AIG to Offer International Services to VISA Business Cardholders

AIG International Services has signed an agreement with VISA International to offer 20 million “VISA Business” cardholders a promotional discount for its International Assistance Membership program, which provides medical evacuation benefits, repatriation of remains, insurance/claims coordination, and, emergency trip interruption assistance. The Visa Business card is used by small business owners as a purchasing and expense management tool. Visa is the world’s leading payment brand generating nearly US$3 trillion in annual card sales volume. American International Group, Inc. is the world’s leading international insurance and financial services organization, with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions.

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Card Tech Limited Releases PRIME3

Card Tech Limited has released the third major version of its “PRIME” card and merchant management solution. The release includes a new database platform, new integration features and performance enhancements for stable, high volume issuing and acquiring. Two banks have already licensed the solution. “PRIME 3” offers full integration with its authorization system, message switch and device controller; full
support for EMV chip card programmes; extended consumer lending offerings in instalments and loans products; and enhanced multi-institution, workflow and case management features. There are new modules for personalisation and rule-based chargebacks, and the whole suite of systems runs on the Oracle 9i database platform.

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Payroll Card Offers Payday Advance Option

San Diego-based Dalrada Financial Corporation has launched the “Payday Advances” service, offering its payroll debit card clients the option to employees of borrowing up to $500 against the next paycheck. The debit card is offered as a component of providing outsourced payroll solutions to Dalrada clients who may have a high percentage of hourly employees — many of whom may not have traditional bank accounts. This “unbanked” population is estimated to be as large as 55 million in the U.S. Dalrada Financial Corporation provides a variety of professional services related to human resources to businesses.

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Convenience Store Chain Implements Satellite POS for Transaction Processing

Precidia Technologies and private satellite provider EchoSat have deployed an IP based transaction processing solution for AmeriStop Food Mart. The solution teams EchoSat’s highly reliable private satellite service with Precidia’s “EtherDial” to connect AmeriStop’s existing payment terminals to newer, faster and more cost effective IP networks. The “EtherDial” migrates transaction data from a dial-based infrastructure to a TCP/IP network, and together with EchoSat’s satellite service, eliminates the merchant’s dependence on a dedicated telephone line for transaction processing. Precidia says the AmeriStop deal was a flagship implementation for the Company.

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OCC Warns Banks on Certain Sub-Prime Cards

The OCC yesterday issued a letter to all national banks cautioning them about certain secured credit card programs issued to sub-prime consumers that have little, if any, available credit line upon issuance. In addition to presenting increased risks of default, customer confusion, and other adverse consequences, the OCC says this structure may constitute an unfair practice under the applicable standards of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Accordingly, the OCC has determined that this type of secured credit card product is not appropriate for national banks, and should not be offered by them. The OCC zeroed in on card offers whereby the security deposit or very high fees are charged to the card eating up nearly the entire credit line. The OCC says it found that solicitations and other marketing materials used for these credit card programs have not adequately informed consumers of the costs and other terms, risks, and limitations of the product being offered. In these marketing campaigns, the fact that the consumer need not furnish any funds to open the account may be prominently featured as a benefit of the issuer’s secured credit card program. However, the adverse effects of this structure for the borrower are omitted or obscured. The OCC noted that apart from particular disclosure issues, this type of product carries a potential for consumer abuse that raises significant compliance and reputation risks.

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SCM Microsystems Introduces eSIM

SCM Microsystems has introduced a cost-effective USB reader for SIM-size smart cards called “eSIM.” “eSIM” is a high-performance reader that can support any PC-based smart card application, particularly those ealing with IT security such as desktop or network logon, single sign-on, digital signature and document or email encryption/decryption. A SIM-sized smart card can be used with eSIM to securely store passwords, encryption keys including public key pairs, digital certificates or other information needed for these applications. The technology in eSIM includes an on-board flash feature that provides seamless firmware upgrades in the field, enabling the reader to be upgraded after deployment to take advantage of new smart card technology, new protocols, new applications or other technology innovations as they arrive.

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Viad’s First Quarter Net Income Up 86%

Viad Corporation reported first quarter income revenue of $398.9 million, a slight gain over one-year ago, and $41 million in net income, an 86% jump over 1Q/03. The Company says strong performance in the money transfer business and improved investment results at Travelers Express fueled the rise in profits. Payment Services’ revenue for the first quarter grew 11.5% to $191.3 million, up from $171.6 million in the first quarter 2003. Money transfer transaction volume grew 33% and revenue grew 23%, as compared to the first quarter 2003. Total agent locations increased by 14% in comparison to the prior year quarter to over 68,000. Viad is currently in the process of spinning-off its MoneyGram business. For complete details on Viad’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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MasterCard Creates a Junior Masters Golf Tournament

MasterCard International announced the “Junior Masters” golf tournament offering the chance of a lifetime to play alongside professionals in the “MasterCard Masters” golf tournament at Huntingdale Golf Club in December. The winning male player at the MasterCard “Junior Masters” will receive an exemption from MasterCard to play in the “MasterCard Masters” and the winning female player will receive an exemption to play in a women’s professional tournament. The MasterCard “Junior Masters” tournament will take place at the Vines Resort, Perth in July, will bring together 100 of the best junior male and female golfers under 18 years of age from Australia, New Zealand, Asia and South Africa. Each Australian state will nominate four male and four female players to be invited to participate and they will be joined by 20 international young golfers from New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan and the Philippines. The competing golfers will be chosen by their state golf associations, state junior foundations and women’s golf associations, assuring the tournament will have the highest ranked junior players from each state.

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Citigroup Aims to Capture $1.5 Billion of Latin American Commercial Card Volume

Citigroup Global Transaction Services is launching commercial payment and information management VISA card programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Citigroup estimates the annual card spend will reach US$ 1.4 billion by 2008. The commercial card programs will be launched initially in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Citibank currently offers commercial cards in over 30 countries and has more than one million corporate and government cardholders. In the last four years, the number of VISA cards for businesses and public sector institutions in Latin America grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 27% and VISA commercial cards generated US$1.5 billion in annual sales volume.

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ExpressCard Smart Card Readers Unveiled

SCM Microsystems this week introduced a new line of smart card readers using the new “ExpressCard” specification developed by the PCMCIA standards organization. The SCM readers are the first smart card readers to be introduced to the market for ExpressCard equipped computers, and are among the first devices in the world under the new high-performance hardware expansion standard. The SCM readers are designed to meet the requirements of the ExpressCard specification developed by the PCMCIA standards organization and will undergo ExpressCard compliance program certification later this year. SCM Microsystems is a leading supplier of solutions that open the Digital World by enabling people to conveniently access digital content and services.

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STS Emvelink and VeriFone SC 5000 PINpad Integrate

VeriFone announced that UK retailers could now benefit from a fully certified “Chip & PIN” solution following VeriFone’s collaboration with systems integrator Smart Technology Solutions. The new solution will enable retailers using STS’ EMV Level 2 card processing software, “Emvelink,” to select VeriFone’s “SC 5000” PINpad for use with PC-based and integrated EFT POS systems. In January, “Emvelink” became one of the first Level 2-certified software kernels to attain EMV 4.0/2000 approval. In addition to “Chip and PIN” compliance, the “SC 5000” is a plug and play device, enabling it to be integrated with other integrated EFT software available in the UK market.

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