KAL Offers Two ATM Upgrades

Cincinnati-based KAL has launched ATM upgrades for “Triple-DES” and “Windows XP SP2.” The Kalignite Triple-DES Upgrade meets the needs of banks in regard to introducing the high-security encryption feature into their ATMs. A Triple-DES compliant Encrypting PIN Pad (EPP), a new PC processor with Windows XP SP2 and the multi-vendor Kalignite NDC application are included in the package. According to Steve Hensley, KAL’s EVP for Sales, the Kalignite Upgrade Solutions enable banks to keep existing ATMs in service longer at a significantly lower cost of ownership than buying new ATMs. KAL is a provider of multi-vendor software for ATMs. The company’s Kalignite software offers advanced features and technologies necessary for a great ATM software solution.

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Best Western & MasterCard Launch a Q4 Promo

Best Western and MasterCard are launching a promotion next week offering a $25 “Best Western Travel Card” for each stay when a MasterCard is used through year-end. To become eligible for the card, guests have to register online before their first stay and mention offer code MC25. Non-Gold Crown Club International members can sign up for the free program upon registering for the offer. Each GCCI member can obtain up to four, $25 Best Western Travel Cards during the promotion. One or more consecutive nights at the same hotel is defined as a qualified stay. Recipients will get their cards within 6 weeks of each hotel stay. Best Western International is the world’s largest hotel chain with over 4,100 hotels in 80 counties and territories.

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GECF Launches a SAM’S CLUB Business Card

GE Consumer Finance has expanded its Wal-Mart relationship with the launch of a SAM’S CLUB business card. The new “Business All-In-One Card” will be offered to the business members of SAM’s CLUB 46 million customer base in the USA. The new card combines the membership and credit card feature, and offers a choice of payment due date, 24-hour online account management, and itemized billing statements. In October 2003, GE and Wal-Mart renewed their partnership through 2009. GE and Wal-Mart also inked a separate deal to launch private-label credit card programs for Wal-Mart and SAM’s CLUB stores in Canada. Wal-Mart operates more than 2,936 discount stores, and more than 532 warehouse clubs in the USA. (CF Library 10/3/03; 10/15/03)

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59% Prefer Universal Gift Cards this Xmas

A new survey shows that 83% of Americans will purchase gift cards during the upcoming holiday season because its gives the recipient a gift of choice. The American Express “Gift Card Survey” reveals that 59% prefer a universal gift card, compared to 37% who said they preferred a store gift card. The survey also finds that Americans see gift cards as appropriate for all family members — brothers (17%), sisters (15%), mothers (16%), and fathers (14%). One in ten Americans says they plan to give the gift cards to teens. Interestingly, double the number of men (8% compared to 4% women) plan to give gift cards to their spouse. More than eight out of ten respondents say that if they were to receive a gift card, they would redeem it within the year.

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VISA Introduces Light/Sound/Display Cards

DBS Bank of Singapore has become the first to launch the new “VISA Light” card which incorporates a mini-flashlight. The new card is part of a broader VISA initiative utilizing technologies from U.S.-based Innovative Card Technologies (InCard) and U.K.-based Serverside Graphics. Other cards include the “VISA Sound” card and “VISA Display” card. When prompted by a button, the “Sound” card plays a 10-second pre-recorded song, branded jingle, personalized message or virtually any other sound desired by an issuer or cardholder. Designed to enhance single or multi-application smart card functionality, The “Display” card screen can be programmed to show and store a wide variety of information, such as transaction details, card balances (on pre-paid payment products), currency conversions, loyalty points, special messages and a range of other non-financial data. Additionally, using Serverside Graphics’ on-line technology, VISA cardholders can use their own photographic images from family and pets to children or personal artwork – to design and create their own tailor-made Visa credit, debit, pre-paid or gift cards. Taishin Bank in Taiwan is the first VISA member financial institution in Asia Pacific to offer customized graphics.

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HSBC Acquires Marks & Spencer Money

HSBC has acquired Marks & Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Ltd for $1.4 billion. This represents a premium of $413 million over net asset value. Under the terms of the sale, Marks & Spencer will receive fees equating to 50% of the profits of M&S Money. As a result of this transaction, Laurel Powers-Freeling, Chief Executive, M&S Money, will be stepping down from the Group Board immediately. One-year ago, Marks & Spencer Financial Services rolled-out the “&more MasterCard.” The card drew the ire of the Office of Fair Trading for automatically replacing Marks & Spencer private-label store card with the new MasterCard, without the written permission of the cardholder. More than 2.6 million of 5.0 million existing Marks & Spencer charge card users were in the process of being upgraded to the “&more” credit card with the OFT stepped-in. (CF Library 9/3/03; 10/6/03; 10/9/03)

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VeriFone to Develop Terminal Virus Protection

VeriFone and McAfee have inked an agreement to jointly develop the POS payment terminal industry’s first virus protection solution. The companies will create software for real-time monitoring and use McAfee(R) VirusScan(R) for VeriFone IP-enabled payment devices to attack pattern update services. VeriFone will work with credit card processors and independent sales organizations to activate and support the anti-virus protection solution for merchants hopefully starting at the beginning of the new year. McAfee, Inc. is a creator of intrusion prevention and risk management solutions. VeriFone’s solutions are designed to meet the needs of vertical markets such as financial, retail, petroleum, government, and healthcare.

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TransFirst Expands Staff in Colorado

CO-based TransFirst, the largest privately held credit and debit card transaction processor, has added 110 jobs and has moved into a new divisional headquarters in Boulder County. The company handles over $18.5 billion in annual processing volume for over 150,000 merchants and 760 financial institutions all over the nation. With the additional jobs, TransFirst now employs over 300 people in Boulder County. TransFirst offers merchant products and industry-specific services designed for the special business needs of financial institutions, ISO’s, health services, e-government, online and other direct marketing retailers, and brick and mortar retailers.

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U.S. Card Volume Up 15% in Q3 Led by VISA

Americans are on track to charge more than $2.3 trillion on credit, debit, and business cards this year. During the third quarter, a record $620 billion was charged on general purpose payment cards in the USA, compared to $541 billion one-year ago, a 15% gain. VISA captured more than 55% of the U.S. market with $342.7 billion in gross dollar volume. MasterCard’s U.S. GDV grew nearly 8% in the third quarter to $176 billion, representing a 28% share. American Express posted $75.6 billion in third quarter volume for a 12% share. Discover’s $25.4 billion in volume for the quarter ending August 31st, was $25.4 billion, or about 4% of total 3Q/04 volume. For complete details on network third quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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“CHIP & PIN”

The “Chip and PIN” roll-out in the U.K. has topped 65.5 million cards. At the end of October, 30.8 million cardholders had at least one new “Chip and PIN” debit or credit card in their wallets. The figure represents about 75% if the total cardholders in the country. Furthermore, more than 520,000 tills in the U.K. have switched over to “Chip and PIN.” The latest major firms to roll out “Chip and PIN” include HMV, Selfridges, Shell and Debenhams. “Chip and PIN” recently launched the second phase of its advertising campaign with TV, radio and press advertisements. The campaign, which runs for 13 weeks, aims to ensure cardholders are ready to use their PIN, with specific messages about how to unlock their PIN, remind them they can change their PIN to something they can remember easily, and to encourage them to keep their PIN a secret. The roll-out of “Chip and PIN” began in October 2003 and is backed by the U.K.’s banking and retail industries. The “Chip and PIN” goal is to migrate 42 million cardholders to the new platform by year’s end.

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VISA LIGHT

DBS Bank of Singapore has become the first to launch the new “VISA Light” card which incorporates a mini-flashlight. The new card is part of a broader VISA initiative utilizing technologies from U.S.-based Innovative Card Technologies (InCard) and U.K.-based Serverside Graphics. Other cards include the “VISA Sound” card and “VISA Display” card. When prompted by a button, the “Sound” card plays a 10-second pre-recorded song, branded jingle, personalized message or virtually any other sound desired by an issuer or cardholder. Designed to enhance single or multi-application smart card functionality, The “Display” card screen can be programmed to show and store a wide variety of information, such as transaction details, card balances (on pre-paid payment products), currency conversions, loyalty points, special messages and a range of other non-financial data. Additionally, using Serverside Graphics’ on-line technology, VISA cardholders can use their own photographic images from family and pets to children or personal artwork – to design and create their own tailor-made Visa credit, debit, pre-paid or gift cards. Taishin Bank in Taiwan is the first VISA member financial institution in Asia Pacific to offer customized graphics.

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