OTI Completes Supercom Asset Acquisition

OTI designs and develops secure, no-contact smart card technology to address the needs of a wide variety of markets. The Company acquired SuperCom’s International Project Solution
Division allowing the company access to an end-to-end ID solution. As a
result, in house-operation replaces the need to outsource solutions.The transaction is also expected to increase earnings for 2007 and
accelerate OTI’s growth rapidly. OTI has a global network of regional
offices to market and support its products.

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GlobalSTORE and PayPilot Integrate

Fujitsu Transaction Solutions and Accelitec have successfully integrated Accelitec’s “PayPilot” suite of transaction solutions with Fujitsu’s “GlobalSTORE” (POS) and “CustomerCENTER” loyalty applications. Customer transactions at the integrated POS can be tendered through automated clearing house (ACH), prepaid or stored-value, credit card and loyalty accounts via RFID-based technology embedded in cards, key tags and – increasingly – cell phones. This enables retailers to actively manage payment types to reduce the cost of transactions.

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More Phishing Attacks Target CUs

VA-based Cyveillance reports that demand for its “Cyveillance Anti-Phishing” solution soared by 450% among credit unions and regional banks last year, validating a growing trend in phishing attacks targeting small to medium sized organizations. Phishers are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks and targeting what they perceive as more vulnerable consumers – credit unions account for over 30% of all targeted phishing attacks against businesses regardless of size or industry. As counterfeit sites are identified, Cyveillance instantly delivers the intelligence about each attack to the targeted organization, enabling credit unions to take the appropriate security measures to take down the fraudulent site, eliminating the threat of identity theft and fraud to unsuspecting online customers. The service includes the industry’s first and only Service Level Agreement (SLAs) for phishing site take-down in 5 hours or less. In addition, Cyveillance can provide credit/debit card monitoring services for credit unions to proactively identify stolen card and personal information being openly sold or traded on the Internet, minimizing losses due to credit card fraud.

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Smart Concepts Fuel Card Expands

Smart Concepts, in addition to the opening of a new subsidiary, has
appointed a new international sales director. The newly appointed director
will be responsible for commercial development of payment processing
products. These changes coincide with the companies’ global objective
strategies.
Smart Concepts is one of the world’s leading providers of fuel cards
and service solutions to major oil and third party card companies since
1996.

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Wells Fargo Beefs-Up Stagecoach Island

Wells Fargo has made 80 virtual millionaires and users have collectively earned over $4.7 billion in interest on their virtual bank accounts. “Stagecoach Island,” launched last year by Wells, is a multi-player, online role-playing game for high school and college age students. Now the card issuer has added more challenging financial education content. The game invites players to adopt a unique virtual world character, called an avatar, who can explore the Island of computer-animated trees, buildings, dance clubs, hair salons, snowboarding parks and more. Players also can virtually attend concerts, parties, play in bingo tournaments and chat with others in the community via online messages. Players gain access to some activities, such as renting a motorcycle, playing paintball and buying clothes for their avatar by earning, saving and spending virtual money. Players earn virtual money by answering questions about banking and personal finance and they can earn virtual interest on their balances by saving their virtual dollars overnight.

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Credit Scores & Minorities Study Released

A study was released this week that suggests credit scores are being used to deny African-Americans and other minorities access to credit and financial services. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators released a study conducted by the University of Denver Center for African American Policy used location mapping and statistical correlation techniques to examine the disparities in accessing mainstream financial services and credit products. The group says the research found that while banks site branches in minority and lower credit score communities, they do not provide the same access to their services as those in higher credit score communities. Even worse, there is often no way for those trapped with sub-prime credit scores to establish a prime credit score — which would enable wealth creation.

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General Purpose Payment Cards Top 1B

General purpose credit and debit cards issued in the U.S. will likely top the one billion milestone for 2006. At the end of the third quarter there were 985.8 million VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover domestic credit and signature debit cards-in-force, growing at an annual rate of 6.3% per annum. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), the number of general purpose payment cards in the U.S. has increased 26% over the past five years. Sequentially, total cards have increased 1.6%, which projects that the total number of cards-in-force to hit slightly over one billion. Year-on-year the projection would be 1.03 billion. Overall, credit cards are growing at an annual rate of 2.3% while debit cards have soared by 17%.

CARDS-IN-FORCE
(Q3 of Each Year)
2002: 779.5 million
2003: 828.9 million
2004: 866.9 million
2005: 927.6 million
2006: 985.8 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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PayPal Buyer Protection Increased

eBay and PayPal announced an expansion of “PayPal Buyer Protection,” giving buyers up to $2,000 of coverage for qualified transactions on eBay.com . For all other qualified transactions on eBay.com that are not covered by PayPal Buyer Protection, PayPal will provide up to $200 of coverage with no processing fee, no minimum purchase price and no seller requirements, as long as the buyer pays for the item with PayPal.

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Metavante Acquires Valutec Card Solutions

Metavante Corporation has acquired TN-based Valutec Card Solutions. Valutec is a provider of closed-loop, in-store gift and loyalty card solutions to small and medium-sized businesses, including hosted account management, reporting capabilities, plastic card design and production, along with card program merchandising products. Metavante already offers a variety of open-loop, network-branded card solutions. Valutec Card Solutions currently services over 13,000 merchants in over 30,000 locations. The company will continue to operate under the Valutec name, and will become a Metavante company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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U.S. Bank Gaming Services Expands

U.S. Bank Gaming Services has signed an agreement to provide ATM processing services to the Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino near San Diego. Services include a turnkey ATM program customized to fit the casino environment with features such as 3-in-1 cash advances and electronic check cashing with direct cash dispense at the ATM, which Gaming Services provides with its cash access partners.

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U.S. AmEx Card Expansion has Momentum

During 2006, American Express has emerged as the fastest growing payment card network based on the number of cards issued. With only a 5% share of the cards-in-force market, AmEx is now growing its U.S. cardbase by more than 11% per year, driven by partnerships forged with U.S. banks over the past two years. MasterCard, with a 38% card share, is expanding at a 9% clip, driven by a 12% year-on-year increase in debit cards, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). VISA, the dominant player with more than half the U.S. card market, is expanding its U.S. cards by 4% annually. Discover, which does not release its exact total cards figure, has been hovering around 50 million cards for the past several quarters.

Cards Issued by Brand
1Q/06 2Q/06 3Q/06
VISA 497.2m (+7.3%) 502.6m (+4.1%) 509.0m (+4.2%)
MasterCard 362.9m (+4.6%) 372.0m (+5.8%) 380.0m (+9.7%)
American Express 44.0m (+9.2%) 45.4m (+10.7%) 46.8m (+11.4%)
Discover 50.6m NC 50.1m (-1.0%) 50.0m (-1.0%)
TOTAL: 954.7m (+5.9%) 970.1m (+4.7%) 985.8m (+6.3%)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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