VASCO Honors MasterCard, DG VERLAG, SRC and Otto for EMV Contributions

VASCO Data Security International has honored MasterCard Germany, DG VERLAG, SRC and Otto for their outstanding contribution to opening the German market for EMV-based strong user authentication.
DG VERLAG is the financial service provider for the German Volks- & Raiffeisen Banks. DG VERLAG provides surveys, logistics, financial products and payment cards/solutions. Security Research & Consulting
is a research organization for the German financial sector. Otto Versand is one of Germany’s top mail order companies. VASCO’s “Digipass 800” is an official and proven strong authentication partner product for the new EMV generation of credit cards.

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Fortis Bank Signs a Deal to Purchase Diebold Opteva ATMs

Fortis Bank Netherlands has become the 25th financial institution in the EMEA region to purchase Diebold’s new “Opteva” family of ATMs. More than 1,500 units have now been sold to banks across the EMEA region. Some of the “Opteva” security features include customer awareness mirrors, cameras and recessed keypads, and displays. “Opteva” ATMs are also equipped with fraud-resistant dispensers and card readers, as well as a “Triple DES”-compliant encrypted PIN pad. Other EMEA “Opteva” clients include Credit Agricole, National Bank of Greece, Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat, Raiffeisenbank, Kazcommertsbank, Standard Bank, and Alrajhi and National Commercial Bank.

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FreeStar Technology Loss Declines 75% in the Fourth Quarter

Helsinki-based FreeStar Technology reported that its net loss for the fourth quarter decreased to $1.3 million, an improvement of 75% over the same year-ago period. Revenues for 4Q/03 were $361,431. The net loss for the final six months of 2003 decreased by 35% to $3.7 million. Revenues for the same period rose to $661,374, up from $8,700 for the comparable six months in 2002. Freestar acquired Rahaxi Processing Oy during 2003 and recently completed the acquisition of TransAxis. FreeStar currently processes approximately 1 million card payments per month for an established client base that comprises companies such as Finnair, Ikea and Stockman.

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Auchan-Gruppo Rinascente has Inked a $6MM Deal with NCR to Replace its POS System

Hypermarket specialist, Auchan-Gruppo Rinascente, has signed an agreement worth over US$6 million with NCR to replace the point-of-sale hardware and software currently installed throughout the chain’s 38 stores. Auchan-Gruppo Rinascente will also install four to eight NCR “FastLane” self-checkout lanes in all stores. The new front-end solution includes NCR “RealPOS 80c” terminals, NCR :RealScan 72″ bioptic scanners, and new electronic funds transfer PIN pads. NCR is also providing POS software for Auchan.

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Nokia, Royal Philips, and Sony Create the Near Field Communication Forum

Nokia, Philips, and Sony have teamed to establish the “Near Field Communication Forum” to promote the use of touch-based interactions for payment purposes. The new forum will promote implementation and standardization of NFC technology to ensure interoperability between devices and services. NFC technology evolved from a combination of contactless identification and interconnection technologies. NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a distance of typically a few centimeters. NFC technology is standardized in “ISO 18092,” “ECMA 340,” and “ETSI TS 102 190.” NFC is also compatible to the broadly established contactless smart card infrastructure based on “ISO 14443 A”, i.e. Philips “MIFARE” technology, as well as Sony’s “FeliCa” card. Further information is available at nfc-forum.com.

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MBNA Freezes Executive Pay Post Cawley

MBNA reported this week that it plans to freeze salaries for senior executives, reduce annual bonus amounts, reduce total equity awards by not granting stock options in 2004, and limiting restricted stock awards. In November, MBNA hired an independent compensation consultant to review senior executive compensation. On December 12th, MBNA entered into an amended agreement with Charles Cawley, founder, CEO and President, who retired on December 30th. Cawley will serve as a Senior Advisor until August 15, 2005 and has agreed never to compete with the Corporation. He will receive $2.5 million annually for his services. MBNA will also provide Cawley with office and administrative support, use of corporate aircraft up to $250,000 per year, and medical benefits. Last year, Cawley received a $3.0 million salary, a $4.5 million bonus, and $0.5 million in miscellaneous compensation. He also received $27 million in restricted stock shares and stock options worth about $10 million.

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STORE CARD REPORT

Following a six-month probe into the store credit card industry, the Office of Fair Trading yesterday referred its investigation to the Competition Commission. The OFT store cards study concluded that there are features of the sector, both in the supply of store card credit to consumers and in the supply of store card services to retailers, that appear to prevent, restrict or distort competition. The OFT says there is a lack of transparency for consumers in the way store cards are offered and used. Most store cards have an APR of around 10 percentage points above those available with credit cards, and there are questions whether these rates are disciplined by competitive pressure. In addition to the problems connected with the supply of store cards to consumers, the OFT also has concerns with the ability of new store card providers to enter the market or of existing providers to expand market share. The OFT suspects the reasons to be significant costs for retailers wishing to switch to another provider; duration of existing contracts ­ some of which are over 10 years; and, widespread use of exclusivity terms. The OFT store cards study was launched in response to questions raised by the Treasury Select Committee last year.

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REMITCO Joins Wausau Financial Systems User Base

FDC’s REMITCO has joined Wausau Financial Systems by way of a recent strategic alliance with Wachovia Bank. The REMTICO and Wachovia alliance now places WFS as the processing platform provider for four of the top six commercial retail lockbox processors in the nation. This alliance positions those involved to take full advantage of the latest remittance processing initiatives, including accounts receivable conversion and preparation for Check 21. Wausau Financial Systems is the recognized leader in the development and implementation of knowledge-based products for the payment and transaction processing industry.

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American Bank Note Holographics Posts Record Profits

NY-based American Bank Note Holographics reported that 2003 produced its highest profits since becoming a public company despite the expiration of a patent license agreement in January 2003. Net income for 2003 was $1.0 million, compared with a net loss of $8.1 million for 2002. Net income for the fourth quarter was $0.4 million, compared with a net loss of $9.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2002. Sales for the year were $18.3 million, compared with $18.7 million for 2002. Fourth quarter revenues were $4.8 million, compared with $4.5 million for 4Q/02. During 2003, ABNH signed two important contracts with MasterCard which expanded its relationship and extended the agreement to at least 2011. The Compay also expanded its relationship with VISA with new products that had a positive impact in 2003. ABNH also closed several new projects for secure ID products with agencies of the U.S. government and foreign governments in 2003. American Bank Note Holographics is the leader in the origination, production, and marketing of holograms. For complete details on ABNH’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Interlink Nears 1 Billion Annual Transactions

VISA’s “Interlink” PIN POS brand topped $10 billion in quarterly volume in the final three months of 2003, growing at an annual pace at nearly 39%. “Interlink” transactions for all of last year came in just shy of one billion. During the fourth quarter, “Interlink” produced 289 million transactions, compared to 213 million for 4Q/02, for a 36% gain. For 2003, “Interlink’s” transaction dollar volume was $35.2 billion produced by 999,589,000 transactions. VISA recently reported that “Interlink’s” pace has picked up even more since the start of this year. During January, “Interlink” posted a 43% increase in dollar volume, and a 39% increase in the number of transactions, as compared to one-year ago. At the end of the fourth quarter, “Interlink” had 1,266,024 merchants locations, and 71 million “Interlink”-branded debit cards in the marketplace. To date, there are more than 980 issuers of “Interlink.” (CF Library 3/4/04)

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Xign Fans the Marketing of its XPSN

EOP software and services provider, Xign Corporation, has hired George Fan as VP/Marketing for its Payment Services Network. Fan brings to Xign more than 15 years of operating experience in marketing, product management, and business development. Prior to joining Xign, he was a principal and co-founder of Breo Consulting, where he advised early stage technology companies — including several supply chain, procurement and financial services startups — on issues ranging from financing to corporate, market entry, and product strategies. Xign Corporation is the leading provider of Enterprise Order to Pay software and services used for B2B commerce.

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PDS to Process Charity Dollars in Texas

TX-based Payment Data Systems has signed an exclusive, multi-year merchant services and credit card gateway agreement with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County in Texas. Payment Data Systems President and COO Louis Hoch said, “The United Way has a long standing commitment to ensuring that the greatest portion of its charitable receipts goes to the needs it meets, rather than to overhead or operating expenses. United Way has grown into the largest and most respected, private health and human care service organization in Bexar County. Payment Data Systems, Inc. is an Integrated Payments Solution Provider that delivers comprehensive, cost-effective solutions to billers and retailers for the processing and management of electronic payments via the Internet, point of sale, or payments taken by Customer Service Representatives or an Interactive Voice Response.

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