Rewards Network Offers a Free Trial

Chicago-based Rewards Network, formerly iDine, is offering for a limited time, a one-year, free trial membership of its hotel and dining loyalty program. The Rewards Network Hotel program is easy to use. To join, simply log on to and enter code AQ21 or call (866) 881-3463, mention code AQ21 and register the credit card of your choice. Then, book your hotel reservations through rewardsnetwork.com with your pre-registered credit card and you will automatically save up to 15 percent on your hotel stay. Rewards Network, headquartered in Chicago, provides loyalty and rewards programs for restaurants and hotels via its registered credit card platform.

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Ingenico 5300 PIN-Based Terminal Available

Ingenico announced the US availability of its “I5300” countertop hand-over terminal that integrates a VISA “PED” approved PIN pad. The I5300 is an advanced, secure and flexible payment terminal that provides a single solution to electronic transaction acceptance and delivery of value-added services for retailers and restaurants. The Ingenico I5300 is an exceptional countertop solution for those businesses that accept PIN-based transactions. Ingenico is the recognized leader of electronic transaction products and systems in the world.

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GEMPLUS 1Q/04

Smart card specialist, Gemplus, reported that payment microprocessor card shipments rose 125% year-on-year, and 11% compared to the previous quarter, driven by the migration from magnetic stripe to EMV cards in Europe and Asia. EMV shipments increased 38% quarter-on-quarter, marking the fifth consecutive quarter showing significant sequential revenue growth. Financial Services revenues for the first quarter were 40.4 million euros, compared to 36.3 million euros for the first quarter of 2003. The Financial Service segment produced a gross profit of 9.1 million euros, a 73% gain over the same period one-year ago. Overall,
Gemplus International posted first quarter revenues of 197.3 million euros, a 27.9% increase over 1Q/03. The Company posted a first quarter profit of 300,000 euros compared to a loss of 27.8 million euros in the previous quarter, and a loss of 37.9 million euros one-year ago. During the first quarter, Gemplus deployed 3G cards for the launch of SK Telecom’s 3G network in Korea, which incorporated the “VISA Smart Debit Credit” application by VISA International for the world’s first mobile proximity payment service on a USIM card, called “MONETA.”

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Oberthur EMV Card Sales Increased 64% in Q1

Oberthur Card Systems reports that smart payment card sales increased 63.5% in the first quarter to $37.4 million, driven by EMV migration programs in the United Kingdom and Belgium, significant deliveries in France, and an exceptional renewal program of cards in Switzerland. The card manufacturer says it delivered 19.5 million smart payment cards during the quarter, versus 11.2 million the previous year. However, sales in the Other Cards segment including magnetic stripe cards, scratch cards and memory cards, totalled $20.5 million, an 11.6% decline year-on-year. Magnetic stripe cards volumes are stable with a 28% increase in the United States offsetting the EMV migration impact in Europe. The sales decrease of loyalty and scratch cards were responsible for most of the overall decline for this segment. Overall, Oberthur posted first quarter sales of $121.7 million, a 3.8% gain at constant exchange rates, or a 0.9% decline at actual rates. For complete details on Oberthur’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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NPC Signs Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe

National Processing has signed a multi-year credit card processing agreement with Sasnak Management Corporation, d/b/a Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe, which operates the chain in approximately 50 locations throughout the Midwest. Under the terms of the agreement, NPC will provide authorization and settlement services for all VISA and MasterCard transactions accepted at all Carlos O’Kelly’s locations. Sasnak Management Corporation is a privately owned company that operates a chain of restaurants doing business under the name of Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe. National Processing Company, LLC is a leading provider of merchant credit and debit card processing.

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Merrill Lynch Rewards VISA Hits the Market

Merrill Lynch and MBNA have officially launched a co-branded credit card that offers rewards tiered to card volume. The new “Merrill+ VISA” offers a credit limit up to $250,000, free nights at The Ritz-Carlton, and free upgrades on international tickets with British Airways. The benefits are tiered with “+Benefits” available to all cardholders; “+2 Benefits” for those charging $20,000 or more annually; and, “+3 Benefits” for those charging $50,000 or more annually. Examples of “+ benefits” include complimentary spa services at some resorts for the “+Level.” A two-category upgrade on a major cruise line for the “+2Level.” And three complimentary nights at The Ritz-Carlton and business-to-first upgrades on international tickets with British Airways for the “+3Level.” Under the program, cardholders earn one “+Point” for every dollar charged and there is no cap on the points earned. MBNA is offering two pricing options: 5.9% APR on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers or 0% APR on cash advances, and balance transfers for 12 months and 7.9% APR for purchases.

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PocketServer Integrates RoboForm

Phoenix-based PocketServer is integrating Siber Systems’ “RoboForm” advanced form-filling technology in the next generation of smart card digital wallet applications to enable more secure online transactions. The new “PocketServer 3.0” will seamlessly integrate high-security smart card data with fully automated Web-based transactions. The first release of version 3.0 will be to a major European payment card issuer in May. Since 1999, PocketServer technology has been embedded in more than 2 million smart cards. Today, PocketServer technology works seamlessly with virtually all of the top Web merchants’ sites, and is being issued by seven well-known card issuers worldwide, including five major banks in nearly 500,000 new smart cards each month.

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OBERTHUR 1Q/04

Oberthur Card Systems reports that smart payment card sales increased 63.5% in the first quarter to 31.6 million euros, driven by EMV migration programs in the United Kingdom and Belgium, significant deliveries in France, and an exceptional renewal program of cards in Switzerland. The card manufacturer reports that it delivered 19.5 million smart payment cards during the quarter, versus 11.2 million the previous year. However, sales in the Other Cards segment including magnetic stripe cards, scratch cards and memory cards, totalled 17.3 million euros, an 11.6% decline year-on-year. Magnetic stripe cards volumes are stable with a 28% increase in the United States offsetting the EMV migration impact in Europe. The sales decrease of loyalty and scratch cards were responsible for most of the overall decline for this segment. Overall, Oberthur posted first quarter sales of 102.8 million euro, a 3.8% gain at constant exchange rates, or a 0.9% decline at actual rates. Oberthur Card Systems is a subsidiary of the François-Charles Oberthur Group.

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Cashpoint Network Services Suspended

The New York State Department of Banking and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking suspended the license of money transmitter, Cashpoint Network Services, of New York City. The New York State Department of Banking issued an order on April 21, 2004, temporarily suspending Cashpoint’s license for failure to pay $13 million owed to a New York Bank and that several Pennsylvania utility companies have not received payments due. The banking department says CashPoint owes between $20 million and $25 million to other creditors. Cashpoint operates about 250 outlets across Pennsylvania in grocery stores and convenience outlets where its agents accept utility-bill payments from consumers and then send these payments to the utilities.

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Optical Bank Card Patent Filed

Denver-based BSI2000 has filed a patent application that covers the use of optical bankcards for a wide variety of financial applications. The application has 23 claims and covers methods and processes for executing and tracking financial transactions such as savings accounts, cash transfers, payroll distributions, loans and mortgages, insurance programs and bill payments with optical cards. BSI2000, Inc. is working to become a global leader in optical card-based security systems. The company has developed patent pending technology for identifying, authenticating and tracking people and their activities in a wide variety of applications.

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