Smart card specialist, Axalto, reported that profits for its financial card segment rose 72% during the first six months of this year to $23.3 million. Overall, microprocessor cards sales rose by 35% in volumes to 36 million units, driven by the UK migration to the EMV standard. Microprocessor financial cards revenue also increased in the Americas, where Axalto continued its selective withdrawal from the magnetic-stripe cards business. Revenue in the financial cards segment came in at $97.4 million, an increase of 25% compared with the first half of 2003, or 14% at constant exchange rates. Overall, Axalto revenue reached $430 million, a 28% growth compared with the same period last year. The Company also posted a very sharp improvement in overall profitability, with an operating profit of $28 million, more than five times the level seen in the year-earlier period, and a net profit of $20.5 million.Details
Welcome has partnered with international smart card solutions provider, Aconite, to deliver value added payment solutions to banks, financial institutions and merchants by combining Welcome’s “XLS” and Aconite’s EMV solutions. Welcome’s “XLS” software enhances the EMV payment function with customer-centric features, such as instant delivery of surprise offers and welcome gifts, immediate calculation of points or cash back, and easy redemption of rewards at the point of sale. Aconite’s EMV transaction authorization and dynamic risk management solutions are designed to be integrated into a bank’s existing card management and transaction processing systems, at a much lower cost and faster time to market than traditional solutions.Details
Paragon Application Systems has developed a custom key-injection testing tool for I-S-Cubed which they successfully used to test the accuracy of the end-to-end remote key loading process initiated by iS3’s “SecureOMS” automated key management system. SecureOMS is the world’s first server-based security system that provides centralized security management for cryptographic keys, PINs, and devices. Paragon’s application allows I-S-Cubed to test its solution accurately while providing verifiable results in a realistic test environment. Paragon Application Systems provides ATM and EFT configuration, simulation, and testing software. Over 150 financial institutions in over 25 countries use Paragon’s software to improve quality and reduce time-to-market. I-S-Cubed, Inc. provides secure cryptographic key management solutions for network-connected devices in the financial services, retail, and enterprise markets.Details
The Monetary Board of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has approved new rules to stop what it calls “excessive practices” by credit card issuers. The new rules will also extend to affiliates that are not currently regulated by the BSP. The “excessive practices” include abusive treatment by collection agents, poor disclosure of foreign transactions fees, and deceptive marketing of lower interest rates.
The BSP reports that credit card outstandings were P57.7 billion as of March 31st, a 20% increase over the year ago period.
Fifth Third Bank has selected SMARTS “InCharge” to monitor and conduct root cause analysis of its authorization system along with the 14,000 ATMs serviced by Fifth Third across the nation. Fifth Third will use SMARTS’ automated business assurance solutions including the InCharge Service Assurance Manger, the IP Availability Manager, the Business Impact Manager, and the Application Services Manager. Fifth Third Bancorp is a financial services company that has $95.6 billion in assets and operates17 affiliates with 1,000 full-service Banking Centers. SMART(R) solves IT management problems using innovative technology. InChargeâ¢ solutions are used by thousands of customers all over the world to resolve problems with IT management.Details
The Financial Supervisory Service reports that the number of credit cards-in-force has dipped to 88.3 million at mid-year, after peaking at 148 million two years ago. The decline is primarily due to more stringent underwriting by card issuers and weak consumer spending. The FSS says total cards-in-force at the end of 2003 was 112 million.Details
NYC-based E4X, a multi currency services provider, has named Michael DeSimone, formerly with Travelex, Citibank, and Thomas Cook, as SVP/Sales and Marketing. Mr. DeSimone has over 17 years of experience with foreign exchange services and international payments. As the new SVP, he will lead the company’s sales and marketing strategy. DeSimone has worked closely with organizations such as Visa, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of New York, and the Royal Bank of Scotland prior to his role at E4X. E4X, Inc. is a provider of multi currency services that facilitates global business by minimizing the problems associated with currency conversion related to cross border sales and payments.Details
Thimphu-based Bhutan National Bank has signed an agreement to become the first JCB acquiring licensee in Bhutan. JCB says 25% of foreign visitors to Bhutan are Japanese. With this agreement, the JCB brand will be phased in at all the bank’s merchants starting this month. With the addition of Bhutan, the JCB brand is now accepted in 190 countries and territories around the world. Its merchant network includes 11.7 million merchants. Bhutan is located on the southern slopes of the Himalayas.Details
Indianapolis-based card processor, OneBridge, has hired Spencer Lewis, formerly of ACI Worldwide, as VP/Sales. Lewis will spearhead the effort to create and strengthen the infrastructure required to support a sales organization focused on customers. He will be responsible for the development and management of sales objectives along with the delivery of innovative solutions to OneBridge clients and prospects. Lewis will also serve on the organization’s leadership team. He brings over 18 years of experience providing EFT solutions to financial institutions. OneBridge provides financial institutions with comprehensive card processing solutions to maximize credit and debit card programs.Details
Bank of Baroda’s Bobcards subsidiary is gearing up to introduce tiered interest rates on their credit cards. The move is in retaliation to recent rate reductions by ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. The new rates charged will be adjusted by the age of the card purchases. The lowest rate would apply to purchases up to 90 days old. The next higher rate will apply to the 90-120 day period, and the highest rate would apply to purchases over 120 days old. Bobcards’ current interest rate is 2.25% per month. Bobcards indicated the new tiered rates would be less than the current flat rate. Standard Chartered Bank recently cut its credit card interest rate to 1.99% per month. ICICI Bank also lowered its interest rate to 0.99% per month for its secured credit card.Details
MBNA Corporation has named Kenneth Vecchione as the new CFO effective September 30th. He currently serves and will continue to serve as CFO of MBNA America Bank. Vecchione succeeds Vernon Wright, who is retiring December 15th. Wright will continue as a director of MBNA America Bank and will advise MBNA. Vecchione joined MBNA America Bank in 1998 as division head of finance, responsible for accounting and tax, corporate and strategic planning, and financial operations, and financial planning.Details
Credit card reward programs that take a long time to accumulate points do not work well according to a new report. The research showed that 70% of cardholders leave a loyalty/rewards program due to the length of time it takes to build up points. Maritz Loyalty Marketing says the number jumps to 79% in the 18-24 age group. The Maritz Poll also found that customer defection resulted from other perceived problems with rewards programs, such as: “not being rewarded properly” (23%), “disliked the fee” (22%), “disliked the reward options” (20%), “program rules kept changing” (17%), “poor customer service” (16%) and “other programs seemed better” (18%). More than a quarter of this high-income cardholders left a rewards program because “another company’s program seemed better” or they didn’t like the reward options.Details