Major PayPass Pilots Set Strasbourg and Toulouse

MasterCard has launched two major new “PayPass” pilots in France and extended an existing pilot with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group in the UK. The French projects, in Strasbourg and Toulouse, will be the first trials of contactless EMV1 chip-based MasterCard credit payments in Europe, while the flagship project with RBS is the first trial of contactless debit payments in the region. In Strasbourg, MasterCard will support a seven company-strong consortium, including Groupe Credit Mutuel, CIC and NRJ Mobile, to enable 200 residents to make contactless payments via mobile phones at 50 retailers in the city. In the first EMV-enabled mobile commerce trial of its kind, the specially designed phones from Sagem will contain EMV-compatible SIM cards from Gemalto, contactless readers from Sagem Monetel and Near Field Communication electronic chips designed by Inside Contactless. In Toulouse, MasterCard will work with LaSer Cofinoga, the consumer finance arm of Groupe Galeries Lafayette, to enable a thousand of the latter’s customers to test a contactless payment card at participating Galeries Lafayette and Monoprix stores throughout the city. It will be the first contactless EMV-enabled multi-application card in Europe, for use in retailers and for public transport in the city.

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U.S. Bank Issues Penna Masons VISA

U.S. Bank has inked a deal with the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania to issue the “Pennsylvania Masons VISA Platinum” credit card to its 125,000 members. The new Visa card features one of four pictures – one depicting an eagle and the American flag, another with a picture of the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, a third with famous Masons and a fourth dedicated to youth. The 125,000 members will have access to three credit card products from U.S. Bank including a card that earns reward points that can be redeemed for gift certificates, merchandise and travel rewards, and another that provides cash back on purchases. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets of $217 billion, is the 6th largest financial holding company in the United States.

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SPA Release Contactless Card Specs

The Smart Payment Association has released the first version of their contactless data storage specifications. The members of the association have been working on a joint specification with the objective to keep it simple and easy to implement on contactless devices at a low cost, while providing appropriate levels of security. Whenever possible, existing standards were employed. The Smart Payment Association (SPA) members are Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Oberthur Card Systems and Sagem Orga.

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Q Comm International Goes Private

UT-based prepaid specialist, Q Comm International, has decided to delist from the American Stock Exchange and withdraw its registration from the SEC. The Company currently has no plans to list its shares of common stock on another stock exchange. In light of this delisting and deregistration process, the Company will no longer host quarterly earnings conference calls with investors and will no longer file its current and periodic reports with the SEC, although, in the future, the Company will continue to communicate with its investors on a regular basis as a private company. Q Comm International is a prepaid transaction processor that electronically distributes prepaid products from service providers to the point of sale.

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Hypercom’s Optimum M4100 Blade Goes Global

Hypercom has taken its “Optimum M4100 Blade” global. The new mobile credit/debit terminal is designed to comply with current global security standards and the smallest product of its kind. It is equipped with both Wi-Fi and GPRS wireless communication technology, is PCI PED and EMV Level 1 & 2-certified. Hypercom says its product, for the first time, enables credit cards to be used to pay for at-home restaurant deliveries, goods purchased at art festivals and craft shows, concessions at sports stadiums, in-flight purchases, and in other settings without wired connections including areas where the cost of wired communications is prohibitive.

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Ecount Issues the XBux Prepaid Card

XBux, a player in action sports performance payouts, has partnered with Ecount to launch the “XBux Prepaid Card”. The Ecount Card is a branded Prepaid Visa Card that is good everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted and can be reloaded by sponsors and supporters. Ecount also provides XBux with custom communications to support the program, including a cardholder website, card, card package and collateral. Ecount provides customized prepaid programs for corporations looking for a simple and convenient way to deliver electronic payments.

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Wincor Nixdorf CEO to Step Down

Paderborn-based Wincor Nixdorf’s CEO, Karl-Heinz Stiller, is stepping down in January, as CFO Eckard Heidloff will become the new CEO. The change is effective January 29th. Wincor Nixdorf is the world’s third-largest supplier of POS systems and ATMs and the number one supplier of POS systems in Europe. Wincor Nixdorf operates in over 90 countries with manufacturing plants in Germany and Singapore.

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TSAI Settles a Shareholder Lawsuit

Transaction Systems Architects has reached a shareholder lawsuit related to the Company’s restatement of financials filed in January 2003. The principal terms of the settlement provide for an aggregate cash payment of $24.5 million. Net of insurance reimbursement, the Company expects to recognize a one-time charge related to the settlement of approximately $8.5 million before tax, approximately $5.4 million after tax or approximately $0.14 per fully diluted share, against fourth quarter fiscal 2006 results. Transaction Systems Architect’s software facilitates electronic payments by providing consumers and companies access to their money.

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Datacard Intros the Artista Module/MX6000

Datacard Group unveiled the “Datacard Artista” retransfer color printing module for the its “MX6000” card issuance system. The “Artista VHD” module combines retransfer printing technology with 600 dpi pigment inks to deliver images that rival litho-printed card quality. The technology provides edge-to-edge, full-color print and card personalization capabilities at speeds of up to 1,500 cards per hour?fully inline with a broad spectrum of other personalization technologies. Expected in early 2007, the “Artista VHD” module will be an option for all new and existing “MX6000” systems.

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SBI CARD 2006

SBI Card has added a record one million new customers this year bringing its portfolio to more than three million total cardholders. The non-bank card issuer, a joint venture between the State Bank of India and GE Money, is now the second largest issuer in the country right behind ICICI Bank. SBI Card says it has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 45% on volume and outstandings since the year 2000. The issuer has co-branding relationships with Indian Railways, Lifestyle, LG, Go Air, Vishal Mega-Mart, Hero Honda and Tata. The size of the Indian credit cards market is estimated to be about $4 billion and is growing at 35% per year.

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Level Four and GALITT Team for ATM Software

The top provider of EFT testing software and consultancy services to the French banking sector, GALITT and Level Four Software have formed a partnership. The alliance enables GALITT and
Level Four to jointly target banks in France with Level Four’s flagship
“ATM TrueTest” product to deliver a comprehensive solution for testing
open standards-based ATM networks. GALITT’s “KaNest” host testing product is used by almost every bank in France to test the messaging protocol used between acquiring devices and transaction processing systems.

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VeriFone Adds Three New NURIT Systems

VeriFone has extended the NURIT line with the introduction of
three new systems including the “NURIT 8400,” “NURIT 293” PIN pad, and the “NURIT 2930.” The “NURIT 8400” is a highly flexible countertop payment terminal with a full range of dial-up, LAN and wireless communications choices and a wide variety of device interface options.
Featuring an EMV 2000 smart card acceptor and magnetic
stripe card reader, the “NURIT 293” with high speed ARM processor
integrates with third-party POS and ECR systems for smooth and economical migration to PIN-based EMV credit and debit transactions.
The “NURIT 2930,” also provides an EMV migration solution for proprietary ECRs and other systems that lack communications capabilities. The “NURIT 2930” includes a modem, in addition to EMV and magnetic stripe acceptance.

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