Genpass Nabs Davidson

Genpass Inc. has named Peter Davidson, formerly president of Speer & Associates, as president of Genpass Card Solutions. Davidson has more than 30 years of experience in the EFT and banking industry. At S&A, he managed consulting services that encompassed all phases of consumer e-commerce, including credit card issuing and acquiring, debit card issuing and acquiring, ATM / POS, card and ATM management. Prior to his joining S&A, Davidson held senior and executive-level positions with major U.S. and international banking organizations including HSBC, CoreStates Financial, and Beneficial Finance Co.

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TELMEX Phone Cards

San Diego-based TELMEX USA issued a warning this week to the Mexican-American community to avoid prepaid telephone cards which carry the TELMEX logo and issued by Atlanta-based Mactel Communications Corporation. The calling card purports to permit telephone calls to be made from the United States to Mexico using a telecommunications carrier that is variously identified on the cards as either “Televia Communications” or “Televiva.” However, TELMEX USA never licensed Mactel or anyone else to create prepaid calling cards for calling from the United States to Mexico. The company does offer a prepaid card only valid for calls from Mexico to the US and has agreements with Norte Direct and Planet Telecom.

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CardReady Signs NARTS

Single Source Financial Services and its affiliate, CardReady International, has become the official debit and credit card processor for the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops member stores. NARTS, with more than 1,000 members, is the resale industry’s only trade association. NARTS serves thrift, resale, and consignment shops of all types ranging from multi-outlet chains to single stores. The company expects in excess of $12,000,000 in annual processing volume from these retail locations within the next year.

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ATM RECHARGE

MobiFon (Connex) and Banca Comerciala Romana have signed agreements for Euronet Worldwide’s ATM Recharge Services. The deal will cover Romania’s Connex prepaid airtime subscribers via the ATM network owned and operated by BCR. Customers of Connex’s prepay service are the first users in Romania to have an electronic method for adding airtime minutes to their mobile phone accounts. Euronet ATM Recharge enables Connex to distribute airtime at any one of 483 BCR-branded ATMs across Romania. Connex is the country’s largest mobile operator, with more than 2.1 million subscribers, and BCR is its largest bank, with 275 branches across the country and 3 million customers. BCR already enables Connex subscribers to access their bank accounts and receive financial messages via Euronet Mobile Banking.

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MAESTRO

Hitachi Capital and Japan’s largest travel agency, JTB, have joined with MasterCard International to introduce the Maestro global debit card program to Japan this week. The cards can be used at over 2,300 JTB-affiliated hotels and inns that have CREX debit/credit card terminals installed. The service was made possible by integrating the global debit networks of Hitachi Capital and MasterCard International. According to Hitachi Capital, which supplies the terminals, the number of facilities that offer the service will be increased to 18,000 in two years. The Maestro brand mark now appears on over 433 million cards worldwide and is accepted for purchases at over 5.7 million merchant terminals in 83 countries and territories and at more than 760,000 MasterCard/Maestro/Cirrus ATMs worldwide.

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FuelForce

U.S. Bank Voyager Fleet Systems said Monday it is now offering a new fuel management tool powered by Multiforce Systems. FuelForce authorizes and controls the dispensing of products to fleet vehicles from any number of sites while collecting accurate, valuable fuel usage and vehicle data for fleet management. The partnership between U.S. Bank Voyager and Multiforce integrates the Voyager Universal Fleet Credit Card program with the FuelForce automated fuel management system. The system uses a U.S. Bank Voyager fleet card or keypad entry to authorize fuel at any in-house dispenser, and eliminates the need for multiple sets of cards and/or keys. The FuelForce island controller can accept a U.S. Bank Voyager Universal Fleet Card from a pre-authorized “third-party” without dialing a network for authorization. A list of U.S. Bank Voyager account numbers, drivers, vehicles, and a current valid vehicle odometer reading reside in a distributed database at each fuel island controller. Voyager Fleet Systems provides universal fleet fueling and maintenance cards for more than 1.3 million vehicles.

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SK ACQUISITION

SK Telecom is reportedly pursuing the acquisition of Jeonbuk Bank’s credit card operations. The Maeil Business Newspaper says Jeonbuk plans to establish a new credit card company after spinning off its card operations in July. Jeonbuk Bank is in talks to sell about 50% of its credit card company for about KRW75 billion. The newspaper says SK Telecom is currently conducting due diligence on Jeonbuk’s credit card operations.

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FALCON FRAUD

Ta-Chong Bank has chosen HNC Falcon Fraud Manager to help enhance fraud detection capabilities for its credit card portfolio. Ta-Chong is EDS’ sixth customer in Taiwan to utilize Falcon Fraud Manager via the global EDS sales channel. Approximately 40% of credit cards issued in Taiwan are now protected by Falcon Fraud Manager. Falcon Fraud Manager is a neural network-based predictive software system that examines transaction, cardholder and merchant data to detect and mitigate fraud. The technology currently protects more than 450 million payment card accounts worldwide.

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NYCE Nabs Finney

NYCE Corporation has hired Robert Finney, formerly with First Data, Equifax and Microsoft/TransPoint, as Senior Exercutive to lead NYCE’s Network and Debit Processing sales. Mr. Finney will be charged with developing national sales strategies for NYCE Network services and NYCE/First Data Debit Processing services, which comprise ATM terminal driving, card processing for on-line and off-line debit, card production, and network gateway services. With 20 years in the financial services industry, Mr. Finney has a wealth of experience building business relationships for credit card, credit reporting and e-payments companies.

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Card Ads

First quarter ad spending by the four major card networks rose by 19% compared to the first quarter of last year. However, MasterCard significantly ramped up its message as American Express cut ad spending and Discover maintained the status quo. MasterCard spent nearly 80% more on advertisements this year, than during 1Q/01, according to data provided by CMR. VISA also jacked up ad spending by more than 50% for 2002. Totally, the four card networks shelled out $220.8 million during the first three months of 2002. CMR says total ad spending, across all industries in the USA, for the first quarter, came in at $23.5 billion, compared to $23.4 billion for the same time frame in 2001. For all of 2001, VISA spent $254.5 million; American Express $239.6 million; MasterCard $204.5 million; and Discover $162.6 million.

1Q/02 AD SPENDING
1Q/02 1Q/01 CHNG
VISA $86.2 million $57.1 million +51%
American Express $59.7 million $72.6 million -18%
MasterCard $43.8 million $24.5 million +79%
Discover $31.1 million $30.9 million + 1%
TOTAL: $220.8 million $185.1 million +19%
Source: CMR

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