SMART PC

Wave Systems has developed a Packard Bell personal computer imbedded with its “EMBASSY” chip and “Wave TrustEdge” smart card reader to provide advanced financial services for European consumers. When the “EMBASSY” system secures a device such as a personal computer, personal information such as credit card numbers, PIN numbers and other end-user secrets are easily accessed by users, but protected from theft by intruders.
Packard Bell brand personal computers enabled with “EMBASSY” secure technology are available in Europe from selected retailers.

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DINERS CLUB

Diners Club has launched a new Web site to reach the Canadian news media. The new site will focus on information relating to the “Diners Club Maple Leaf Club Card,” “Gold Card,” and “Silver Card.” Diners Club says industry analysts have found that its average annual charge volume is 60% higher than its closest competitor. In 2002, Diners Club served more than 8 million cardholders who charged over US$29 billion. Diners Club is a member of Citigroup and, in Canada, a division of Citibank Canada.

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CardAlert

Computer Sciences Corporation has unveiled a suite of new software products, based on 724 Solutions technology, that automate the way card issuers notify customers about suspicious activity, balances, payment due dates, late payments and credit limits. CSC’s new products include “Hogan BankAlert” and “CAMS II CardAlert.” “Hogan BankAlert” notifies customers of deposit and loan account activities such as overdrafts, loan due dates and payroll deposits. “CAMS II CardAlert” alerts customers about credit card conditions such as bill due dates and over-limit balances. CSC can host and manage the applications through CSC’s “eHub” facilities, enabling firms to avoid additional up-front information technology investments. To complement these product solutions, CSC is offering two 724 Solutions products designed to reduce costs associated with card fraud and debt collection. “724 Solutions Fraud Reduction” automates the process of verifying suspicious credit and debit card activity. “724 Solutions Collection Alerts” automates the process of contacting customers for collection of past-due debt.

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SMART LABELS

Royal Philips Electronics has teamed with LAB ID and Psion Teklogix to provide Benetton with RFID item level tagging technology. Benetton says this new technology will be employed at the point of sale, automatically registering sales and returns and feeding information back into the company’s ordering system. Clothes produced under Benetton’s core brand “Sisley” have been fitted with RFID-enabled labels based on Philips’ I.CODE semiconductor technology. Philips teamed with LAB ID and Psion Teklogix to produce the smart labels system. Philips says it expects to ship 15 million “I.CODE ICs” to Benetton this year. Philips’ I.CODE ICs enable a highly automated scanning process that does not require line of sight and can scan multiple items at once. This means that a box containing a variety of garments in different styles, colors and sizes, which traditionally would have been unpacked and checked by hand, can be scanned in one go and the information uploaded directly into the company’s main computer system. In store, Benetton will use RFID technology in smart shelves and in dressing rooms to highlight where individual garments are located.

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$2 SMART CARDS

MasterCard International has picked up a number of technology vendors to
support its 16K, multi-application “MULTOS,” US$1.99, smart card program.
Supporting vendors in the “OneSMART MasterCard” initiative include KeyCorp
(Australia), ORGA Card Systems (Singapore), AMS Co (Korea), DZ Card (South
East Asia), FoongTone Technology (Taiwan), KBC Corp (Korea), Kyodo Printing
(Japan), Security Plastics (New Zealand), Shoei Printing Co (Japan), Taiwan
Name Plate (Taiwan), Toppan Form HK (Hong Kong) and Versatile Card
Technology (USA). MasterCard first introduced its MULTOS-based
multiapplication smart card under its US$2.99 chip program in December
2000. The US$1.99 card contains MasterCard’s EMV compliant “M/Chip”
credit/debit application, “Mondex” e-cash, PKI file storage and PKI
identification applications built into the chip, ready for enablement as
required by MasterCard’s member financial institutions.

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Iraq Attack

If the impending attack on Iraq is quick and clean, the effect on the economy and the payment card industry may be significantly positive. But if the war turns out to be long and nasty, it could exacerbate existing problems for the economy and the payment card industry. The mere “thought of war” has already been driving consumers to close up their wallets, cancel travel plans, and postpone big ticket purchases. This month, an informal home page poll by CardWeb.com showed that one out of three consumers are holding back on a major purchase because of a possible Iraq attack. Furthermore, the University of Michigan Friday said its index of consumer confidence fell to the lowest level in more than a decade. The latest issue of CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com), released Friday, says the travel industry will be hit hard if the impending Iraq attack drags on for more than a few weeks. International travel will immediately collapse and, if gas prices hit $3 or more per gallon in the USA, domestic travel will be driven to new lows. Already on the edge, United Airlines will bite the dust for good. Other major airlines will rapidly descend into bankruptcy court if the conflict is protracted. Hotels, car rental firms, restaurants will all suffer. The credit card industry, already littered with the casualties of the bad economy, will also face serious challenges. The liquidation of United Airlines will have a significant impact on Bank One’s credit card business. American Express, which has slowly recovered from the impact of 9/11, will experience a significant decline in charge volume. Without a doubt, all bank credit card issuers will face reduced merchant fee revenues and rising losses if the conflict is protracted.

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$2 Smart Cards

MasterCard International said last week it has picked up a number of technology vendors to support its 16K, multi-application “MULTOS,” $1.99, smart card program. Supporting vendors in the “OneSMART MasterCard” initiative include KeyCorp (Australia), ORGA Card Systems (Singapore), AMS Co (Korea), DZ Card (South East Asia), FoongTone Technology (Taiwan), KBC Corp (Korea), Kyodo Printing (Japan), Security Plastics (New Zealand), Shoei Printing Co (Japan), Taiwan Name Plate (Taiwan), Toppan Form HK (Hong Kong) and Versatile Card Technology (USA). MasterCard first introduced its MULTOS-based multi-application smart card under its $2.99 chip program in December 2000.

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PaymentOne & ProactiveNet

ProactiveNet, Inc. announced that PaymentOne has selected ProactiveNet to maintain service excellence and reliability for the payment solutions it provides clients worldwide. PaymentOne provides a host of payment strategies and services that fuel new subscriber acquisition, increase revenues, and improve operational efficiencies to many of the industry’s most prominent Internet and digital content providers.

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MasterCard China Board Meeting

MasterCard recently held its Asia/Pacific board meeting in Beijing, the first time that the organization has held a regional board meeting in Beijing. MasterCard was the first international payments organization to enter China in 1988. MasterCard has been working closely with China UnionPay to extend its services to cardholders. There are currently over 7,000 ATMs accepting MasterCard international cards. In December, MasterCard cards were accepted for the first time in Beijing by Starbucks. Today, 17 Starbucks outlets in Beijing accept MasterCard credit cards.

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Mobile Banxafe

Banksys, Mobistar, and Gemplus have launched the first national mobile payment application in Belgium. When using the new “mobile banxafe,” the customer will receive a description of the transaction, displayed directly on his/her mobile phone screen. To authorize this, the customer will enter his “mobile banxafe” PIN code, or digital signature, which is then verified by the applet. If the PIN is correct, the signature is sent to the authentication server via the SMS channel, which authorizes the transaction to be processed. Payment commissions are fixed and shared in collaboration with the banking sector, which is responsible for the authorization, risk management, clearing and settlement. Mobistar had a total of 2,305,390 active customers at year-end 2002.

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