Debit Card Rewards Still Alive Despite Settlement

Even though debit card economics will change shortly with the recent Wal-Mart lawsuit settlement, some issuers are still rolling-out promotions to reward customers for not using their PIN for purchases. NC-based BB&T has launched the “Home Sweet Home Sweepstakes” offering customers a chance to win a $20,000 home improvement grand prize. Between now and August 31, BB&T “VISA Check Card” holders will automatically be entered in the sweepstakes. Other prizes including $1,000 worth of landscaping or house cleaning service and a $50 Lowe’s gift cards.

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Qantas Begins Surcharging VISA/MC Customers

Qantas has become the first major merchant in Australia to implement a surcharge on customers using credit cards. The airline began yesterday assessing a 1% surcharge for tickets booked with a VISA or MasterCard payment card. Qantas hinted in February that it was ready to levy the surcharge but held off pending the Federal Court hearing wherein VISA and MasterCard sought to overturn the Reserve Bank’s credit card reforms. The battle between VISA/MasterCard and the RBA ended last week in Federal Court. Justice Brian Tamberlin is expected to issue a ruling within the next two months. In 2002, the RBA issued new reforms on the credit card business permitting merchants to recover from cardholders the costs of accepting credit cards. The new standard went into effect January 1st. Also under the new RBA rules, interchange fees will decrease from around 95 basis points to approximately 55-60 basis points by October 1st. (CF Library 1/14/03; 2/27/03; 6/27/03)

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DIGIPASS GO3

Brussels-based VASCO Data Security International has launched its cost effective one button token for large volume use in the retail-banking sector. With “Digipass GO3” the end user generates a unique one-time password with the touch of a button. “Digipass GO3” is VASCO’s answer to banks that want to give their retail customers a simple though secure means to use Internet banking applications. In addition, banks using GO3 eliminate the security risk of their customers entering a static PIN code on the Internet to get access to the bank’s system.

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University of Rhode Island Joins CampusMate

The University of Rhode Island has inked a multi-year agreement to join Bank Rhode Island’s “CampusMate” program which includes a “MasterCard Debit Card,” check writing ability, and free on-campus ATM usage. CampusMate is Bank Rhode Island’s unique, patent-pending program that streamlines financial management for students, parents, and college administrators. The financial registration processes are also streamlined through real time web reporting and downloads. The Bank now has three major colleges and universities enrolled in its CampusMate Program – Rhode Island School of Design, Johnson & Wales University, and URI.

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Hypercom Relocates and Repositions Horizon

Hypercom confirmed yesterday it is closing the St. Louis office of its Horizon Group subsidiary, relocating it to Phoenix, and will now only offer Hypercom products through Horizon. The restructuring program was announced during last year’s third quarter. Horizon Group operated as a full service provider of point-of-sale solutions and services to nationally recognized processors, banks and Independent Sales Organizations. Phoenix-based Hypercom has shipped more than six million terminals in over 100 countries, which conduct over 10 billion transactions annually.

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Maryland Man Seeks $115 Trillion from Card Industry

The recent Wal-Mart debit card lawsuit settlement has produced a litigious atmosphere as a Maryland man is now threatening to sue VISA, MasterCard, and all related parties, to reclaim 31 years worth of interchange fees. William Lovern and his Trial Management Associates has reportedly been threatening banks worldwide with a class action lawsuit. He has apparently been threatening the card associations for the past several years. In a press release dated July 1st, Lovern says he will seek to restructure the interchange fee system and will seek damages between $75 and $115 trillion. Lovern claims to have a 1970 memo wherein Dee Hock, the initial president of National BankAmericard, was advised by its attorneys that the interchange system was in possible violation of the “Sherman Antitrust Act.” Lovern says Hock had the memo destroyed.

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KWIKPAY & I-BIZ

Kwikpay Technologies Limited of London has selected iBIZ Software
of Texas to supply its “CommerSafe MPI” to provide Kwikpay merchants
payment authentication services under the “Verified by Visa” and
“MasterCard SecureCode” programs. Kwikpay’s online service reaches into the
UK, EU, USA, Asia and Africa. Founded in 2000, iBIZ is a pioneer in online
payment card security and offers robust authentication solutions for the
entire e-payments industry.

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Paymentech Picks VoyenceControl!

Paymentech has selected “VoyenceControl!” software to manage the dynamic and complex network changes of Paymentech’s heterogeneous network, which supports high-volume payment transactions. Paymentech processes more than 4 billion transactions a year for merchants across North America. VoyenceControl! provides a complete solution to more efficiently plan, design, deploy, and manage change within complex networks. The automation of complex and repetitive tasks associated helps reduce cost and ensure network integrity.

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HealthLink to Offer NPC’s Electronic Payment Processing

HealthLink, a WellPoint company, has signed a multi-year agreement to use NPC’s payment platform “HealthePay” to provide enhanced electronic payment capabilities, payment consolidation and electronic remittance advice reporting to their providers, hospitals and other healthcare constituents. HealthLink will be using NPC’s payment platform HealthePay to provide enhanced electronic payment capabilities, payment consolidation and electronic remittance advice reporting to their providers, hospitals and other healthcare constituents. HealthLink launched HealthePay during the second quarter or 2003. The relationship between HealthLink and National Capital PPO leverages NPC’s industry expertise and core competencies as a payment settlement clearinghouse and as a leading provider of Internet Remittance Advice Reporting.

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GEMPLUS PHONE CARDS

Gemplus has delivered its third billionth phone card for the public telephony sector. Gemplus recently delivered their third billionth phone card to Telmex, the largest operator worldwide in public telephony and Gemplus’ biggest client in this field. Gemplus is the first smart card manufacturer to reach this milestone. Among Gemplus’ eighty customers worldwide, are CANTV, Venezuela, China NetCom, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Menatel and Telmex, Mexico.

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Convenience Fees for Campus Card Use Spread

Colorado State University is now requiring students to pay a 2.9% convenience fee for using credit cards to pay tuition. The university indicated in April it was planning to cease accepting credit cards due to high merchant fees. The Collegian newspaper reported the university was paying approximately $600,000 annually. A bill that was passed in the Colorado Congress in May now permits agencies to add a convenience fee on the customer for credit card payments and bank fees. CSU has since partnered with Informed Decisions Corp. to use its “CASHNet SmartPay” system. “SmartPay” offers secure Web account presentment and payments; touchtone telephone payments; real-time interfaces; Web-based cashiering; and third-party payer processing. Other “SmartPay” clients include San Francisco State University, Syracuse University, and Lee College in Texas.

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