The Travel Industry Association of America predicts Americans will take over 270 million vacations during June, July and August, an increase of 2.5% from last summer. Air travel will up about 1 percent this summer, auto travel will continue to be stronger than air, up more than 2 percent, while RV travel is likely to remain very strong this summer. Americans expect to stay away an average of 7.9 nights on their longest pleasure trip, down slightly from last year. Travelers continue to watch their pennies, planning to spend an average of $1,055 on their longest pleasure trip this summer, stable from summer 2002 but still down about 9 percent from the $1,172 in 2001.Details
CT-based TransAct Technologies has signed a deal to deploy 6,000 “BANKjet 1500” printers over the next twelve months. TransAct’s BANKjet 1500 offers bank tellers and retailers form and check validation combined with receipt printing capabilities. The patented validation approach includes a pair of sensors that ensure proper form registration and alignment before printing occurs. The printer can validate forms that are fed into the printer in either lengthwise or widthwise orientation, giving the operator an expanded printing area, while cost effectively improving overall transaction time with high-quality, two-color printing on low cost media.Details
VISA has introduced “Travel Wizard”, an interactive budget-planning calculator found on VISA’s “Practical Money Skills for Life” Web site. Practical Money Skills for Life is an online curriculum sponsored by Visa and is free to consumers. It features lesson plans, interactive calculators, and activities for parents, teachers, students, and consumers of all ages. The Travel Wizard calculator walks consumers through the process of preparing a travel budget. Users can enter dollar amounts for meals, hotels, entertainment expenses and more.Details
Cubic Transportation Systems has signed a $6.4 million contract with the Metropolitan Bus Authority for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Department of Transportation and Public Works. Cubic will provide an advanced electronic bus fare collection system for San Juan including a modern computer managed system. The system will consist of modular fareboxes which have been operationally proven in New York City and Vancouver. The fareboxes validate coins and process magnetic fare cards and are configured so that contactless smart card technology can be introduced in the future. Under this same contract, Cubic is also supplying its bus fare collection equipment and technology for a second bus operator, Metro Bus Uno, which is under contract to the MBA. Fare collection data from the 30 buses operated by Metro Bus Uno will be uploaded to the MBA central system as part of the fare collection revenue management process.Details
MD-based I4 Commerce has joined the Ecometry Alliance Network to offer its “Bill Me Later” payment method as a complement to Ecometry “Commerce Suite”. I4 Commerce was invited to join EAN because of the value its solution adds to Ecometry Commerce Suite and the benefits clients will receive as a result of the alliance. Ecometry Corporation developed EAN to provide a framework for synergy between Ecometry and companies with complementary products and services. I4 Commerce provides payment solutions to merchants that make commerce more convenient, secure and profitable.Details
The Financial Supervisory Service says the number of employees employed by credit card firms has dropped 45.6% compared to last year. The total number of card jobs has dropped from 53,169 to 28,901. Kookmin Credit Card Co. made the largest reduction, cutting its workforce by 72% while Woori Credit Card Co. came in second with a 57% cut. KEB, Samsung, and Hyundai Card have cut between 45% and 56% of their respective workforces.
The Korean credit card industry has been hit hard by an economic crisis and losses have been skyrocketing. The Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Financial Supervisory Service, and the Bank of Korea have required credit card companies to reduce operating expenses and boost capital.
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.Details
Dubai Internet City-based Ducont has launched a new wireless technology product that enables cardholders and merchants to receive alert messages over their mobile phones. The “Card Alert” system interfaces with the credit card management system and extends proactive services over SMS. SMS messages may be sent for transactions processed, due dates for payments, promotional schemes, limits touching specified lower amounts and a lot more. Last week, the company signed a contract with a major UAE bank which will soon offer the service.Details
The American Bankers Association today launched its first technology spending study in more than ten years. The survey was mailed this week to more than 1,000 banks from a broad- range of asset sizes, culled from both the ABA membership roster and the TowerGroup banking client base. Over the next month, ABA and TowerGroup will be reaching out to these institutions to encourage participation in this important benchmarking opportunity. TowerGroup and the ABA expect the survey to be completed by early July, with results available to participating institutions by early Fall 2003.Details
Oberthur Card Systems has inked a deal with KBC Bank & Insurance Group NV for the delivery of more than 10 million “Proton Prisma” EMV smart cards. KBC intends to distribute the cards to consumers in Belgium, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary next year. One year ago, KBC and Proton World signed an agreement licensing the “Proton Prisma” multi-application smart card technology in a number of its associated banks in Central and Eastern Europe. In the initial phase, the agreement will involve CSOB Bank in the Czech Republic (with branches in the Slovak Republic), Kereskedelmi es Hitelbank in Hungary, and the Poland-based Kredytbank, which also has branches in Lithuania and a subsidiary in Ukraine.Details
Federal regulators have issued an alert to financial institutions nationwide in regard to the potentially serious threat of the “Bugbear.B” Internet virus. The virus targets more than 1,300 specific financial institutions by including their Internet addresses in the virus’s code. According to the OCC, the virus disables security software such as anti-virus software; installs spyware such as a keystroke logger and a remote control program; captures keystrokes to obtain authentication information, gathers other potentially sensitive information, and e-mails it outside the bank; and, collects and uses e-mail addresses to further distribute the virus from the infected machines. The disabling of security software, insertion of spyware, and e-mailing of information outside an infected bank could occur whether or not the bank is included in the 1,300 specifically mentioned bank Internet addresses. Bugbear.B uses a flaw in Microsoft’s “Internet Explorer” program and its implementation by Microsoft’s “Outlook” e-mail reader that allows the virus to infect machines whenever a victim simply previews an e-mail message loaded with the program. BugBear spreads via e-mail and local networks. The subject line, message body, and attachment are all selected from a random list, or chosen from file names already in the target computer’s “My Documents” folder. The infected file itself has either a .exe, .scr, or a .pif extension. Blocking those extensions will protect e-mail users against infection.Details
A new study has found that British adults spend approximately US$2.4 billion per month online. The average online spend across genders and age groups is just over US$100 per person, per month, however, the biggest spenders are males and those in the 45-54 age group. The research from The Royal Bank of Scotland found that more than half of all men with Internet access use the Web every single day compared to 41% of women. RBS says that more than half of all adults use the Internet to make purchases and, like Internet use overall, this peaks for 25-34 year olds where 65% do so. Women are slightly less likely than men to buy online (52% compared with 56%). Residents of Wales and the West Country are the biggest online shoppers of all – 66% of them buy online compared to less than half – 45% – of those in the North East and Yorkshire.Details