Major Smart Card Conference Scheduled for January

About 500 smart card executives are expected to attend next month’s “OMNICARD 2004” conference in Berlin. Featured speakers include Olivier Piou, Carlo Bozotti, Marc Lassus and Remy de Tonnac. The program will explore the market for both contact and contactless smart cards. Other areas of discussion include mobile phones, electronic signature, identity cards, and passports with biometric features, electronic tickets, electronic driving licences and vehicle registration certificates.
The event is scheduled for January 14th – 16th

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DataWave Systems Launches NextWave Cash Cards

Vancouver-based DataWave Systems has signed a deal with Money Card, Moneris Solutions, CU-Connection, Nextwave Card, and PACE Savings & Credit Union to launch cash cards in the Canadian market. The cash card program is being spearheaded by Nextwave Card (50% owned by DataWave.) Nextwave will market the cash card to customers in the financial services sector providing the hardware and software required to activate and reload cards, as well as monitor and report transactions to vendors. Moneris Solutions in Toronto is responsible for settlement of funds from card transactions, while CU-Connection in Scarborough, Ont. is responsible for authorizing all transactions and providing switching services to facilitate settlement of funds. PACE Savings & Credit Union in Vaughn, Ont. is acting as the authorized Bin number issuer for all prepaid cards. National Money Mart is the first customer to use the Nextwave cash card system. Following the successful pilot of Nextwave cash cards at five Money Mart branches in Victoria, B.C., the company plans to introduce branded personal cash cards at its 295 Canadian branches in a phased rollout starting in 2004.

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Perfect Plastic Printing and ORGA Win Card Design Award

The International Card Manufacturers Association has released the names of this year’s winners of the “Élan Awards for Card Manufacturing Excellence.” The “Best Financial Card Design” award was given to Perfect Plastic Printing and ORGA Card Systems for their dual effort in creating the “Public Bank MasterCard.” Finalists for the “Best Financial Card Design” included Security Plastics for its “MBF Gaia VISA Gold Card” and Trub AG for its “VISA Classic Special Edition” featuring Wassily Kandinski Art. The “Best Non-Financial Card Design” winner was CPI Card Group for its “Starbucks VESPA” card. Finalists for the “Best Non-Financial Card Design” included Plastag Corporation for its “Discovery Channel Gift Card” and Innovative Plastic Printing Corp. for its “Friedman’s Advantage Plus Card.” The ICMA also presented its second annual “Spiritus Award” to Pune, India-based M-Tech Innovations and the UK’s ID Data Systems.

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Wells Fargo Global Payment Gateway Launched

Wells Fargo yesterday launched the “Wells Fargo Global Payment Gateway” service, which incorporates “Verified by Visa,” for merchants. With Verified by Visa, merchants in the program are protected from fraudulent credit and debit card transactions. With Verified by Visa, the merchant is no longer liable for fraud related chargebacks. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $391 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance from more than 5,900 stores and the Internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally.

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Juniper Bank Launches Caesars Entertainment MasterCard

Park Place Entertainment Corporation, which is changing its name to Caesars Entertainment next month, has launched a co-branded credit card that offers “comp dollars” as a cardholder reward. The new “Caesars Entertainment MasterCard,” issued for Park Place by Juniper Bank, offers cardholders a one percent “comp dollar” credit for all purchase transactions, plus 10 bonus “comp dollars” the first time they use the card. The “comp dollars” earned with the new card can be used to pay for hotel rooms, dining, show tickets, spa services, golf tee times and other amenities at 15 domestic casino resorts. Park Place operates Bally’s, Caesars, Flamingo, Grand Casinos and Paris resort casinos in the USA. Through the gaming resort company’s existing “Connection Card” loyalty program, guests earn a bank of comp dollars that can be spent like cash in its casino resorts. Members earn rewards through slot machine and table game play, as well as through hotel cash folio charges. “Connection Card” members who use their “Caesars MasterCard” to pay for a hotel stay at a participating property will receive the one percent credit in “comp dollars,” in addition to the three percent hotel rewards benefit the “Connection Card” program currently offers. The “Caesars MasterCard” carries a six-month 0% intro on balance transfers and a variable 12.99% APR thereafter.

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Euronet Worldwide Names New Board Member

Budapest-based Euronet Worldwide has named Andrew Schmitt, Layne Christensen Company president and CEO, to its Board of Directors. Euronet offers outsourcing and consulting services, integrated EFT software, network gateways, and electronic top-up services to financial institutions, mobile operators and
retailers. The Company operates the largest independent pan-European ATM network, and is a leading provider of electronic distribution services, or top-up services, for prepaid mobile airtime and other prepaid services. The company has processing centers located in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and processes electronic top-up transactions at more than 83,000 points of sale across 37,000 retailers in Europe, Australia and the U.S.

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VISA Retail Spending Last Week Up 7.4%

VISA USA reported that daily card dollar volume fluctuated dramatically last week due to the East Coast weekend snowstorm. VISA says on Thursday, December 4th, total volume jumped 22% as consumers prepared for the storm, while on Saturday, December 6th, growth was a more modest 5%. For the third holiday shopping week retail spending on VISA cards was up 7.4% compared to last year. VISA data show spending in discount stores was up nearly 9%, while department store spending was up nearly 4%. Total VISA volume for the week ending December 7th was up 13.3%, to more than $21.9 billion. Overall retail spending volume on VISA cards was $9.0 billion for the week, compared to $8.3 billion for the previous week. Debit card retail spending was $3.0 billion for the week, a 15% jump over the same year-ago period. Credit card retail spending was up 4% to $5.9 billion. VISA alson reports that spending in the e-commerce channel was up 51% to about $2.0 billion.

VISA VOLUME
(Week Ending 12/07/03)

Home & Garden $1.3 billion +12%
Personal Entertainment $1.2 billion +11%
Speciality Stores $1.4 billion + 9%
Discount Stores $1.4 billion + 9%
Department Stores $3.6 billion + 4%
Source: VISA SpendTrak

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PayPal Sets Processing Fees for Online Music

PayPal announced Monday new micro-payment processing fees for high volume online digital music companies at 2.5% plus $0.09 for each transaction, a 30% to 50% reduction off the industry’s current payment processing rates. The reduced fixed fee represents a 30-50% savings compared to the industry’s current payment processing rates of approximately 2% plus $0.20-$0.30, which encompasses interchange, processor and gateway fees. PayPal, an eBay Company, enables any individual or business with an email address to send and receive payments online securely, easily and quickly. PayPal’s service builds on the existing financial infrastructure of bank accounts and credit cards and uses the world’s most advanced proprietary fraud prevention systems to create a safe, global, real-time payment solution.

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XTREME INTEGRATED

Dione has launched a new version of its EFTPoS payment terminal
which includes an integral modem and printer. The new
“Xtreme Integrated” is designed as a compact counter-top solution that can
read magstripe and chip cards, is fully PIN enabled and approved to the
“VISA PED” standard. The printer is self-feeding and features a clam-shell
design for easy paper loading. Dione introduced its “Xtreme Handset”
terminal earlier this year.

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BitPass Introduces a Micro-Payment System

CA-based BitPass has launched its micro-payment system following a five-month beta program. With no upfront or fixed monthly fees, artists, bands, and authors can register with BitPass and immediately begin selling their music, documents, and video content directly from their respective web sites. The BitPass system also revenue-enables businesses selling web-based services such as distance learning, classified ads, and proprietary searches for unique content. The system allows users to make purchases through a virtual prepaid debit card funded through trusted third parties, including PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

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ADS and CardinalCommerce Ink a Broad Deal

Alliance Data Systems and CardinalCommerce have signed a five-year strategic agreement under which ADS will provide additional hosting and processing capabilities for Cardinal’s existing payment authentication software applications and provide a multi-lingual call center support, and Cardinal will offers its authentication services through ADS. Alliance Data Systems is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services. CardinalCommerce Corporation is a leading provider of a technology-neutral authentication platform for securing electronic and wireless commerce, thus ensuring that individuals, businesses and government agencies can process electronic transactions and access confidential information safely, securely and privately.

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