Gemplus Smart Payment Card Shipments Up 125% in Q1

Smart card specialist, Gemplus, this week reported that payment microprocessor card shipments rose 125% year-on-year, and 11% compared to the previous quarter, driven by the migration from magnetic stripe to EMV cards in Europe and Asia. EMV shipments increased 38% quarter-on-quarter, marking the fifth consecutive quarter showing significant sequential revenue growth. Financial Services revenues for the first quarter were $48.3 million, compared to $43.4 million for the first quarter of 2003. The Financial Service segment produced a gross profit of $10.9 million, a 73% gain over the same period one-year ago. Overall, Gemplus International posted first quarter revenues of $235.7 million, a 27.9% increase over 1Q/03. The Company posted a first quarter profit of 300,000 euros compared to a loss of $33.2 million in the previous quarter, and a loss of $45.3 million one-year ago. During the first quarter, Gemplus deployed 3G cards for the launch of SK Telecom’s 3G network in Korea, which incorporated the “VISA Smart Debit Credit” application by VISA International for the world’s first mobile proximity payment service on a USIM card, called “MONETA.” For complete details on Gemplus’ first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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NCR ATM and POS Sales up 11% in the First Quarter

NCR Corporation reported that revenues for the first quarter were up 5% year-on-year to $1.29 billion, and that its net loss for the quarter declined to $5 million, versus a net loss of $27 million in 1Q/03. The Financial Self Service segment generated record first-quarter revenue of $251 million, up 11% from the year-ago period. First-quarter revenue growth included a year-over-year benefit of 7 percentage points from foreign currency fluctuations. Retail Store Automation generated $165 million in 1Q/04 revenue, up 11% from $149 million in the first quarter of 2003. First-quarter year-over-year revenue comparison for Retail Store Automation included a benefit of 5 percentage points from foreign currency fluctuations. NCR says Retail Store Automation reduced its operating loss for the seasonally weak first quarter to $8 million, a $15 million improvement from the prior-year period. Operating results in the first quarter improved due to cost and expense reductions, the favorable impact from foreign currency fluctuations and higher volume. NCR’s Data Warehousing segment reported record first-quarter revenue of $306 million, up 10% from the first quarter of 2003. For complete details on NCR’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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MBNA Ireland Ranked the Greatest Place To Work in Europe

MBNA Ireland has been ranked as the number one place to work in Europe
according to a survey by Great Places To Work Institute (Europe). MBNA
was recognized from 1,000 companies Europe-wide to take
the top spot. Earlier this year, MBNA was selected as the “Best Company
to Work For in Ireland,” which led to the company going forward for the
European prize. This is only the second year that MBNA Ireland has taken
part in the “Great Places to Work” surveys. MBNA employs more than 29,000
people globally.

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TRM’s Profits Triple in 1Q/04 Compared to 1Q/03

Portland, OR-based TRM today reported net income for the first quarter of $2.5 million compared to a net income of $753,000 for the same period in 2003. Net sales for the quarter grew to $21.0 million, representing an increase of 12.5%. The increase in net sales for the quarter is attributable to ATM unit expansion, higher currency exchange rates for sales by the Company’s foreign subsidiaries, and higher pricing throughout the Company’s ATM and photocopy networks. ATM operations produced net sales of $9.6 million, including $144,000 in ATM machine sales, during the first quarter, representing of 30% over 1Q/03. At the end of the first quarter, the Company’s ATM network consisted of 3,522 revenue-generating machines deployed throughout the UK and USA, which represents an increase of 422 ATM machines when compared to the same date in 2003. The Company had 25,877 revenue-generating photocopiers at quarter-end, a decrease of 2,156 units (or 7.7%) as compared to the same date in 2003, due primarily to elimination of unprofitable locations. For complete details on TRM’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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REGIONAL CHANGES

MasterCard International has named Javier Perez President of its Latin
America and Caribbean Region, effective May 1. Perez’s current duties as
general manager of MasterCard Europe’s Customer Division will now be
divided up among four executives. John Bushby will head up Northern
Europe, while Gaetano Carboni handles Southern Europe, and, Norbert
Gebhard takes over Central Europe. Additionally, Jeremy Nicholds, as SVP
and commercial director will extend his management of MasterCard’s
strategic customer relationships with Europe’s largest banks to include
brand marketing and new product development for the region. Before
joining MasterCard in 1996, Perez, a native of Spain, held several top
level positions at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.

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Musicmatch Cards Hit the Market in June

Musicmatch is launching its “Musicmatch Music Download Cards” at retail outlets nationwide starting in June with the support of Vesta and the AT&T “PrePaid Web Cents Service”. Three different music download cards will be available, including those featuring 10 music tracks for $9.90, 15 music tracks for $14.85 and 20 music tracks for $19.80. Once the card is purchased, tracks can be redeemed from Musicmatch Downloads, one of the most popular digital music stores today. Vesta is the leader in stored value solutions. Musicmatch Inc. is a leader in personalized music software and services, helping people find, manage, enjoy and buy music that best matches their unique tastes.

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ASK Introduces the C.carte Smart Card Platform

ASK has launched a unique smart card operating system compliant with
ISO7816 and/or ISO14443 A/B standards and “Calypso” enabled. The new
“C.carte” platform can run on various chips whether it be ISO14443 type A
or B chips and is designed for mass transit operators. A customizable
files system offers all features of a true multi-application
implementation, scalable to the clients requirements and business case.
Directories and files can be created after card issuing. The client may
start his AFC system with transport ticketing and add up new applications
as the system is spreading for a city card for example.
In addition to these features, C.carte has a triple DES crypto processor
according to ISO 7816-4 standard, type A cards can emulate Mifare 1K
functions, C.carte complies with Common Criteria Evaluation and benefit
from a high speed exchange rate.

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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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