MasterCard Names Heuer as COO

MasterCard has named Alan Heuer to the new position of COO. He joined MasterCard in 1995, and is currently SEVP/Customer Group, and a member of MasterCard’s Executive Management Group. Heuer has responsibility for the strategy and implementation of MasterCard’s customer-related activities around the world, including the organization’s regional operations, key global accounts, global marketing programs, and professional services offerings. Heuer will continue to have responsibility for MasterCard’s Customer Group. MasterCard also announced that Henry Mundt has resigned as the president of MasterCard Advisors.

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PhoneAutomation Targets the Software Industry

Seattle-based PhoneAutomation.com has launched its automated sales order processing technology with credit card processing and verification services for the video game and software publishing industries. PhoneAutomation.com, Inc.’s automated sales order processing technology utilizes automated credit card processing and verification services to provide a low-cost solution for companies to gain sales from previously released video game products that still have some related value in terms of genre or game platform. Seattle-based PhoneAutomation.com, Inc. helps companies to automatically process small, medium or large volumes of incoming sales orders, service requests, and customer inquiries in a 24/7 environment, by combining computer technology and telephone-based solutions.

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Upfront Rewards Card Offers Free Notebook PCs

Minneapolis-based Universal Savings Bank has expanded its free computer offer to include notebook PCs from Dell and IBM. The “Upfront Rewards VISA Platinum” gives cardholders a brand new laptop computer in exchange for transferring a balance of at least $5,000 from other credit cards and maintaining a balance of at least $3,500 on the card for at least 18 months. Those who do not have $5,000 to transfer can request a cash advance up to $2,500 to bring their initial balance up to $5,000. The card’s current APR is 9.99%. Universal is offering a choice of notebooks PCs including the Dell “Inspiron 1100,” IBM “ThinkPad R40e,” and the HP Compaq “nx9010.” All three of the computers carry street prices of $800 to $1000. The card was first launched in May 2003 offering a free Compaq “Evo N1015v” notebook PC in exchange for a balance transfer. Wayne Johnson is the CEO of Universal Savings Bank. (CF Library 5/20/03)

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BSI2000’s MicroBanker 2000 Technology to be Deployed at a New Bank

BSI2000 has signed a letter of intent with Johannesburg-based Mudengu Resources Holdings to establish a major banking system to serve rural South African societies that are currently cash-only economies.
Mudengu is a South African holding company that owns six subsidiaries active in mining, construction, electronics, information technology and import-export. The new joint venture will work closely with the
two million-member United African Apostolic Church. Service to rural South Africans is expected to begin with basic savings and cash debit services and ultimately could include loans. The launch of the joint venture is contingent on the signing of a final agreement between Mudengu and BSI2000 and funding of $1.25 million by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. BSI2000 and Mudengu hope to begin operations by the second half of 2004. The bank will be based on BSI2000’s “MicroBanker 2000” technology.

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ViVOtech Adds Contactless Wallet to Mobile Phones

ViVOtech has introduced customized contactless payment and promotion software for “Symbian OS” mobile phones. The new ViVOwallet solution adds a powerful application to the mobile phone’s existing capabilities spurring new consumer usage and opening the door to incremental revenue opportunities for wireless operators, retailers and handset makers. ViVOtech’s ViVOwallet payment and promotion software will be available for download on all Symbian OS-based Series 60 and UIQ platform mobile devices worldwide. ViVOtech, a leader in lifestyle payment transactions, provides breakthrough software technology that allows consumers to make contactless payments in a style that best fits their needs — with a radio frequency (RF) enabled credit or debit card in various form factors, an infrared/RF enabled cell phone, PDA or an access card at existing POS systems.

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ASK Unveils the First Contact/Contactless POS Terminal

Sophia Antipolis-based, contactless card specialist, ASK, has introduced the first reloading terminal compliant with “ISO7816” and “ISO14443 A/B” standards. The new, hand-held “TEC” provides reading, controlling, and reloading functionalities for contactless cards and contactless paper tickets. “TEC” comes with a bi-processor architecture, one of them manages the card-reader communication, while the second microprocessor manages applications, transactions storing and the user interface. A removable flash memory ensures data retention in case of power failure. It is also available with an integrated thermal printer for receipts. ASK has supplied over 25 million contactless cards and contactless paper tickets for use in more 100 towns and cities in Europe, Asia and the USA.

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Gift Cards are Only One Fourth of the Prepaid Universe

Americans loaded $40 billion on prepaid gift cards last year, making up about 25% of the total prepaid market. However, a new research report says that some prepaid market segments are now very close to saturation, while others have incredible elasticity. The Mercator Advisory Group says gift cards will likely morph into a packaged good launched through new and different channels. For example a toy store can arrange for local movie theaters to sell gift cards for the movie’s action figures, or the movie theater can sell the DVD gift card as people leave the theater. The movie theater picks up additional revenue, the customer is approached when most likely to buy, and the merchants get the dollars locked-up before they are spent elsewhere. Mercator says prepaid is the strongest loyalty program ever invented, and it can be sold at the counter, on the shelf, or even through vending machine or ATM. The firm’s new “Prepaid 2003: 31 Prepaid Market Segments Benchmarked” study takes a more expansive view of the prepaid market, providing a benchmark for any segment where goods and services are purchased in advance. The report spans smart card applications, card products, coupons, mobile and long distance devices and even proprietary transit systems.

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Smart Chip Technologies Launches Smart Rewards Management System Licensing Campaign

POS specialist, TechTrex, has been assigned exclusive Smart Chip Technologies patent and product licensing rights for Japan, and is launching launch.the “Smart Rewards Management System” licensing campaign. Smart Chip Technologies was recently awarded Japanese gateway patent for a method and system for allocating and redeeming incentive credits between a portable device and a base device. This technology-independent business process patent covers any loyalty transaction event regardless of its occurrence in the life cycle of the transaction. As smart cards, mobile commerce, and smart chip-based rewards programs are far more prevalent in Japan than in North America, TechTrex has begun to engage in several licensing discussions and has notified numerous firms of potential patent infringement. According to an August 2003 IC card market report, the government reported an estimated 66 million smart cards issued in Japan, with an estimated 420 million smart cards to be issued in 2010.

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U.S. Bank’s ReliaCard VISA Enters Oregon

U.S. Bank last week launched its “ReliaCard VISA” with the Oregon State Employment Department which allows the state to disperse unemployment benefit payments on a plastic card versus a paper check. The prepaid card functions like a debit card though it is not attached to a checking or savings account. Instead of cutting a check and mailing it to the recipient, the state electronically loads the payment on to the card that the recipient can use to make purchases or withdraw cash. U.S. Bancorp, with assets of $189 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States.

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Pegasystems Beefs-Up PegaCARD Smart Dispute

MA-based Pegasystems has added extensive new functionality in its automated card dispute and chargeback solution, as well as its automated payment exceptions solution . The latest release of “PegaCARD Smart Dispute” and “PegaPAYMENT Smart Adjust” builds on Pegasystems’ recently announced horizontal application, “Pega Quality & Exception Manager.” “Smart Dispute” and “Smart Adjust,” as well as “Pega Quality & Exception Manager,” leverage the power of Pegasystems’ new “Process Commander Version 4” BPM platform. With integrated business rules and process management, “V4” is designed to handle decision-intensive processes, manage processes across multiple departments and empower business users to effect rapid change of both rules and processes. The applications support global financial institutions with multi-currency and multi-language capabilities, sophisticated reporting and activity monitoring for improved control, and the flexibility to continuously adapt to the company’s operations. “PegaCARD Smart Dispute” helps credit and debit card companies minimize unnecessary write-offs, improve operational efficiency and reduce the cost of processing disputes. “Smart Dispute” includes association regulations for automated reason code handling to help save costs and improve resolution times.

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AmEx OnlineTax Offers an Incentive to Cardholders

American Express is offering “AmEx Delta SkyMiles” cardholders a 1,000 mile bonus for filing federal taxes through “American Express OnlineTax.” American Express OnlineTax is a quick, easy and accurate tool for individual taxpayers to prepare their taxes online. The program prompts users to answer a few simple questions and then automatically selects the correct state and federal tax forms. The tool performs all calculations, completing both state and federal tax returns. The American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.

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The RAM Group Offers SAP Business One – The American Express Edition

SAP Canada announced its first joint solution with American Express for small and midsize businesses, under the brand “SAP Business One – The American Express Edition. The solution is offered exclusively by American Express and its Canadian channel partner, The RAM Group. “SAP Business One” provides real-time access to integrated financial, operational and sales management information. The “SAP Business One” components include financial (general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, banking), distribution (inventory management, purchase order processing, sales order processing) and customer relationship management. The “American Express Edition” extends the “SAP Business One” functionality with integrated wireless warehouse management, electronic data interchange, document management, credit
card processing and sales and use tax.

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