Optimal Payments has completed the previously announced acquisition of National Processing Services. Optimal Payments processes credit card payments for Internet businesses, mail-order/telephone-order and retail point-of-sale merchants, as well as processing checks and direct debits online and by phone. Optimal Payments is wholly owned by Optimal Group Inc.Details
Dallas-based eTelcharge.com announced plans to offer an upgraded version of “eTelcharge” to be called “The New Online Currency. New merchants who open a merchant service account with eTelcharge.com will automatically receive our latest version of Telcharge when the new service is launched soon. While existing customers will be able to download the enhanced new online currency option from www.etelcharge.com. eTelcharge offers multiple payment options on the Internet to date. The Company offers the traditional credit card merchant services along with the exclusive new online currency – eTelcharge.Details
This year will be a watershed for Brits as spending on plastic cards will squeak by cash as the the most popular method of payment. Payment volume on credit and debit cards is expected to hit
Â£269 billion, compared to Â£268 billion for cash payments, with the gap widening to Â£179 billion by 2013. According to the APACS’ “The Way We Pay” study, the displacement of cash comes after a year in which the number of plastic cards in use grew by 13 million to 160.6 million, accounting for Â£243.9 billion of spending. Debit cards accounted for two-thirds of plastic card transactions and more than half of expenditure on plastic in 2003. APACS says plastic card use will be helped by the increasing use of “Chip and PIN,” which will see signatures replaced by PIN authorization of plastic card transactions. The country has invested Â£1.1 billion in “Chip and PIN” and as a result plastic card fraud has fallen for the first time in eight years.
Five federal financial institutions supervisory agencies last week issued proposed regulations that would give consumers the chance to “opt out” before a financial institution uses information provided by an affiliated company to market its products and services to the consumer. The proposal generally would prohibit an institution from using certain information about a consumer it receives from an affiliate to make a solicitation to the consumer unless the consumer has been given notice and an opportunity to opt out of the solicitation. An institution that has a pre-existing business relationship with the consumer would not be subject to this marketing limitation. The proposal is being issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Office of Thrift Supervision.Details
Gemplus and iBIZ Software announced the launch of their innovative authentication solution for 3-D Secure technology. With the joint solution, based on iBIZ’ “CommerSafe ACS” and Gemplus’
“GemAuthenticate,” instead of using passwords, cardholders are now authenticated in the same way as they do payments at the POS: simply by entering their smart banking card into a reader and their personal PIN code. The companies said that up to 80% of helpdesk calls today are due to password management issues, as these are easily forgotten or stolen. This unique offer can be deployed to all bank’s customers as it is fully compliant with all EMV smart banking cards and payment schemes such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express and JCB.
NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems’ chairman, CEO and founder, was named “Ernst & Young New Jersey Entrepreneur Of The Year” in the category of Financial Services Carr was selected by an independent panel of judges comprised of local community and business leaders from among 31 finalists nominated in eight different industry categories representing 27 companies in 25 towns across New Jersey, such as retail and biotech firms. The Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program was created and is produced by professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP.Details
Munich-based Infineon Technologies plans to offer new chip card controllers for improved security of electronic identity cards and passports. Infineon’s “SLE66CLX640P” security controller is designed for tomorrow’s chip card-format electronic ID cards, while the controller
is intended for integration into electronic passports. Until now, chip
cards have been designed for a maximum useful lifetime of five years,
whereas electronic ID cards and passports are generally valid for ten
years. Infineon’s chips are the only products in the world capable of
supporting both of the contactless interface formats that dominate the
marketplace, ISO/IEC 14443 Type A and Type B, which differ in the data
transmission protocols they employ.
Houston-based Tidel Technologies has settled a consolidated shareholder lawsuit for $3 million and two million shares. In the agreement, Tidel and the officers and directors named in the lawsuits continue to deny any and all allegations of wrongdoing, and they will receive a full release of all claims asserted in the litigation. Tidel Technologies, Inc. is a manufacturer of automated teller machines and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers.Details
Uppsala-based Zinek AB has launched its “Mobile Banking” system.
Zinek’s systems are powered by the robust “Mobile Message Engine”
server, which has the scalability and extendibility to fit all the physical demands and characteristics financial institutions can possible throw at it. The feature rich server enables banks to quickly launch services like: account balance requests, recent transaction inquiry,
internal account transfer, stock exchange information requests, alerts and automatic help desk, while many more customized banking services can be seamlessly launched on top of the extendable plug in architecture.
Currently Zinek sells the “Mobile Banking” system / “Mobile Message Engine” server product to service providers, systems integrators, ISP’s and large enterprises, enabling them to launch secure and multiple interactive mobile messaging services into their networks.
Rising interest costs and operating expenses are continuing to eat into profitability. The after-tax, return-on-assets for credit card issuers dipped to 1.53% in May, sharply lower than the previous two years. However, the current ROA remains slightly above the May 2001 level of 1.49%, driven by lower funding costs over the past three years. The net interest margin declined to 6.69% in May, compared to 8.33% one-year ago, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com]). Meanwhile, operating expense has climbed to 5.10%, compared to 4.74% for May 2003, but down slightly from the prior month. For complete monthly and quarterly portfolio performance metrics visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
On Track Innovations has entered the U.S. healthcare market with its “MediSmart” solution. OTI has signed a VAR and licensing agreement with J4 Technologies to integrate OTI’s “MediSmart” contactless smart card-based medical card program into J4 offerings to the health care industry in the U.S. This follows the successful implementation of OTI’s “MediSmart” by CareCross Health, the leading primary healthcare provider in South Africa. “J4 MediSmart’s” pricing model is based on pay-per-use, negating the need for large capital expenditure by the user. OTI generates revenues on the “MediSmart” contactless smart cards, readers, support and maintenance as well as on-going transaction fees.Details
American Express has added a new benefit for cardholders in eleven countries that offers nearly 1,000 special discounts worldwide. The new “American Express Selects” program is available to cardholders in the USA, UK, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Malaysia, France, Italy, Singapore and Greece. In the coming months, AmEx expects to make the service available to a wider range of merchants in an increasing number of locations. The Company also noted that it has adopted a strict criteria for the new program to ensure that all offers on “Selects” meet its standards for value and duration of the offer. Samples of U.S. savings include 25% car rental discounts and up to 20% off rates from national hotel chains.Details