Micropayments Go to a New Level

MA-based Peppercoin, a micropayments company, has launched version 3.0 of its “Small Transaction Suite” for FSIs and merchants. The “Small Transaction Suite” core technology provides an “Intelligent Aggregation” platform for all payments. It supports the pay-as-you-go, subscription, pre-paid, and post-paid business models. “Peppercoin 3.0” even enables merchants to experiment and tune their offerings over time. The platform also abides by all the rules and regulations of the credit card associations, and is compliant with the all of the data security requirements. Peppercoin also announced this week that its “Small Transaction Suite” has been authorized for sale by First Data’s merchant acquiring partners.

Details

LaserCard’s Optical Card Sales Up 24% Y/Y

LaserCard reported that optical memory card revenues for the fourth quarter were $3.6 million compared with $2.9 million one-year ago. Revenues from LaserCard(R) read/write drives, drive accessories and maintenance were $279,000 for the third quarter compared with $155,000 in the prior quarter and $2.5 million for the same period last year. LaserCard Corporation (www.lasercard.com) manufactures and markets LaserCard(R) optical memory cards, chip-ready Smart/Optical(TM) cards and other advanced-technology secure identification cards.

Details

Axalto’s Financial Smart Card Revenues Up 22%

Axalto, formerly Schlumberger Smart Cards, reported that fourth quarter
revenue for financial cards rose 22% to $51.7 million. Microprocessor
card sales were also up 22% to 18.6 million cards for 4Q/04. Overall
revenues for the quarter were $291.5 million, a 30% increase over the
year ago quarter. POS terminal revenues for 4Q/04 rose 43% to $22.4
million, but down 15% from the prior quarter. Axalto says the terminal
growth is driven by strong sales in the EMEA region, derived from a
growing number of EMV-related supply contracts. For the full year, POS
terminal sales were up 66% in the EMEA region. During the fourth
quarter, Axalto joined the “Visa Smart Breakthrough” card program. For
complete details on Axalto’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData
(www.carddata.com).

Details

AssetExchange Brokers Ten CU Card Sales

OR-based AssetExchange reports it recently brokered the sales of ten credit union credit card portfolios. Atlanta-based InfiCorp signed purchase and agent deals with TN-based Old Hickory CU, CA-based Sun Community FCU, NH-based Triangle CU, CO-based Community Financial FCU, and, WI-based Guardian CU. Dallas-based TNB Card Services purchased and formed partnerships with ID-based Advantage Plus FCU and CT-based Windsor Locks FCU. AssetExchange would not disclose the buyer of the other three portfolios. AssetExchange recently released a report that showed the penetration of credit cards among credit union members has declined 19.0% to 18.5% year-on-year. (CF Library 11/30/04)

Details

Citibank Brazil and Banco Itau Split Credicard Assets

After agreeing to acquire all of Unibanco’s interest in Credicard, Citigroup and Banco Itau have no decided to divide equally the assets of Credicard, without any financial consideration paid by either party. As a result of this agreement Citibank Brazil will
add more than 3.8 million cards, bringing Citibank’s total number of
Brazilian credit cards to approximately 4.7 million. In November 2004, Citibank Brazil, Banco Itau and Unibanco announced the restructuring of the ownership of their jointly owned Credicard Group, including the purchase by Citibank and Itau of Unibanco’s interest in the Credicard card issuing business, and the purchase by Itau of Citibank’s and Unibanco’s shares in Orbitall, the card processing and servicing business. Redecard, the merchant acquiring business, maintained its ownership structure, with Citibank, Itau and Unibanco each owning 32%, and MasterCard owning 4%. After the transition is complete, which is expected to occur later in 2005, Citibank Brazil and Banco Itau will manage their respective credit card operations in the manner that best supports each company’s distinct business strategies.

Details

AmEx GDV Outpaces V/MC Globally for Two Years

After struggling through the recent recession, American Express has outpaced VISA and MasterCard in global card volume growth for the past two years. Driven by growth in the U.S. small business segment and its Global Network Services partnerships, AmEx’s worldwide GDV surged by more than 18% last year, compared to VISA’s 10.5% growth rate and MasterCard’s 9.4% gain. (VISA and MasterCard 2004 gains may be slightly higher when data are released this month.) Since year-end 1999, MasterCard’s GDV has climbed 91%, while VISA’s GDV has grown by 81% and American Express’ annual GDV has increased by 64%. VISA leads with a CAGR of 14.87%, compared to MasterCard’s 13.84%, and American Express’ 10.37%. However, the overall trend shows that VISA and MasterCard have been losing momentum globally since the recession of 2001. Last year, American Express posted GDV of $416 billion, compared to $352 billion for 2003. For the 12 months ending September 30th, VISA’s global GDV was $3.26 trillion, compared to $2.95 trillion for the prior period. During the same period MasterCard reported GDV of $1.39 trillion, compared to $1.27 trillion for 2003. The VISA and MasterCard figures do not include some online debit volume.

GLOBAL GDV BY NETWORK
NETWORK 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
VISA $1.93t $2.30t $2.64t $2.95t $3.26t**
MasterCard $0.86t $0.99t $1.14t $1.27t $1.39t**
American Express $ 297b $ 298b $ 311b $ 352b $ 416b
t- trillion b-billion
* does not include Maestro ** 12-months ending 9/30/04

YEAR/YEAR GROWTH
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 5YR CAGR
VISA 18.4% 19.2% 14.9% 11.7% 10.5% 81.0% 14.87%
MasterCard 17.8% 15.1% 15.2% 11.4% 9.4% 91.2% 13.84%
American Express 16.9% 0.3% 4.3% 13.2% 18.2% 63.8% 10.37%

Source: CardData Platinum (www.carddata.com)

Details

Metris Companies Knocks-Off Some More Debt

Metris Companies announced that it has retired $900 million of asset-backed securitization debt that is scheduled to mature in May. Metris recently announced plans to make another prepayment of corporate debt of the past three months, paying $50 million on senior notes later this month. This is the third prepayment of corporate debt Metris has announced in the past three months. The Company made a $50 million prepayment on November 23, 2004, and a $25 million prepayment on December 22, 2004 of its senior secured credit agreement maturing in 2007. Metris reported last week that it made a full-year profit of $33.7 million in 2004. (CF Library 1/26/05; 1/27/05)

Details

Hypercom Lands Two Electronic Payments Veterans

Hypercom has hired Bill Mardis, former Director of Sales & Marketing for VeriFone, as VP/Value-Added Services, and has also hired Dan DeBraal, former AVP/Merchant Products for Fifth Third Processing, as VP/Processor Sales. Mr. Mardis will manage the global payment technology leader’s North America Value-Added Channel. He will also manage the company’s authorized repair center program and parts sales. Mr. DeBraal will focus on processor product development and certification. He will also serve as an internal product development/certification support coordinator and liaison. Hypercom Corporation is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-transaction for consumers, merchants and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers.

Details

Dec Debit and Credit Card Transactions Up 13%

Payment card transactions reached 584.6 million in December, a 12.6% gain over one-year ago. According to figures released by APACS, debit card purchases led the growth, with a 15.8% growth in transactions to 380 million. Credit card transactions grew by 7.1% to 205 million.
Despite reports of a below-expectations Christmas trading period, total
retail sales over Christmas were estimated at GBP30.8 billion, 3% higher than December 2003. Payment cards accounted for 61.5% of all retail sales, and December’s high street purchases on plastic were the highest ever recorded, up 11% on December 2003 figures.

Details

Washington Trust Nails a RI Municipality Deal

The Washington Trust Company has been awarded a three-year ATM contract with The State of Rhode Island to permit any Rhode Island municipality to place Washington Trust ATMs in their public buildings and schools. The agreement also allows any Rhode Island municipality to place Washington Trust ATMs in their public buildings and schools. The Washington Trust Company is the largest independent bank headquartered in Rhode Island. Washington Trust offers a full range of financial services, including trust and investment management, through its 16 branch offices located in Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut.

Details

TransFirst Promotes Floyd to COO

Dallas-based TransFirst has promoted Joni Floyd from president of its Shared Services division and interim COO, to COO. In this new position, she will continue to focus on identifying and implementing key technologies and processes, as well as lead the company’s efforts to streamline processes between its core business operations and newly acquired business units. Floyd’s career in the bank data services and related e-commerce industries spans more than 24 years, during which she played an active role in the development of the ATM industry. TransFirst offers a first-rate suite of products and services and customized processing programs uniquely tailored for the special business needs of financial institutions, independent sales organizations and agents and its referral and reseller partners.

Details

Cardtronics Snags a PNC ATM Multi-State Deal

Houston-based Cardtronics has signed an agreement with PA-based PNC Bank to brand more than 150 ATMs deployed in Walgreens stores in a five-state area. The multi-year branding deal provides PNC Bank the opportunity to brand ATMs that are owned and operated by Cardtronics in Walgreens stores in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Cardtronics will have operational and management responsibility for the ATMs and PNC Bank cardholders will have convenient surcharge-free access to the ATMs. Cardtronics is the nation’s largest independent owner/operator of ATMs with a network of over 25,000 locations operating in every major U.S. market and in all 50 states.

Details