MasterCard/Maestro Terminal Implementation Program Launched

MasterCard has launched the “MasterCard/Maestro Terminal Implementation Program” to build global acceptance of “Maestro” through low cost terminals. The “M-TIP” program is being supported by Dione, Hypercom and Verifone. Dione is offering the “Xtreme” and “Xplorer” terminals as well as field teams to provide a fully managed service. Verifone implemented its first “M-TIP” trial last year in Argentina for Argencard, who started their program of upgrading over 8,000 merchants to “Maestro” and PIN functionality. MasterCard says countries with relatively low terminal penetration such as India, Argentina and Indonesia are looking to MasterCard to support rapid, low cost “Maestro” accepting terminals, while more extensively penetrated card acceptance markets, such as the UK, Brazil and Switzerland, face a different challenge as they replace their local debit card brands with “Maestro,” meaning that they need to upgrade their entire terminal estate to “Maestro” as they replace their terminals to support “EMV Chip and PIN.” MasterCard noted that terminal offers have already been delivered to acquirers in over ten countries, including among others Argentina, Tunisia, South Africa, Brazil, India and Egypt.

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VISA Reaches Out to Special Education Students

VISA USA and the Council for Exceptional Children have teamed up to develop a money management curriculum for students with disabilities. With, on average, more than 100 special education students per high school in the United States, Visa and CEC are working to enhance the tools available to thousands of special education teachers across the country, ensuring no student is left behind when it comes to learning money management skills. The Practical Money Skills for Life curriculum is teacher tested and teacher approved. Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and largest consumer payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and merchant customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives.

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Ten US Cities Have Above Average Consumer Scores

Experian Consumer Direct reported that consumers in only 10 U.S. cities have above average scores. Minneapolis topped the list at 707, followed by Boston at 705, and Washington, DC at 693. The average credit score for the U.S. is 678, according to Experian. The credit scores were compiled from the “Experian National Score Index,” which is based upon a nationwide sampling of three million consumer profiles. The Index is formulated using Experian’s consumer credit score model, called the “PLUS Score.”

Metropolitan Areas Credit Scores
Minneapolis 707
Boston 705
Washington, D.C. 693
Seattle 691
Cleveland 690
Philadelphia 688
New York 688
San Francisco 686
Chicago 680
Source: Experian

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NAB Payment Executive Nabs Top Prize in the Spring Golf Promotion

CardWeb.com announced this morning that the grand prize winner in its recently concluded “Spring Golf Promotion” is an executive with National Australia Bank. The sweepstakes, targeted at payment system executives, was designed to showcase the Company’s three major industry services, “CardFlash,” “CardData,” and “CardWatch,” currently used by more than 30,000 professionals worldwide. The “Spring Golf Promotion” awarded Warren Beckerman, Manager of Global Emerging Payments in National Australia Bank’s Melbourne office, a top-of-the-line golf driver. Beckerman will receive a “TaylorMade R360XD Titanium Driver” that features “Pull-Face” titanium construction. The club can deliver the fastest ball speed allowed by the USGA. CardWeb.com is in the process of launching two new services, “CardPeople” and “CardDesign” and is currently assembling a summer promotion to introduce the new services to its clients, according to Devek McKinley, business development manager.

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SST PowerPay Attracts Venture Funding

NYC-based SMART System Technologies has raised $6 million in venture funding to further deploy its “PowerPay” CRM solution, already in use at the stadiums for the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles. PowerPay maximizes the benefits of cashless, contactless payment processing for merchants. The CRM solution is based on patent-pending IP that creates a convergence of payment, data management and marketing communications functions through the company’s SMART Business Intelligence suite of products. Draper Fisher Jurvetson Gotham (DFJ Gotham) is a $100 million, early-stage, IT venture capital fund focused on companies in the greater New York region. The Grosvenor Funds is an early and expansion stage venture capital firm. pex Venture Partners, established in 1987, has five funds and more than $500 million under management.

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MedCom to use Hypercom Terminals for Healthcare

AZ-based MedCom USA has selected Hypercom’s “T7 Plus” transaction terminal and software, and “MegaNAC 180” network access controllers, to electronically verify patient eligibility and complete claims processing, approvals and payments. The T7Plus reflects Hypercom’s steadfast insistence that mastering the most fundamental and practical attributes of a card payment terminal leads to superior performance. Hypercom Corporation is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-transaction for consumers, merchants and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers. MedCom USA, Inc. provides innovative solutions for electronically processing transactions within the healthcare industry.

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MaxxZone.com to Acquire Ultima Debit Cards

MaxxZone.com this week announced it is seeking to acquire American Card Services, developer of the “Ultima Card Twin-Access Debit Card Pack”. The ACS retail product, the Ultima Card(TM) Twin-Access Debit Card Pack(TM), provides cardholders with a two-card ATM/POS debit card with free replacement Debit MasterCard cards and a reloadable long distance calling card. In addition to loading cards at retail merchants of the card, cardholders are able to load their cards at more than 10,000 bank branches nationwide. ACS is a full-service company providing data processing, customer service, distributor and sales support, card production, marketing and sales stored-value debit card products and programs.

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Mac’s Convenience Stores Expands with a ZapLink Deployment

Info Touch Technologies announced that Mac’s Convenience Stores will add “ZapLink” e-services program in 34 Vancouver-area convenience stores. The “ZapLink” network was launched in Phoenix, Arizona in 2001 by The Circle K Corporation, which operates 1,663 convenience stores in 16 states. “ZapLink” e-service terminals are now operating in two states enabling customers to perform a wide range of transactions, from bill payments to mobile content purchases, quickly and easily using cash and credit cards. Couche-Tard acquired Circle K in December from ConocoPhillips Corporation, making it the fourth largest convenience store operator in North America with a combined network of 4,672 stores. Mac’s Convenience Stores is a subsidiary of Alimentation Couche-Tard.

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Americans are in Debt Denial Says Bankrate

A new financial literacy poll shows consumers are not generally honest when describing their use of credit cards and other loans. The study for Bankrate by RoperASW found that 75% of credit card users report that they do not make any major purchases on credit when they know they won’t be able to pay it off immediately; 69% claim they don’t put any charges on their credit cards unless they can pay off the bill right away. And 58% maintain they usually pay in-full each month. All of the figures contradict industry stats and other polls. Bankrate found that credit card usage was most widespread in the Northeast: 76% of those living in the Northeast have a credit card versus 63% in the Midwest and 59% in the South and West. Midwesterners were more likely than those in other parts of the country to pay their credit cards in full each month (68% versus 52% in the Northeast and 54% in the South). Interestingly, Bankrate found that Republicans are bigger users of credit than others and admit to having maxed-out on a credit card more often than Democrats. Democrats consider looking for and switching to credit cards with lower rates more important than Republicans do.

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Gemplus Raises Reserves for a Lawsuit Award Over Casino Smart Cards

The Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal decided to suspend the decision of the Marseille Commercial Court rendered on March 18th, that had ordered Gemplus to make a direct payment to the plaintiffs of damages of approximately 22 million euros, despite Gemplus S.A.’s immediate appeal. The Court of Appeal also ordered Gemplus S.A. to make a cash deposit in the same amount into an escrow account
as security pending the decision on the appeal on the merits. The 1997 lawsuit concerned an alleged breach of a 1992 contract by Gemplus regarding the promotion of smart card solutions for casino slot machines.
The Company decided to increase the provision made for this case in its first quarter by an amount of 3.4 million euros.

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