BC Card to Enter Chinese Market in 2005

BC Card, Hana Bank, and China Union Pay have inked a deal to honor each other’s cards. As a result, BC Card will become the first South Korean issuer to enter the Chinese credit card market. China Union Pay cardholders will be able to use their cards for cash advances and purchases on credit as of February 2005. During the second half of 2005 BC Card members will be able use China Union Pay’s credit card service.
About 16 million of BC Card’s 26 million cardholders can currently use their VISA-, MasterCard-, or JCB-branded credit cards in China. The new agreement will open acceptance in China to 10 million other BC Card users.

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#6 Issuer Becomes #2 Independent Auto Lender

Seeking to expand its consumer finance business in a mature credit card market, the nation’s sixth largest issuer has acquired a major auto loan originator. Capital One Financial is buying Onyx Acceptance Corporation for $191 million in cash. The acquisition will enable Cap One to combine Capital One Auto Finance, which provides auto finance through dealers and direct to consumers, with Onyx which has extensive dealer relationships in California. Ranked by annual originations, the deal makes Capital One the second largest independent auto lender in the USA. Capital One moved into the auto finance business in October 2001 when it acquired PeopleFirst Finance for $150 million. (CF Library 9/24/01; 6/30/03)

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OTI to Acquire ASEC Spolka Akcyjna

Krakow-based Nextel Spolka Akcyjna has agreed to sell its ASEC Spolka Akcyjna business to On Track Innovations. ASEC is a software company that provides complimentary solutions to OTI in the form of software and back office systems for mass transit ticketing and Payment solutions. The acquisition of ASEC will enable OTI to provide the required local support service for programs in the emerging European markets and will better position OTI to also provide complete solutions in these markets for its petroleum and smart ID solutions. ASEC has been
working with OTI on various programs in Poland. In exchange for all of the outstanding shares of the capital stock of ASEC, OTI will issue to Nextel S.A. OTI ordinary shares having an aggregate market value of between $1.6 million and $1.95 million.

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University of Toronto Student Wins an ICMA Award

The International Card Manufacturers Association has named a senior and chemical engineering major at the University of Toronto as the winner of this year’s “ICMA Technology Scholarship.” In addition to her schooling, Diana Semjonov was employed this past summer at Canadian Bank Note Company, an ICMA member-company based in Ottawa. In its fifth year, the “ICMA Technology Scholarship” recognizes qualified candidates specializing in a technology-related field of study. ICMA is a non-profit association of plastic card manufacturers, personalizers and related industry participants, with more than 200 members globally.

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Dione Launches a New Smart Card Platform

Dione is introducing a unified technology platform that will
form the basis of a brand new suite of highly secure smart card
transaction devices. The new “SecuraCell” platform is designed to comply with, “APACS Common Criteria” (EAL4+), “EMV” Level 1 and 2, “Interpay,”
“VISA PED” and “ZKA.” The “SecuraCell” module is a tamper responsive unit containing the crucial electronics that provide the core device functionality. Dione will introduce a range of integrated counter top terminals, PIN pads and vending machine iterations under the new “Secura” product brand at Cartes 2004.

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An Early Intervention Program is Working

MN-based The Credit Card Project, funded by Target Financial, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo, says its initial credit education campaigns for college students and “at risk” credit consumers is paying-off, especially for college students. Credit education campaigns with college students resulted in cardholders making larger, on-time monthly payments, and a decrease in late and over-limit fees. The “What’s My Score” campaign was initially launched at two Minnesota universities during the first week of March. The 10-week campaign was designed to communicate the importance of a good credit score with print ads focused on issues important and relevant to college students.

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UMC Develops Embedded EEPROM for Smart Cards

Hsinchu-based UMC has developed its first true embedded EEPROM
based on UMC 0.25um logic and mixed-signal platform. The embedded EEPROM
targets mobile SIM cards, debit cards, credit cards, ID cards, USB ID keys or any other application where secure identification is required and information needs to be updated and programmed frequently. The EEPROM IP offering by UMC features both page and byte re-writable capability. These EEPROM IPs exhibit very low power characteristics, allowing them to be used for both contact and also contact-less smart cards that need only come into close proximity of the card reader for transactions to be recorded. UMC manufactures advanced process ICs for applications spanning every major sector of the semiconductor industry.

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Fiserv Distributes College Grants

Fiserv’s “ACCEL/Exchange Network” has awarded college grants to 34 members of the high school graduating Class of 2004. The goal of the Education Exchange college grant program is to help ACCEL/Exchange Network members recognize and honor hardworking and talented students who are preparing for additional education and challenging careers. From a pool of thousands of applicants, four $5,000 grants and thirty $1,000 grants are offered each year based on qualities such as scholastic achievement, leadership, and financial need. As one of the nation’s premier electronic funds transfer networks, the ACCEL/Exchange Network provides the infrastructure for member financial institutions to provide their customers with access to their demand deposit accounts. ACCEL/Exchange is owned an operated by Fiserv EFT/CNS, a renowned innovator and leader in the EFT marketplace.

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Desjardins Adds Voice Assistance to 2,600 ATMs

Desjardins Group is deploying its new generation of ATMs, featuring a voice assistance function. Desjardins is currently replacing or upgrading its 2,900 ATMs in Québec. Until the end of 2006, half of the Bank’s ATMs will be upgraded and the other half will be completely replaced by brand new machines, but all Desjardins ATMs will offer the voice assistance function. To use voice assistance, users need only connect standard headphones into an audio jack located near the keypad or the screen, and then enter their debit card. The voice assistance function will start automatically, with instructions given in English or in French, depending on the member’s preferences.

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PETCO Opts for the Bill Me Later Option

Pet supply retailer, PETCO, has launched I4 Commerce’s “Bill Me Later” on PETCO.com. Bill Me Later is a credit-based payment alternative for online shoppers or catalog shoppers who choose to delay payment for purchases. PETCO.com plans to offer a financing promotion that would enable customers to wait up to 90 days to make their payment without receiving finance charges. According to Heather Blank, director of ECommerce Marketing for PETCO, Bill Me Later gives customers a safe online payment option. Customers will get a bill from Bill Me Later within two weeks of their purchase, which can be paid off or financed over time. PETCO operates over 680 neighborhood stores in 45 states and the District of Columbia. It is a leading retailer of pet food, supplies, and services. Bill Me Later(R) was developed by I4 Commerce and is designed to meet the needs of today’s multi-channel retailers.

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MasterCard Canada Launches Credit Report Week

MasterCard Canada has launched its second annual “Credit Report Week.” The program encourages Canadians to check their personal credit report at least once a year. As part of the program, MasterCard Canada is offering TransUnion Canada online credit reports at no charge to the first 10,000 people. In addition, MasterCard Canada is also
launching “Credit Cards Today,” a 16-page guide explains in plain language how credit cards work and covers everything from the mechanics of interest, annual fees, reward programs and point systems, to the process among banks, issuers and merchants. According to research collected by MasterCard Canada, 63% of Canadians have never checked their personal credit report, and nearly a quarter don’t know what a credit rating is. In addition, more than one in 10 of Canadians have been denied a loan, mortgage or some other kind of credit because of a poor credit rating.

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New Pegasystems’ Card Management Applications

MA-based Pegasystems has introduced “PegaCARD Customer Process Manager” and “PegaCARD Smart Dispute.” The new card management applications completely automate customer-facing processes from the point of contact through to resolution. The “PegaCARD Customer Process Manager” helps optimize customer interactions, automatically queuing business processes based on an organization’s policies, as well as anticipated customer requests. “PegaCARD Smart Dispute” automates the dispute and chargeback process, providing issuers with best-practice processes and rules to ensure compliance with complex association dispute rules and regulations. New features for “Customer Process Manager” include an interface that supports intent-driven processing; integrated cross- and up-sell functions; and, workflow templates that guide CSRs through processes and eliminate routine tasks. “Smart Dispute” new features include multi-currency capabilities for international card issuers; multi-association capabilities for VISA, MasterCard and third-party issuers; and, a subscription service for automatically updating VISA and MasterCard regulations twice a year.

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