More Than 30 Top Banks Join VISA’s Multinational Program

VISA International says that more than 30 global commercial banks have now officially committed to the “VISA Multinational Program.” This network of banks now allows “VISA Purchasing” and “VISA Corporate,” to be issued and locally supported in over 50 countries and territories. For multinational enterprises, this enables CFOs and senior executives to review and manage employee spending across the entire organization and its locations. Based on internal reporting by participating issuers, VISA estimates that some 500 multinational corporations are utilizing “VISA Purchasing” or “VISA Corporate” cards either as part of a cross-border “VISA Multinational Program” or through a single-country program. VISA expects strong expansion over the next 12 months, with VISA issuers currently in discussion with more than 50 multinational corporations on either purchasing or travel card programs or both. VISA does not directly track card sales volumes by multinational corporations, although it is estimated that multinational usage represents US$40 billion or more of VISA’s commercial product sales volume on an annual basis. VISA plans to dramatically expand usage by multinational corporations by 2006, winning as much as US$25billion in new volume.

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Terra Payments Revenues Up 57% in the Third Quarter

Montreal-based Terra Payments reported net earnings of $1.4 million for the quarter ended September 30th, compared to $600,000 in the previous quarter, and a loss of $21.8 million one-year ago. Revenue increased by 11% from $14.4 million in the prior quarter to $16.0 million in the current quarter. Compared to the prior year, revenue grew by 57% from $10.2 million. The revenue and earnings growth resulted primarily from increased volume of electronic cheque and mail-order telephone-order processing. For the quarter, the Company processed $335 million in payment volume compared to $316 million in the quarter ended June 30, 2003 and $206 million in the same quarter of the previous year. The sequential growth in payment volume of $19 million or 6% was as a result of increases in electronic cheque and MOTO volume of 23% and 7%, respectively, due to increased penetration into these high margin areas.Terra Payments was formerly SureFire Commerce Inc.

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Columbus Data Services Offers IP ATM Access

Columbus Data Services has deployed “TNS TransXpress Secure” to further the migration from legacy processing protocols to an IP infrastructure by enabling ATM operators to access TNS’ private transaction data network via the Internet. TNS, one of the world’s leading providers of fast, cost-effective data communications services for transaction-oriented applications, recently began offering TransXpress® Secure to support access to TNS’ secure data networks via the Internet. Columbus Data Services was formed to provide small to mid-size financial institutions and ATM deployers with state-of-the-art technology at cost effective prices to enable them to compete aggressively in the ATM marketplace. Transaction Network Services is one of the leading providers of fast, cost-effective data communications services for transaction-oriented applications.

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Nine Non-Income Factors Affect Consumer Consumption

The level of consumption in China is affected not only by personal income, but also, to a very significant degree, by differences in a range of non-income factors, which are related to levels of development of transportation and communications infrastructure, urbanization rates, and labor mobility. A new research study has identified nine non-income factors, which, if improved, could potentially lift consumption by up to 40% of the current level, benefiting mostly provinces that are in the interior and with less developed infrastructure. Overall, income remains the most important factor, accounting for 54% of differences in consumption levels between provinces. The “Consumption Facilities Index for China” study, commissioned by MasterCard and conducted by the Beijing-based National Economic Research Institute, highlights the fact that a great number of Chinese consumers today are still constrained in their spending behavior due to limited opportunities, restricted access to information, and other social and life-style related factors.

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RomCard Offers OpenWay/iBIZ Software Way4CommerSafe to Banks

RomCard has purchased “Way4CommerSafe” to offer “Verified by Visa” and “MasterCard SecureCode” services to issuing and acquiring banks within the country. “Way4CommerSafe” is a product of OpenWay Group of Belgium, and iBIZ Software of Texas. In addition to the core 3-D Secure protocol, “Way4CommerSafe” can also support the wireless protocol for 3-D Secure, enabling the processing of secure m-commerce transactions. Four Romanian banks have already started implementation of the new service: Romanian Commercial Bank, Ion Tiriac Bank, Raiffeisen Bank and AlphaBank Romania. RomCard was founded in 1994 by Romanian Commercial Bank, Romanian Bank for Development Groupe Societe Generale, Raiffeisen Bank, and Ion Tiriac Bank.

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MasterCard Middle Market Focus Rolled-Out

MasterCard yesterday rolled-out a new payment and expense management tool for mid-sized organizations that revolves around its “Corporate Multi Card.” The new “MasterCard Middle Market Focus” program will offer a wide range of MasterCard tools plus unprecedented savings on business travel through an exclusive relationship with Travelocity Business. Midsized companies using a valid MasterCard card that register for Travelocity Business will have the standard registration fee waived for a period of time, in addition to receiving Travelocity Business’ savings of up to 84% on traditional service fees and up to 26% in average airline costs. Additionally, a customizable Travelocity Business reservation site displays company-specific travel policies. “MasterCard Middle Market Focus” will also introduce “MasterCard QuickLaunch,” an online interactive tool that simplifies cardholder account set-up for the program administrator and enables a company to customize its card program from a personal computer through a secure Web site. Business owners can set up new cards for employees, set spending limits and adjust merchant category restrictions according to individual requirements. Other MasterCard tools for “MMF” include “MasterCard Exclusives Online”; “MasterCard Smart Data OnLine”; “MasterCard ExpenSys”; and Sales and Marketing Support. Mid-sized business are defined as companies with annual sales between $10 million and $250 million.

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Sharp to Integrate Atmel’s FingerChip in its New Tablet PC

Atmel Grenoble’s “FingerChip” biometric sensor has been selected for Sharp’s first fingerprint-protected “Tablet PC.” The need to type a password or write it openly on the tablet PC display is replaced by a faster logon through a finger swipe, preventing illegal use of the device by a third party. The “FingerChip” utilizes a unique patented method for imaging the entire finger by “sweeping” it across the sensor. Sweeping captures successive images (slices), then uses software to reconstruct the fingerprint. This method allows the “FingerChip” to return a large, high-quality, 500 dots per inch image of the fingerprint. This image is then processed through authentication software, to extract a template, which is used for fingerprint comparison. Sharp will use the technology on its new “Sharp Mebius Muramasa PC-TN1-H1W” tablet PC.

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KBtoys Offers I4 Commerce’s Bill Me Later

KBtoys has launched I4 Commerce’s “Bill Me Later” payment option on its Web site. Customers of both sites can choose I4 Commerce’s Bill Me Later payment option at checkout. It’s a convenient and secure payment option that gives KBtoys.com and eToys customers greater payment choice, flexibility and security. Bill Me Later offers a secure alternative to credit cards. It’s an attractive option for shoppers looking for other payment options, consumers who are new to online shopping and customers who don’t have credit cards. I4 Commerce provides payment solutions to multi-channel retailers that make commerce more convenient, secure and profitable. Denver-based KB Online Holdings, LLC owns and operates two of the most popular online toy sites. KBtoys.com(TM) offers thousands of the hottest toys and must-have video games.

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Bank Mandiri Becomes First Bank to Deploy VASCO’s Digipass 260

Bank Mandiri has selected VASCO’s “Digipass 260” to help the bank protect a series of on-line services that the bank expects to launch shortly for its 6 million corporate and individual customers. Bank Mandiri is the first bank to deploy this brand new VASCO product. VASCO designs, develops, markets and supports patented ID authentication products for e-business and e-commerce. Bank Mandiri has 1,574 proprietary ATMs, which are supplemented by 4,000 additional ATMs made available via “LINK” (an ATM network linking all state bank ATMs).

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America’s CFOs Unhappy with Cash Flow Efficiency

The vast majority of the nation’s CFOs say their company’s cash flow efficiency is not up to par. A new study by VISA has found that the receipt and application of remittances, as well as the daily determination of cash positioning and forecasting, were considered to be the most inefficient elements of the overall cash flow process. These inefficiencies were due primarily to a predominant lack of operational integration and labor-intensive administrative work. The VISA study also found a strong need to further evaluate the usage of corporate payment cards as effective business-to-business payment solutions. Nearly 400 CFOs participated in the research, with 41% currently using corporate payment cards for, on average, 20% of their total commercial payments. While more respondents used checks than any other form of payment (81%), 64% of respondents were either neutral or only somewhat satisfied with the tool. Likewise only 39% of respondents were very satisfied with ACH, and just 31% rated wire transfers as providing marginal satisfaction. When it came to corporate payments cards, 60% believed they were relevant or very relevant for cash disbursements; 48% believed they were relevant or very relevant for short-term money management and the collection and application of receivables; and, 43% ranged from relevant to very relevant for cash positioning and forecasting.

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Second Tier Issuers Post Strong 3Q/03 Growth

The issuers bubbling below the Top Ten, with at least $1 billion in card outstandings, generally posted stronger than average growth during the third quarter. Advanta led the charge with a 26% gain driven by “MasterCard Business” cards, while People’s Bank posted a 20% year-over-year gain after rehabilitating its portfolio during the past two years. Wells Fargo, Sears National, and First National Bank of Nebraska also posted double digit gains over the past twelve months. Meanwhile, sub-prime specialist Metris reported a 22% decline in outstandings after dumping some accounts in order to reduce its overall funding requirements going into next year. For complete details on third quarter portfolio results plus historical quarterly data since 1994, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Second-Tier Issuers (in $ billions of card loans)
Rank/Issuer 3Q/03 3Q/02 Y/Y CHNG
#11 FleetBoston $14.7 $15.6 – 5.8%
#12 Sears National $13.0 $10.8 +20.4%
#13 Metris $ 9.0 $11.6 -22.4%
#14 Wells Fargo CS $ 5.9 $ 5.4 +9.3%
#17 Frst Natl NE $ 4.4 $ 3.7 +18.9%
#19 Advanta $ 2.9 $ 2.3 +26.1%
#21 People’s Bank $ 2.4 $ 2.0 +20.0%
#26 Wells Fargo Fin $ 1.3 $ 1.1 +18.2%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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