leading online card advertisers now include Citi, Chase, Bank One, Discover, and American Express. Meanwhile, all email advertising has been declining due to pending anti-spam legislation, according to the IAB.

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CardXX Issues a RAMP License

CO-based CardXX has issued a license to Innovatier to use its smart card “RAMP” technology and distribute products manufactured using the “RAMP” process. Innovatier will pay CardXX a licensing royalty of 5% of the final assembly cost for each unit produced and sold. Innovatier is expecting to sell about 400,000 units each month. The CardXX process offers advantages including the injection of a thermoset polymer, a low temperature and pressure process, and superior heat and chemical resistance. CardXX uses Reaction Assisted Molded Process (RAMP) to manufacture and license secure and intelligent Smart Cards to provide secure encapsulation of advanced electronics.

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Direct Mail is Inviting not Intrusive

While the marketing industry has been hard hit by do-not-call registries, Internet SPAM laws, and TiVo, direct mail is alive and well. Draft, a marketing services agency, says consumers are wielding unprecedented control over their relationships with marketers. Draft says direct mail prevails over other channels because it is inviting, not intrusive. Also the Internet is not direct mail’s enemy. Draft says direct mail and the Web create a powerful bond with the consumer, stronger than either can do separately. Almost 33% of people surveyed said they respond to direct mail by going online. Draft noted that in today’s world, the “mail moment” (that time people take each day to go through their mail), makes a connection like no other.

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Fair Isaac to Acquire Braun Consulting

Fair Isaac has signed an agreement to acquire Chicago-based Braun Consulting for a net cash value of $30 million. As part of the deal, Braun’s senior management team, including founder and CEO Steven Braun will remain with Fair Isaac. Fair Isaac plans to leverage Braun’s consulting practice to help executives who have a stake in the success of marketing efforts set the strategic context and direction for results-oriented “Precision Marketing” initiatives. Fair Isaac also expects that Braun’s technology integration experience will help ensure customers realize the greatest benefit from its “Precision Marketing” solutions. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

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