Debit Class Action

The lead counsel of the plaintiffs in the “Wal-Mart Debit Card Lawsuit” announced yesterday it is mailing 7,657,888 notices to the merchants who are class members in the multi-billion dollar antitrust suit. New York City-based Constantine & Partners say the certified class consists of all persons and business entities that have accepted VISA and/or MasterCard credit cards and therefore have been required to accept Visa and/or MasterCard offline signature debit transactions from October 25, 1992 to the present. The law firm says it is seeking damages to compensate merchants for being forced to accept more than $1 trillion in “slow, fraud-prone, inferior offline signature debit transactions at anticompetitively high and fixed prices during the last decade.” An average of 760,000 notices are being mailed daily between September 9 and September 19, and class notice also will appear in major national publications September 12 through October 14. The lawsuit, filed six years ago by retailers, challenges VISA and MasterCard’s enforcement of their “Honor All Cards” rule. If the merchants prevail, VISA and MasterCard will face significant class damages of approximately $13-$15 billion, which could be tripled under antitrust laws. The trial is scheduled to begin April 28, 2003, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York before Judge John Gleeson. (CF Library 4/402; 6/6/02; 6/11/02; 6/26/02)

Details

PIN or Sign

Americans appear to be equally divided on their preferences when using a VISA or MasterCard-branded debit card to make purchases. About 52% of consumers say they prefer to sign for debit card purchases instead of using a PIN, according to an informal poll conducted this month on CardWeb.com. However in an earlier poll, 52% of Americans said merchants should not have the right to require you to use a PIN when making purchases with your VISA or MasterCard debit card. Interestingly, more than 56% of consumers indicated they do not know if the cost to the merchant for accepting VISA and MasterCard debit cards is the same whether you use your PIN or your signature. Approximately 1,000 consumers participated in the current and previous polls conducted on CardWeb.com’s homepage.

Details

TATRA ATM DEAL

Raiffeisen Bank’s wholly owned subsidiary Tatra Banka a.s., the third largest bank in Slovakia, has signed an agreement with Euronet Worldwide for ATM outsourcing. Under terms of the multi-year outsourcing agreement, Euronet will provide ATM driving, transaction routing, and settlement/reporting for the bank’s approximately 120 ATMs. Tatra Banka represents the third Raiffeisen subsidiary agreement in central Europe, where Euronet has an ATM outsourcing agreement. Tatra Bank follows Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. in Croatia and Raiffeisen Bank Rt. in Hungary. It is Euronet’s first project in the Slovakian market. Tatra Banka, the oldest bank in Slovakia, provides services for more than 470,000 Slovakian customers across 88 branches.

Details

InterCept Update

Atlanta-based InterCept announced the appointment of Boone Knox as Vice Chairman of its Board of Directors and the promotion of Lynn Boggs to Chief Operating Officer. The company also announced it has opened an item and image processing center in Los Angeles. The opening of the new facility follows on the heels of a center opened in Seattle in September last year. InterCept products and services include core data processing, check processing and imaging, ATM and debit card processing, merchant processing, data communications management, and related products and services.

Details

July Downtick

For the month of July, the charge-off rate for credit card backed-bonds fell to 6.26% from 6.47% a year ago. Also, the delinquency rate fell to 4.98% versus 5.06% a year earlier, representing the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases. The data are from Moody’s Credit Card Indexes for roughly $360 billion of U.S. bank credit card loans backing securities. In July, cardholders paid back their debts at a monthly rate of 15.13%, slightly below the rate of 15.28% reported in July 2001. The payment rate has been remarkably stable throughout the most recent economic downturn, and has generally remained within the historically high range of 14% – 16% for the last three years. The July 2002 yield was 18.02%, the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases. The drop in yield reflects, in part, the lagged adjustment in pricing of variable rate credit cards tied to short-term interest rates.

Details

ID-CHECK License

Intelli-Check has licensed its patented “ID-CHECK” technology to Security Identification Systems Corporation. Intelli-Check’s state of the art ID-CHECK technology will be integrated into SISCO’s access control systems, which have been deployed at industrial sites, corporations, police departments, prisons, jails and other government facilities. Terms of the non-exclusive licensing agreement were not disclosed.

Details

VASCO AWARD

Brussels-based VASCO and its Illinois-based Data Security International division has been named # 32 to Deloitte & Touche’s “Technology Fast 50” Program among Greater Chicagoland technology companies.
Deloitte & Touche’s “Technology Fast 50” program is a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the Chicago area, which is based on the five-year revenue growth percentage for the years 1997 through 2001. The Company’s family of “Digipass” and “VACMAN” products offers end-to-end security through strong authentication, digital signature, network single Sign-On, and Radius, LAN and Web security.

Details

Drive-Thru Transactions

Hypercom is targeting fast food, drive-thru restaurants with new high speed transaction processing technology. The “HFT 500” family of outdoor card payment terminals can be embedded directly in the drive-thru menu board. The high security payment devices feature a durable all-climate keyboard, an easy-to-read backlit display, integrated PIN Pad, and smart card capability. The rugged, high security “HFT 500” devices connect directly to the in-store cash register. The payment transactions are handled by the in-store system or they can be transmitted directly from the terminal to the processor for virtually instantaneous authorization. Hypercom’s second innovative technology, “HyperPASS” allows consumers to quickly pay for purchases by simply waving a miniature key fob in front of the company’s new “ICE 5500Plus” and “ICE 5700Plus” card payment terminals. “HyperPASS” uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and Hypercom’s card payment terminals to read a unique number and security code from the key fob, then instantly transmit the information to a host processor. The processor verifies the customer’s identity and payment preference, and automatically charges the purchase to the customer’s pre-designated credit card or, if desired, the customer’s checking account.

Details

Fargo Printers

MN-based Fargo Electronics unveiled three new printers this week. The “HDP820-LC” offers superb print quality and encoding technology in one pass, and is now available with a field-upgradeable lamination module. The “DTC525-LC”, a direct-to-card printer/encoder, is also now available with a field-upgradeable lamination module. The new “Persona CardJet C7” is Fargo’s low-cost card printer alternative to traditional cut-and-paste systems.

Details

OMNI-SMART

Aix-en-Provence-based Inside Contactless and OmniTek have teamed to introduce a new contactless smart card reader family named “OmniSmart,” based on Inside’s reader technology and contactless smart cards using the recently launched “PicoPass” chip. One of the most important features of PicoPass smart cards (besides their enhanced data protection security with cryptographic authentication) is the
ability to store as many as 16 different applications on the same card, each with their own private security keys. Therefore, the same card can be shared by different applications. Some of these applications include the ability to store one or several biometric templates and digital photographs on the same card, logical access to PCs protecting the log-on procedure as well as data files, vending with secure accounting of purchases, and much more.

Details