Symtec Solutions is Acquired by BankServ

London-based Symtec Solutions LTD has been acquired by San Francisco-based BankServ in an all cash transaction. This is privately-held BankServ’s second overseas acquisition in six months. Symtec Solutions provides international money transfer and “SWIFT” financial messaging software. BankServ says that key personnel from Symtec Solutions will be retained and a new subsidiary will be created in London to house international operations using the existing Symtec facility as its subsidiary headquarters. Banks use BankServ to wire transfer money over Fed wire on behalf of their clients. Businesses and government agencies use BankServ to collect bill payments from consumers using electronic checks through the ACH. With the acquisition
BankServ will have a network with twenty-one international distributors and coverage in all continents.

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Keycorp Canada to Offer VendTek’s e-Fresh Software

Keycorp Canada has certified and will offer VendTek’s “e-Fresh” client software on their “K23 Series” of POS terminals. VendTek develops, markets, and sells a
suite of software applications used to electronically distribute prepaid telecommunication products and financial services. Keycorp’s electronic payment terminals include smart card-capable online and offline terminals capable of processing credit, charge, debit and stored value transactions.

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Terra Payments 4Q/03 Net Earnings Hit $1.5 Million

Terra Payments reported net earnings of $1.5 million for the fourth quarter, compared to $1.4 million in the previous quarter, and a $600,000 loss in the year-ago quarter. The Company processed $356 million in payment volume during the quarter compared to $335 million in the quarter ended September 30th, and $255 million in the same quarter of the previous year. The sequential growth in payment volume of $21 million or 6% was primarily as a result of an increase in electronic cheque volume of 22%. Earlier this month, Terra Payments announced a merger with Optimal Robotics Corp.

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Reward and Debit Cards are the Most Preferred

A new survey of 6,500 American consumers has found that nearly six out of ten prefer to use rewards-based credit cards, and that nearly 90% of these consumers said they would not reduce usage or cancel their preferred reward card. The wallet research also found that 38% of consumers stated they prefer using their debit card for purchases. Edgar, Dunn & Company’s “PaymentDynamics 2004 Preferred Card Study” revealed that over half of consumers surveyed hold a debit card or some type of credit card today that wasn’t in their wallet a year ago with the number of cards in the wallet increasing to 4.3 in 2003, up from 3.3 in 1999. The study found that nearly 40% of consumers report canceling or reducing the use of an average of nearly two payment cards. About 60% of consumers applied for and received an average of 1.5 new payment cards, and 85% of those are actively using the new cards. Edgar Dunn says price and attitudes toward increased fiscal responsibility were cited by 66% of consumers who have canceled or reduced the usage of cards they have owned.

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MC EUROPE CHAIRMAN

MasterCard Europe’s Board is now under the chairmanship of Norman McLuskie, who is also the chairman of the Retail Direct division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group in the UK. He takes over the position from Jean-Pierre Ledru who has served as chairman since the integration of MasterCard International and Europay International in 1992. McLuskie was previously Deputy Chief Executive, UK Bank at The Royal Bank of Scotland, responsible for the UK Bank’s support and IT services, and for a range of customer-facing businesses and joint ventures. Ledru is Senior EVP of Caisse Nationale du Crédit Agricole and Vice Chairman of Europay France. At the end of the third quarter, MasterCard has US$227.0 billion in YTD gross dollar volume, a 13.5% gain over the same year-ago period.

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InfoSpace Looking to Unload Payment Solutions

Omaha-based InfoSpace said Tuesday that it is exploring strategic alternatives for its Payment Solutions business and has has engaged Thomas Weisel Partners to assist. The Company reported yesterday 4Q/03 revenues for Payment Solutions of $7.8 million, a 33% increase from the fourth quarter of 2002. The revenue increase is primarily due to growth in the number of credit card merchants using the Authorize.Net service and an increase in the number of transactions, in part from the holiday shopping season. At the end of the fourth quarter, approximately 91,000 active gateway merchants were using the Authorize.Net service, generating an average of approximately $24.30 in monthly revenue per active merchant. Payment Solutions segment income totaled $2.8 million or 35% of revenues for the fourth quarter. For the full year 2003, Payment Solutions revenues were $27.8 million, an increase of 31% from full year 2002. Segment income for 2003 was $6.9 million, an increase of 293% from the $1.8 million in Payment Solutions segment income reported for 2002. For complete details on InfoSpace’s fourth quarter results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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MBNA Europe Buys an Insurance Premium Finance Company

MBNA Europe Bank Limited has acquired the largest independent insurance premium finance company in the United Kingdom. Epsom, Surrey-based Premium Credit Limited has nearly two million Customers and is approaching a 50% share of the third-party U.K. insurance premium finance market. In 2003, the company generated GBP2.5 billion of gross advances and had GBP815 million ($1.5 billion) in outstanding loans, an increase of 17% over 2002. Premium Credit Limited makes loans to businesses, including professionals and small business owners, to pay premiums on property, general liability, and other types of insurance. Premium Credit also provides loans to retail consumers for premium financing of insurance products. Premium Credit generates these loans through its relationships with a network of brokers and
insurance companies. As part of the transaction, MBNA said it will retain Premium Credit’s management and staff and that these individuals will continue to work at
Premium’s existing offices in Epsom as part of MBNA Europe. JPMorgan acted as exclusive financial advisor to MBNA on the transaction.

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NCR ATM Revenues Up 13% in the Fourth Quarter

NCR reported that fourth quarter revenues for its Financial Self Service or ATM segment were $392 million, a 13% gain from the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter operating income increased 38% to $77 million. The Retail Store Automation segment generated $234 million in 4Q/03 revenue, a slight increase over the $233 million in the fourth quarter of 2002. Fourth-quarter operating income of $14 million was a $15 million improvement from the prior-year period. NCR says that as a result of regulatory changes, increased ATM upgrade and replacement activity is likely over the next several years. The Company notes that retailers continue to be cautious with capital spending, but several are installing new POS terminals and expanding their self-checkout system pilots to rollouts. For complete details on NCR’s fourth quarter results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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STANDARD DOLLARS

Standard Chartered Bank UAE has launched a rewards program for its VISA and MasterCard programs. The new “Standard Dollars Programme” rewards cardholders for carrying a balance. Once a cardholder pays the minimum amount due, the rest of their balance will earn “Standard Dollars.” The rewards can be redeemed for travel services at DNATA, luxury shopping at Damas and Paris Gallery, electronics at Jumbo, dining privileges at Sheraton and Le Meridien hotels, healthcare services at Welcare; and groceries at Carrefour, Choithram and LuLu Supermarket. All Standard Chartered credit cardholders will automatically be enrolled in the “Standard Dollars Programme.” There is no annual fee for the program.

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Transaction Systems Architects Profits Triple

Omaha-based Transaction Systems Architects reported revenues of $74.0 million for the quarter ending December 31st, an increase of 18.4% over the same quarter last year. Net income for the quarter was $10.0 million for the quarter, compared to $3.0 million one-year ago. Revenues were comprised of software license fees of $41.2 million, maintenance fees of $21.3 million, and services fees of $11.5 million. During the quarter, the Company added 15 new customers and brought its worldwide presence to 74 countries. The Company completed the quarter with $231.8 million in backlog, consisting of $166.2 million in recurring backlog and $65.6 million in non-recurring backlog. TSAI revised its revenue estimate for fiscal 2004 from a range of $266 million to $287 million to a range of $271 million to $287 million. For complete details on Transaction Systems Architects’ fourth calendar quarter results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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JCB to Pilot Finger Blood Vessel Pattern Payment Authentication in 2005

JCB has introduced the world’s first finger blood vessel pattern authentication system that combines payment authentication with access control. A pilot has been scheduled for next year at a new 156-unit condominium in Osaka. Access to both shared areas and individual condominiums will be controlled by the system. In addition,
purchases for food, dry cleaning, and other necessities made at the condominium service center can be made using the same authentication system, to be charged on the resident’s JCB credit card. The blood vessel pattern authentication system developed by Bionics Co. Blood vessel patterns are genetically determined, and unique to the individual. The new blood vessel pattern authentication, access control and services payment system will be offered by JCB, Bionics, Hochiki and Pliant Powers, who anticipate that it will be incorporated in 30 new complexes within the next three years.

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Hispanic Debit Card Infomercial in Production

Los Angeles-based Direct Response Financial Services says it will air a debit card infomercial on two major Spanish language television networks in March. The cards known as the La Vida Buena Card and the La Vida Buena Tarjeta will be featured in a short-form infomercial directed to Spanish language consumers. DCS has further arranged for its call center to be managed by a national Spanish language in-bound and out-bound call center. Direct Response Financial Services, Inc. makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card, electronic check at the POS, or over the Internet.

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