MASTERCARD MRS

MasterCard Advisors launched the first fully integrated end-to-end rewards solution in Europe. The new “MasterCard Rewards Services” is designed to enable payment card issuers to integrate their global rewards offerings into one system, thereby streamlining operations and reducing administrative costs and complexity. Built on a platform that supports multiple languages and translation, currency conversion and country-specific reporting requirements, “MRS” is ideal for card issuers seeking to increase their international business. The system is customizable and will support the expanded reward offerings of the issuer by country or region, according to the specific business priorities. GE Consumer Finance’s Corporate Payment Services unit will be the first issuer to offer a MasterCard-branded rewards program in Europe, utilizing end-to-end MRS services which include call center support, merchandise, gift voucher and travel fulfillment. Corporate Payment Services’ first rewards program based on MRS was the “Gains Travel Card Rewards” program, where enrolled business cardholders receive points when they use their corporate card for eligible purchases. This program launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland in October 2004.

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USTT Poised to Ride the Contactless Wave

Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies has launched a “Tap N Go” application for vending. The card association considers vending a major opportunity for micro transactions and believes the contactless technology will finally convert the vending industry to cashless. USA Technologies is a leader in the networking of distributed assets and wireless non-cash transactions.

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Precidia Technologies and CHECKS Partner

Ottawa-based Precidia Technologies has launched a new IP based instant check verification solution with Texas-based CHECKS. The solution leverages Precidia’s compact, low cost “iPocket232” to connect “Trans330” payment terminals and MagTek check readers to an existing broadband network, sending check data to the CHECKS host, which delivers a verification response code in under a second. While handling the verification process, the “iPocket232” also simultaneously powers the payment terminal, eliminating the need for additional power adapters to run both devices, preserving valuable store real estate at the check out counter. The solution is already deployed in Toot’n Totum convenience stores and Food Basket grocery in Texas, USA. Precidia Technologies has customers in more than 75 countries.

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IRS Renews and Expands OPC Services

The IRS has exercised the third of four optional one-year contract renewals with CT-based Official Payments. With this contract renewal, the IRS has expanded the tax types eligible for credit card payment to include business taxes. The contract renewal also authorizes OPC to continue collecting and processing individual federal income tax payments made using a VISA, American Express, Discover or MasterCard. Additionally, the IRS has newly authorized Official Payments to accept federal individual Advanced Payment of Determined Deficiency payments for tax years 2003 through 2005 beginning in 2006. Continuing with an enhancement effective with the 2005 filing season that expanded the number of tax years for which past due payments may be accepted, on January 1st, OPC will begin accepting Prior Tax Years’ payments for 1996 through 2004, and Installment Agreement payments for tax years 1996 through 2005. OPC has been processing individual federal income tax credit card payments for the IRS since 1999.

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SiVault Systems and Hypercom Team

SiVault Systems and Hypercom have combined “SiPay” and “SiPay Mobile” signature authentication and transaction storage services on Hypercom’s “Optimum L4100” multi-lane signature capture card payment terminals to help retailers reduce credit card fraud, identity theft and the cost of researching payment disputes. It will also help prevent up to $70 billion of the $1.4 trillion health care cost for Americans that has been attributed to fraud. SiVault Systems offers secure storage and retrieval of signed documents and biometric signature-based authentication for processing of online transactions. Hypercom provides global payment technology.

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JALCARD Deploys MicroStrategy Platform

JALCARD has deployed the MicroStrategy “Business Intelligence Platform” to enhance service to its approximately 1.35 million
customers. JALCARD will use MicroStrategy for customer analysis applications such as customer segmentation and customer behavior and purchase analysis, which will enable JALCARD to enhance current services and offer targeted new services to customers. In addition to offering mileage to customers’ Japan Airlines “Mileage Bank” accounts, JALCARD provides value-added offerings such as shopping, insurance and travel services. JALCARD offers credit cards in conjunction with VISA, MasterCard, JCB and Diners Club.

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Paymetric Names a Chief Financial Officer

Houston-based Paymetric has landed Dan Lensgraf, previously with St. Louis-based Xspedius Communications, as CFO. During his five years at Xspedius, Lensgraf oversaw the company’s financial operations and played a key role in acquisition and capital formation activities. Lensgraf earned an MBA from Duke University and a BBA in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Paymetric is a solution provider enabling clients using payment cards to integrate buying and selling functions directly into their ERP-enabled business operations.

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DoCoMo Delays Adding Payments Technology to Phones

NTT DoCoMo says it will delay adding e-payment technology to its less expensive “3G” mobile phones. However, the company will offer Sony’s “FeliCa” payment chip on higher priced phones. NTT DoCoMo says it might add the “FeliCa” payment chip to cheaper phones next year.
NTT DoCoMo recently acquired a 34% interest in Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company. The two firms recent launched a smart credit card, which can be used by a “FeliCa” mobile handset. Nakamura is also buying a stake in Sumitomo Mitsui Card to launch a credit card business with added services. The “FeliCa” chip will also be offered on Vodafone’s mobile phones later this year.

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Debit Outpaces Credit P-Transactions in Q1

For the first time in the industry’s history, VISA and MasterCard off-line debit card purchase transactions have outnumbered credit card purchase transactions. During the first quarter, VISA and MasterCard processed 3.132 billion signature debit card purchase transactions versus 2.974 billion credit card purchase transactions. Over the past twelve months debit card purchase transactions have grown 18.5% compared to 6.9% for credit card purchase transactions. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), VISA had 2.509 billion off-line debit card purchase transactions and 1.718 billion credit card purchase transactions in the first quarter. MasterCard had 622 million signature debit card purchase transactions and 1.257 billion credit card purchase transactions during the first quarter.

PURCHASE TRANSACTION HISTORICAL
(VISA & MASTERCARD – millions)
Debit* Credit
1Q/04: 2642.0 2782.3
2Q/04: 2857.8 3045.9
3Q/04: 2927.5 3150.8
4Q/04: 3136.5 3429.3
1Q/05: 3131.5 2974.3
* excludes PIN POS debit
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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MBNA to Issue CIT Business MasterCards

MBNA has signed an agreement to issue two cobranded business MasterCards with CIT Small Business Lending Corporation. Two types of accounts will be offered, the Business Credit Card Account with no annual fee and a fixed rate and Business Rewards Credit Card Account with travel/merchandise reward enhancement for a $35 annual fee, along with a fixed rate. MBNA Corporation is an international financial services company with $116.6 billion in managed loans. CIT Group Inc.is a leading commercial and consumer finance company with nearly $60 billion in assets.

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