CARD ALERTS

Dubai Internet City-based Ducont has launched a new wireless technology product that enables cardholders and merchants to receive alert messages over their mobile phones. The “Card Alert” system interfaces with the credit card management system and extends proactive services over SMS. SMS messages may be sent for transactions processed, due dates for payments, promotional schemes, limits touching specified lower amounts and a lot more. Last week, the company signed a contract with a major UAE bank which will soon offer the service.

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Technology Spending Study

The American Bankers Association today launched its first technology spending study in more than ten years. The survey was mailed this week to more than 1,000 banks from a broad- range of asset sizes, culled from both the ABA membership roster and the TowerGroup banking client base. Over the next month, ABA and TowerGroup will be reaching out to these institutions to encourage participation in this important benchmarking opportunity. TowerGroup and the ABA expect the survey to be completed by early July, with results available to participating institutions by early Fall 2003.

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KBC Proton Cards

Oberthur Card Systems has inked a deal with KBC Bank & Insurance Group NV for the delivery of more than 10 million “Proton Prisma” EMV smart cards. KBC intends to distribute the cards to consumers in Belgium, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary next year. One year ago, KBC and Proton World signed an agreement licensing the “Proton Prisma” multi-application smart card technology in a number of its associated banks in Central and Eastern Europe. In the initial phase, the agreement will involve CSOB Bank in the Czech Republic (with branches in the Slovak Republic), Kereskedelmi es Hitelbank in Hungary, and the Poland-based Kredytbank, which also has branches in Lithuania and a subsidiary in Ukraine.

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Bugbear Virus

Federal regulators have issued an alert to financial institutions nationwide in regard to the potentially serious threat of the “Bugbear.B” Internet virus. The virus targets more than 1,300 specific financial institutions by including their Internet addresses in the virus’s code. According to the OCC, the virus disables security software such as anti-virus software; installs spyware such as a keystroke logger and a remote control program; captures keystrokes to obtain authentication information, gathers other potentially sensitive information, and e-mails it outside the bank; and, collects and uses e-mail addresses to further distribute the virus from the infected machines. The disabling of security software, insertion of spyware, and e-mailing of information outside an infected bank could occur whether or not the bank is included in the 1,300 specifically mentioned bank Internet addresses. Bugbear.B uses a flaw in Microsoft’s “Internet Explorer” program and its implementation by Microsoft’s “Outlook” e-mail reader that allows the virus to infect machines whenever a victim simply previews an e-mail message loaded with the program. BugBear spreads via e-mail and local networks. The subject line, message body, and attachment are all selected from a random list, or chosen from file names already in the target computer’s “My Documents” folder. The infected file itself has either a .exe, .scr, or a .pif extension. Blocking those extensions will protect e-mail users against infection.

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ONLINE VOLUME

A new study has found that British adults spend approximately US$2.4 billion per month online. The average online spend across genders and age groups is just over US$100 per person, per month, however, the biggest spenders are males and those in the 45-54 age group. The research from The Royal Bank of Scotland found that more than half of all men with Internet access use the Web every single day compared to 41% of women. RBS says that more than half of all adults use the Internet to make purchases and, like Internet use overall, this peaks for 25-34 year olds where 65% do so. Women are slightly less likely than men to buy online (52% compared with 56%). Residents of Wales and the West Country are the biggest online shoppers of all – 66% of them buy online compared to less than half – 45% – of those in the North East and Yorkshire.

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Qxpress 200

FL-based Success Concepts Enterprises has inked a deal with UT-based Q Comm International to purchase 1,000 “Qxpress 200” point-of-sale activation terminals for prepaid phone services. Under the agreement, Success Concepts will private label Q Comm’s Qxpress 200 terminal as “Wild Bull POS — Powered by Q Comm.” Q Comm International Inc. provides proprietary prepaid transaction processing and information management systems that facilitate electronic recharge or distribution of prepaid products from service providers or their distributors to retail points of sale.

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ECC & ARC

Ontario-based RDM Corporation has introduced a Web-based image and transaction management system that facilitates the electronic deposit and settlement of payments received by paper check. The solution provides a complete payment platform for electronic check conversion (ECC) for both point-of-purchase (POP) and accounts receivable conversion (ARC) payment types. The complete ITMS solution is comprised of two RDM proprietary components, ITMS Client and ITMS Host. ITMS Client is a Windows-based application that can reside on any workstation running Windows, with both a browser-based and terminal application available. ITMS Client provides the interface to a peripheral check reader that captures an image of the check as well as account and routing information from the MICR line of the check. Its user-friendly interface allows additional payee or biller information to be added to transaction data. ITMS Client also provides proofing and batch balancing features. ITMS Host is a secure enterprise scale server system operated by RDM.

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Globalink @dvantage

Atlanta-based Global Payments has launched “Globalink @dvantage,” an information and account access Web portal customized exclusively for Global’s ISOs. Globalink @dvantage is a secure, Web-based data and business management tool designed to help ISOs effectively run and grow their businesses. Globalink offers a comprehensive library of informative materials, transaction and financial data, as well as portfolio management and risk reduction tools, all highly secured by five levels of protection.

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BIBIT 1Q/03

Kosterijland-based Bibit Global Payment Services reported that transaction volumes increased 247% and values of transactions increased 382% in the first quarter compared to one year ago. Bibit specializes in processing payments over the Internet and provides a multi-lingual, end-to-end payment service that combines over 70 multi-currency and international payment methods into a single digital solution. During the first quarter the company signed Hapag-Lloyd / TUI, Virgin Express, Footlocker Europe and Pixmania as clients. Bibit says its average amount per transaction grew from $192 to $266 over the past year with the IT sector being the largest contributor, with shoppers by now spending well over US$1,285 per purchase.

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EasyFuel

On Track Innovations Ltd has commercially launched its wireless solution for petroleum payment management and loyalty programs for oil companies, commercial transport and transportation fleets, and private motorists. “EasyFuel” is targeted for the U.S. and European markets, but is currently deployed in Africa and South America. The fleet product has been operating in Africa via BP and Exel under the brand name “FuelMaster,” and currently includes approximately 500 gas stations and 40,000 vehicles. OTI recently announced that ABSA Bank, the largest commercial bank in South Africa, had joined the “FuelMaster Express” program, geared toward private motorists, providing access to over 400,000 motorists in ABSA’s fuel card program. BP and Repsol have adopted OTI’s solution for petroleum payment and fleet management in Africa, South America, and Europe.

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FARE COLLECTION SYSTEM

The Metropolitan Bus Authority for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Department of Transportation and Public Works has signed a $6.4 million contract with Cubic Transportation Systems to provide an advanced electronic bus fare collection system for San Juan. Cubic will supply the MBA with a modern computer managed system. The system will consist of modular fareboxes which have been operationally proven in New York City and Vancouver. The fareboxes validate coins and process magnetic fare cards and are configured so that contactless smart card technology can be introduced in the future. A big part of the system is the central computer for data collection and reporting, which will enable the MBA to better manage fare collection revenues. Under this same contract, Cubic is also supplying its bus fare collection equipment and technology for a second bus operator, Metro Bus Uno, which is under contract to the MBA. Fare collection data from the 30 buses operated by Metro Bus Uno will be uploaded to the MBA central system as part of the fare collection revenue management process.

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FDC-Concord Merger

As expected, the U.S. Department of Justice has requested additional information pertaining to First Data’s pending merger with Concord EFS. The second request will extend the waiting period, however the companies still expect to close the transaction by the end of this year. The DOJ is weighing the impact on the electronic transactions market if First Data’s “NYCE” network is combined with Concord’s “STAR,” “MAC” and “Cash Station” networks. FDC’s ownership of Western Union may also be an issue. FDC and Concord EFS announced in April a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $7 billion. (CF Library 4/2/03)

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