JCB & HERTZ

JCB and Hertz Asia Pacific have partnered to promote worldwide tourist demand, beginning with a joint campaign from September 22nd to April 30th, targeting Japanese traveling abroad. The current campaign is intended to build demand among JCB’s more than 45 million Japanese cardholders by added benefits for overseas use. When a cardholder makes a Hertz reservation through JCB Travel and then buys two airline tickets or spends 70,000 yen or more with the JCB Card, he or she receives a coupon good for a one-day free rental in the U.S.A. from Hertz and is automatically entered in a lottery for a variety of prizes. In addition, JCB’s most prestigious card “The Class” members receive free membership in the Hertz #1 Club Gold.

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British MPs are Having a Fit Over Store Card Interest Rates

Private label store card giant GE Consumer Finance, and other retail credit card issues in the UK, are coming under fire for continuing to charge interest rates as high as 32.5%, even though the Bank of England base rate has dropped to 3.5%. According to today’s issue of CardFlash International, the Office of Fair Trading this week called the rates “extortionate” and has launched an informal inquiry into retail credit cards following complaints from Members of Parliament. The OFT suggested that stiff fines could be imposed on the issuers. The OFT will grill bank industry leaders in a hearing next month. Several weeks ago, the Treasury Select Committee held a hearing over retail credit cards and accused the industry of “highway robbery” given that the Bank of England base rate has fallen from 7.0% in 1999 to 3.5% currently. The Commons Treasury Select Committee found that the average rate of interest for retail cards is about 29%, and is relatively unchanged since 1999. The highest rate of 32.5%, was charged for the Toys ‘R’ Us credit card.

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Siebel Service Drives Viseca Card Services Expansion

Viseca Card Services says it has acquired an additional 100,000 customers following its deployment of Siebel Service. The introduction of multilingual customer service best practices among 100 contact center agents has enabled the leading Swiss credit card issuer to resolve up to 95% of inquiries at the initial point of inquiry, answer 80% of calls within 15 seconds, and reduce the lost call ratio to below 10%. By transforming the service experience of its existing 890,000 customers, Viseca has been acquiring more customers and is maximizing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Prior to implementing Siebel Service, Viseca’s systems tracked customers through credit card numbers rather than through the customer.

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MasterCard Unveils New Hologram Expressly for Debit Cards

Under the requirements of the recent Wal-Mart debit card settlement to make its debit cards “clear and conspicuous,” MasterCard yesterday introduced a new debit card identifier. The updated card standards require MasterCard debit issuers in the USA to utilize a new hologram which features the word “Debit” within the MasterCard identification area. The requirements apply to U.S. issued MasterCard-branded consumer signature debit, stored-value, electronic benefits transfer, prepaid and payroll cards. MasterCard debit issuers and card manufacturers are required to adopt and implement the new hologram design-standard beginning January 1, 2004, and may do so sooner if they choose. Based on the settlement, debit card issuers are required to have 80% of their cards re-issued with a new “Debit” identifier by July 1, 2005, 100% by January 1, 2007. The hologram design was developed in partnership with American Bank Note Holographics, MasterCard’s current global hologram supplier.

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Paymentech Offers a New Direct Internet Connection for Transactions

Dallas-based Paymentech has launched a new service that provides a secure, direct Internet connection to Paymentech’s authorization center that can reduce the average processing time from 10-15 seconds for a dial-up connection to a three seconds. “NetConnect” provides all merchants a username and password to prevent unauthorized transactions, including refunds, from being processed against their merchant account. Paymentech says the new service is more affordable than frame relay connections, since it utilizes Internet connections such as a DSL. “NetConnect” is compatible with Go Software “PCCharge,” Intrix “Supercharge” and “Positouch via Transaction Plus.” Paymentech also offers a software development kit to program the application to existing software, or, if the merchant prefers, Paymentech can provide the actual specifications.

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Diversinet has Acquired Caradas

Toronto-based Diversinet has acquired Caradas, in an all-stock transaction. The acquisition of Caradas and its digital identity and
authentication management technology broadens the Diversinet skill set, gives the company a deeper knowledge of financial applications and provides established relationships with important financial customers, including VISA, MasterCard, Fleet Bank, First National Bank Omaha, and other institutions. Caradas also operates Caradas Labs, an independent test facility, providing functional, security, and standards testing services to the financial services industry. Caradas, founded in 2001, has annual revenues of approximately US$4 million and is currently profitable.

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