Australian Card Debt Up 13% in June

At mid-year 2003, Australians owe a record $24.24 billion in credit card debt, a 13.1% increase over June 2002, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. During June 2003, Australians charged $11.3 billion, a slight decline over May, but 16.7% more than the previous year. Of the $11.3 billion in card transactions, $10.9 billion were purchase transactions. The strong increase in card volume may point to a pick-up in the overall economy, or could be an indication that Aussies are beginning to adjust to paying surcharges for credit card transactions. Based on the figures released by the Reserve Bank of Australia, credit limits total $64.9 billion. Australia has a total of 10,705,000 total credit card accounts as of June 30th.

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USTT Signs VendingMiser Contract in Texas

Austin Energy of Texas has inked a contract to deploy USA Technologies’ “VendingMiser” on 4,400 of the city’s soft drink machines. Deployment of the VendingMisers will enable Austin Energy to achieve significant conservation gains. Using this technology will help eliminate the emission of 10 million pounds of CO2 gases into the atmosphere annually — or the equivalent 930 cars from area highways. Austin Energy officials are so pleased with the technology that they plan to offer rebates or discounts to customers who purchase the VendingMisers.

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ViVOpay Dine Enables RF and IR Payments

ViVOtech has launch the first product that enables restaurants to accept RF-enabled contactless credit and debit cards and RF as well as Infra-Red enabled mobile phone payments directly at the customer’s table. The new “ViVOpay Dine” also makes it possible to validate e-coupons, and offer loyalty programs. The “ViVOpay Dine” base unit is compatible with all major POS terminals and uses plug and play technology. The product is available immediately throughout North America and will be rolled out globally in early 2004. The company is partnering with MasterCard International in contactless payment trials for its “PayPass” program in Orlando and Dallas.

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Smart Cards to Double in Japan This Year

Smart cards are expected to double this year and grow 10-fold by 2010. A new report from Yano Research Institute shows that 35 million smart cards were issued in the country last year, and that nearly 67 million will be in use by the end of 2003. Yano expects 420 million smart cards to be in use by 2010. Besides use as credit, debit and prepaid cards, smart cards in Japan are being used for transportation and driver’s license. Yano says passports may also incorporate smart card technology.

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eFunds Lands WestStar CU ATMs

NV-based WestStar Credit Union, which serves 32,000 employees in licensed gaming, has selected eFunds’ ATM Solutions to manage its off-premise ATMs. Under the agreement, eFunds will provide complete management of WestStar’s dedicated, onsite ATMs located at Bally’s, Imperial Palace, MGM Grand, Venetian, Paris Las Vegas and Rio, from ATM installation to transaction processing. While customer demand for ATMs continues to increase, financial institutions often cannot justify the cost of operating off-premise ATM networks. eFunds is addressing this growing market need by providing flexible, cost-effective ATM outsourcing solutions designed to meet the needs of financial institutions.

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Credit Card Volume Posts Brisk Growth During June

At mid-year 2003, Australians owe a record $24.24 billion in credit card debt, a 13.1% increase over June 2002. During June 2003, Australians charged $11.3 billion, a slight decline over May, but 16.7% more than the previous year. Of the $11.3 billion in card transactions, $10.9 billion were purchase transactions. The strong increase in card volume may point to a pick-up in the overall economy, or could be an indication that Aussies are beginning to adjust to paying surcharges for credit card transactions. Based on the figures released by the Reserve Bank of Australia, credit limits total $64.9 billion. Australia has a total of 10,705,000 total credit card accounts as of June 30th.

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Digital Insight Launches Online Banking/Bill Payment Sweepstakes

In an effort to boost consumer interest in online banking and online bill payment services, Digital Insight been running several sweepstakes promotions such as “Live Free For 60 Days.” Last week, the eFinance enabler announced that a member of Safeway Northwest Credit Union was the winner of the “Live Free” promotion. The “Live Free” sweepstakes is one of several promotions offered through Digital Insight’s “Growth and Retention Program,” a free program providing print-ready marketing campaigns, turnkey end user promotions, sweepstakes, and employee incentive programs. Safeway Northwest Credit Union says that Digital Insight’s program has boosted its active Internet banking users by 41% and its on-line bill pay users by 87%.

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On Track Innovations 2Q/03 Profits Up 24%

Rosh Pina-based On Track Innovations reported that revenues for the second quarter were $5.0 million, compared to $4.7 million for the prior quarter, and $5.5 million for the second quarter of 2002. Gross profit for the second quarter was $2.9 million up from $2.4 million in the prior quarter and $2.3 million in the second quarter last year. However, for first half of 2003 gross profit was up 24% to $5.3 million, and operating losses declined 46% to $1.1 million. OTI says that during the first half of 2003, OTI made strong progress in petroleum payment management, mass transit, ID security/access control, and micro-payments. During the second quarter, the Company announced that ABSA, the largest commercial bank in
South Africa, with the largest fuel card customer base in the country, has joined OTI’s “FuelMaster Express” program that is geared towards private
motorists. OTI is also providing integrated point-of-sale solutions to Loews Cineplex as part of MasterCard’s “PayPass” trial in Orlando, Florida.

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DC’s SmarTrip Card Gets an Expansion

The Washington (DC) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has inked a $12 million deal for Cubic Transportation Systems to upgrade its smart card-based fare collection regional central computing system to give regional commuters options for purchasing and reloading their smart cards. Under the new contract, Cubic’s upgrades will support new applications for the “SmarTrip” card, including the company’s “Autoload,” “Smart Benefits,” “Regional Transit Benefits” and its future “Fairest Fare” functionality. The interface with the regional fare collection system is expected to be operational next summer. In addition to the new contract, WMATA is giving Cubic an option to provide $2.4 million in rail system upgrades. With this latest order, Cubic, under a 10-year, multi-phased contract, which culminates next year, will deliver nearly $190 million in systems software and infrastructure for a regional smart card-based fare collection system linking rail, bus and parking services in the District of Columbia, the State of Maryland and parts of Virginia.

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CIBC 2Q/03 Volume Dips, Balances Up

CIBC reports that its card revenues dropped slightly from C$324 million in the first quarter to C$311 million. However, year-over-year, CIBC’s card revenues increased slightly from C$308 million. Canada’s largest credit card issuer says that while volume dipped, credit card balances were up. CIBC also reported that its provision for credit losses for the quarter was $425 million, up from $248 million in the prior quarter. Credit card losses represented 69% of the $126 million in the consumer provision for credit losses for the quarter and 68% of the year-to-date consumer provision for credit losses of $396 million. For complete details on CIBC’s second quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Navy Card Database Gets Hacked during July

The U.S. Defense Department has confirmed that hackers broke into a Navy database during July and made off with information on 13,000 Citibank government credit card accounts. According to Federal Computer News, the attack took place between July 10 and July 24. Prompt action by the Navy and Citibank apparently thwarted any fraudulent transactions as no unusual activity in the card accounts took place. Last week, Citibank completed the replacement process for the 13,000 cards that were compromised. Reportedly, the Navy has also asked Citibank to replace 9,000 other cards in the program that may not have been compromised. The DoD’s Purchase Card Program Management Office is investigating the incident.

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National Asset Recovery Services Opens Jamaican Facility

St. Louis-based National Asset Recovery Services has opened a 26,000 square foot contact center in Montego Bay, Jamaica to accommodate more than 1,200 agents. NARS will offer its clients various solutions including debt collection, customer care, telemarketing, data processing and help desk assistance. National Asset Recovery Services, Inc. is a receivables management company with its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. NARS has been in existence since 1993 and has worked diligently to develop its reputation as a professional and performance-driven financial services firm. NARS has successfully built an operational infrastructure based on the strongest of management and capable personnel with the latest in call center technology.

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