A new study shows the installed base of POS terminals in the EMEA region increased 6% last year. The research by TN-based IHL Consulting Group found nearly 1.6 million POS terminals are still running DOS as the primary operating system, which creates a major opportunity for replacement systems. IHL says that Linux is getting more and more interest as these retailers look to replace aging terminals. However, new releases of the “XP Embedded” operating system with a lower cost license fee for the retail market may slow that interest and sway that business towards Microsoft. The study was conducted in association with the Association for Retail Technology Standards of the National Retail Federation.Details
Italy’s Incard SpA, the sixth largest card manufacturer worldwide, has been acquired by Geneva-based STMicroelectronics. STM purchased the assets and business of Incard from IPM Group in a deal valued at US$88 million. Incard has 290 employees, a large part of which are technical experts working in R&D, product development and application support. Incard has a wide product range of cards, software and development kits covering several smart card applications, with a special emphasis on telecom prepaid cards and SIM modules. STM and IPM will also enter into a long term agreement to working together on smart cards, including terminals, security, WLAN, mobile business and telecom applications. The IPM Group’s activities span all aspects of the fixed network market from products – including payphones, multimedia kiosks, Internet appliances, smart cards, and network access systems – up to advanced global engineering solutions.Details
Diners Club and Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy Stores team up to offer Diners Club Cardmembers a chance to earn double Club Rewards points between May 1 and June 30, 2003, each time a purchase is charged to the Diners Club Card. Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy Stores are part of Gap, Inc., one of the world’s largest retailers with more than 4,250 stores and 165,000 employees worldwide. For more information on Gap, Inc., visit .Details
Kiwibank, the totally New Zealand-owned bank, last week launched an aggressively-priced MasterCard targeted at the country’s 1.5 million credit cardholders. The bank, which started operations one year ago, has 135,000 customers. The “Kiwibank MasterCard” carries a 12.9% interest rate and a $38 annual fee, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com]). However, there is no annual fee if a customer has a home loan or deposits with the bank of more than $50,000. The card also provides up to 55 interest free days on purchases. The new MasterCard also offers a no-fee balance transfer feature. The average credit card interest rate in New Zealand is about 20%. Kiwibank was established by the Government last year after larger banks closed branches in rural communities.
Contactless smart card specialist OTI reported first quarter revenues of $4.7 million, a 14% gain over the year-ago quarter. Gross profit for first quarter was $2.4 million, up 24% from $1.9 million in the first quarter of last year. Operating loss for first quarter decreased 49%, to $654,000. OTI says it saw significant progress in its petroleum payment management and micropayments products. Since the end of the quarter, OTI announced that it is providing integrated point-of-sale solutions to Loews Cineplex as part of MasterCard’s “PayPass” trial in Orlando, Florida. The Company also recently announced that ABSA, the largest commercial bank in South Africa, had joined OTI’s “FuelMaster Express Program” geared towards private motorists. For complete details on OTI’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Andrews Federal Credit Union, which serves 99,000 members including personnel at Andrews Air Force Base, McGuire Air Force Base and U.S. servicepersons in central Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, has chosen eFunds to provide ATM driving services and network access to their members in the USA and Europe. AFCU previously controlled the driving of their ATMs, but will now outsource that function to eFunds because it is one of the few vendors worldwide that has the currency conversion technology to support ATMs that dispense both U.S. dollars and international currencies from a single machine. AFCU was introduced to eFunds through an existing EFT services partnership with ENCORE Electronic Services Cooperative. ENCORE’s member base currently includes more than 110 credit unions of which more than 68 use eFunds EFT services.Details
NTT DoCoMo announced it will launch a new on-line shopping and payments service on May 26th. “DoCommerce” will enable users of i-mode (2G and 3G SSL-compatible) handsets to conduct mobile shopping and pay online with their VISA, or JCB credit cards. NTT DoCoMo has more than 46 million customers, with 38 million e-mail and Internet subscribers. The company says it hopes to sign up nearly one million “DoCommerce” subscribers in the first year. Initially, 10 virtual shops, including three malls and ten boutiques will be on the “DoCommerce” dedicated site. NTT DoCoMo is also offering an account aggregation feature that enables “DoCommerce” users to check simultaneously, and on one single screen, the balances of their various financial accounts with banks and credit card companies.Details
A lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed on behalf of card-not-present merchants against VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, alleging that the payment card networks have profited from fraud-related charges through charge-back fees. The lawsuit claims that merchants have paid virtually all of the costs associated with fraud and theft. The complaint further alleges that the payment card networks failed to disclose certain supra competitive transactional and penalty fees to Internet, telephone and mail order merchants and forced such merchants to pay such supra competitive fees with the abuse of their monopolistic powers. Moreover, the lawsuit says, many of these supra competitive fees were only stated in their unpublished rules and regulations, which were never disclosed to merchants at the time of contracting. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a small group of merchants, and is being litigated by Mark Ishman of NC-based Triangle Law Center. Ishman is soliciting for class members via the Internet. The Triangle Law Center specializes in Internet law, ecommerce law, and cyberlaw. Meanwhile, Paycom Billing Services filed a lawsuit last week that alleges that MasterCard has established monopolistic rules that allow it unreasonable discretion to dominate Internet merchants, and it has exercised this power to illegally impose fines and penalties in the millions of dollars. Former Federal Prosecutors for the US Department of Justice, William Miller and Richard Crane were among those representing Paycom. (CF Library 5/13/03)Details
Marcianise-based Incard SpA, the sixth largest card manufacturer worldwide, has been acquired by Geneva-based STMicroelectronics. STM purchased the assets and business of Incard from IPM Group in a deal valued at US$88 million. Incard has 290 employees, a large part of which are technical experts working in R&D, product development and application support. Incard has a wide product range of cards, software and development kits covering several smart card applications, with a special emphasis on telecom prepaid cards and SIM modules. STM and IPM will also enter into a long term agreement to working together on smart cards, including terminals, security, WLAN, mobile business and telecom applications. The IPM Group’s activities span all aspects of the fixed network market from products – including payphones, multimedia kiosks, Internet appliances, smart cards, and network access systems – up to advanced global engineering solutions.Details
The Independent Community Bankers of America has promoted Dewite North to CIO. North joined ICBA in 1999 to work on payment system issues. He has been accorded steadily increasing responsibilities including banker information technology outreach and coordination of the ICBA’s internal technological projects prior to his promotion. He was previously employed at First Virginia Bank, George Mason Bank and CardSystems. ICBA has nearly 5,000 members with 17,000 locations nationwide.Details
Four banks are gearing up to launch “Cashnet,” India’s first nationwide shared ATM switch. The Reserve Bank of India recently gave approval to Euronet to operate the switch with the Industrial Development Bank of India as the settlement bank. The founding banks for “Cashnet” are Citibank, IDBI Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Unit Trust of India Bank. Based on the member banks’ existing ATMs, “Cashnet” will provide access to more than 1,300 ATMs for the more than 6 million debit and credit cardholders of the member banks across more than 100 cities in India. Customers from the member banks can use any ATM in the network. These transactions will be supported by online connections between each bank and the Euronet processing center in Mumbai, thus establishing the first shared ATM network in India to offer end-to-end online transaction processing across the entire network.Details
A new analysis conducted for MasterCard International has found only 18% of debit cards issued in China are active compared to 63% of credit cards. Of the 413 million debit cards issued to-date, only 74 million can be considered as active cards, with 82% non-active. By comparison, only 36% of secured credit cards and 38.6% of credit cards are considered non-active. “Non-active” is defined as being used less than once a month. Chinese banks issued debit cards aggressively in order to have more savings accounts as they began to compete for market shares in the mid-1990s. A debit card requires a savings account in good standing in order for it to be functional, hence each debit card issued entails a new savings account. A related contributing factor is that the banks also issued debit cards to their existing savings account holders as “pre-approved” customers. This added massively to the number of debit cards issued in the late 1990s. A third factor is a legacy of the past practice of “group applications”. This refers to a department head or manager of a business unit applying for debit cards on behalf of all the workers in that unit, often without prior consultation with the workers, frequently for the purposes of facilitating payroll management. MasterCard projects the credit card industry will explode in China over the next decade to 160 million cardholders. Currently there are one million credit cardholders and 24 million secured credit cardholders in China. MasterCard says there are already 50 million people in China who can be characterized as “cardable.”Details