Stored Value 06 Conference is Scheduled

New Jersey-based The PELORUS Group will host its sixth stored value conference on June 28/29 in Boston. This year’s event will focus on why stored value’s appeal has become so entrenched so quickly, and what banks, retailers, issuers and other vested concerns should be doing to prepare for and capitalize on the phenomenon. Topics to be discussed include: what are the business applications of stored value as of 2006, and how are they likely to change; which segments are realizing the most significant implementations; what are the cost savings and promotional and customer loyalty opportunities empowered by stored value; what impact will stored value have on the overall credit card industry and what are the long-term ramifications of stored value to retailers, prepaid telecom vendors, the financial industry, and companies that currently serve the unbanked and credit challenged?

Details

AmEx Commits to Historic Preservation

American Express has committed $10 million to historic preservation via its “Partners in Preservation” program. The American Express Partners in Preservation program builds upon the Company’s decade-long relationship with the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and establishes a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program is dedicated to preserving sites both in the U.S. and around the world. American Express continues to extend its decade-long relationship with the WMF through a renewed commitment to preservation. Last year, the Company assisted WMF and the National Trust with a $200,000 grant for their joint efforts to help save the devastated Gulf Coast in the wake of the 2005 hurricanes.

Details

ABS Portfolio Yield Begins to Erode

Despite rising interest rates the yield for credit card-backed securities remains above last year’s level. However, on a sequential basis, yield decreased by 120 basis points during April. According to Standard & Poor’s latest “U.S. Credit Card Quality Index” more than three-fourths of the trusts that compose the “Index” saw decreases in yield in April, while more than one-third of the trusts continue to report yields that are greater than 20%. On a comparative basis, April’s yield of 18.2% was 20 bps lower than the 2005 average yield of 18.4% and 60 bps higher than the 2004 average yield of 17.6%. Yield is primarily cardholder finance charges. Standard & Poor’s believes that as market interest rates continue to move upward, a subsequent increase in card yield and APRs, although lagged, will follow.

ABS YIELD
Apr 04: 17.2%
Apr 05: 17.9%
Apr 06: 18.2%
Source: S&P CCQI

Details

SCM Microsystems Provide Readers for NETC@RDS

SCM Microsystems is providing smart card readers for the European
“NETC@RDS Project” during the “2006 Soccer World Cup” in Germany. SCM’s
“SCR3311” smart card readers are being used to read data from new European health cards as well as the national health cards of various countries enabling World Cup athletes, staff and visitors from participating nations to gain rapid access to health care services while at the games. The readers make it possible for national health cards, rather than paper forms, to be used as the base for billing with insurance companies while traveling. During the “2006 World Cup,” SCM’s readers are being implemented in about 20 hospitals near where the soccer matches will take place. The “NETC@RDS Project” improves access to trans-European health services by using Web-oriented applications based on IT systems, smart cards or a combination of both.

Details

ESI – Citadel Commerce & Excapsa Pilot SecureSwipe

ESI Entertainment Systems wholly owned subsidiary, Citadel Commerce,
will pilot its “SecureSwipe” device with Excapsa Software Inc.
SecureSwipe, which plugs into any personal computer via standard USB
connection, enables consumers to pay securely for gaming site services
with either a credit or debit card. A consumer can transfer “eMoney”
into their “myCitadel Wallet” and pay by physically
swiping their credit card at home using an assigned “SecureSwipe” pinpad
device and electronically signing a receipt. Citadel Commerce correctly
codes the credit card transactions according to card association
regulations, and the purchases are approved because the payments are
treated as card-present transactions. Citadel Commerce is a provider of
secure and efficient payment processing services to the international
online gaming industry. Excapsa is an online gaming software developer.

Details

Discover Reaches Out to Merchants

Like the other U.S. networks, Discover is reaching out to merchants and linking up to more issuers. This morning the Discover Network announced the establishment of a “Merchant Advisory Council” and that it has recently reached agreements with five new financial institutions to issue credit or prepaid cards on its network. Discover’s “Merchant Advisory Council is made up of approximately 20 member companies including American Airlines, Darden Restaurants, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Knowledge Learning, Kohl’s, McDonald’s, QuikTrip, The Sharper Image, SUPERVALU, and Wal-Mart. The Council will meet every six months with the first meeting scheduled for next week. Discover also announced it recently added new network issuers including: Alliance Data, First Bank & Trust, Morgan Beaumont, West Suburban Bancorp and Palm Desert National Bank. Previously announced issuers include HSBC Bank Nevada, affiliates of GE Consumer Finance, and CompuCredit. Discover Card has more than 50 million cardholders and over 4 million merchant and cash access locations in the USA.

Details

BidPay Returns After 6-Months

CyberSource announced the relaunch of the “BidPay” auction payment service. Acquired by CyberSource in March 2006, BidPay had over 4 million registered users prior to ceasing operations in December. CyberSource says it returns with a number of competitive innovations including seller protection and the ability for sellers to accept payments from buyers around the world. Subject to certain conditions, “BidPay” sellers receive charge-back protection for “BidPay” approved payments received from BidPay buyers. Seller protection means sellers receive payment for their auctions without the need for special bonding, insurance, escrow, or risk of subsequent charge-backs.

Details

GZS & FDC

The sale of GZS Gesellschaft fur Zahlungssysteme to First Data has been completed. The deal comes on the heels of GZS’ first quarter report which shows a consolidated profit of around 2.5 million euros before taxes, an increase of around 50% over the same period last year.
Last year, GZS posted a full-year profit of 11.4 million euros after losing 20.2 million euros in 2004 and 26.9 million euros in 2003. GZS is Germany’s leading processor of cashless, card-based payment transactions. GZS processes nearly one billion transactions per year
and provides processing services for more than 8.5 million German and
Swiss credit cards that have been outsourced by the banks. The shares of GZS that were previously held by the savings banks organization, private banks and the co-operative banking sector have been fully transferred to First Data. Through the acquisition, First Data becomes the market leading processor of card-based payment transactions in Germany.

Details

ISO BPS Signs MedCom USA

Arizona-based MedCom USA has signed an agreement with Business Payment Systems, the largest ISO that works with Bank of America Merchant Services. The agreement with MedCom System will expand exponentially the coverage of sales territories for the MedCom System and complement many of the current sales personnel by creating a presence for MedCom in areas not presently covered under current arrangements. MedCom has been building an extensive sales network encompassing strategic partnerships with major ISO organizations in order to effectively expand the presentation of its system to the healthcare and dental market.

Details

Gemalto’s Toronto Plant is ISO Certified

Gemalto has achieved ISO/IEC 27001 certification for its advanced card
personalization center outside Toronto. This is the first card
personalization center in Canada to receive the ISO designation. The new
certification is a globally recognized certification that details
stringent requirements for the implementation
of an information security management system. Through its
personalization center, Gemalto is assisting Canadian
financial institutions as they begin converting an estimated 100 million
magnetic stripe cards to microprocessor-based smart cards based on
standards from VISA, MasterCard and others.

Details

InterceptEFT Partners with EFT Canada

InterceptEFT announced a strategic partnership with EFT Canada Inc.
Through the EFT Canada partnership, InterceptEFT will improve its
ACH processing capabilities for transmitting Canadian funds and
maintaining customer data. Customers will benefit from paperless and
seamless EFT/ACH transactions between Canadian and U.S. bank accounts.
EFT Canada provides direct customer billing and collections for
business services and products on a scheduled basis. InterceptEFT
provides payment-processing services and software. It processed more
than 26 million ACH transactions in 2005.

Details