Providian Launches a Card with a TV Shopping Network

TV shopping network HSN is launching a rewards bank credit card with Providian. The new “HSN Rewards Card” will enable its users to earn points for dollars spent, which they can use towards the purchase of HSN merchandise. Customers will also receive $10 toward a future HSN purchase the first time they use the card. HSN generated worldwide consolidated sales of close to $2 billion in 2002, reaches more households worldwide than any other TV shopping network and is the 4th largest cable television network in the USA.

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Gemplus Takes Smart Cards to Hyper-Speed with a New Concept

Gemplus International this week unveiled a new concept that outstrips all existing smart card limits by giving a traditional smart card real-time deciphering capacity of up to 400 times the original speed. The “Crypto Motion” concept shows that decryption throughput can be increased by simply improving the capacity utilization of available resources, such as programming a cryptographic kernel. The idea for this principle emerged eighteen months ago when the Gemplus R&D team was asked to use existing technology for secure decryption of voice data
transmissions over networks. Crypto motion is the resulting software intended to illustrate the often-overlooked potential of smart cards to protect and decode data streams in real time such as softwares, game or music files.

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VISA Smart Expands to 19 Partners and Adds Low-Cost EMV Migration Software

VISA International said yesterday at the Paris “Cartes 2003” conference that it now has 19 technology partners in its “VISA Smart Global Partners” program, which is part of the comprehensive “VISA Smart” initiative. VISA says it now has nearly 100 million EMV smart cards in circulation worldwide, and that the number of deployed EMV-capable acceptance devices has approached two million. Among the vendors making special smart card-related offers for products and services to VISA members are: Barnes International; ICC Solutions; Axalto; Orga; Bell ID; CardBASE; STMicroelectronics; DataCard Group; NBS; Thales e-Security; UbiQ Incorporated; ACI; Gemplus, Giesecke & Devrient; Oberthur Card Systems; NCR; Oasis Technology; SAGEM; and, Welcome Real-time. VISA International also this week announced the launch of “VISA Smart POS,” a low-cost software solution that dramatically reduces the time-to-market of EMV chip acceptance by up to 12 months. The “EMV Level 2” software module is available royalty-free to acquirers, merchants, and vendors. VISA says that small to medium-sized merchants in geographic markets that are committing to EMV chip migration face time-to-market, cost, and implementation challenges that are difficult to overcome using proprietary technology from multiple POS vendors. “VISA Smart POS” requires minimal changes to back office systems and is available for any POS device. Also, POS vendors can overcome the cost of EMV software development and compliance, and these savings can be passed on to merchants. “VISA Smart POS” is written in the industry-standard C++ and Java programming languages with written drivers for “Windows 2000.”

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SAGEM Monetel and Atmel Partner to Launch Highly-Secured POS Terminals

SAGEM Monetel and Atmel have launched the “SAGEM Monetel EFT 30” secure payment terminal and its “PPR 30 Pin-Pad.” The new terminal accepts all current payment schemes and
card technologies plus meets EMV and PED requirements. The new SAGEM terminals are built around the ARM-based microcontrollers developed in partnership with Atmel. Implemented on 0.18-micron CMOS technology, they capitalize on the synergy between the applications expertise on the part of SAGEM Monetel and the system level integration capability of Atmel. Both companies says these two devices represent the start of a family of jointly-developed products targeting highly-secured POS terminals.

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BancorpSouth Introduces a Free MasterCard Gift Card

MS-based BancorpSouth has launched a “MasterCard Gift Card” program that carries no card fee for loading money, or added charges for shipping and handling. The BancorpSouth prepaid MasterCard Gift Card can be purchased online or at any BancorpSouth branch location. The prepaid MasterCard card can be loaded with funds by using cash, check, credit card, debit card or direct payment from a personal banking account. BancorpSouth, Inc. is a bank holding company headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi with approximately $10.2 billion in assets. BancorpSouth operates approximately 250 commercial banking, insurance, trust and broker/dealer locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

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STM’s ST19 Chips Go 180nn Production and Meet VISA Level 3

STMicroelectronics has hit technology “Level 3” by VISA International for the first three members of its “ST19” family of secure microcontrollers. Aimed at all cost-sensitive smart card banking applications, the “ST19WK08,” “ST19WSC8” and “ST19WS02” retain the advantages of ST’s popular “ST19” family, including high-security features and “Common Criteria EAL4+” certification,
while providing increased price/performance through the move from today’s standard 250nm smart card production technology to the new 180nm technology generation. All three devices incorporate the “ST19” 8-bit microcontroller and include on-chip memories. The ROM, RAM and EEPROM memories can be configured into partitions with customized access rules and access from any memory area to another is protected by hardware firewalls. Access rules are user defined and can be selected by mask options. An on-chip ST ROM contains a comprehensive set of ST-provided functions and libraries.

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VeriSign Transaction Volume Doubles This Year

VeriSign reported this week that its transaction volumes for its more than 97,000 online retailers increased to $6.9 billion during the third quarter. From January through October, overall online commercial sales volumes through VeriSign’s payment network increased from $9.7 billion in 2002 to $19.8 billion. Merchant sales volumes for September and October combined, increased from $2.56 billion during 2002 to $4.73 billion during the same two months of 2003. December and November are the busiest two months for online shopping, with purchases through VeriSign’s payment network totaling more than $2.96 billion in 2002. Current patterns indicate that consumers are on pace to spend more than double that amount through VeriSign merchants this year. The slowest online shopping months continue to be June, July, and August. However, online spending through VeriSign merchants during the 2003 timeframe increased by 87%, accounting for $6.3 billion versus only $3.4 billion over the same time period in 2002. VeriSign merchant customer online transaction revenues account for 30% of North American eCommerce.

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Datacard SE48 Debuts in Europe

Datacard Group this week is demonstrating its new “SE48” card issuance system for the first time in Europe. The new “Datacard SE48” system offers embossing, topping, indent printing
and magnetic stripe encoding, as well as contact and contactless smart card personalization capabilities. The compact system also offers the speed, flexibility and advanced security features financial institutions need for on-demand issuance of ready-to-use credit, debit, ATM and EMV cards. In addition to instant issuance applications, the “Datacard SE48” system is designed for short-run and batch-issuance requirements in centralized card programs. The system has production volumes up to 120 cards per hour and 25,000 cards per year. The system also offers many financial-grade security features, including 3-DES encryption, CPX protocol, locked cabinets, a non-resettable card counter and networking options.

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FNBO, NCR, and ACI Gear Up for the Launch of IFX ATMs

The first scheduled deployment of an ATM solution based completely on the new interactive financial exchange messaging standard for ATMs is underway by First National Bank of Omaha. NCR and ACI partnered with FNBO for the deployment. ATMs have traditionally utilized proprietary messaging protocols to authenticate and authorize transactions with the banks’ or other ATM deployers’ financial processing systems. The limitations of these proprietary protocols have restricted the functional capabilities of ATMs. Furthermore, due to the uniqueness of the ATM channel, deployers have been unable either to share transactional services or to use a common infrastructure between their ATMs and their other delivery channels, such as Internet and telephone banking. The non-proprietary and more powerful IFX replaces these legacy ATM transaction authorization protocols that are no longer capable of handling today’s functionality. IFX allows the bank or ATM deployer to use the same software applications and supporting infrastructure across several channels.

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Cap One to Hold Conference for DC Community Groups

Capital One and Consumer Action have scheduled a two-day seminar for 80 non-profit community groups in Washington, DC on November 20th. The two-day seminar will kick off in Washington DC on November 20, 2003 and will focus on six areas of financial management for clients of community groups: banking, budgeting, understanding credit, credit repair, understanding bankruptcy and talking to teens about money. Capital One Financial Corporation is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products. Consumer Action is a non-profit, membership-based organization founded in San Francisco in 1971. Consumer Action serves consumers nationwide by advancing consumer rights, referring consumers to complaint-handling agencies and publishing multilingual educational materials.

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One-Third of Consumers Buy Prepaid Cards to Avoid Credit Card Hassles

Another survey shows the surge in prepaid cards, revealing that 32% of Americans have used a prepaid card to make a purchase or transaction, which compared to other payment methods, including cash, is not far off from the 45% who report using debit cards. The sixth annual Coinstar survey also shows that 36% of consumers buy prepaid cards to avoid credit card interest charges and that 35% say it helps then avoid accumulating credit card debt. More than one-third said it helps control spending, while 14% said they do not have a credit card. About one-third say prepaid cards are good to give as gifts; and 29% say they are especially good to give to kids. When asked what methods they would consider using to refill or replenish their prepaid cards’ spending value, self-service kiosks, by check and by phone were each cited by about 20% of the respondents, followed by online (14%) and credit card (12%). Despite the increasing number of payment methods available to consumers, the Coinstar survey showed that 21% of Americans do not see a future without cash, and 45% believe society going cashless is at least 10 to 20 or more years away. Even prepaid card users (51%) report they carry as much cash in their wallet today, as they did one year ago.

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Precidia EtherDial/CellDial Certified with Global Payments

Ottawa-based Precidia Technologies has received certification for its “EtherDial” and “CellDial” products on retail, restaurant and lodging applications and terminals with Global Payments. The proven EtherDial and CellDial IP Access products connect existing dial-based terminals to IP networks via Ethernet or an always on digital wireless connection. Global Payments Inc. is a leading provider of electronic transaction processing services to merchants, Independent Sales Organizations, financial institutions, government agencies and multi-national corporations located throughout the United States, and Canada and Europe. Precidia Technologies Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of IP access devices for a wide range of industries, including retail payments and building automation.

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