ClearCommerce & Commerce Server

TX-based ClearCommerce says that Microsoft “Commerce Server” customers can now use its software to run financial transaction processing applications in-house in place of outsourced services to process credit cards and other payment options necessary for online commerce.  The new integration between ClearCommerce and Commerce Server 2002 gives online merchants the opportunity to bring this functionality in-house and therefore reduce costs, control their environment and take advantage of the most accurate online retail fraud detection technologies available on the market. ClearCommerce is one of the first transaction processing software vendors to complete certification for Microsoft Commerce Server 2002.

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Tidel Court Victory

Houston-based Tidel Technologies confirmed this week that a lawsuit brought against the ATM firm by Montrose Investments was dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Tidel Technologies, Inc. is a manufacturer of automated teller machines and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers.  To date, Tidel has sold more than 40,000 retail ATMs and 150,000 retail cash controllers in the U.S. and 36 other countries.

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Flower Check Card

Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank launched a special “VISA Check Card” for the Philadelphia Flower Show this week that donates $5 of the $10 card to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. When a customer selects a Philadelphia Flower Show Check Card, $5 of the $10 fee will be his or her donation to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.  Proceeds benefit the society’s neighborhood revitalization program, Philadelphia Green.  This is the first time PNC Bank has issued a check card to support a non-profit cultural institution.

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VISA Drive-Thru

Hypercom, Texas Digital Systems, and VISA have hooked up to launch automatic payment solutions for the QSR industry. TDS’ “Order Confirmation Displays” will be integrated with Hypercom’s quick-service card payment terminal technology, along with VISA’s processing, to allow drive-thru patrons to complete transactions using credit or debit cards at the POS. The initial rollout began last month with five installation sites in the Atlanta area with installations to follow in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin. According to Global Growth Group’s “QSR Drive-thru Time Study,” only 7.96% of quick service restaurants visited accepted card payments in 2000. In 2002, 14.47% of the restaurants visited accepted cards. VISA says a recent analysis of 100,000 transactions at restaurants within two different major quick service restaurant brands reveals the average transaction for credit customers was 20% to 30% higher than for cash customers. VISA launched a major QSR initiative last year after its 2002 QSR volume exceeded $2.5 billion. (CF Library 11/13/02).

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BANKLINK President

Fiserv has named Paul Frank president of its NY-based BANKLINK business unit.  Prior to joining Fiserv, Frank was with Mellon Financial as Senior Vice President and Division Head of Mellon Network Services, where he managed Mellon’s payment business. He also launched and managed Mellon’s Direct Bank, with responsibility for Internet banking, ATMs, call center and national home equity lending.

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GE & Conseco

GE Consumer Finance is set to acquire Conseco Finance Corp.’s sales finance unit which includes private label credit card receivables. The deal, valued at $310 million, would add $2.4 billion of receivables and more than 2.8 million cards to GE Consumer Finance’s retail sales finance business in the Americas. The receivables include consumer installment and home improvement loan assets in addition to the private label credit card receivables. Conseco’s private label credit card portfolio declined last year from $2.7 billion in receivables to $2.2 billion. In 2001, the portfolio grew more than 51%. Conseco private label credit cards include merchants such as Menard’s, Roomstore, and Bryant Heating. The acquired assets would be managed by GE Consumer Finance’s retail sales finance unit, based in Kettering, OH. GE’s card portfolio currently holds about $26 billion in receivables. During 2002 GE Card Services revenues declined 4%, from $3.94 billion to $3.77 billion, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). The deal is expected to close by June 30th.

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

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MasterCard & ABNH

MasterCard International and American Bank Note Holographics have signed a five-year agreement for ABNH to continue being the primary supplier of holograms for MasterCard cards. ABNH introduced the security hologram in 1981, and a few years later MasterCard was the first major payment card company to utilize the security hologram in a global authentication program. The new agreement provides MasterCard with access to ABNH’s newest technologies and strengthens security procedures and physical security conditions. The agreement also provides for a comprehensive contingency plan arrangement. The contract announcement drove up ABNH’s stock price by 14.6% yesterday, to close at 94 cents per share.

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SmarTalk

The Smart Card Alliance is tackling contactless payments with a special teleconference and a new white paper. The report on “Contactless Payment and the Retail Point of Sale: Applications, Technologies and Transaction Models” provides a comprehensive review of several existing contactless programs around the world, presenting details on the numbers of cards issued, the technology used, the transaction model and any additional applications involved. In addition, the white paper explores the benefits and costs of contactless payment for retailers and issuers. The SCA has also scheduled its first “SmartTalk” teleconference for April 3rd to cover “Trends and Technology Advances In Contactless Payment.” Attendees can pre-register for the discussion at SCA’s Web site.

CONTACTLESS PROGRAMS SNAPSHOT
PROGRAM CARDS TECHNOLOGY
Hong Kong Octopus Card 9.0MM FeliCa 13.56MHz w/Plastic Card
ExxonMobil Speedpass 6.0MM TI Low Frequency w/Transponder
VISA Contactless 7.0MM 13.56 MHz, Infrared w/Plastic Card
or Mobile Phone
MasterCard PayPass Pilot 13.56 MHz w/Plastic Card

Source: Smart Card Alliance

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SCOTIABANK 4Q/02

Scotiabank reported that debit card volumes were up 11% in the latest
quarter. Wireless banking was also up 28% from last quarter. The online
banking active customer base grew by 42% over last year, and transaction growth was even higher. Overall, Scotiabank
reported net income in the quarter ending January 31st of $595 million,
compared to net income of $592 million in the year ago quarter. Return on
equity for the quarter was 16.6%.

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FCNB Cards

Spiegel’s First Consumers National Bank is notifying cardholders that their VISA and MasterCards cannot be used for purchases after tomorrow. Closing down the open-to-buy on outstanding credit card accounts is part of the action take by the bank to liquidate its mostly sub-prime credit card portfolio. Under OCC-approved plans, FCNB must sell or liquidate its portfolio by April 30th. The bank has been trying to unload its portfolio after signing a consent order with the OCC in May 2002 to end the issuance of sub-prime credit cards. FCNB agreed at that time to stop issuing any new secured credit cards unless it is fully secured; increasing the credit line of any existing secured credit card; issuing any new unsecured or partially-secured credit cards to any existing customer with a FICO score below 680; and providing any new credit line increases on any bankcard to any customer having a FICO score less than 680. FCNB also agreed in May to close all accounts with a FICO score of less than 680 and all “Preferred” card accounts with a FICO score of less than 640 that have been inactive for a period of twelve months or more. First Consumers is the 28th largest bank credit card issuer in the USA, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), with 1,439,479 accounts and $1,059,783,754 in outstandings as of 12/31/02. (CF Library 2/22/02; 4/23/02; 8/23/02)

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

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MAESTRO 2002

MasterCard International’s PIN-based global debit brand, “Maestro,” is now
carried on 505.2 million cards worldwide, a 16.6% increase over year-end
2001. Europe is the largest cardholder base for “Maestro,” with 226.1
million cards, a 9.2% increase over the same period one year ago. There was
also a 25.3% increase in the number of merchant terminals accepting
“Maestro” in Europe during the fourth quarter. With over 188.5 million
cards, Asia/Pacific was the second largest “Maestro” region as of December
31st. The number of “Maestro” cards in the region rose 32.6% over year-end
2001. In Latin America there were 29.9 million “Maestro” cards in
circulation, a 12.6% gain over 2001. The number of “Maestro” merchant
terminals in the Latin America region increased over 25.2% during 2002. In
South Asia, Middle East/Africa, “Maestro” acceptance has been growing
significantly with an increase of 41.2% in merchant terminals as of
December 31, 2002, compared to the same period in 2001. As of the fourth
quarter, there were over 15.4 million Maestro cards in circulation in the
SMEA region. Overall, “Maestro” is accepted for purchases at more than 7.3
million merchant terminals in 93 countries and territories, and at 821,766
MasterCard/Maestro/Cirrus ATMs around the world.

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