AXALTO IPO

Paris-based Schlumberger announced last week it has filed the necessary documents to take its wholly-owned smart card subsidiary, Axalto, public, and will do so when market conditions permit. Axalto generated a net profit of $30 million in 2003 on gross revenues of $933 million. During the fourth quarter, Axalto reported revenue of $206 million, a 6% increase over the same period last year and 2% sequentially. For the year, cards revenue was $717 million versus $658 million in 2002. Pretax operating income of $27 million increased 21% sequentially and 36% year-on-year. Reportedly, Schlumberger will list the stock only on the Paris stock exchange. For complete details on Schlumberger and Axalto fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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

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Bronze and Silver Cards Hit the Market in March

Citibank recently introduced the “Citi Bronze AAdvantage MasterCard” for frequent travelers, and Household Bank/Orchard Bank is currently promoting its “Silver MasterCard” to consumers with lower credit scores. CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]) also reports this month that American flag cards are also spreading among the card industry. Capital One is now marketing its “American Flag Platinum MasterCard.” Discover pioneered the “Flag” card in early 2001, and Providian followed with a “Flag” card after 9/11.

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

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Corporate Customers Want More Details on Their Payments

A new poll shows that nearly two thirds of corporate customers would pay additional fees to banks for improved, more detailed information about their payments, while a third could consider switching banks for such information. The poll of both banks and their corporate customers, conducted on behalf of LogicaCMG by gtnews, highlights that while banks have suffered heavy criticism from the media over recent profit announcements, 85% of banks felt they offered value for money for their payment services and half of their corporate customers agreed. Currently, in Europe alone, corporate customers annually spend EUR90
billion handling paper invoices and remittances. LogicaCMG says if companies had access to information such as reference data for remittance matching, they could save up to 80% of this by switching to paperless mechanisms and automatically matching payments to payables and receivables.

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Commercial Card Volume Growing 25% Per Annum

While the consumer credit card charge volume grew at 9.8% from 1998 to 2002, commercial card market grew at a 20-30%. During this period, the commercial card volume growth rates for American Express, and MasterCard/VISA combined were 20% and 26%, respectively. A new research report by Mercator Advisory Group says that although there have been very significant developments in the way companies conduct business today, we have yet to realize the end-to-end e-business vision. Companies still print out invoices, handle purchasing manually and use cash and checks for payment, especially for large ticket items. Solutions such as “VISA Commerce” and “MasterCard e-P3” are designed to tackle these hurdles and get companies closer to this streamlined vision of the future. The Mercator report focuses on business cards, corporate cards and purchasing cards. It provides definitions, value propositions, market size, and example solutions for each category and highlights recent initiatives in the commercial card arena.

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Akamai Technologies Names Kight to the Board

Akamai Technologies has elected Pete Kight, founder, chairman and CEO of CheckFree, to its Board of Directors. Since 1997, when Kight unveiled the industry’s first Internet bill, CheckFree has been working with businesses to transform the monthly bill into an interactive communications tool. Akamai(R) is the global leader in distributed computing solutions and services, making the Internet predictable, scalable, and secure for conducting profitable e-business. The Akamai on demand platform enables customers to easily extend their Web operations – with full control – anywhere, anytime, without the cost of building out infrastructure.

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U.S. PLUS Volume Rises 9% Last Year

Transactions at “PLUS” ATMs rose 8.7% in the fourth quarter as VISA added 7,000 new “PLUS” ATMs in the USA during 2003. During 2003, VISA handled 434,222 “PLUS” transactions, with 115,397 in the final three months. The figure does not include gateway transactions. The “PLUS” network has more than 800,000 ATMs in 144 countries, with 364,000 in the USA. About six months ago VISA USA announced the creation of an optional service that will help financial institutions expand no surcharge ATM access for their cardholders. Under the new “PLUS No Surcharge Alliance” specially designed decals will be added to participating ATMs, and cardholders will be notified by their financial institution if it is a participant. VISA’s “PLUS” also offers “PLUS Shared Deposits,” which allows consumers to make deposits at ATMs not operated by their own financial institutions. (CF Library 8/8/03)

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VeriFone EMEA Hires a Business Development Manager

VeriFone has hired Giles Cooper as UK Business Development Manager for VeriFone EMEA. Giles joins VeriFone from property and facilities management solution provider, Electus Services, part of Profectus Group, where he was Business Development Director. Prior to his role at Electus, Cooper was Senior Communications Consultant for Alcatel Telecom, providing voice and data infrastructure solution sales and associated consultancy to corporates and multi-nationals in the UK. VeriFone says the new position was created due to the increased interest and demand for the “SC 5000” and “Omni” product range in the UK for “Chip and PIN” and Apacs-related payment solutions.

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SVC Financial Services Hires Peak for Sales

San Francisco-based SVC Financial Services has hired Bob Mack Peak as VP of Sales and Business Development. Mr. Peak has more than 25 years of experience as a sales and marketing executive in the software industry. Before joining SVC, he specialized in next-generation Web solutions based on the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) standards for the Semantic Web and in the implementation of Enterprise Content Management solutions. SVC Financial Services (OTC: SVCX) is a provider of an integrated suite of secure electronic payment, web application development, digital rights management and multimedia authoring solutions with a focus on the online retailing and entertainment industries as well as the companies that serve them.

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Federal Reserve Board Promotes Braunstein

The Federal Reserve Board has promoted Sandra Braunstein to Director of the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, effective April 1st, succeeding Dolores Smith. Ms Braunstein will succeed Dolores S. Smith, who is retiring after twenty-eight years of service at the Board, including six years as Division Director. Ms. Braunstein held positions in economic and community development for nonprofit, government and private sector organizations. She is a graduate of the American University.

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Intelli-Check Names Prendergast to the Board

Woodbury, NY-based Intelli-Check has named Thomas Prendergast to the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Prendergast is currently an investment and management consultant. He presently serves as Chairman of the Board for The Steel Corporation of Texas, Texzona Industries, Inc. and Scot Holding, Inc. and as Director for Double Eagle Petroleum, Inc. Intelli-Check, Inc. ([www.intellicheck.com][1]) is a developer and marketer of proprietary document verification technology, which is contained in its ID-CHECK(R) units and in its ID-Check(R) PC software and will be contained in its ID-Check(R) PDA software products and the next release of C-Link(R), the company’s net workable data management software.

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

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All Nippon Airways Launches a Co-Branded VISA Card with US-Based InfiBank

All Nippon Airways has teamed with a U.S.-based firm to launch a co-branded VISA card denominated in US dollars for “ANA Mileage Club” members. Atlanta-based InfiCorp Holdings is issuing and administering the new “ANA CARD U.S.A. VISA” through its InfiBank affiliate. ANA says the card is being issued through the U.S.-based company to avoid the currency exchange disadvantages of a yen-denominated card. Under the program, cardholders earn one mile for every dollar they spend using the card and will be awarded 5,000 bonus miles for the first purchase they make using the card, plus an additional 5,000 bonus miles if the first purchase is made before Sept. 30th. The card offers a 1.9% introductory interest rate for the first five billing cycles, and then goes to a 13.99% variable rate. The card also carries a $70 annual fee. Members also receive discounts for in-flight purchases, and discounts at ANA hotels and duty-free shops. As part of the “ANA CARD U.S.A” program, InfiCorp and ANA are providing both English and Japanese versions of a Web site for the card, as well as Japanese-language customer service through Tokyo-based Prestige International’s multi-lingual call centers. ANA is the world’s eighth largest airline. This is the first such affiliation for ANA outside Japan.

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