VW VISA

Volkswagen of America and Bank One are gearing up to launch a co-branded VISA card this summer. The new “Volkswagen Platinum VISA Card with Rewards” offers points for every purchase, double points for Volkswagen purchases, and an instant credit feature. Under the program, cardholders earn two points for every dollar spent on qualified Volkswagen purchases and one point for every dollar spent on other purchases. Points may be used toward the purchase or lease of a new Volkswagen or the purchase of a previously owned Volkswagen. Points can also be redeemed for Volkswagen service or maintenance, parts, Volkswagen “DriverGear,” extended service or warranty contracts, or for goods and services from more than 100 partners. A minimum of 2,500 points are required to make a redemption. Later this year, some Volkswagen dealerships will feature instant credit applications, enabling consumers to apply for the card when applying to Volkswagen Credit for an automobile loan or lease. Approved cardholders will receive an initial instant credit line of $2,000 that can be used at the dealerships for Volkswagen purchases, for which they’ll receive double reward points. The card carries no annual fee, a six-month 0% intro rate, and a prime +6.99% on-going APR. The VW card was previously issued by MBNA.

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MBNA/TWA/AA Action

A law firm announced yesterday it is investigating complaints over the termination of the “MBNA/TWA Aviators VISA/MasterCard.” Los Angeles-based Weiss & Yourman filed a lawsuit against MBNA, TWA, and American Airlines alleging the companies did not transfer cardholder “Aviator” miles to the American Airlines “AAdvantage” program in a reasonable amount of time. The lawsuit says in some cases the miles were not transferred at all. The lawsuit also alleges that MBNA failed to provide a refund, on a pro rata basis, of the annual fees based on the termination of the program which occurred on September 24, 2001. TWA filed for bankruptcy in January 2001 and was later acquired by American Airlines.

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Fifth Third & La Quinta

Dallas-based La Quinta has selected Fifth Third Bank’s electronic payment processing division as the endorsed credit card processor for its 350 locations in 33 states. Dallas-based La Quinta Corporation owns, operates or franchises more than 350 La Quinta Inns and La Quinta Inn & Suites in 33 states. Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Experian Traffic

Experian Consumer Direct reported this week that its family of Web sites, according to comScore Media Metrix, produced first quarter traffic of 26.1 million unique visitors compared to Equifax’s 4.0 million and TransUnion’s 1.6 million. Experian Consumer Direct’s family of sites produced a 22 percent increase in traffic from the previous quarter. Experian Consumer Direct offers consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit histories, to help them better manage their financial lives.

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Authorize.Net & Yaga

UT-based Authorize.Net and San Francisco-based Yaga have teamed to offer digital content commerce services, including micropayments, to merchants. Services offered will include content access control to secure content files behind a payment, flexible merchandizing and selling tools including multi-level subscriptions & pay-per-access. Authorize.Net, an InfoSpace service, provides secure, reliable, IP-based payment gateway solutions that enable merchants to authorize, settle and manage electronic transactions anytime, anywhere, via Web sites, at brick-and-mortar stores, and on wireless devices.

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FDC & BANCO POPULAR

First Data has signed a five-year agreement with Banco Popular Dominicano for transaction processing software and support services. The bank will use First Data’s “VisionPLUS” software for accounts receivable and transaction processing for its credit and
private label card accounts on file. Under the new agreement, FDC also will provide software management support including maintenance, enhancement, conversion and consulting services. FDC has provided credit card processing services to Banco
Popular Dominicano since 1985 for its international credit card portfolio. Banco Popular Dominicano is the largest bank in the Dominican Republic.

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Credit Watch Silver/Gold

Equifax is now offering consumers “Credit Watch Gold” for $100 annually, and “Credit Watch Silver” for $50 annually. The newly released Equifax Credit Watch Gold and Equifax Credit Watch Silver were developed in response to consumer research that indicated the need for two distinct levels of identity theft protection. All Equifax consumer products are backed by Equifax’s patented authentication technology to protect its customers from privacy invasion and identity theft. Equifax Inc. is the leading provider of critical information to businesses, consumers and the public sector.

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SMART CARD REPORT

The slowdown in the growth of smart card shipments in 2001 and 2002 will likely continue for the next few years according to a new research report. The study also says that the wireless industry will remain the most lucrative industry for smart card vendors, yet its overall importance will drop. Datamonitor says it will account for 43% of smart card vendors’ total revenues by 2006, down from 49% in 2002, making vendors marginally less vulnerable to market fluctuations. Of all the vertical markets analyzed in the report, Datamonitor believes that security/access will experience the strongest growth in revenues, rising to $137 million in 2006.

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BIO-KEY BANKING

BIO-key International has signed agreements with two large Latin American banks. Under terms of the deals, BIO-key’s fingerprint identification capabilities will be tested with the banks’ fully integrated Internet banking applications. Additionally, the project will study, design and plan future integration of the technology with other current and planned banking processes. The vision is to provide a convenient, secured, fast, and reliable fingerprint authentication platform for the almost 16,000 on-line banking users to access their accounts via the Web. BIO-key’s systems integration partner, E|Corporation Global, a leading Latin American biometric consultant group, made the awards.

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Replace-to-EMV

Seoul-based CyberNet has launched a trade-in program, developed in cooperation with VISA, that enables VISA members worldwide, to migrate to EMV at a cost of about US$200. The “Replace-to-EMV” program applies to CyberNet’s “JADEBreakthrough” EMV terminal, that was announced In January, and which is powered by a 32 bit processor, the CyberSoft operating system, and supported by a JAVA development toolkit. VISA members who acquire “JADEBreakthrough units” will receive a credit for each non-EMV terminal that the member retrieves from its retailers and sends back to CyberNet. The acceptance device program is part of the “VISA Smart Breakthrough” global initiative designed to support EMV migration. According to this week’s The RAM Report, CyberNet began in 1998 in Korea as CyberNet Information System. Today, the company has regional offices in the USA, Australia, UK, Russia, Poland and Brazil.

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