Discover to Promote Finger Payment Technology

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch this morning landed its biggest supporter to-date for its finger-scanning payment technology. Discover Financial Services has agreed to promote the service to its 50 million cardholders. Last month, four Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in South Carolina began offering Pay By Touch’s biometric payment system, giving customers the option of paying for groceries using a finger scan linked to their financial accounts. Pay By Touch users enroll one-time by scanning their finger, entering a search code, swiping their Discover Card or other payment cards, and adding their checking account information. The Pay By Touch wallet is then stored at secure IBM data centers. The Pay By Touch finger scanning technology does not store actual fingerprints; instead, it creates a set of 40 data points that cannot be reverse-engineered to a fingerprint. The data points are then converted into a mathematical equation that allows for a secure identity match at retail point of sale. As of June, about $37 million has been invested into Pay By Touch by venture funds. (CF Library 6/4/04; 7/26/04)

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CPCNet & Diversinet Target China for Wireless

CPCNet has formed a strategic alliance to offer the full suite of “Passport Trust Platform” security products and solutions to
government agencies, state-run lottery programs, suppliers of
interactive online games, and other potential end customers throughout
the Greater China market. Through this joint sales and marketing agreement CPCNet will provide first-line support, and the two companies will work together to develop vertical solutions, leveraging their respective strengths in response to the demands of the market. “Passport Trust Platform” is a standards-based security solution for wired
platforms and wireless devices, such as personal computers, smart cards,
PDAs, and mobile phones, many of which have limited security
capabilities.

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METRO Group Deploya NCR’s FastLane

METRO Group has installed a self-checkout from NCR Corporation that reads radio frequency identification tags, as well as bar codes, in the newly opened METRO Group RFID Innovation Center. Located in Neuss, Germany, near Duesseldorf, the Innovation Center was established by METRO Group to advance the development of RFID technology in retailing with its technology partners. The NCR FastLane installed at the Innovation Center incorporates an RFID read/write device manufactured by FEIG ELECTRONIC GmbH. The system supports standards established by EPCglobal, an industry association guiding worldwide adoption and standardization of EPC technology in an ethical and responsible way.

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Hudson’s Bay Launches Dining & Hotels Program

Hudson’s Bay Company has introduced the “Hbc Rewards Dining & Hotels Program” in partnership with Chicago-based The Rewards Network. Under the new program, members can earn 100 “Hbc Rewards” bonus points for every dollar spent on food and drinks, at thousands of participating restaurants, as well as receiving points from participating hotels. For every room-rate dollar spent, members can earn 50 “Rewards” bonus points, or 100 “Hbc Rewards” bonus points at “Special” hotels. Hudson’s Bay Company is Canada’s largest department store retailer that include more than 500 stores led by the Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters chains. Rewards Network has 3.5 million active members, over 10,400 restaurants, and more than 10,500 hotels participating in its rewards programs.

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Low-Cost Smart Card Management System Launched

Toronto-based Diversinet reported second quarter revenues of $1.7 million, slightly lower than the revenues for the second quarter of
2003. The net loss for the quarter was $1.3 million, in line with the first quarter loss of $1.3 million. During the second quarter, Diversinet announced the availability of its “Passport Trust Platform,” an expanded version of its flagship wireless data security infrastructure product suite that speeds the deployment of next-generation mobile data applications. Diversinet’s “Passport Trust
Platform” ensures the security and integrity of wireless data transactions such as mobile payments, messaging, data access, gaming and wagering, high-value content download, enterprise mobile work force and other applications. Diversinet’s customers and partners include VISA, Fleet Credit Card Services, and First National Bank. For complete details on Diversnet’s second quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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OFT Challenges MBNA’s Default Charges

MBNA has been notified by the U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading that the OFT intends to challenge MBNA’s default charges, such as late, over-limit and returned check fees. The OFT began an industry wide investigation into alleged unfair contract terms in March after Parliament’s “Treasury Select Committee” asked credit card issuers to stop overcharging and misleading customers. The “Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999” render unenforceable credit agreement terms relating to default charges to the extent they are disproportionately high in relation to their actual costs to the card issuer. The OFT made inquiry during March to eight card issuers seeking information on revenue generated from penalties imposed on cardholders. Other US-based issuers operating in the UK have not confirmed an OFT challenge. MBNA says it is possible that future default charges revenue could decline and that refunds may be ordered if the OFT prevails. MBNA said it is still assessing the situation.

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Card Fraud Squad Saves GBP 65 Million

The card fraud-busting police squad has received GBP 3 million in new funding to continue its operations. Over the past two years, the “Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit” has made 171 arrests and recovered more than 36,000 stolen cards in Britain. The work of the DCPCU has resulted in 52 convictions to-date. The Association for Payment Clearing Services says the fraud fighters have produced estimated fraud savings of GBP 65 million from stolen cards and card details. The unit was set up two years ago to target the organized gangs who are responsible for the lion’s share of the UK’s card fraud losses, amounting to GBP 402 million in 2003. The unit comprises officers seconded from the City of London and Metropolitan Police forces, supplemented by banking intelligence and administrative support supplied by the banking industry.

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Order Express Deploys VeriFone Omni 3750

Marabatio, Michoacan-based money transfer specialist, Order Express, has deployed VeriFone’s “Omni 3750” payment terminals in more
than 700 of its own and agent offices throughout Mexico and the USA. Last year, Order Express completed 1.5 million money transfer transactions. The company is currently distributing more than 50,000 magnetic stripe cards to customers, allowing them to set up and transfer any amount of funds quickly. Order Express utilizes a money transfer application developed for it by IDEA Inc. Order Express says it is able to use the advanced communications capabilities of the “Omni 3750” to utilize DSL and Wi-Fi for broadband access, as well as traditional dial-up.

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ADMS Picks up 8,000 Merchants at No Cost

Memphis-based American Merchant Data Service says the recent deal to add 8,000 merchants to its portfolio came at no cost since it involved an exchange of products and services. With the addition of approximately 8,000 merchants to its merchant portfolio, AMDS will add approximately 12 million transactions, which represent over $180 million of merchant volume annually.

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CTFS Options MasterCard Balances Up 24%

Canadian Tire Financial Services reported that its net managed credit card receivables increased 27% year-over-year to $2.5 billion, driven by a 24% increase in “Options MasterCard” average balances to $1,384. The “Canadian Tire Options MasterCard” currently makes up 96% of CTFS’ credit card portfolio. During the quarter, CTFS partnered with Bank of Montreal to launch the “Canadian Tire Commercial Link MasterCard” for business customers in the third quarter. The card will replace the existing commercial card that is held by more than 50,000 active Canadian Tire business customers. CTFS says estimates that its credit card portfolio will hit $2.8 billion by year end. For complete details on CTFS’ latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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