OTI SMART ANTENNA

OTI announced the commercial launch of its “SMART Antenna” which provides
plug and play optimal performance to support contactless payment solutions,
in terms of legacy systems, throughput, and reliability. The “SMART
Antenna” is built on the “Saturn” reader product line and is fully
compliant with the ISO14443 standard. The “Saturn” reader and “SMART
Antenna” merchant solution is currently being used in the MasterCard
“PayPass” trial in Orlando, Florida, where Loews Cineplex, several
drive-thru fast food locations and a variety of other businesses are
participating.

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TERADYNE SMART CARDS

Samsung Electronics has selected Teradyne’s “Integra J750” with RFID for a contactless smart card test. Teradyne’s “J750 with RFID Option” is the only solution available to support customers from characterization through design verification to high volume contactless smart card production. The Samsung smart card is designed with a dual interface where a contactless interface coexists with a contacted interface. Synchronization between digital channels and the RFID test instruments is critical.
The “J750’s” high-throughput test capability provides as high as 95% parallel test efficiency for up to 32 devices.

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KeyMiles Debit MC

Cleveland-based KeyBank officially launched its new “KeyMiles” debit MasterCard which offers Continental Airlines “OnePass” miles for signature debit transactions. Cardholders accrue one mile for each $2 in debit card purchases. The card carries a $30 annual fee. Up to five debit cards can be issued per account. Existing KeyBank customers, including small business owners, are being given the opportunity to upgrade to the new card. KeyBank has two million “MasterMoney” debit cardholders. KeyCorp announced the program in February, becoming the second U.S. issuer to offer Continental “OnePass” miles for signature debit POS transactions. In February 1999, Chase Manhattan launched the first co-branded debit card program in the USA. Teaming with Continental Airlines, Chase offers one “OnePass” mile for every two dollars spent on both PIN and signature purchases. Chase has since launched a business debit card version of the program. (CF Library 3/20/98; 5/4/98; 2/23/99; 8/3/99; 2/7/03)

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JAVA CARD DEAL

ActivCard has qualified Giesecke & Devrient’s “Sm@rtCafe Expert Java Card” as compliant with its “Identity Management System,” “Gold” smart card middleware, “ID Applet Framework,” and the “AAA Authentication Server.” The combined technology from ActivCard and G&D enables system integrators and value added resellers to deliver consolidated identity solutions that merge their customers’ traditional facility and physical ID badge security with the growing number of network security credentials assigned to each employee and partner. Together, the products meet the rigorous demands of enterprise-class ID card initiatives that increasingly require the capabilities and assurances of secure applet loading, post-issuance card updates, and PKI capability.

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Settlement Complaint

MN-based TCF Financial, the 16th largest issuer of VISA debit cards with more than one million cardholders, has filed a “motion to intervene” with Federal district court Judge John Gleeson over the proposed debit card settlement between retailers and the card associations. In the complaint TCF says its interests are not currently represented before the Court and that fees for debit cards should not be set by lawyers negotiating in a room, but rather by the marketplace. TCF says the proposed settlement places the entire burden for price changes on VISA’s debit-card issuers, not its credit-card issuers. In the settlement, VISA and MasterCard agreed to pay $3 billion over ten years to retailers, give up their “Honor All Cards” policy, and agree to cut debit card fees by at least a third. The new debit card interchange rates will go into effect by August 1, 2003. TCF says the lost revenue due to the lower interchange may force the bank to levy an annual fee for its debit card. (CF Library 5/1/03)

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VIRGIN MASTERCARD

Virgin has entered the Australian credit card market with a new, aggressively priced co-branded MasterCard. The entry “down under” follows Virgin’s launch in January 2002 of the “Virgin Credit Card” in the UK, which has attracted more than 300,000 cardholders to-date. The new “Virgin MasterCard” for Australia is being issued by
Westpac Banking in association with Virgin Money Group, a joint venture between Virgin and AMP. The new card features the “Mates Rates” rewards which offers cardholders automatic, instant discounts when using the card at participating merchants. “Mates Rates” partners include Holiday Inn, Chemworld Chemists, Bob Jane T-Marts, ticketmaster.com, AOL, Sea World, Australia Zoo, and dozens more. The “Virgin MasterCard” offers a six-month 4.9% intro rate followed by ongoing interest rate of 11.9%. There is no annual fee and a 55 day grace period. Virgin says a recent study showed that 84% of Australian consumers said they would consider swapping to a card with no annual fees, good rewards and a significantly lower interest rate.

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ICMA 2003

The International Card Manufacturers Association announced yesterday it will hold its “12th Annual EXPO”, November 9-12, in Cancun, Mexico. The theme of this year’s EXPO is “Business Strategies for a Slow Economy.” Michael Swiecicki, president and CEO, Plastag Corporation, will serve as the conference chairman. This year there will be simultaneous Spanish translation of all EXPO sessions. The EXPO will also include its yearly awards banquet with the presentation of the “Élan Awards for Card Manufacturing Excellence” and “Outstanding Member Service” and the ICMA “Spiritus Award.”

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