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.”

Details

CATUITY 1Q/03

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.

Details

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.

Details

TAISHIN EMV CARDS

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.

Details

VKS BEETLE/iPOS

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 [www.wincor-nixdorf.com/usa][1].

[1]: http://www.wincor-nixdorf.com/usa

Details

Linux Smart Card Reader/Writer

Sharp has developed the RK40PR004, an intelligent, contactless, open-type IC card reader/writer that incorporates embedded Linux®* OS. Mass production is scheduled for October 2003. This reader/writer works with Sharp’s combination IC Smart Card and ISO/IEC 14443 Type B Smart Card. The product supports communication via the touch-and-go system currently used for office entrance security or transportation system fare collections.

In addition to featuring high-speed communication, the RK40PR004 incorporates its own OS and unlike conventional systems does not require a host terminal (or personal computer for reader/writer control). Reducing the cost and complexity of a network infrastructure makes many standalone applications possible; for instance, an installation in a parking lot where access to a communication network infrastructure and terminal installation is expensive. Furthermore, the incorporation of an onboard OS makes application development easier.

The RK40PR004 can be used in various applications ranging from ordinary homes to large building control systems; such as a door lock system using just the reader/writer itself, or facilitating central control of multiple reader/writers by a server.

“This is a first step for Sharp in providing elements of the infrastructure for secure access control,” said Robert Stuart, Product Manager at Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas.

Sharp is currently focusing on the development of a module for embedded applications based on the RK40PR004.

Product Features

· Onboard, Incorporated OS (embedded Linux®*)

· Complies with ISO International Standard Card

· Complies with 3 types of host interfaces: RS-485, RS-232C, and Ethernet

· Specifications

Model No.RK40PR004
Compliant IC cardISO/IEC 14443 Type B
Host interfaceRS-485, RS-232C, Ethernet
Communication speed
(between host)RS-485: < 460.8 kbit/s RS-232C: < 115.2 kbit/s Ethernet: 10Base-T Communication speed (IC card I/O)106 kbit/s 212 kbit/s Control signal (I/O)Input 4ch, Output 4ch Power supplyDC 12 V ± 5% Size dimension210 mm (V) × 160 mm (H) × 40 mm (W) Weight1.1 kgDate of volume shipments Mass Production: October 2003About Sharp Microelectronics of the AmericasSharp Microelectronics of the Americas, Camas, Washington, is a U.S.-based company and a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, Osaka, Japan. SHARP is a worldwide developer of core digital technologies that are playing an integral role in shaping the next generation of electronic products for consumer and business needs. Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas offers breakthrough memory, LCD, opto, CCD, RF/IR, microcomputer and System-on-Chip components, along with packaging and integration skills that help design engineers throughout North and South America bring their ambitious ideas to market. Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas is dedicated to improving people's lives through the use of advanced technology and a commitment to innovation, quality, value and design. For more information, visit [www.sharpsma.com][1].[1]: http://www.sharpsma.com

Details

Web-based ACH Payment Transactions

First aSuretee, LLC, a First Data Corp. subsidiary, and Hagenuk USA, a leading innovator of secure smart card readers, unveiled an Internet-based solution for Automated Clearing House payment transactions. Combining Hagenuk’s smart card readers with aSuretee digital signature capabilities, this new system integrates the essential building blocks for protected Internet ACH transactions. The system provides clear proof of user intent and protection against any form of unauthorized transaction. The First aSuretee/Hagenuk solution provides the business-to-business market with cost-efficient, highly secure ACH payment methods nationwide.

“The ACH network is now in use by more than 20,000 depository financial institutions, two million corporations and one-hundred-million consumers offering its users a cost-effective and efficient mechanism for exchanging payments,” said Charlie O’Rourke, senior vice president at First Data Corp. “However, the adoption of internet-based ACH transactions by institutions has since slowed because they were unable to prove the authenticity of users and transactions. Utilizing digital signatures, the First aSuretee/Hagenuk offering provides a powerful authentication solution for ACH users.”

As part of today’s announcement, Hagenuk will deploy First Data’s aSuretee authentication chip in its secure FinSafe smart card reader to offer terminal authentication and transaction signing for highly secure financial and e-commerce applications. The aSuretee chip contains a public/private key pair and digital signature capabilities to replace handwritten signatures without significant changes to existing business processes. The aSuretee Account Based Digital Signature (ABDS(SM)) Solution is a simple and efficient method of enabling secure online transactions or replacing vulnerable username/password systems while reducing operational costs and increasing transaction security.

“Hagenuk’s feature-rich FinSafe smart card terminal is a secure extension of the PC that provides a trusted environment for Internet transactions,” said Kees-Jan Delst, CEO of Hagenuk USA. “By integrating First Data ABDS Solution capabilities within the Finsafe reader, we can now offer an efficient and easy-to-implement method for signatures in an online environment.”

First aSuretee and Hagenuk will showcase their solution for secure payments and ACH transactions in booth 933 at the CTST show in Orlando, Florida May 12-15.

About First aSuretee ( )

First aSuretee LLC, a First Data Corporation company, offers products and services that provide simple and flexible solutions for today’s complex electronic authentication requirements. First aSuretee’s innovative technologies enable enterprises and government agencies to implement an Account Based Digital Signature (ABDS(SM)) Solution, a revolutionary authentication system that leverages existing business processes for authentication of users in any network environment. For more information, please visit .

About First Data Corp. ( )

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, helps powers the global economy. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 3 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With 29,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit, smart card and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union(R) money transfers services; and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, First Data also offers a variety of payment services in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Germany. Its Western Union and Orlandi Valuta money transfer agent networks include approximately 159,000 Agent locations in more than 195 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at .

About Hagenuk ( )

Hagenuk USA Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hagenuk Smart Card Solutions, a company based in the Netherlands. The company has a long and successful history in the development and delivery of Smart Card terminals for financial transactions. The handheld Hagenuk Smart Card readers are widely used for Internet banking user-authentication in Europe. Hagenuk has recently introduced the FinSafe terminal, and a FinRead compliant terminal, as a new generation of PC peripherals that drastically improve security for online transactions. For more information, please visit .

Details

Virgin MasterCard

Virgin is looking to shake up the Australian credit card market with a new, aggressively priced co-branded MasterCard. The new card is also differentiating itself with a new rounded-corner design. The Australian launch follows Virgin’s launch in January 2002 of the “Virgin Credit Card” in the UK, which has attracted more than 300,000 cardholders to-date. The new “Virgin MasterCard” for Australia is being issued by Westpac Banking in association with Virgin Money Group, a joint venture between Virgin and AMP. The new card features the “Mates Rates” rewards which offers cardholders automatic, instant discounts when using the card at participating merchants. The “Virgin MasterCard” offers a six-month 4.9% intro rate followed by ongoing interest rate of 11.9%, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]). There is no annual fee and a 55 day grace period. Virgin says a recent study showed that 84% of Australian consumers said they would consider swapping to a card with no annual fees, good rewards and a significantly lower interest rate.

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

Details

Java Card System Protection Profile

Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced the release of the first Java Card System Protection Profile. This Protection Profile reduces the time and cost for Java Card licensees to complete security evaluations under Common Criteria. Sun will provide a reusable set of security requirements specifically for the Java Card platform. Java Card products evaluated using Common Criteria provide licensees with the ability to meet the increasing demand by banks, governments and other card issuers for security evaluations.

Common Criteria was developed in 1996 as the combination of the Canadian Criteria, Federal Criteria and Information Technology Security Evaluation Criteria (ITSEC) to provide standards for security evaluation of IT products that would be accepted in the international community. For examples, Common Criteria evaluation is required for digital signature cards in Europe and as national identity cards in various countries. As the process evolves, and more products become available with Common Criteria certification, its adoption continues to expand. The Common Criteria process was designed to support the specification and procurement of products with security attributes which enables secure international commerce and communication.

“Java Card technology is the most cost-effective, capable and secure technology available in the market today,” said Peter Cattaneo, director of Java Card Business, Sun Microsystems. “By delivering the Java Card System Protection Profile, Sun is making it easier for licensees to meet the increasingly higher levels of security evaluation that are being demanded by major cards issuers worldwide. This is another example of Sun ensuring that the Java Card licensee community has the tools required to address market needs.”

The release of the Java Card Protection Profile is the result of two years of collaboration with the smart card community and security experts to provide Java Card vendors with a tool to help them address the growing demand for Common Criteria certified products. The Protection Profile streamlines the process and lowers the cost for Java Card licensees to introduce products that meet the security evaluation standards required by governments, banks and commercial enterprises.

Many Java Card products deployed today include card loading and management functionality based on the GlobalPlatform () specifications. Smart Cards containing both Java and GlobalPlatform are widely deployed by banks and governments including the Visa member banks and the US Department of Defense.

“We believe that the demand for security certified products will grow rapidly and are pleased that Sun Microsystems has released the Java Card System Protection Profile to address Common Criteria certification,” said Marc Kekicheff, Technical Director of GlobalPlatform. “We have been working closely with Sun to insure that the Protection Profile is aligned with the needs of GlobalPlatform members and the recently released GlobalPlatform Card Security Requirements Specification.”

Java Card technology is the industry’s leading open and secure standard for multi-application smart cards. With more than 50 licensees in 15 countries around the world, Sun’s Java Card technology is the most widely adopted smart card platform. Together, licensees have shipped more than 300 million units.

For more information on Java Card technology, please visit http://java.sun.com/javacard .

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — “The Network Is The Computer” — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://sun.com.

Details

M&T & SVPCo

SVPCo announced that M&T Bank has taken an ownership stake in SVPCo, the private-sector payments company providing ACH services through its ACH Operator, the Electronic Payments Network (EPN), and check “electronification” services through the Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) to more than 1,000 financial institutions nationwide.

With the addition of M&T, SVPCo participating banks represent more than 59% of the volume of checks cleared in the U.S and 34% of the ACH origination volume. This provides SVPCo with the critical mass essential to continue its enhancement of the ACH process and aggressively advance electronic payments, including images as a replacement for paper in the check clearing process.

“This very well-respected regional bank has joined the other 20 SVPCo owner banks in our mission to convert checks to electronic payments as early in the clearing process as possible,” said Hank Farrar, President of SVPCo. “We look forward to adding M&T to our expanding network, and their intellectual capital to our endeavors to create robust private sector payment systems.”

SVPCo offers a variety of products and services including Electronic Clearing Services (ECS), which is the nation’s largest provider of Electronic Check Presentment services, operating 368 exchanges per day, representing $3.4 billion and 4.4 million transactions per day. ECS is rapidly developing an image exchange network to add value to its ECP services. It also includes the Electronic Payments Network (EPN) for ACH, and SafeCHECK for check conversion.

Today, U.S. payments are shifting from paper to electronic, but checks will still be written for the foreseeable future. “As long as customers choose to write checks, we will work as an industry utility to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of the clearing process,” said Mr. Farrar.

“We already use the Electronic Payments Network for ACH services,” said Lin Szenina, Senior Vice President of M&T Bank, “and we’re enthusiastic about electronic check exchange, which serves as a foundation for check truncation by exchanging check images with other banks in the marketplace.”

The Image Exchange utility is an open system where all banks, all sizes, in all locations, can exchange images directly or through others. It will be operational for image forward presentment and electronic returns in first quarter 2004.

SVPCo

SVPCo is owned by 21 of the largest banks in the United Sates, representing over 59% of U.S. commercial bank deposits. SVPCo owner banks are: [ABN AMRO][1], [Bank of America][2], [The Bank of New York][3], [Bank One][4], [BB&T][5], [Citibank][6], [Comerica, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas][7], [Fleet National Bank][8], [HSBC Bank USA][9], [JPMorgan Chase Bank][10], [KeyBank][11], [Mellon Bank Corporation][12], [M&T Bank][13], [National City Bank][14], [PNC Bank][15], [SunTrust][16], [U.S. Bancorp][17], [Union Bank of California][18], [Wachovia Bank][19], and [Wells Fargo Bank][20]

M&T Bank

M&T Bank is considered one of the country’s strongest and most highly regarded regional banks. It was founded over 140 years ago in Western New York, where it is still headquartered. M&T Bank Corporation is the nation’s 25th largest bank holding company, with assets of over $33 billion as of December 31, 2002. It has over 470 branches throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia and a sizable ATM network of more than 1,000 locations as well as state-of-the-art telephone and Web Banking. M&T Bank is recognized for its financial strength and sound management.

[1]: http://www.abnamro.com
[2]: http://www.bankamerica.com
[3]: http://www.bankofny.com
[4]: http://www.bancone.com
[5]: http://www.bbandt.com
[6]: http://www.citibank.com
[7]: http://www.comerica.com
[8]: http://www.fleet.com
[9]: http://www.banking.us.hsbc.com
[10]: http://www.chase.com
[11]: http://www.keybank.com
[12]: http://www.mellon.com
[13]: http://www.mandtbank.com
[14]: http://www.nationalcity.com
[15]: http://www.pncbank.com
[16]: http://www.suntrust.com
[17]: http://www.usbank.com/cgi/cfm/home.cfm
[18]: http://www.uboc.com
[19]: http://www.wachovia.com
[20]: http://wellsfargo.com

Details

Delta Miles for AmEx Financial Advisor

American Express Financial Advisors and Delta Air Lines announced a marketing relationship to allow members of Delta’s frequent flyer program to earn miles through a consultation with an American Express financial advisor.

SkyMiles members now can earn 3,000 miles and Medallion members can earn 5,000 miles for an initial face-to-face consultation with an American Express financial advisor. Additionally, SkyMiles members can earn 10,000 miles and Medallion members can earn 15,000 miles by completing a financial plan.

“Delta and American Express have one of the most successful partnerships in the travel industry,” said Christine Pierce, Delta’s Director of Partnership Marketing. “We are pleased to broaden this relationship and offer SkyMiles members the opportunity to earn miles with American Express Financial Advisors.”

This agreement furthers the existing relationship between Delta and American Express, which includes the co-branded Delta SkyMiles(R) Credit Card from American Express, Delta’s participation as a partner in the Membership Rewards program, the ability for American Express to sell comprehensive travel insurance through Delta channels and the acceptance of American Express Cards for all Delta purchases.

“This agreement brings our relationship with one of our key partners, Delta Air Lines, to a new level and allows us to bring a benefit to SkyMiles members that is in high demand today,” said Jim Cracchiolo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Financial Advisors and President of American Express Global Financial Services. “Now, SkyMiles members can meet with a financial advisor and do planning to help meet financial goals, while collecting miles toward future travel in the process.”

To find a local American Express financial advisor, visit [www.americanexpress.com][1].

All SkyMiles program rules and conditions apply. To join Delta’s SkyMiles program, visit [www.delta.com/skymiles][2].

American Express Financial Advisors is one of the nation’s leading financial planning companies. More than 10,100 American Express financial advisors help manage the personal economy of more than 2.6 million clients in the United States through comprehensive, long-term financial planning and high-quality financial products. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [www.americanexpress.com][3].

Travel services and charge cards are made available through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. Credit and deposit services are made available through American Express Centurion Bank, a federally insured financial institution.

Delta SkyMiles members earn mileage by flying Delta, Song, Delta Express, Delta Shuttle, Delta Connection and Delta’s worldwide partners, including Delta’s SkyTeam partners. The Delta SkyMiles program offers many other mileage-building opportunities, including the Delta SkyMiles(R) Credit Card from American Express, AT&T telecommunication services, EarthLink(TM) Internet services, participating hotels, car rental companies, restaurants, home buying and selling, cruise line and flower purchases.

Delta Air Lines, the world’s second largest airline in terms of passengers carried and the leading U.S. carrier across the Atlantic, offers 5,386 flights each day to 435 destinations in 78 countries on Delta, Song, Delta Express, Delta Shuttle, Delta Connection and Delta’s worldwide partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. For more information, please go to [www.delta.com][4].

American Express Financial Advisors Inc. Member NASD. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.

[1]: http://www.americanexpress.com
[2]: http://www.delta.com/skymiles
[3]: http://www.americanexpress.com
[4]: http://www.delta.com

Details

JEAN COUTU AIR MILES

The second largest pharmacy in Canada and eighth largest pharmacy in North America has signed a multi-year agreement to become a sponsor in Canada’s “AIR MILES Reward Program,” operated by Alliance Data Systems. The Jean Coutu Group will offer “AIR MILES” in its 248 stores throughout the province of Quebec. Jean Coutu’s Canadian network comprises 269 PJC outlets, 39 PJC Clinics and 2 PJC Sante Beaute, all franchised, in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario. The American
Brooks Pharmacy network has 330 corporate pharmacies in seven states in the northeastern USA. More than 12.5 million Canadians actively collect “AIR MILES” reward miles at more than 100 brand-name sponsors representing over 12,000 retail and service locations across Canada.

Details