BabyMint Cuts Teeth

Atlanta-based BabyMint, Inc. has added a matching scholarship program that gives its college savings credit card program a triple rebate feature. Last month, MBNA teamed with BabyMint to launch a new co-branded MasterCard which goes head-to-head with the Upromise MasterCard college savings program offered through Citibank. Both programs enable consumers to earn rebates from retailers towards tuition expenses of family members. Through a recently formed partnership with SAGE Scholars, BabyMint program participants will now receive a matching scholarship credit in addition to the merchant and credit card rebates they earn. The “Tuition Rewards” program matches or “doubles” the combined rebate earned through the credit card rebate and the merchant rebate. For example, a $100 transaction at PetSmart will produce a $7 merchant rebate, a $1 credit card rebate, and an $8 Tuition Reward. BabyMint’s network is made up of more than 700 retailers and 127,000 grocery stores. Merchant rebates run as high as 20%. BabyMint says it has filed for patent protection of the program. (CF Library 5/2/02)

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PERSONALIZED HOLOGRAMS

Caesaria-based SafeCard ID system 7 has introduced new technology enabling the creation of personalized holograms for ID cards and possibly payment cards. The hologram may contain the card bearer’s photograph which is embedded in the card and cannot be altered. The special process makes the card bearer’s face appear as a shiny face integrated within other holographic elements. SafeCard’s patented system can also be used as a platform for printed biometric data. The system can also handle smart cards. SafeCard can selectively metallize the card in any size and shape and in several colors. The company is currently moving its headquarters to Norfolk, VA from Caesaria, Israel.

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Fast Cheap Cards

MN-based Datacard Group has taken high volume card issuance for the loyalty and phone card market to a new level this week. The company has unveiled two new systems that offer magnetic stripe encoding and inkjet printing of bar codes, logos and alphanumeric characters on preprinted loyalty or phone cards at speeds of 10,000 cards per hour. The E6200 Card Personalization System is designed for loyalty card production while the E8200 is designed for telephone scratch-off cards. One configuration prints alphanumeric characters lengthwise on a card, while the other prints data in multiple print fields in any location on a card. Datacard says the E6200 can produce cards at a cost as low as $0.0033 per card while the E8200 can produce cards at $0.006 per card.

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SONY WEB-CONNECT

Hoofddorp-based GlobalCollect has inked a contract with Sony Online Entertainment to expand the online payment options available to gamers. WebCollect is an end-to-end, real time processing system for international payments that enables companies to give their customers a flexible suite of payment methods, currencies and languages. Sony multiplayer online gaming business is using a subscription-based revenue model for its successful EverQuest series, which has more than 430,000 subscribers. While most of the online transactions in the U.S. market are done by credit card, the rest of the world prefers local payment alternatives such as bank debits, checks and wire transfers. WebCollect combines all these payment methods into one interface, thus simplifying the payment and collecting process.

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CashX Expansion

Phoenix-based CashX has introduced its CashX Prepaid VISA card in more than 200 stores in Southern New England. CashX can be purchased at retail locations in $20, $50 or $100 denominations, and can then be activated at CashX.com. Once activated, the consumer has a virtual Visa account that can be used to purchase anything wherever Visa is accepted online, over the phone or through mail order. CashX is available at 215 convenience stores in the Boston, Southern Massachusetts, and Providence, RI area including Tedeschi Food Shops, Lil’ Peach Convenience Stores, and Store 24.

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ATM CONTRACT

UniCredito Italiano has signed a US$6.5 million multi-year contract with NCR for hardware maintenance and support services to the bank’s dual-vendor ATM network. Under the terms of the contract, NCR will provide support for both NCR and Diebold ATMs. More than a half of UniCredito Italiano’s 3,338 ATMs are NCR machines. UniCredito Italiano is the largest banking group in Italy in terms of operating income and market capitalization. The bank is going through a period of reorganization, moving from a federal structure to an international multi-specialist business model. As a result, the bank has decided to reduce its number of vendors in the areas of self-service maintenance and software.

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KeyCorp CU ATM Deal

Great Lakes Credit Union of Toledo has signed an agreement with Cleveland-based KeyCorp for surcharge-free access to Key’s ATM network which includes more than 540 automated teller machines in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. GLCU serves the employees of more than 300 companies around the NW Ohio area bringing traditional banking services as a free employee benefit to the companies. KeyCorp delivers their products and services through KeyCenters and offices; a network of more than 2,300 ATMs; telephone banking centers; and a Website.

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ATMEL VAR

Bangalore-based California Card systems Pvt. Ltd. has signed a deal to handle Atmel’s smart card product line in India. Atmel is a supplier of smart card products such as memory, secure memory, CryptoMemory, secure microcontrollers and crypto-controllers. Atmel’s chips range from general-purpose nonvolatile memories and microcontrollers through programmable logic and application specific integrated circuits. California Card Systems was established in 1993 to provide turnkey solutions for the emerging smart card markets in the USA and India from its headquarters located in Palo Alto, California.

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Lerner Donation

MBNA Chairman Al Lerner has donated $100 million to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Case Western Reserve University will re-name its new medical college the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. The Clinic will prepare physician-investigators and scientists dedicated to advancing biomedical research and practice and will admit an entering class of up to 40 students from a national and international pool of applicants.

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PayPal Processor

As reported in last week’s CardFlash, PayPal is switching from InterCept to Wells Fargo for its U.S. credit card processing following a May 1st agreement between Wells and PayPal. Yesterday it became official, as Wells confirmed it has become the payment provider to PayPal. PayPal’s business consists primarily of transactions between businesses and consumers via online shopping (e-commerce sites) and online auction sites. Using e-mail, senders simply notify recipients of a payment via e-mail. PayPal estimates that its total payment volume for the three months ending June 30, 2002 could range from $1.61 billion to $1.63 billion. Wells Fargo processes nearly $4 billion in credit card sales annually for 20,000 online merchants. (CF Library 6/13/02)

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