SCM Microsystems Joins the NFC Forum

Digital solution provider SCM Microsystems has joined the Near Field Communication Forum as a Principal member. The NFC Forum is a global standards development and advocacy group dedicated to advancing Near Field Communication technology, educating the public about its benefits, and furthering its implementation around the world. NFC technology is being developed to enable electronics devices such as PDAs or cell phones to quickly and conveniently perform functions such as purchasing goods or services. SCM Microsystems is a supplier of solutions that enable people to conveniently access digital content and services.

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SBI-CSB CARD

SBI and Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) have partnered to launch the “CSB
Credit Card” for acceptance with over 2 million merchants and retailers.
The card will provide holders with e-statements, SMS alerts, account access
online, cash access at nearly 2,006,100 ATMs globally, a 2% “life time
cash
back” feature, no surcharge for gas purchases, and a “flexi pay”
option. The
“flexi pay” option allows the purchase of high-ticket items to be paid in
easy installments. With this partnership, the companies hope to penetrate
the Indian card market which is currently composed of only 2.8% of the
population, half that of China.

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Coin-Counting is a $6 Billion Business

New research shows that each year, almost $3 billion in coins are redeemed at supermarket machines alone via self-service coin-counting machines. The TowerGroup survey also shows that nearly $6 billion in coins are brought into U.S. bank branches annually. If banks charged customers the same fee that retail locations charge for coin redemption, the service would represent a $500 million market for banking institutions. The TowerGroup ViewPoint, titled “Self-Service Coin Counting at the Branch: Time to Change Attitudes About Loose Change,” concludes that the self-service coin-counting machine can support a bank’s critical business, operational, and marketing strategies — but only if it is implemented with the appropriate technology and process.

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MEKONG AMEX CARD

Mekong Bank has partnered with American Express to introduce the
“MekongBank American Express” credit card for acceptance around the
world. The Card is accepted in over 200 countries, offers 24-hour customer
service, access to over 800,000 ATMs and over 2,200 American Express
Travel Services Offices. MekongBank provides wholesale banking, credit
card services and personalized banking while The American Express
Company provides charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel and
business services with operations in over 120 countries through more than
110 partnerships.

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Gift Card Load Values Jump This Year

A new survey has found that the average amount loaded to cards has increased by 32% over the past three years. Also, for the 2007 holiday season, the average gift card purchaser expects to spend $203 on gift cards, up from $186 in 2006. The Comdata survey found that 38% of those surveyed who have never purchased a gift card are very or somewhat likely to purchase gift cards this holiday season, representing an 81% increase in new card users over last year. About 53% of card users often or always spend more than the amount originally loaded onto their cards. They are also most likely to redeem their cards over two visits, increasing store traffic and the potential for sales over the value of the card. Nearly 85% purchase gift cards because they want the recipient to be able to select their own gift, while 57% don’t know what to buy. Last year, 94% of purchasers bought cards at a specific retail location. In 2007, only 88% prefer a specific location.

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UKRCARD

Sagem Orga has signed agreements with UkrCard to provide local banks
with personalized “EMV Plus Y” smart cards. UkrCard has been certified
for VISA and MasterCard and with this agreement sensitive customer
data will remain in the country. Furthermore, the Ukrainian payment system
provider has completed its migration to the EMV standard created by
Europay, MasterCard and VISA. The members of UkrCard consist of
over 30 banks and Sagem Orga projects a 30%
gain in the Ukrainian card market. UkrCard is Ukraine’s National
Interbank Payment System and is represented in all regions of the Ukraine.

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Dynamic Site Accelerator PCI Unveiled

Akamai Technologies has introduced the industry’s first and only PCI-compliant site acceleration service. To become PCI compliant, Akamai undertook an audit of its globally-distributed network and information security policies and systems. The audit covered the Akamai Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) network and all of the associated management tools, processes and procedures. The PCI Standards Security Council recently increased pressure on commerce organizations to protect their customers’ credit card data. This heightened pressure has included severe punitive consequences for noncompliance, including fines or loss of privileges to accept credit card payments, or to use the credit cards’ brands. Akamai is a global service provider for accelerating content and applications online.

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GPN Inks a New Pennsylvania Casino

Global Payments has announced an agreement to provide its “VIP LightSpeed” suite of cash access products and services to the Mount Airy Casino Resort in Paradise Township, Pennsylvania. “VIP LightSpeed” is an Internet-accessible, PC-based platform that provides cash access services for traditional and electronic check cashing, ATM check cashing, credit and debit card cash advances, player histories, and credit reports. In addition, VIP LightSpeed provides a full spectrum of management reporting tools that speed the processing of transactions and reduce the risk associated with check-cashing and cash advance services. The Mount Airy Casino Resort, located in the Pocono Mountains, is the first stand-alone casino to open in Pennsylvania.

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ACS to Expand Pennsylvania Card Program

Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services is supporting Pennsylvania’s expanded use of electronic payment cards for the distribution of program benefits. Cash benefits distributed to Pennsylvania citizens by means of EPC will be expanded to include Unemployment Compensation and State Workers’ Insurance Fund benefits. A MasterCard-branded debit card will be issued to 80,000 claimants by the end of this year. ACS currently provides EPC services to child support recipients for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare under a program initiated in 2004. Currently, there are more than 250,000 cards issued that access more than 355,000 monthly deposits to child support recipients, totaling more than $55 million.

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CO-OP Financial Signs a Dakotas Deal

CO-OP Financial Services and Mid-America Service Corporation have signed a partnership agreement to promote CO-OP throughout the Dakotas. Within the first stages of the agreement, Flasher Community Credit Union in North Dakota has already signed a five-year full processing agreement. CO-OP Financial Services operates CO-OP Network, which consists of more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs in 50 states and Canada.

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American Bank Note Holographics Up 177%

American Bank Note Holographics reported third quarter sales of $8.5 million, a year-over-year increase of 29.4%, and a sequential increase of 6.9%. The growth were driven by increased sales of holographic products to the transaction card industry, in particular the recently introduced second generation “HoloMag,” “HoloStripe,” and “HoloCard.” Net income in the third quarter increased 177% to $2.1 million. On October 23rd, MasterCard notified ABNH that it is seeking reimbursement for certain costs associated with the previously-disclosed suspension of its “HoloMag” program. MasterCard has stated that those costs now exceed $1.9 million. For complete details on ABNH’s third quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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CANADA CARDS

Recent research conducted by the Lafferty Group shows the U.S. and
Canadian credit card market trends are currently opposite one another.
While the Canadian credit cards have been increasing by 7% annually
over the past 3 years the U.S. market has dropped 1% over the same
time period. Furthermore, Canadians on average use their card three times
a month while the average American uses theirs less than twice a month
and Canadians rollover only 50% of outstanding card balances per
month while Americans rollover an average of 75% of their balance. Aside
from these findings, the research shows that profits per card in both
countries is relatively equal at CAD $58 for Canadian-issued cards and
CAD $55 for American. Further research by the company shows that
nearly half of all cards offer a reward program in one form or another.

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