Maestro Tops 548 Million Cards Worldwide

“Maestro,” MasterCard’s global PIN-based debit brand, now appears on more than 548 million cards worldwide, a 7.4% increase over one-year ago. Europe continued to be the largest cardholder base for “Maestro” with 246.5 million cards as of September 30th, a 5.2% increase over the same date in 2003. At the end of the third quarter, there were 149.9 million “Maestro” cards issued in Asia/Pacific, 78.0 million in Latin America, and 27.4 million cards in the South Asia, Middle East and Africa region. In the United States, “Maestro”-processed purchase dollar volume nearly tripled and purchase transactions grew 170%. U.S. “Maestro” volumes set all-time records in September 2004, which was the twelfth consecutive month of growth in transactions and dollar volume.

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Iowa Expands its OPC Contract

The State of Iowa has expanded its payment processing contract enabling Iowa businesses to make several types of electronic business tax payments through Official Payments systems with a debit or credit card. These payments may be made with a major debit or credit card. Official Payments Corp. accepts payments for Iowa individual income taxes, estimated income taxes, delinquent income taxes, certain court payments, and has added certain business, sales and use, and withholding taxes. Tier is a leading provider of transaction processing and packaged software and systems integration services for public sector clients.

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HOLIDAY 04

Credit card and debit card spending over the first two weeks of December is up 3.5% year-over-year, or approximately $475 million in Canada. For the third year in a row, December 23rd is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year. Moneris says it processed 8.49 million transactions on December 23rd last year and 8.38 million transactions in 2002. Moneris says based on the total dollar volumes spent on debit and credit cards in hundreds of merchant categories, video tape rental stores were up 15.4%, bakeries were up 15.0% and pet stores were up 9.4%. Family clothing stores were up 12.6%, men’s and women’s clothing stores were up 12.5%, and children’s and infants wear was up 8.8%. Moneris processes for more than 350,000 merchant locations.

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Casio Launches a New Retail POS Terminal

NJ-based Casio has introduced a new touch screen POS terminal for the grocery, convenience store, hospitality and general retail markets. The new “QT-8000” terminal is based on the Intel “Celeron” 1.2GHz processor and offers retail-specific powered interfaces for scanners, scales, POS printers, customer displays, magnetic card readers, etc., via four RS232 ports, four USB ports, a parallel port, and a CF card slot. The 15-inch touch TFT screen also has the ability to support “The Extended Windows Display.” The screen also has water splash proof construction. The “QT-8000” will be available next month.

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Australian Card Volume Declines in October

Gross dollar volume for purchases on credit card and charge cards during October in Australia dipped sharply from the prior month. Total outstandings for October were up A$500 million compared to September, and up nearly 13% since October 2003. Revolving balances, or balances accruing interest, declined for the second consecutive month to A$19.3 billion during October, and up 10% from one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. During October, Australians charged A$12.3 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards compared to A$11.9 billion one-year ago. At the end of October, consumers owed A$28.2 billion on credit cards versus A$25.0 billion for October 2003. Card credit limits reached A$75.9 billion at the end of October, compared to A$67.4 billion for October 2003. There are 11.3 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 10.6 million one-year ago.

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Exante Introduces MasterCard HSA Cards

CT-based Exante Financial Services has launched a suite of prepaid MasterCard health benefit cards, including a new Health Savings Account debit card. Exante’s health benefit card programs include applications for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), and also enable verification of health benefit eligibility. The new Health Savings Account (HSA) Prepaid MasterCard(R) Card gives consumers the ability to easily access funds stored in tax-deferred HSAs when paying for eligible medical expenses. Exante Financial Services is focused on simplifying and facilitating financial and administrative transactions for insurers, benefits administrators, consumers and health care professionals. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs.

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Enterprise Technology Alliance Endorses MoneyPass

Enterprise Technology Alliance, a Pennsylvania technology service company providing core and item processing, imaging, ISP, as well as operating the surcharge free “Liberty ATM Alliance,” has endorsed the Genpass MoneyPass EFT Network. Enterprise Technology Alliance, Inc. (ETA) provides a core processing solution utilizing Kirchman’s Bankway application. ETA also provides item processing and check imaging services, mail services, and an evolving and growing consortium of shared service offerings. Genpass Technologies, which drives ATMs and processes cards in all 50 states, is listed in ATM and Debit Card News (July 25, 2003) as the second largest third party ATM driver in the U.S. and in The EFT Data Book (2003 edition) as one of the largest transaction processors in the U.S., driving approximately 31,000 ATMs located throughout the country.

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AmEx Beefs-Up its Travel Web Site

American Express Business Travel has launched a redesigned Website providing targeted offerings to companies of all sizes and resources for travel managers and travelers. The site highlights American Express Business Travel’s targeted offerings to companies of all sizes whether they are small, mid-size or large. The site also provides resources for Travel Managers and Travelers. American Express Travel Related Services, Inc. operates one of the world’s largest travel agency networks, recording $16 billion in worldwide travel sales in 2003.

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ECHO Revenues Rise 12% in 3Q/04

Electronic Clearing House reported record revenue for the quarter ending September 30th of $12.3 million, an increase of 12.0% over the prior year quarter. The increase is primarily attributable to 7.0% growth in the bankcard and transaction processing revenue and 29.4% growth in check services revenues. Bankcard processing and transaction revenue increased 7.0% to $9.1 million in the quarter from $8.5 million in the prior year quarter. The Company reported net income of $403,000 in the quarter, versus $518,000, in the year ago quarter. For complete details on ECHO’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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First National Renews Visa POS Check Program

Electronic Clearing House has received confirmation from First National Merchant Solutions that its processing contract under the “Visa POS Check” program has been renewed through December 2005. First National provides check processing for national as well as regional retail merchants and, most notably, First National processes for the largest retailer currently on the Visa POS Check service. First National Merchant Solutions is a customer service driven payment processor with over 50 years of experience in payment processing solutions. Electronic Clearing House, Inc. provides a complete solution to the payment processing needs of merchants, banks and collection agencies.

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