Excel vs Pay By Touch Lawsuit Moves Forward

San Jose-based Excel Innovations reports that San Francisco-based Pay By Touch (f/k/a Solidus and Indivos) has lost its motion to dismiss a patent infringement lawsuit with a trial date now expected to start later this year. The lawsuit is being closely watched by the financial and retail industries, as consumers have shown growing interest in the “tokenless biometric payment system” at issue in the case. Tokenless biometric payments have gained appeal with national retailers and the financial industry, benefiting from diminished smart card usage, increased adoption of biometrics, and the retail industry’s search for new ways to migrate consumers from cash and checks to lower-cost, more secure electronic payment methods.

Details

e-CommLink to Offer MasterCard STV Services

Houston-based e-CommLink this week announced it will offer MasterCard members both business and consumer stored value services to support issuer programs including payroll, insurance, healthcare, government, money transfers services, corporate and merchant cards, consumer general-purpose, gift and travel. e-CommLink’s advanced processing platform maximizes the value proposition and service matrix of both online and offline financial transactions. e-CommLink originated in 1996 as an Internet banking product company. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs.

Details

HFC Bank and JLP Partner in the UK

HSBC Group’s HFC Bank and the John Lewis Partnership have signed a seven-year deal to launch a new co-branded MasterCard credit card in the United Kingdom. Under terms of the agreement, HFC will pay a $49 million upfront premium to JLP; JLP will transfer $457 million of existing account balances to HFC; and, both parties will enter into a revenue sharing arrangement. JLP currently has 1.8 million “Account Card” store card holders and 860,000 active card users in its John Lewis, Peter Jones and Waitrose stores, according to CardFlash International (www.cardflashinternational.com). The employee-owned department store and supermarket group will also transfer all of the back office administration functions relating to the JLP Customer Accounts business to HFC Bank’s Birmingham office, affecting about 130 full time positions. JLP will continue to offer the store “Account Card” program alongside the new bank credit card. The new HFC/JLP co-branded “Partnership” credit card will offer a 13% interest rate and 1% rebates on JLP transactions, and 0.5% rebates on purchases made elsewhere. The John Lewis Partnership operates 26 department stores across the country and 141 Waitrose supermarkets in Central and Southern England (one in Wales). HFC Bank issues cards under its own brand, “marbles,” through major partnerships with organizations such as Vauxhall Motors, and through over 80 affinity arrangements with organizations such as the RSPCA, IoD, Open University.

Details

AmEx to Launch a Credit Card in China

The largest bankcard issuer and merchant network operator in China has inked an agreement to issue the first American Express-branded credit cards in China. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which already has 100 million cards-in-force including the “Peony” card, expects to issue the new card by the end of this year. ICBC indicated it plans to issue about 4 million of the new cards within the next ten years. The AmEx/ICBC card will be denominated in both renminbi and U.S. Dollars. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval. In January, Citibank and HSBC Holdings were approved to issue local-currency denominated credit cards in China. HSBC will issue cards through Bank of Shanghai, while Citibank will work through Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Currently, there are 25 million credit cardholders, and virtually all of them are secured credit cards. AmEx says the Chinese market is still predominantly cash-oriented, and a host of disparate account numbering and point-of-sale terminal standards makes it exceedingly complex. American Express opened its first bank branch in Shanghai in 1918 and its first representative office in Beijing in 1979.

Details

World Wide Connect Produces Card Orders

FL-based World Wide Connect reports it has received initial orders for more than 50,000 co-branded or private labeled debit cards from seven different companies. Additionally, an agreement has been reached with a telecom reseller which will allow WWCT to offer the benefit of utilizing its debit card as a phone card offering its users the ability to make domestic and international phone calls at extremely low rates. The company is also in the final stages of delivering a first of its kind Payroll Debit Card where employers can issue a debit card branded with a Visa or Mastercard logo instead of issuing conventional paychecks. World Wide Connect, Inc. is an Internet Service Provider who specializes in domain names, web hosting, web design, web development, reseller programs and bringing total financial solutions through their family of products and services.

Details

Post Office and Bank of Ireland Co-Jo is Open for Business

The Post Office Ltd and Bank of Ireland have launched a joint venture to offer financial services products via the Post Office’s 16,500 branches in Europe. The partnership began this week with the introduction of an unsecured personal loan product, and may be followed by credit card products in late 2005. The personal loan product offers amounts ranging from £1,000 to £25,000, with interest rates ranging from 7.9% to 14.9%. The Post Office will also offer payment protection insurances. Besides a point of sale marketing and on-line advertising the Post Office is supporting the launch with TV advertising starting on April 5th featuring the “ant” theme. Bank of Ireland, which in the UK operates mainly through Bristol & West plc as well as its own brand branch network, will invest £125 million in to the venture over the next 10 years to provide core infrastructure and start-up costs. The venture is equally owned by the Post Office Ltd and Bank of Ireland with profits split evenly between the two. The Post Office offers 170 products and services, including banking, travel insurance and foreign currency, bill payments, lottery products, license applications, phonecards and mobile phone top-ups, and postal services.

Details

Next Generation Loyalty is Set to Launch

Smart Chip Technologies is planning to unleash its next generation loyalty system next month. The end-to-end system includes “e-llegiance”, “Loyalty Central,” and “LoyaltyCentral.com.” “e-llegiance” is the loyalty application that runs on smart chips, devices, and POS terminals. “Loyalty Central” software and back office operations provide complete rewards program management, transaction processing, and accounting services. All user-interface is Internet-based via “LoyaltyCentral.com.” Engineered for “EMV,” “Global Platform,” and “MULTOS” compliance for electronic payments integration, this loyalty system can work with existing magnetic-stripe and bar code cards, any point-of-sale terminal, and is designed to run on the next generation of mobile commerce devices including smart cards, handheld PDAs, laptops, TV set top boxes, smart key fobs, and mobile phones. SCTN says it has invested $30 million into the system.

Details

ConocoPhillips Multi-Brands a New MasterCard

Houston-based ConocoPhillips is gearing up to replace “Conoco MasterCards” and “Phillips 66 MasterCards” with a “ConocoPhillips MasterCard.” The new card offers a 3% rebate on purchases made at Conoco, 76 or Phillips 66 stations. Cardholders also earn a 1% rebate on all other purchases. Previously, “Conoco MasterCard” customers earned a 3% rebate on Conoco station purchases and a 1% rebate on all other purchases. “Phillips 66 MasterCard” customers earned a 2% rebate on Phillips 66 purchases and a 1% rebate on all other purchases. This is a new program for the 76 branded outlets, and the first cross rebate acceptance card available from ConocoPhillips. The Company also said that accounts booked between February 1st and May 31st, will receive a $20 rebate credit upon first use.

Details

TransFirst Acquires PRI, Adding $1.8B

Dallas-based TransFirst has acquired Newport Beach, CA-based Payment Resources International. The deal will add approximately $1.8 billion in annual processing volume, and 7,500 total merchant contracts to TransFirst’s network. TransFirst also acquired proprietary, internally developed technology capable of supporting its growth in Internet-based credit card processing, ACH / check conversion processing, recurring billing and wireless processing. PRI is the second acquisition TransFirst has announced this month. Two weeks ago, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions signed a deal to sell its third party and agent bank merchant division to TransFirst. TransFirst currently processes approximately $11 billion in annual sales volume for more than 70,000 merchants and 545 banks. The Fifth Third acquisition, which will close this week, will bring TransFirst’s annual volume to about $18.5 billion. (CF Library 3/11/04)

TransFirst Historical
YEAR VOLUME
2000: $2.5 billion
2001: $3.1 billion
2002: $5.8 billion
2003: $11.0 billion
2004: $18.5 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

Details

UAL Names New Card Program Manager

United Airlines has hired Arnold Lewis, formerly VP for Strategic Alliances at AARP Services, as VP/Marketing Programs and president of United Loyalty Services, overseeing the “Mileage Plus” program as well as the co-branded credit card program with Bank One and VISA. He will also oversee the United Loyalty Services membership programs, which include the Silver Wings Plus seniors’ program, the newly launched Ameniti program for luxury travel, and MyPoints.com — the leading provider of Internet direct marketing services. United, United Express and Ted operate more than 3,400 flights a day on a route network that spans the globe.

Details

UATP Names a New UAL Exec to the Board

UATP has named Dirk Locascio, who recently joined United Airlines as director of passenger revenue accounting after a position at Bank One, to its board to replace Marc Krohn, who was promoted within United Airlines. Prior to joining United, Locascio held management positions with Deloitte & Touche LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP. Most recently, he worked for Bank One Corporation, where he was responsible for managing numerous process reviews and evaluating control environments in areas such as consolidations, general ledger operations, corporate tax, procurement, and real estate management. UATP is a global corporate travel payment network. UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.

Details

EFG to Pay $3.9 Million in Consumer Redress

TX-based Electronic Financial Group and EFG Card Services have agreed to pay $3.9 million in consumer redress for providing substantial assistance to numerous deceptive telemarketers. In July, the FTC alleged that EFG provided ACH payment processing services to outbound telemarketers, and systematically breached a contractual provision with their bank that required EFG to comply with the NACHA “Operating Rules,” specifically, the prohibition on processing ACH transactions on behalf of outbound telemarketers, and thereby engaged in an unfair practice. Second, the FTC alleged that the defendants violated the “FTC Act” by deceptively marketing their own advance-fee debit cards. Also as part of the settlement, the defendants are banned from processing payments for any telephone-initiated sales through the ACH Network.

Details