SBI & NCR DEAL

Mumbai-based State Bank of India has signed an agreement with NCR
to deploy about 1,500 ATMs in the next 18 months. The new ATMs will feature
mobile phone top-ups, utility bill payment, voice guidance for ATM
operations, multilingual screens and a touch screen ATM locator. Under
terms of the deal, NCR will provide hardware, total installation services
and ATM network management services. With this deployment, SBI will have
the largest network in India, with over 3,000 ATMs spanning the length and
breadth of the country.

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MasterCard Settlement

In a stunning move yesterday, and shortly before the start of the trial for the Wal-Mart debit card antitrust lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson announced that a settlement had been reached between MasterCard and the merchant plaintiffs. While the judge ordered the details of the settlement to remain confidential to avoid prejudicing a jury deliberating the case against VISA, some items have leaked out. Reportedly, MasterCard has agreed to pay the equivalent of $1 billion in damages, cut fees for off-line debit card transactions, and make some concessions over the “Honor All Cards” policy. MasterCard asked the court on March 14th to sever the plaintiffs’ claims against MasterCard saying it would be prejudicial and could cause substantial jury confusion. The motion was previously denied. MasterCard currently has a 23% share of the off-line debit card market. Opening arguments were delayed until Wednesday as a result of the surprise settlement. The class action lawsuit, representing five million merchants in the USA, was filed in 1996 by Wal-Mart, The Limited, Sears Roebuck, Safeway, Circuit City, and three trade associations.

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32BIT/1MB SMART CARD

Osaka-based Sharp unveiled its next-generation, high-performance
32-bit smart card with built-in 1MB flash memory. Sharp says the growing
demand for a _one card_ secure solution for transportation and e-ticketing,
retail and banking, security and access control, and intelligent packaging
drove the development. The new 32-bit solution will be more than two times
faster than the current Sharp 1MB smart card. The new smart card is
expected to be available by the end of June.

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MONERIS CARDINAL CENTINEL

Moneris Solutions, a joint investment of the Royal Bank of Canada and the
Bank of Montreal, now offers CardinalCommerce’s payment authentication
software, “Cardinal Centinel,” to its online merchant customers. The
software enables the utilization of multiple factors to authenticate
individuals coupled with an audit trail that issuers may use for
validation. The technology-neutral architecture will recognize and use
today’s authentication systems, including a user’s name and password, smart
cards, digital certificates, biometrics, and even mobile or wireless
devices. Moneris Solutions serves more than 330,000 North American merchant
locations.

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AmEx Intl

American Express’ international payment card business is now growing at nearly double the AmEx domestic pace. At the end of the first quarter, American Express had 22.4 million cards-in-force outside the USA, a 7.8% increase over 1Q/02. International charge volume for 1Q/03 hit $19.9 billion, a 15% surge over the same period one year ago. In the USA, during the same period, American Express cards were up 1.7%, and volume increased 8.4%. During the first quarter AmEx launched the “Gold Credit Card” in Indonesia, and began issuing the “Centurion Card” in Japan. The company also signed a network partnership agreement with Vietcombank to issue the “Green Credit Card” and “Gold Credit Card” in Vietnam. Earlier this year, AmEx partnered with TD Bank Financial Group in Canada to become the exclusive provider of corporate cards to TD’s commercial and corporate banking customers. The company also opened a Shanghai business travel center in China.

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TSYS Buys ESC

TSYS has acquired Roswell, GA-based Enhancement Services Corporation. ESC provides targeted loyalty consulting and travel, as well as gift card and merchandise reward programs to more than 40 national and regional financial institutions in the USA. TSYS says the acquisition fulfills a strategic objective, making it possible for TSYS to offer a fully integrated solution that builds on loyalty programs inherent in its processing systems. Steven Wilson, ESC president and CEO, will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the TSYS wholly owned subsidiary.

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