EFTA Conference Speakers

The Electronic Funds Transfer Association announced the addition of three more speakers for its May 6 conference on the future of government payments technology. Joining the program are Mary Dixon, director of the Common Access Card Office of the U.S. Department of Defense; Robin Williamson McBrearty, director of the New England PARTNERS WIC EBT project; and Harvey C. Eckert, deputy secretary for comptroller operations for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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MetaCard

Fiserv CBS Worldwide has introduced a software solution that manages all facets of a credit card program through issuer and acquirer functions, fraud alert, loyalty programs and authorizations. The new “MetaCard” solution is available as fully integrated or modular software for multi-bank and multi-product processing. It also offers private-label processing, major purchase plans, transaction-based pricing and full card issuance. “MetaCard” also allows multiple loyalty programs to work with both the issuer and acquirer modules. The fraud alert and authorizations modules are rules-based systems. In 2001, Fiserv CBS Worldwide strategically entered the credit card industry by purchasing the assets of Columbian-based Compania Latinoamericana de Software. The assets included “FACT 400” credit card solution used extensively in Latin America. (CF Library 12/7/01)

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Cross Country Suit

PA-based Applied Card Systems and DE-based Cross Country Bank, sub-prime credit card specialists, were separately sued last week by the Minnesota Attorney General and the New York Attorney General. The lawsuits charge Applied and Cross Country with fraud, false advertising, deceptive business practices (including the use of predatory interest rates/fees), and, abusive debt collection practices. The suits noted that Cross Country was the subject of 25% of the complaints processed by the FDIC from 2000 to 2002. The New York Attorney General’s office said it handled about 400 complaints about Cross County. The Minnesota Attorney General reportedly fielded more than 200 Cross Country complaints. Cross Country Bank is the nation’s 23rd largest bank credit card issuer, based on year-end 2002 outstandings. The issuer has about 2.4 million cardholders according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Wal-Mart Suit

Washington, DC-based The Small Business Survival Committee reiterated Friday that it will be a severe blow to the ability of small businesses to compete against giant retailers if VISA and MasterCard lose in the Wal-Mart debit card lawsuit. Meanwhile, talk of a potential settlement by the parties in the antitrust lawsuit is spreading. The settlement speculation is fueled by the dismissal last week of all of VISA and MasterCard’s summary judgement motions by federal judge John Gleeson. The judge granted most of the plaintiff’s motions. The SBSC says small businesses like the current debit card system because the transaction costs are lower than credit cards, paper checks and American Express. The SBSC says large retailers are trying to dismantle consumer choice, uproot a payments system, gain more control over the card networks, and squeeze small businesses. Jury selection is scheduled to begin April 21st with a trial date of April 28th

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VISA NASCAR

VISA announced the Visa Ultimate NASCAR Experience promotion, which offers cardholders a chance to get an inside look at the non-stop, high-octane action of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing. Cardholders are automatically entered to win a weekend living the Ultimate NASCAR Experience when they user their Visa card to make a purchase between April 6 and November 30, 2003.

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In-House Smart Cards

First National Bank of Omaha’s new “smart VISA” is issuing the card in-house and is using an innovative cost-per-card smart card solution from Datacard Group. The Datacard solution includes a data generation system, Datacard smart card personalization manager software, and a new smart card module for FNBO’s existing Datacard “9000 Series” card issuance system. The Datacard solution also features an open architecture and GlobalPlatform-compliant scripts. Under terms of the agreement, FNBO pays a nominal start-up installation and training fee, followed by a fixed cost for each card personalized by the Datacard solution. The per-card fees FNBO pays can ultimately go towards the purchase of the Datacard solution. FNBO became the fifth U.S. credit card issuer to offer smart cards with the recent launch of its “smartOne VISA.”

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VASCO 1Q/03

VASCO said this week that it projects revenues for the first quarter to be in the range of US$5.5 million to US$5.7 million, compared with $3.6 million in the fourth quarter. VASCO also expects to report operating income for the first quarter and expects revenues for the second quarter to be strong. The Company also indicated that it expects its cash position at March 31st, to exceed $3.6 million, an increase of approximately $1.0 million from December 31st, and that the order backlog at March 31st for firm orders to be delivered in the second quarter, was approximately $5.0 million.

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Smart Cards

A new research report released this week projects that the world market for smart card products and services will grow 11% per annum to $8 billion by 2006. The report says the number of smart cards in use by 2006 will hit 3.9 billion. The Freedonia Group report also breaks down the growth by region. By 2006, 42% of the world’s smart cards in use will be in Asia/Pacific. Western Europe will account for 36% and the USA for 12%. Freedonia says the US market will increase at a nominally rapid rate but remain highly underdeveloped given its massive potential.

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VISA GLOBAL

VISA International reported that its global volume increased 15.1% last year, approaching US$2.5 trillion. On its peak day last year, December 23rd, VisaNet reached a record authorization rate of over 4,700 messages per second and cleared 91 million transactions valued at US$5.7 billion. VISA’s Asia Pacific, Latin America/Caribbean, and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) regions grew 30.8%, 17.3%, and 38% in sales volume, respectively. Volume in VISA’s three mature markets — the U.S., EU, and Canada — increased 8.1%, 15%, and 9%, respectively. VISA also reported that its debit volume hit US$1.1 trillion, an 18.7% increase over 2001. Usage of VISA’s commercial payment solutions reached US$143 billion, a 29.1% increase over 2001.

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