VeriFone Announces the MX800 and MX860

VeriFone has introduced a new payment product that positions itself in the line between the payment optimized “MX850” systems and the multi-media optimized “MX870.” The new “MX860” combines widescreen, video-game quality resolution and impact with tactile keys for disability compliance requirements. VeriFone also introduced the “MX800 Series” price checker. The “MX800” not only provides multimedia promotions, it can also double as a gift card registry or loyalty program enrollment kiosk, or enable a variety of other customer-facing applications. The new “MX800 Series” modules include a printer, a scanner, a printer/scanner combination and Wi-Fi; also new is a Power over Ethernet option. All of the modules are field upgradeable and may be retrofit on existing deployed “MX800 Series” products. The “MX800 Series” products now also support an embedded browser for application development and user interface.

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OCTOBER DEBIT

Debit card EFT/POS volume picked-up in October at a per annum growth rate of 15%, compared to 10% in September. During October, Australian consumers used debit cards for a record A$9.0 billion in transactions. Over the past five years debit card volume has grown 53%. During October, Australians used debit cards for A$7.2 billion in purchases with 113.1 million transactions. Total EFT/POS transactions were 131.7 million for October according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. There were 27.4 million debit card accounts in the country at the end of October, compared to 26.2 million one-year ago.

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Regulation Hampers Branded Prepaid Growth

A new report has found that regulatory pressures represent the most significant challenge to branded prepaid card issuers. A majority of respondents also view finding an effective way to market prepaid cards a serious impediment to their success. Nevertheless, Boston-based Aite Group found that only a quarter of respondents were dissatisfied by their current performance in the prepaid card market. More than three-quarters of issuers focus on selling prepaid cards directly to consumers through their own channels and marketing efforts. About 44% focuses on issuing prepaid cards to employers and government agencies. While another sizeable group utilizes retailers’ stores as a distribution channel, 56% currently stay away from selling through that channel. AITE concluded that most branded prepaid card issuers lack an integrated distribution platform.

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CREDIT CARD VOLUMES

According to Lafferty Research, credit card use among Turkish
consumers has surged 523% since 2002 with a total volume of
$17.9 billion for 2007 and is showing no signs of slowing growth.
Additional findings show that total debt on credit cards account
for only 20% of consumer spending, affecting 36 million consumers
in 2007, up from 15 million in 2002. Given these findings, the
research group concludes that Turkey is now among the top ten
most profitable global card markets with profits of $1.8 billion in
2007. Lafferty Group’s Turkey research examines trends in the
Turkish consumer finance and the payment cards market.

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Pacifica Powers First Hawaiian Rewards

Pacifica Group has agreed to partner with First Hawaiian Bank to expand its “Priority Rewards Program.” All First Hawaiian Bank customers that have a Priority Rewards debit or credit card will earn bonus points when they shop at hundreds of local retailers and restaurants. Currently cardholders earn 1 point per dollar when using First Hawaiian’s Priority Reward credit card and 1 point per two dollars when using the bank’s Priority Rewards debit card. Points can be redeemed for air travel with no blackout dates, gift cards from local and national merchants as well as cash awards. First Hawaiian Bank holds assets of $12.5 billion.

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ReadySTATION to Deliver CheckFreePay

Fiserv’s CheckFreePay has signed a deal for its walk-in bill payment service to be deployed at all “ReadySTATION” kiosks in the USA. The kiosks utilize the NCR “EasyPoint Xpress” kiosk platform, which enables easy integration of additional services. All integration of the “CheckFreePay Link” software is being handled securely without service interruption. The ReadySTATION allows consumers to purchase a fully functional “ReadyCARD Prepaid MasterCard”. With the integration of the CheckFreePay walk-in bill payment service, which securely transmits payment information directly to billing companies, consumers will also be able to pay bills with cash at any ReadySTATION. Bill payments made at a ReadySTATION can be processed the next business day for $2.50, or through standard three-business-day processing for $1.50. Stores already featuring ReadySTATION kiosks include Dollar Tree in Atlanta and Houston, Save-A-Lot in Milwaukee, selected stores in the SUPERVALU network, and convenience stores in Minneapolis/St. Paul and El Paso, Texas. Consumers can locate a ReadySTATION by visiting www.readycreditcorp.com.

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AIB MERCHANT SERVICES

The joint venture between Allied Irish Banks and First Data for payment card services has been cleared by the European Commission. In November AIB and FDC signed agreements to launch a joint venture to provide merchant acquiring and payment card processing in Ireland, the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. The new firm will be called AIB Merchant Services. This will provide for enhanced functionality for AIB’s 30,000 merchant customers and offer merchant services to enable expansion of the bank’s card acquiring. AIB’s card acquiring businesses is projected to conduct 140 million and 13 million transactions, respectively, before the beginning of 2008. Both companies will participate in daily operations of the venture and have a presence on the board of directors.

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CARD SECURITY

According to a report recently released by Financial Insight, the number
of innovations in microfinance technology are rapidly growing. Examples
of this can be seen with technologies such as biometrics and smart cards
deployment growing among the under-served customer segments, no longer
perceived by organizations as unprofitable business ventures. Traditionally
inhibiting financial institutions from serving the under-banked were fears
of high administration costs and high default rates, given the lack of
consumer credit histories. An increasing trend, however, shows microfinance
programs have an increasing potential to generate high returns with low
levels
of loan default. Bank Rakyat Indonesia, for example, granted 60% of its 2007
loans to consumers to whom this demographic applies and projects an
additional 40 million clients in 2008. Financial Insights research and
consulting
addresses issues in banking, insurance and asset management sectors and
is headquartered in Massachusetts, U.S.A.

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PUNJAB SMARTCARDS

Punjab Bank has announced plans to deploy biometric smartcards
as a means of providing the illiterate population with banking
products and services. For the establishment of a biometric account,
the bank requires a thumb impression of the account holder for
identity verification and account access. Instead of the customer going
to a traditional banking facility, however, the bank sends a
representative to the customer’s residence to allow them to conduct
traditional bank transactions. Also appealing to the illiterate population,
the bank has established a new Financial Literacy and Credit Counseling
Center, among several it has opened across India.

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USAT and Coinmach Introduce eSuds Credit

USA Technologies and Coinmach have teamed to introduce “eSuds Credit,” an online laundry service for the nation’s multi-housing laundry industry that enables users to pay for their laundry services with a credit or debit card. Coinmach Service Corporation is a distributor of eSuds and is the largest laundry equipment services company in North America, operating approximately 875,000 pieces of laundry equipment in approximately 80,000 locations. Coinmach’s customers include leading property management companies, colleges and universities, and the United States Military. The company also leases laundry rooms in apartments and dormitories, and rents machines to apartment residents, laundromats, and management companies. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries.

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VERIFONE ISTS

Verifone Holdings has introduced its VeriFone “Integrated Systems
Professional Services” organization and delivery agreement with
ISTS Worldwide delivery corporation. The new service solution has
been implemented for the expansion of the company’s retail IT
delivery capabilities, software and integration. ISTS Worldwide
provides retail and payment solutions and a track record of dealing
with Veifone and customers. Additionally, this partnership will
expand the company’s services capabilities and product integration. ISTS
Worldwide software development provides various retail & payment
technology verticals and allows organizations to maximize profitability
while
VeriFone Holdings provides secure electronic payment solutions to
merchants, processors and acquirers around the world.

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DIBL & SUNGARD

Dawood Islamic Bank Ltd (DIBL) has deployed the Sungard “System Access
Customer Service Manager” for the provision of Internet banking solutions.
The solution is designed to provide safe, affordable Shariah-compliant
retail
banking services to allow consumers access to bank services, including
online
payments and financing facilities. Additionally, “System Access Customer
Service
Manager” provides customer information to integrate with back-end
systems and
helps customer retention with integrated marketing campaigns. Dawood
Islamic
Bank initiated operations with an initial capital of 2 billion rupees,
currently has
5 branches in operation and is planning to establish 20 branches throughout
Pakistan for 2008. SunGard has an annual revenue of over $4 billion and
serves more than 25,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

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