Counter-Phishing Blueprint is Released

The National Consumers League and Anti-Phishing Group this week released a counter-phishing blueprint that represents a statement of first-principals for the containment and roll-back of email phishing and more technically sophisticated forms of electronic consumer fraud. The report sets out seven fundamental imperatives for organizing a comprehensive counter-phishing strategy. They include support for greater and more coordinated consumer education, creation of electronic consumer experiences that are ‘secure by design’, improved user and website authentication, better tools for e-crime forensics and law enforcement, adoption of strategies to disrupt phishing lifecycle, coordinated of “white lists” by isps and domain-name owners and augmented “black lists” to recall phishing emails.

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Canada EMV Migration Gears Up for 07

Interac, MasterCard and VISA, plus many card issuers and acquirers, this week announced a firm commitment to a broad industry migration to EMV smart cards in Canada. The migration will generally begin in early 2007 and be completed within three years. However, each organization has its own individual timelines for migration. The adoption of the international EMV standard ensures that participants in the Canadian payments system will utilize established technology, which has been tested and proven in other countries that have already migrated to chip. VISA has 26 million cards in Canada while MasterCard has more than 31 million, according to CardFlash International.

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MasterCard Posts a Fourth Quarter Loss

Citing a number of seasonal and exceptional factors MasterCard posted a fourth quarter loss of $53 million. Heavy advertising, promotions and incentives as well as currency fluctuations impacted earnings and revenue. Merchant promotions and tiered pricing arrangements were also negative factors along with a boost in litigation reserves. However, MasterCard’s Q4 gross dollar volume increased 11.9% on a local currency basis to $445.8 billion. General and administrative expenses rose 11% in 4Q/05 while advertising and market development increased 17%, compared to one-year ago. As of December 31st, MasterCard’s customer banks issued 749.3 million MasterCard cards. For complete details on MasterCard’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

MASTERCARD HISTORICAL ($ millions)
4Q/04 1Q/05 2Q/05 3Q/05 4Q/05
G&A: $338.7 $306.6 $319.2 $350.1 $376.1
A&M: $329.5 $171.7 $231.6 $219.2 $385.5
Net Income: $ 1.3 $ 93.3 $120.2 $106.1 ($ 53.0)
Note: G&A: General & Administrative Expenses; A&M:
Advertising & Market Development Expenses.
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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VISA Introduces a Mini Contactless Card

VISA took contactless card payments in the U.S. to a smaller level today with the introduction of the “Contactless Mini Card.” VISA says its research showed that the mini card is the second most preferred form factor after the standard-sized card, with the majority of consumers stating that they would be interested in adding contactless functionality to a mini card. The launch of the new card was made possible through the expansion of the “VISA Smart Breakthrough” program. In addition to mini cards, the new contactless solution has the flexibility to support other form factors, including 3D key fobs, mobile phones and other handheld devices. VISA says issuers can offer both standard-sized and mini contactless cards to their cardholders in full, large-scale deployment. Last month VISA reported that it surpassed 20,000 “VISA Contactless” acceptance locations in the U.S. More than 15 million “Mini VISA” cards have been issued in the USA, primarily by Bank of America. Bank of America, the patent holder, introduced the mini card program in April 2002. VISA recently reported more than 4 million VISA-branded contactless payment cards have been issued worldwide. (CF Library 10/2/02; 6/1/04; 2/2/06)

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Alliance & Leicester Selects PassMark

Alliance & Leicester announced it has
will now provide a greater level of security and protection against
fraud and identity theft for its nearly five million customers using the
PassMark Security “Two-Factor Two-Way Authentication” system. The PassMark
system combines several counter measures against online
threats in a single security solution. Online customers log on to their
accounts with secure, mutual authentication and get additional layers of
risk-based transaction security that prevent phishing, key logging and
man-in-the-middle attacks. Alliance & Leicester is the first bank in
the UK to provide its customers with this added level of security.

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Encore Capital Q4 Profits Rise 37%

San Diego-based Encore Capital Group reported fourth quarter revenues of $58.4 million, a 27% increase over the same period of the prior year. Net income was $7.8 million, a 37% increase over 4Q/04. The Company says it generated the highest level of collections, revenues and profits in its history during the quarter. During the fourth quarter Encore spent $39.9 million to purchase $1.3 billion in face value of debt. The Company noted the deal flow was very strong in the fourth quarter due to the increased supply in the credit card market resulting from bankruptcy reform. Encore expects future increases in supply during 2006 as consumer debt levels increase and creditors across different asset classes explore debt sales to monetize their charged-off receivables. For complete details on Encore’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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OTS Gives H&R Block Bank its Blessing

Kansas City-based H&R Block has been granted a federal savings bank charter by the OTS allowing it to provide banking products and services through H&R Block Bank. The bank will offer traditional banking products including checking, savings, certificate of deposit accounts and IRAs, as well as a full range of services including direct deposit, debit card and stored-value card services. The bank also plans to offer prime loan products such as fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage loans. H&R Block received approval from the FDIC last year. In early 1999, H&R Block sold its “WebCard VISA” portfolio, with credit card account balances of approximately $181 million, to Providian Financial.(CF Library 1/26/99)

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Networks & Issuers to Fight Child Porn

VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, BofA, Chase, Citi, First Data, First National Bank of Omaha, North American Bancard, First PREMIER Bank and Wells Fargo Bank were among 18 financial institutions that joined with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and its sister organization, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, in the fight against Internet child pornography. The ability to use credit cards and other payment methods has made purchasing child pornography easy. However, the industry has committed to make credit card use more difficult for such purchases. The members have set a goal to eradicate commercial child pornography by 2008.

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Kasikornbank Licenses Card Tech’s FRAUDGUARD

UK-based Card Tech Limited has licensed its “FRAUDGUARD” fraud detection and management solution to KASIKORNBANK. CTL’s “FRAUDGUARD” will be used as a central fraud management platform, enabling KASIKORNBANK to detect, alert and manage suspicious transactions. This will be CTL’s second major “FRAUDGUARD” installation in Thailand. KASIKORNBANK is Thailand’s third largest commercial bank and services over 810,000 credit cards, 4.5 million ATM cards and 41,000 merchant locations throughout Thailand.

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U.S. Elders Face Credit Card Abuse

The National Center on Elder Abuse says over two million Americans each year are abused financially including credit and debit card fraud. Signs to watch for include uncharacteristic and unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money by an elder or someone with Power of Attorney for an elder, elders who appear nervous when accompanied by another individual or give far-fetched explanations of why they need money, new signatories added to an elder’s account or newly formed joint accounts between an elder and another individual and abrupt changes in a will or other financial document; transfer of an elder’s assets to a family member or acquaintance without a reasonable explanation.

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SPS Hires an ISO Relationship Manager

San Diego-based Secure Payment Systems has hired Michael Pruitt, former Product Development Manager for First American Payment Systems, as ISO Relationship Manager. In this newly created position, Pruitt will be responsible for maintaining and growing existing ISO relationships as well as heading SPS’ team of agent sales support. Prior to accepting this role, he worked as Product Development Manager for First American Payment Systems overseeing all of new and existing product suites for the company. Before that he spent nine years working for National Data Funding Corp in various management positions encompassing Customer Service, Technical Support, and Operations. Michael brings SPS a wealth of knowledge and experience working with ISO’s and sales agents in all facets of electronic payments.

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