Edmonton-based Canadian Western Bank has joined with MBNA Canada Bank to issue a new suite of MasterCards for business and personal use. The “Think Western MasterCard” will be offered in a business version and three personal credit cards. Under terms of the agreement, MBNA Canada Bank will provide the marketing and operational expertise including card delivery and fulfillment. Canadian Western Bank has 27 branch locations and is the largest “Schedule I” chartered bank headquartered in and regionally focused on Western Canada.


COF Marketing

Capital One says its “What’s in Your Wallet” campaign has resulted in the card issuer achieving brand awareness and brand equity scores among the highest in the credit card industry. The company expects its marketing expense to gradually increase this year from the $242 million it spent in the first quarter. Even though the issuer will expand its marketing investments the Company expects little or no account growth this year. However, the Company expects managed loans outstanding to increase by approximately 15%-20% in 2003, with more of the growth comprising “super-prime” and “prime” accounts rather than “sub-prime” assets. Cap One has previously held as much as 40% of its managed loans in the “sub-prime” or under FICO 660 market. The company’s managed loan balances ended the first quarter at $59.2 billion, a 21.9% increase over 1Q/02. U.S. consumer loans, mostly credit cards, accounted for $46 billion of the total.



Vancouver-based LML Payment Systems and Global eTelecom have renewed their processing agreement with ISO CardPayment Solutions. Under terms of the contract, Global eTelecom will continue to provide complete back engine processing and support for the CardPayment Solutions’ Electronic Check Conversion programs. Global eTelecom’s Electronic Check Services include: Electronic Check Conversion (Point-of-Purchase), Electronic Mail Order / Telephone Order Checks (MOTO), ARC Lockbox Conversion, Electronic Recurring Debit, Electronic Represented Check Collection (RCK), Electronic Check Image Capture, and Secure Web Based Check Image Retrieval.


Datacard SE48

Datacard Group has introduced a new card issuance system that enables card issuers to produce ready-to-use ATM, debit or credit cards in less than 30 seconds. The new “Datacard SE48” card issuance system offers embossing, magnetic stripe encoding, and smart card personalization capabilities. Personalization features for the new SE48 system include embossing, topping, magnetic stripe encoding and both contact and contactless smart card personalization. Advanced indent capabilities allow for front, rear and combined front-and-rear indent printing. The system supports CPX protocol and 3-DES encryption for secure host data exchange. Card processing and card stock are restricted and accessible only by key and password. The system also includes bolt-down tabs that allow the unit to be secured to its station. A fraud-resistant card counter registers all cards, whether they enter the system via the input hopper or the exception card feeder.



Dresden-based Cognitec Systems has agreed to give SAGEM access to all aspects of the face recognition technology it has developed. SAGEN will adapt and integrate face recognition in its biometrics-based identification systems. SAGEM says the deal with Cognitec follows an agreement with Iridian, last February, and now perfectly complements its multi-biometrics offerings. Cognitec Systems is known for the leading recognition performance of its “FaceVACS” technology.


MIFARE Deployment

The Metro Transit in Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota has selected Philips Electronics “MIFARE” contactless smart card technology for use in its contactless automatic fare collection system provided by Cubic Transportation Systems. The Cubic system will be the nation’s first regional ticketing system that accepts smart cards for fare payment for light rail, city bus and future bus rapid transit system. The solution includes computers, software, communications, ticket vending machines, platform and on-board smart card validators, hand held read/write devices, and will be equipped with the “Cubic Tri-Reader” architecture. The initial roll out, which is planned to be by the end of this year following a 30-day operational field test, will provide an automated smart card-based ticketing system for the Minneapolis / St. Paul population, eventually replacing most magstripe tickets with contactless smart cards on the Twin Cities’ bus network. Metro Transit serves a quarter of a million customers each business day with services on nearly 130 routes and more than 900 buses operating on fixed-route services.



Canadian Tire Corporation reported that its Financial Services business had net credit charge receivables at the end of the first quarter of $1.86 billion, a 36.7% increase over 1Q/02. More than 21,000 new “Options MasterCard” accounts were converted from retail cards during the quarter and more than 157,000 new accounts were
generated through the in-store card acquisition program. Currently, Financial Services manages more than 2.5 million “Options MasterCard” accounts, which is 44% higher than a year ago. These accounts make up more than 85% of Canadian Tire’s gross credit charge receivables. Financial Services plans to add at least 600,000 new accounts by the end of 2003 and convert the remaining 230,000 qualifying retail card accounts to the “Options MasterCard.” Financial Services sustained strong growth in receivables during the quarter while improving the aging of its accounts through effective credit management and collection policies. Earnings before taxes for the first quarter were up 3.9% to $24.3 million compared to $23.4 million last year. Excluding gains on the sale of credit charge receivables, earnings before taxes were up 19.4% to $22.0 million compared to $18.4 million in 2002.


Hispanic Debit

Debit card usage, among U.S.-based Hispanic-Americans, increased 41% over the last two years, compared with an 11% increase in checks, while cash use declined 22%. The “Hispanic Debit Cardholder Survey” by MasterCard also found that 94% used their debit card at least once to make a purchase, while 84% said they had made a debit card purchase within the previous three months. Debit was the payment option of choice for midrange purchases of between $50 and $100 but, are just as likely to be used as credit cards for mid-to-high-end purchases in the $100 to $500 range. MasterCard says that proactive efforts by financial institutions (in-Spanish-language) play a key role in informing Hispanic-Americans about the benefits and advantages of debit card usage. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed considered themselves “extremely knowledgeable” or “very knowledgeable” about how debit cards work, and more than nine out of 10 described themselves as at least “somewhat knowledgeable.”



Sydney-based credit card loyalty specialist Catuity reported its first profitable quarter with earnings of $305,000 compared to its 1Q/02 loss of $355,000. First quarter revenue was $1,475,000, compared to first quarter 2002 revenue of $976,000. However, the company said that many new customers are coming along slower than expected, and, as a result, the firm anticipates lower revenues in the second half of 2003 than originally expected. A significant portion of the first quarter’s revenue is license revenue that was deferred revenue at the end of 2002.


Aeroplan Deal

Air Canada said yesterday it has reached a new agreement with CIBC in regard to the “Aerogold VISA” credit card program that includes a provision for Air Canada to enter into an agreement with another credit card issuer to participate in the “Aeroplan” loyalty program. After facing bids from other card issuers, CIBC is agreeing to pay 4% more for Air Canada air miles than the 19% previously offered. The new CIBC contract will also extend the “Aeroplan” relationship to 2013. CIBC will also hold to its previous commitment to make a $350 million loan to Air Canada as a prepayment for “Aeroplan” miles. Upon the new contract taking effect, CIBC will become an unsecured creditor of Air Canada for this unamortized balance and expects to take a charge of 23 cents a share on an after tax basis in the second quarter. Justice James Farley yesterday agreed to support the revised proposal to renew the Aerogold contract between CIBC and Air Canada. Air Canada filed for bankruptcy protection April 1st.



Taishin Bank of Taiwan has selected Welcome Real-time’s “XLS” smart transaction platform for its EMV smart card loyalty program. Tasihin expects to complete the EMV migration by the end of 2003. “XLS” is designed to boost revenue with services such as instantly awarded loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, special events and cash back features in a single convenient EMV payment process. Taishin Bank issues over 3.5 million cards and is the second largest local card issuing bank in Taiwan.



Wincor Nixdorf Inc announced that Virtual Kitchen Systems Inc., provider of a patented Kitchen Operations System for restaurants, has signed a referral agent agreement.

Under the agreement, the companies will market and deploy automation solutions to the hospitality industry.

The combination of Wincor Nixdorf’s BEETLE/iPOS, an all-in-one point-of-sale appliance, and the Kitchen Operations System from VKS, provides the hospitality businesses with a rugged, technically advanced solution that streamlines efficiency in the kitchen and delivers a fast return on investment (ROI).

VKS’s robust software utilizes touch screens to greatly enhance the cook’s effectiveness, improve the customer dining experience, and reduce cost. This software visually represents every menu item’s cooking time and place in the order flow through a series of icons. With this real-time system, food is delivered hot, fresh, and fast with minimal waste.

“Wincor Nixdorf’s robust hardware is an ideal delivery platform for our software. Working together, both companies can effectively provide cost-saving solutions for the hospitality industry,” said Doug Wittrup, president of Virtual Kitchen Systems Inc.

“Virtual Kitchen Systems offers a unique value proposition in the hospitality industry, with a proven ability to help kitchens improve their efficiency,” said Jeff Soisson, president of Wincor Nixdorf USA. “Their solution moves the BEETLE/iPOS beyond the point of sale into kitchen operations as well.”

About Virtual Kitchen Systems Inc.

Founded in July 2002, Virtual Kitchen Systems has quickly become a technology leader in the hospitality industry. The company’s mission is to revolutionize the restaurant industry with the world’s first Kitchen Operations System, utilizing technology to simplify the cooking process, increase speed of service, enhance quality, and capture real-time relevant data. Company headquarters are in Richardson, Texas. For more information, call 972/671-8124.

About the BEETLE Family of POS Systems

With over 600,000 installations, Wincor Nixdorf’s BEETLE family is one of the most prolific non-proprietary POS platforms ever sold. With solutions that encompass thin-client POS terminals, lean-and thick-client POS systems, kiosks, lottery terminals, and mobile POS devices, the BEETLE family is the industry’s most comprehensive POS product line, addressing the complete spectrum of customer touch points in retail stores. An open design supporting commonality of components across the entire BEETLE family substantially simplifies software deployment and hardware maintenance, keeping costs down and productivity high.

More than just PCs, BEETLE appliances are rugged, designed to withstand the rigors of retail environments. Based on the same motherboard and Embedded Intel(R) chipset technology, all models include standard retail interfaces, accept a wide range of peripherals, and are compliant with established retail software standards. Standard operating systems include Red Hat(R) Linux(R), the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) family, and Microsoft DOS. The BEETLE appliances also offer the most expansive and complete set of OPOS(tm) and JavaPOS(tm) drivers for POS peripherals.

The BEETLE family of POS appliances is the industry’s first and only complete line of customer-proven, Linux-ready POS systems in production. The family is also the first in the industry to be certified for Windows XP Embedded.

About Wincor Nixdorf

Worldwide, Wincor Nixdorf Inc. is one of the fastest growing providers of IT products and solutions for the retail and banking industries. Wincor Nixdorf’s offerings include hardware, application software, professional services, and a complete range of multi-vendor service programs including on-site support, depot service, advanced exchange, and performance-guaranteed supplies procurement. Wincor Nixdorf is the world’s third largest provider of POS systems and automated teller machines. Employing more than 4,600 people, Wincor Nixdorf operates in 70 countries with manufacturing plants in Germany and Singapore. North American headquarters are in Austin, Texas and Boston, Mass. For more information, visit [][1].