MASTERCARD 04

MasterCard International’s revenues increased 16% last year to $2.59
billion and are up 80% since 2000. Discounting the impact of the
$469 million set aside in 2003 as part of the settlement of the U.S.
merchant lawsuit, MasterCard’s net income for 2004 increased 187% to
$238 million. Compared to 2002, MasterCard’s profits have doubled.
The increase in revenue was due primarily to higher gross dollar volume,
up 10.6% to $1.5 trillion, and growth in the number of transactions
processed by MasterCard last year. Operating expenses as a percentage of
total revenue were reduced to 86% from 93% in 2003, excluding the impact
of the U.S. merchant lawsuit and other legal settlements, resulting from
an emphasis on cost control and streamlining of operations. Overall
operating expenses increased 7% in 2004, excluding the impact of the
U.S. merchant lawsuit and other legal settlements. The increase includes
the impact of additional advertising expenditures and acquisitions made
during 2004. For complete details on MasterCard’s 2004 performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Rogers Wireless Joins AmEx Biz Program

Amex Bank of Canada has announced that Rogers Wireless has joined the American Express Small Business Savings Program to provide small business owners with substantial savings on wireless communications services. Under the terms of the agreement, AMEX Corporate Card for Small Business and the AMEX Costco Corporate Card for Small Business cardholders can save $100 on the purchase of any new Rogers Wireless device including the palmOne Treo and BlackBerry when card members sign a service agreement.Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. is Canada’s largest wireless voice and data communications services provider with more than 5.5 million customers, operates Canada’s largest integrated wireless voice and data network and the only Canadian carrier operating on the GSM/GPRS technology platform. Rogers Wireless is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York-based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company, which provides a range of financial and travel related services for consumers and companies.

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OMRON Introduces Face Recognition Technology

OMRON has introduced “OKAO Vision Face Recognition Sensor”, a world first in face recognition technology which can be implemented in PDAs, mobile phones or other mobile devices with a camera function.
Users register their own face image to their unit with the unit’s camera. To use the unit, the user simply takes his or her own photo. The “OKAO Vision Face Recognition Sensor” will automatically detect the user and unlock the unit. The identification process takes less than a
second from snapping the photograph. Further, their is no need to adjust
the camera position when taking the photo. If the face is included in the photo, the sensor will detect the owner automatically.

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FORTUNE Admires Synovus for a Second Year

Synovus has been named on FORTUNE magazine’s annual listing of “America’s Most Admired Companies” for the second straight year. Synovus ranked No. 3 in the Consumer Credit category for 2005 after being ranked No. 5 in 2004. FORTUNE ranks companies based on eight attributes: innovation, financial soundness, employee talent, quality of management, use of corporate assets, long-term investment, social responsibility and quality of products/services. Scores are accumulated based on surveys from 10,000 executives, directors and securities analysts in each of the industries represented on the list. Synovus is a diversified financial services holding company with over $25 billion in assets based in Columbus, Georgia.

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Iraq’s Central Bank Approves Basra Card Deal

Iraq’s Central Bank has announced the founding of the National Company for Limited Financial Services. The new privately-owned company will operate from Basra. The firm will specialize in issuing the “Al-Fayhaa” credit card. The company has partnered with Middle East Bank to issue credit cards. The cards will first be used in Basra and then expand to other Iraqi cities.

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TSYS Completes its Vital Transaction

TSYS has completed its acquisition of Vital Processing Services, LLC, by purchasing the 50-percent equity stake that Visa U.S.A. formerly held. The transaction closed on March 1, and Vital Processing Services now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS. Vital Processing Services is the second-largest processor of merchant accounts in the United States, serving more than 1 million merchant locations. TSYS began in 1959 as a small division of Columbus Bank and Trust Company (CB&T), a bank owned by Synovus, which was one of the first institutions in the United States that offered its customers a revolving credit card. In 1974, CB&T started moving electronic transactions for other banks that issued credit cards – across states and continents, first by telephone, then by satellite and now by fiber optic cables.

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TUI Northern Europe Selects Trintech’s ReconNET

TUI Northern Europe has selected Trintech’s “ReconNET” to
automate the verification and reconciliation of cash banking and credit
card transactions, including foreign currency deposits from Forex
Bureaus distributed throughout its 1,100 agencies. Additionally, the
solution automates the verification and reconciliation of the company’s
principal disbursement account. The “ReconNET” solution replaces a heavily-customized third-party system that required time-consuming and labor-intensive reconciliation and research processes. “ReconNET” streamlines cash management processes, increases internal controls, and provides effective risk management and reporting across the company’s UK, Ireland, and Nordic agencies.

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Futurex Excrypt Certified by Mosaic Software

Futurex, a leading provider of data security solutions for financial, banking and retail industries, announced the certification of compatibility of its Excrypt product line with Mosaic Software’s Postilion payments and transaction authorization software. Mosaic Software, an S1 Company, is a global EFT software company. Their flagship Postilion software supports the Excrypt family of Host Security Modules (HSMs), including the RMC9000 (Rack Mounted Chassis) and KMS7000 (Key Management System). Postilion drives payments and other financial transactions through ATMs, POS terminals, phones and the Internet.

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LASA and ITAU Form a New Company

Sao Paulo-based Lojas Americanas and Banco ITAU Holding Financiera announced the creation of a new financial institution which will broaden and improve the range of financial products and services currently available to customers of LASA such as private label cards, co-branded credit cards, consumer credit, personal loans, insurance, extended product warranties for customers of Lojas Americanas, Americanas Express and Americanas.com. The equity of the new company will be R$80 million, owned 50% by ITAU and 50% by LASA.

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New Banking Code Requires Summary Box

The revised “Banking Code” went into force this week. Changes to the “Code” include making basic bank accounts more readily available to
people who want one, and the inclusion of a summary box on credit card
agreements. The changes to the “Banking Code” stem from recommendations made by professor Kempson following her widespread consultation with regulators, consumer groups and the industry to encapsulate their views. The “Business Banking Code” has also been updated as part of this review process.

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TSB Reviews Co-Branding Programs

Lloyds TSB has notified its credit card partners that it is making a review of all co-brand programs. TSB also says it will suspend spending on marketing for co-branded credit cards. The issuer expects to complete the review by the end of March. TSB says it is prepared to pay penalties if it terminates some or all of its partner programs. Lloyd’s has 200,000 co-branded credit cards-in-force out of a total card base of seven million.

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MasterCard Activates the MATCH Fraud Database

MasterCard Europe is activating its “MATCH” global database to monitor merchants that have been involved in irregular business practices. “MATCH” (“Member Alert To Control High Risk”) operates as a global system holding the details of any merchant that has been involved in irregular practices for a maximum period of five years, after which they are automatically removed. This information will assist banks in making informed decisions when entering into contracts with new merchants. The new database is expected to save banks 200 million euros a year.

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