AEON & JCB

Non-bank credit card company, AEON Credit Service, has become the third major card issuer to receive a license for issuing the JCB Card in Hong Kong, following HSBC and Hang Seng Bank. The new “AEON/JCB Travel Card”,
which displays a kabuki motif, offers cardholders special deals at
merchants in Japan, as well as exclusive low-price tours to Japan. AEON and JCB anticipate that more than 10,000 cards will be issued in the first year. The “AEON/JCB Travel Card” will be advertised aggressively in newspapers and magazines, on the subway system and buses, and through various other channels to reach the target market of approximately 3,400,000 in Hong Kong. In 1993, AEON became the first non-bank in Hong Kong to issue credit cards and currently has about 720,000 cardholders. JCB began expanding globally as an international credit card brand by opening its first overseas subsidiary in Hong Kong in 1981, and the first JCB Card issuing program outside Japan was launched in partnership with HSBC four years later in 1985.

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HP to Upgrade 2,400 TD ATMs and POS Processing

TD Bank Financial Group and HP announced an initiative in
which HP will upgrade and manage TD’s national automated banking network
and POS transaction infrastructure. The seven-year outsourcing agreement, valued at $320 million, will upgrade approximately 2,400 ATMs across Canada and TD’s automated banking and POS transaction processing system. HP also secured outsourcing deals with MCI and Standard Register.

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AirPlus and GE Launch an U.S. Corporate MasterCard

Neu-Isenburg-based AirPlus International has added a corporate card to its arsenal of corporate travel payment solutions targeting the U.S. market. The “AirPlus Corporate MasterCard” will issued by GE Capital Financial. AirPlus already offers an UATP-based “AirPlus Company Account” worldwide. The “Company Account” provides detailed data including company, traveler and trip-specific information. All data generated through the use of an AirPlus payment product, including the new “AirPlus Corporate MasterCard,” is available to the client via the Web-based “AirPlus Information Manager.” Airplus says the addition of the new “Corporate MasterCard” enables U.S. companies to manage all corporate travel purchasing through a single provider worldwide. AirPlus also offers a “VISA Corporate Card” in the UK. The Company has a 30% market share in Europe in the business travel management business.

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MasterCard International Launches First European OneSMART Club

MasterCard International has launched its first “OneSMART Club” covering Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). “OneSMART Club” is an initiative to bring together MasterCard customers and industry suppliers across a number of markets to foster and support the deployment of added value chip-based business solutions. It was introduced globally by MasterCard earlier this year. The CEE “OneSMART Club” will initially focus on three areas: “OneSMART MasterCard Authentication” which ensures a higher level of security for online shopping and remote banking; “OneSMART MasterCard Web” that allows cardholders to securely store and manage a wide range of personal data (such as names, addresses, URLs, log-on passwords) on the smart card chip; and “OneSMART MasterCard Pre-Authorized” which is a new chip-based payment solution suitable for new markets and off-line payment environments. Financial institutions from six countries – Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – have already indicated their support of the OneSMART Club, as have a number of chip technology vendors.

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ABN-Amro Deploys Digipass GO3

ABN-Amro Singapore will provide its retail customers with VASCO’s “Digipass GO3” to guarantee secure online banking. ABN-Amro is the first bank in Singapore to use Digipass in a retail-banking environment. “Digipass GO3” is a lightweight, low cost strong user authentication token, especially designed for the large volume banking market. With a simple touch of a button, the end user
generates a unique one-time password. The password changes every 36
seconds and can be only used once, which means that it can’t be re-used
by fraudsters. Digipass says a its one-time password prevents phishing attempts.

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PowerPay RFID Payment System Goes Nationwide

NYC-based Smart System Technologies has taken its “PowerPay” payment system nationwide. “PowerPay” is a cashless and contactless transaction solution using RFID technology designed for entertainment venues. At the same time, teams and merchants that adopt the technology can deliver automatic rewards to consumers. For teams such as the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, who are adopting the technology this season after successful in-season tests last year, this includes rewarding points to consumers that can be accrued and redeemed for team-themed experiences or merchandise, and offers from other participating sponsors. Concession and merchandise areas throughout Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field will be equipped with the “PowerPay” system beginning July 28th.

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BofA Offers Students a Stuff Happens Card

Bank of America has added a “Stuff Happens” card to its “CampusEdge” checking package for college students. The new card enables students to waive a fee if they make a mistake such as bouncing a check. The “CampusEdge” checking program includes: no monthly fees for the first six months, or free for five years if a parent has an account with Bank of America, and no minimum balance requirements. Students who get a BofA “Student VISA Gold” card receive a CD-ROM with Quicken and “Practical Money Skills for Life” games. Students also can find advice about making the right decisions through the “Making it Count” college freshman orientation program, presented through a partnership between Bank of America and Making it Count, a division of Monster, Inc.

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EximBank Deploys Card Tech Systems for ATMs and Debit Cards

EximBank of Vietnam has implemented Card Tech Limited’s “ATM Controller and Debit Switch.” The bank will use the CTL systems to expand its centralized ATM network across the country and also to launch its debit card program. With EximBank, CTL implemented “PRIME,” a comprehensive multi-institutional back-office card and merchant management system and real-time authorization switch, as well as an ATM Controller and POS interfaces. EximBank is based in Hochiminh City and has three branches in Hanoi, Danang and Cantho.

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INTERCHANGE REFORMS

The Reserve Bank of Australia reports that merchant service fees
charged by banks in Bankcard, MasterCard, and VISA credit card programs
have fallen by 35 basis points, or $430 million at an annual rate, since
reforms to credit card interchange fees took effect in October 2003. The
RBA says merchant service fees for American Express and Diners Club have
fallen by less than 10 basis points over the same period. The RBA survey
shows that by March of 2003, the average merchant service fee for
Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA had fallen to 1.4% of the transaction
value, compared to 1.8% prior to the reforms. Since March 2003, the average merchant service fee has fallen by a further 35 basis points to around 1.05%. This brings the cumulative decline since 1999 to around 75 basis points, which represents a fall of more than 40% in the average merchant service fee. The RBA says that overall,
the 35 bps reduction in merchant service fees since the reforms came
into effect is consistent with the reduction in the interchange fee for
electronic transactions, although it is smaller than the reduction in
the “standard” interchange fee. This suggests
that while the lower interchange fees have
largely been passed through into lower
merchant service fees, there remains scope for
further reductions.

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