Bhutan National Bank Signs JCB Acquiring License

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.

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Philips and ViVOtech Advance NFC Payments

Royal Philips Electronics and ViVOtech have joined hands to advance “Near Field Communication” technology-based contactless payment and promotion solutions in physical merchant environments for the first time. The alliance will marry the “ViVOpay 3000” reader and an “NFC”-enabled mobile phone. Philips’ “NFC” is a combination of contactless identification and interconnection technologies that enables convenient short-range RF communication between personal electronic devices. ViVOtech provides software technology and reader infrastructure that allows consumers to make contactless payments with an NFC-enabled mobile phone at existing POS systems. NFC can also enable ViVOtech’s “ViVOwallet” software, which includes the ability to pay and to use loyalty cards, gift cards, SMS/MMS promotions, and e-coupons.

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VASCO Signs Several European Distributors

Brussels-based VASCO has signed distributors in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Italy. VASCO’s distributors will sell “Digipass Pack,” a bundling of VASCO’s “Digipass” and “VACMAn Middleware.” “Digipass Pack” is solely sold indirectly, via distributors and resellers/integrators. With over 11 million Digipass products sold and ordered, VASCO has relationships with 300 international financial institutions and approximately 1,400 blue-chip corporations and governments located in more than 70 countries.

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EMV Migration Drives Axalto Smart Card Profits

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 U.K. 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. Axalto is a spin-off of Schlumberger.

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ECN E-card XP Set to be Launched

GlobeTel Communications has inked a MOU with the largest VISA
credit and debit card issuer in the country. GTEL will interface with Equitable Cards Network’s systems to issue prepaid cards to remittance recipients and issue prepaid “VISA Electron” debit cards to its
cardholders. The card, the “ECN E-card XP,” will allow free withdrawals
from 400 Equitable ATMs, and access to 5,000 Megalink and BancNet local ATMs. ECN is also the only issuer of American Express credit cards in the Philippines.

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Celtron Sells PayCell in an All Stock Deal

Midrand-based Celtron International has inked a deal to sell its
PayCell subsidiary to Knight Fuller. PayCell’s service utilizes WIG technology that eliminates the need for any Web-based banking service or WAP. Users receive immediate transaction settlement in their bank account and confirmation is received in seconds via SMS protocol. Therefore, customers are protected from fraud by the MOTO rule. Knight Fuller intends to take the PayCell mobile payment services to North American customers.

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Government Wants to Rein In Credit Card Issuers

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency is considering new regulations for the credit card industry. Under the new rules credit card issuers would be required to base credit limits on the consumer’s financial circumstances. The rules are driven by a sharp rise in credit card borrowing and rising defaults. According to the Central Bank, credit card loans recently hit 233.2 million euros. The number of credit card holders has climbed to 23.2 million. The central Bank reports that credit card volume hit 5.6 billion euros in August.

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A Complete Wireless IP ATM Solution Introduced

New Orleans-based, third-party ATM processor Columbus Data Services has launched a complete wireless IP ATM solution. Working with Precidia Technologies and Verizon and Nextel, CDS has assembled a complete wireless ATM processing solution that enables operators to easily migrate to newer wireless technologies. The “all-on-one” package includes handsets, minutes and all hardware requirements. Cabe & Cato, an ATM-focused ISO based in Marietta, GA, says the CDS solution saves approximately $300 per install.

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MBNA’s Metrics Remarkably Stable This Summer

MBNA’s managed consumer credit card charge-off ratio has clearly plateaued as delinquency remains stable this summer. The nation’s third largest issuer also posted its third consecutive month of growth in credit card outstandings, hitting $99.7 billion during August. After declining for four consecutive months, and hitting a new low for the year during July, MBNA’s charge-off remained solid at 4.52% in August. In January, MBNA’s charge-off rate was 4.77%. Delinquency for consumer credit cards edged up to 4.01% during August, compared to 4.00% during July, and compared to 4.34% in January. Consumer credit card outstandings increased $200 million during August, compared to a $100 million gain in the prior month. MBNA’s consumer credit card outstandings peaked in December. MBNA previously reported that domestic credit card loans for the second quarter were $83.5 billion. For complete details on MBNA’s second quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

MBNA CONSUMER CREDIT CARD SNAPSHOT
Month Outstandings Charge-offs Delinquency
Jan 04 $103.1b 4.77% 4.34%
Feb 04 $ 99.6b 4.71% 4.49%
Mar 04 $ 99.1b 4.79% 4.27%
Apr 04 $ 98.0b 4.70% 4.21%
May 04 $ 98.5b 4.88% 4.15%
Jun 04 $ 99.4b 4.64% 4.10%
Jul 04 $ 99.5b 4.52% 4.00%
Aug 04 $ 99.7b 4.52% 4.01%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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NFC PAYMENTS

Eindhoven-based Royal Philips Electronics and California-based ViVOtech have joined hands to advance “Near Field Communication” technology-based contactless payment and promotion solutions in
physical merchant environments for the first time. The alliance will marry the “ViVOpay 3000” reader and an “NFC”-enabled mobile phone.
Philips’ “NFC” is a combination of contactless identification and
interconnection technologies that enables convenient short-range RF communication between personal electronic devices. ViVOtech provides software technology and reader infrastructure that allows consumers to make contactless payments with an NFC-enabled mobile phone at existing POS systems. NFC can also enable ViVOtech’s “ViVOwallet” software, which includes the ability to pay and to use loyalty cards, gift cards, SMS/MMS promotions, and e-coupons.

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First Data and BofA Look to Expand Relationship

First Data and Bank of America have signed a letter of intent to expand their relationship. Under the agreement, the “STAR Network” will begin to process PIN-debit transactions for a portion of BofA’s portfolio. In addition, a majority of BofA ATMs will continue to participate in the “STAR Network.” Additionally, FDC will provide plastics personalization for BofA credit and debit card portfolios, including former Fleet credit and debit cards. FDC’s REMITCO unit will also provide remittance processing services for BofA credit card payments. BofA has also agreed to extend its contract with First Data Voice Services for IVR and live agent card activation services for its credit and debit card portfolios. FDC’s TASQ Technology will supply POS equipment and supplies for BofA’s merchant acquiring business. Finally, BofA intends to extend its current contract with FDC’S Primary Payment Systems for risk management services.

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