2003 Outlook

Even though the stock market rallied yesterday and this morning, the outlook for 2003 is not all that rosy. A new study found that more than two-thirds of middle market CFOs believe the economy will either stay flat, act erratically or decline further, next year. The American Express survey of 485 middle market CFOs found that 52% of financial executives say they have encountered obstacles to forecasting operating budgets accurately. Nearly a quarter admitted that they have steady problems or a critical issue with their ability to forecast operating budgets. As a result, the majority of CFOs intend to focus on streamlining internal processes, negotiating better deals with suppliers and improving the management of capital to contain direct and indirect costs. In addition to controlling their own internal costs, survey respondents are looking to outside vendors for relief. In fact, 85% of respondents feel that they are not getting the best possible rates from their vendors of indirect goods and services, due to issues such as perceived lack of buying power, negotiating staff or aggregated spending data.

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MIFARE Oyster

Philips Electronics said this week that its latest “MIFARE” technology is being used in the new contactless “Oyster” smart card program which provides a contactless payment system for London’s public transportation system including Transport for London and London Underground. The TranSys consortium, led by EDS and Cubic, has begun the first phase of the rollout by issuing “Oyster” cards to 80,000 staff. The “Oyster” smart card is being introduced in phases to customers from spring next year, starting with annual and monthly season ticket holders. An estimated seven million journeys are completed every day on London’s public transport system.

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CIM Reseller Program

Miami-based CIM USA has launched a “Card Printer Systems Division Re-Seller” program for its product line which includes low-cost desktop thermal card printers. The Card Printer Systems product line is composed of desktop thermal card printers that start at only $895 MSRPmaking them the lowest priced units available in the industry. Such low costs enable re-sellers to tap into all businesses, both small and large.

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HOLIDAY SHOPPING

MasterCard says a survey of Asia/Pacific women has found that
“quality” is of utmost importance this holiday season. The second most
vital criteria in the selection of gifts varied from market to market.
Quality was second in Hong Kong, with value second in Indonesia, the
Philippines and Malaysia. In Singapore and Taiwan, “Friends Wants” held the
second spot. Overall, 61% of the women surveyed said they planned to spend
the same amount on gifts this year, as last year. Nineteen percent said
they planned to spend more while 20% reported plans to spend less. Most of
the 19% who said they would spend more than last year were from Australia
and Hong Kong. Compared to the other countries, the Philippines and
Singapore registered the highest percentages of women who said they would
be spending less than last year. The survey also asked respondents about
the average amount they would spend on a gift. Leading the region, women in
Hong Kong and Taiwan were most generous (17% and 12% respectively), with
respondents saying they would spend over US$50 on a gift. Regionally, most
women stated that they would allocate, on average, US$10 to US$25 on a
gift. However, 41% of the women in the Philippines said they would spend
less than US$10 on average this season.

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First Hawaiian & Discover

First Hawaiian Bank has partnered with Discover to offer “Discover Card” cash advances at its 61 branch locations and more than 186 ATM locations in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. First Hawaiian Bank, founded in 1858, is Hawaii’s oldest financial institution and has more deposits from individuals, corporations and partnerships than any other bank in the state. The bank is headquartered in Honolulu and has 56 branches throughout Hawaii, three in Guam and two in Saipan.

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EDGAR DUNN EXEC

Edgar, Dunn & Company has hired payments and card products
industry expert Michael Walters in its Sydney office. Mr.Walters will lead
EDC’s market expansion in the Asia Pacific region to provide financial
services institutions with strategic consulting services. Prior to joining
EDC, Mr. Walters was a founder and CEO of Cards etc, which is the developer
of Arterium, a smart card and application management system supporting many
of the leading multi-application smart card implementations in Asia Pacific
and North America. Prior to Cards etc, Michael was a founder of Electronic
Trading Concepts, which provided market research and management consulting
services to financial institutions, retailers and payment associations in
Asia Pacific. Mr. Walters also co-founded Card Technologies Australia (now
known as Catuity), which specialized in smart card solutions for the
financial, transit and retail sectors internationally.

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Online EBPP

A new study has found that three out of four online adults now use the Internet to help manage their finances. The Dieringer Research Group report shows that the median income of online bankers has fallen nearly 18% in two years, from $62,500 in 2000 to $51,500 this year. Online banking service users are significantly more likely than other online adults to seek and apply online for credit cards, personal loans and mortgages. Some 18% of U.S. consumers say that their bank has an e-mail address for them, but only half of these consumers say that they actually receive e-mail from their bank. The type of e-mail online banking customers would most like to receive are alerts that tell them about critical activity on their accounts, such as when they are reaching credit limits.

Growth in Online Banking
(Million U.S. Adults)
2000 2001 2002
Bank Online 19.4 29.0 37.5
Average Annual Growth 92% 49% 29%
Pay Bills Online 8.2 12.5 19.5
Average Annual Growth 110% 52% 56%
Source: Dieringer Research Group

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FDC ENTRY

Egg’s new “la Carte Egg” international VISA card has selected First Data
to provide full cardholder and transaction processing. This is FDC’s first
entry into the French payment card market. First Data has provided full
card processing services to Egg since 1999, partnering with them to build
the business from start-up to a 5% share of the United Kingdom card market
in less than three years. Since its launch, Egg has acquired over two
million customers. “La Carte Egg” will be unique to the French market in
that it will offer 1% cash back on all purchases as well as offering a
competitive APR of 12.99%.

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Casino Payroll @dvantage

Atlanta-based Global Payments has released “Payroll @dvantage,” a terminal and PC-based product that provides the gaming industry with the ability to cash payroll checks. Payroll @dvantage, the newest addition to Global’s VIP Preferred Suite of check-related services for the gaming industry, reduces fraud and offers instant check-cashing convenience to gaming customers. This terminal and PC- based product provides the gaming industry with the ability to safely cash payroll checks by offering 100% payment guarantee, and becomes a valuable tool in the reduction of fraud.

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PAYMENT ANTENNA

UK-based Optical Antenna Solutions has developed an optical device that
can provide credit card-free ‘point and pay’ technology. The antenna,
inserted in the mobile phone to read as part of the infrared port, will be
pointed towards the payment register where a similar infrared port can be
found. A personal security code is then entered into the phone on the nine
digit key pad at which point the OAS antenna captures a light signal, which
carries the data required to authorize the transaction and exchanges it
with the register. The live trials of the antenna in a range of ‘point and
pay’ applications are currently under way in Korea. Further trials are
planned for Japan, the USA and Cambridge in the UK.

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AirTran VISA

AirTran Airways and Juniper Bank have partnered and will announced this week a new co-branded “Platinum VISA” card. The new “AirTran A-Plus Platinum VISA” includes AirTran’s frequent flier program which offers free round-trip air travel with only 12 credits or 12,000 points. The new “A-Plus Rewards” credit card program enables cardholders to earn points or credits from each purchase as well as transferred balances. Cardholders earn one point for each dollar spent on regular purchases, and two points per dollar spent on AirTran Airways ticket purchases. Cardholders can also earn additional points by transferring balances from other credit cards at the rate of one point per dollar transferred (up to 3,000 points or three credits). The new “AirTran A-Plus Platinum VISA” features a six-month 3.9% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. The go-to rate is 14.99%. The card also carries an annual fee of $39.00. Upon activation, new cardholders receive four credits. Customers can earn a free round-trip ticket or four Business Class upgrades on AirTran Airways for 12 credits, or a free round-trip ticket on any one of 14 other airlines to destinations not served by AirTran Airways for 24 credits. AirTran Airways, formerly known as ValuJet, is America’s second-largest low-fare airline. In August, Juniper Bank acquired the Midwest Express Airlines co-branded credit card portfolio from US Bank. (CF Library 8/8/02)

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FDC France

Egg’s new “la Carte Egg” international VISA card has selected First Data to provide full cardholder and transaction processing. This is FDC’s first entry into the French payment card market. First Data has provided full card processing services to Egg since 1999, partnering with them to build the business from start-up to a 5% share of the United Kingdom card market in less than three years. Since its launch, Egg has acquired over two million customers. “La Carte Egg” will be unique to the French market in that it will offer 1% cash back on all purchases as well as offering a competitive APR of 12.99%. London-based Egg plc announced the international VISA card in France November 2nd. (CT Library 10/31/02)

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