Smart Chip Technologies Gets a New CEO

Smart Chip Technologies announced that the Airos Group’s President Miki Radivojsa has agreed to join Smart Chip Technologies as its new chairman and CEO. Radivojsa has built a profitable and growing software development company and brings more than 16 years of business and technical leadership experience in banking, payments, chip, telecommunications and embedded development. Smart Chip Technologies provides customer retention solutions that include loyalty, pre-paid stored value, and gift cards.

Details

U.S. Bank to Expand its Prodigy ATMs

U.S. Bank says it will expand its “Prodigy” replacement rollout of ATMs powered by Phoenix Interactive Design’s “VISTAatm” which provides text-to-speech technology, customized preferences set by customers and true one-to-one messaging. U.S. Bank has introduced several new features, including audio-assisted ATM user experiences and the ability for all U.S. Bank customers to customize and save their personal “fast cash” preferences. U.S. Bancorp, with $204 billion in assets, is the 6th largest financial holding company in the United States. Phoenix Interactive Design, Inc. provides a Windows(TM)-based multi-vendor ATM operating software to the financial services industry.

Details

Barclays and SB Terminate Card Venture

Due to Barclays Bank acquisition of a majority stake in ABSA Group, the credit card joint venture with The Standard Bank of South Africa has been terminated. Both sides said the decision was amicable. Under terms of the decision Standard Bank will increase its stake to 100% and SB will re-issue the existing Barclaycard customers with a Standard Bank branded card. Barclays will also be precluded from using the Barclays or Barclaycard brands on any credit card products in South Africa until 18 February 2007.

Details

CA to Permit International ATM Surcharges

The California Senate is set to vote on a bill next week that would enable ATM operators to levy surcharges for international transactions that are currently prohibited by MasterCard/Cirrus and VISA/PLUS internal policies. VISA and MasterCard EFT network policy provides an exception if a state’s law specifically permits such fees on international transactions. To-date, 12 states have passed such legislation. Senate Bill 389 is backed by Innovus, Cardtronics, First Data and others. Historically, the networks have paid a fee of $2.25 per transaction of each of these restricted transactions. Recently, however, the Plus and Cirrus networks have announced reductions to those fees to roughly $1.00 per transaction. The bill’s backers says there is a higher cost related to making ATM cash available to cardholders of non-U.S. banks and that the networks’ actions will further squeeze already tight margins for both bank and non-bank deployers.

Details

WVA AG Gets Cross Country Debt Canceled

San Diego-based Midland Credit Management has reached a settlement with the West Virgina Attorney General in regard to charge-offs it purchased from Cross Country Bank. Midland agreed to cancel more than $3.5 million in credit card debt allegedly owed by approximately 3,500 West Virginia consumers. Midland also agreed to close all of the accounts with a zero balance and notify credit bureaus to delete all references to the account from consumers’ credit records. In June, the West Virgina Attorney General reached a settlement with sub-prime issuer Cross Country Bank and Applied Card Systems in a lawsuit regarding CCB’s business practices. CCB and Applied agreed to pay $1.5 million into a consumer credit education fund and conflict resolution programs. The 2004 lawsuit charged that CCB and applied engaged in deceptive marketing of credit cards, offering low credit limits and charging exorbitant hidden fees to consumers who already had bad credit. The suit contends that Applied Card Systems used a wide range of abusive collection practices to coerce consumers into making payments if they contested the fees or defaulted on the account. (CF Library 6/4/04; 6/25/04; 6/22/05)

Details

Debit Card Volume Growth Slows in June

Debit card EFT/POS volume slowed in June to a per annum growth rate of 8.2%, compared to 12.2% in May. During June, Australian consumers used debit cards for A$6.5 billion in transactions. Over the past five years debit card volume has grown 124%. During June, Australians used debit cards for A$5.2 billion in purchases with 82.5 million transactions. Total EFT/POS transactions were 96.7 million for June according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. Over the past twelve months, Australians have used debit cards for A$61.5 billion in purchases. There were 25.1 million debit card accounts in the country at the end of June, compared to 24.7 million one-year ago.

Details

On Track Innovations Q2 Revenue Up 45%

On Track Innovations posted revenues for the first six months of $14.5 million, a 45% jump over the same period of last year. Revenues for the second quarter were up to $7.8 million from $4.6 million in 2Q/04. The increase in revenues represents the rapid advancements in the contactless market around the world and in particular the contactless payments market in the U.S. Net loss for the period decreased by 21% to $4.7 million. OTI designs, develops and markets secure contactless microprocessor-based smart card technology to address the needs of a wide variety of markets. For complete details on OTI’s second quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Details

Royal Group to Phase-In JCB’s QUICPay Acceptance

The Royal Group, a major restaurant chain in Japan, will be phasing in “QUICPay” acceptance during October. With all Royal Host and Sizzler restaurants nationwide included, 300 locations will be offering JCB’s contactless payment solution. “QUICPay,” a contactless payment solution, was launched by JCB in 2003. A part of the customer’s existing credit limit is assigned to a contactless IC chip, which may be embedded in a plastic card or in a mobile phone handset. “QUICPay” purchases are linked to the cardholder’s existing JCB credit card account.

Details

Trans Union Launches 3-in-1 Monitoring

Competition is heating up among the three major credit bureaus for delivering the highest value credit monitoring service. This week, Trans Union introduced a new service that offers unlimited access to the credit reports and scores of all three bureaus for less than $120 per year. Trans Union is also sweetening up the offer by giving away the first month. Equifax also offers access to all three bureaus for $129.95 per year, but unlimited access is only available for Equifax reports and only credit scores from Equifax are included. Experian does not offer a three bureau credit monitoring service but does offers access to all three bureaus for $34.95 which includes one score from Experian. The Trans Union offer comes on the heels of a recent settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and Experian over the marketing of free credit reports. (CF Library 8/17/05)

Details

Worldwide Global Express to Market a Cheque Card

Hong Kong-based Worldwide Global Express has contracted with Global Travel Exchange, a provider of direct access travel distribution technology, for the marketing of Global Travel Exchange’s branded cheque card in North America, Asia and Europe. Worldwide Global Express will use the first cards as test and presentation cards as it launches its marketing and distribution for the Global Cheque Card, beginning in 7 countries in North America, Asia and Europe, with a particular focus in the Asian market. Global Travel Exchange will receive a $30,000 per country licensing fee from Worldwide Global Express, in addition to initiation fees, monthly management fees, ATM usage fees, and loading fees.

Details

CTB Introduces GiftVantage VISA

Atlanta-based Citizens Trust Bank has launched a suite of “GiftVantage” VISA gift cards. GiftVantage cards allow customers to purchase a personalized gift, available in any denomination up to $500 and can be redeemed for goods or services wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. Citizens Trust Bank, with assets of more than $340 million has nine offices located in the southern U.S.

Details

Processing Pricing Study Gears Up for 05

Omaha-based Strategic Management Partners is now accepting new subscribers for its “Pricing Benchmark Study” which compares the processing pricing (line item and total cost per transaction) from all the major third-party processing companies by portfolio size. Participants contribute pricing and volume data on key front-end authorization and back-end settlement line items. The data is then consolidated and sorted into volume bands for reporting. Strategic Management Partners, LLC is comprised of senior payments industry executives that provide clients with advice and additional management resources.

Details