GEMPLUS & SAGEM

Paris-based Groupe SAGEM has acquired a 10% stake in Gemplus. The
ownership was effected through the buying of shares of Gemplus owned by
Marc Lassus, a Gemplus founder and one of the company’s largest
shareholders. Lassus agreed in December 2001 to cease his office as
chairman of Gemplus. SAGEM is a specialist in fingerprint identification
technologies. The firm is also the second largest French company in the
field of telecommunications and the third European Company in electronics
for defense and security. The new send Gemplus stock up about 10%.

Details

Cyota Funding

NY-based Cyota announced Thursday it has closed an $8 million round of private financing led by RRE Ventures, a leading financial services fund, founded by Jim Robinson, former chairman and CEO of American Express and Director of First Data Corporation. Cyota says it will use the funding to continue to expand in the “Verified by Visa” and “MasterCard SecureCode” markets. The company currently powers 80% of the “Verified by Visa” eligible cards in the U.S. RRE says it made the investment considering that Cyota has signed five of the top 10 issuers. RRE Ventures will appoint a General Partner to be a member of Cyota’s Board of Directors.

Details

NPC & Cost Plus

National Processing Company has signed a multi-year card processing agreement with Cost Plus, a specialty retailer of casual home living, for its 175 stores in 23 states. Cost Plus, Inc. operates 175 stores in 23 states under the names “World Market” and “Cost Plus World Market”. Stores feature an ever-changing selection of home decor, tabletop, gift and decorative accessories, as well as gourmet food and beverage offered at affordable prices and imported from more than 50 countries.

Details

Less Xmas Credit Use

The Debt Relief Clearinghouse released a survey this morning that found 35% of Americans say they will not use credit cards to buy holiday gifts at all, down slightly from last year’s 36%. These findings are the result of monthly nationwide telephone poll of 1000+ adults conducted by ICR/International Communications Research in the past week, sponsored by The Debt Relief Clearinghouse.

Details

PLATINUM COLLECTION

MasterCard International launched a new program to expand the value of its “Platinum” program throughout Asia. The “MasterCard Platinum Collection” features a range of lifestyle experiences from flying with the Red Devil over the Alps and landing on the Les Diablerets Glacier, to dinner cruises in Bangkok and romantic dinners atop the world’s tallest hotel in Singapore. “Platinum MasterCard” cardholders can also play golf at St. Andrew’s Old Course, Gleneagles, Royal Melbourne, and the Pinehurst Golf Course in Thailand. MasterCard has nearly 1 million platinum cardholders in the Asia/Pacific region.

Details

Smart Card DPA Tool

San Francisco-based Cryptography Research has introduced a “Differential Power Analysis” workstation to improve resistance to DPA attacks in smart cards and other tamper-resistant devices. DPA eavesdrops on the fluctuating electrical power consumption of the microprocessors at the heart of these devices, and uses advanced statistical methods to extract cryptographic keys and other secrets. Although DPA attacks currently require a high level of technical skill in several fields to implement, they can be repeated using a few thousand dollars worth of standard equipment, and can often break a device in a few minutes.

Details

CLUB PLUS CARD

Choice Hotels Canada has selected Ernex Marketing Technologies to deliver its new, real-time customer loyalty program dubbed “Choice Club Plus.” By participating in the “Choice Club Plus” program each of the more than 135,000 members earn 6.5 points for every dollar they spend. They can then use these points to redeem various reward options at popular Canadian merchants such as Sears Canada and Esso Imperial Oil, travel reward options including coach and train travel with Greyhound Canada and VIA Rail and free room nights at Choice Hotel’s 260 Canadian locations.

Details

WesPay Fraud

The Western Payments Alliance issued a statement Wednesday making clear it has no connection whatsoever with an allegedly London-based entity calling itself the Financial Clearing House and claiming to be a founder of WesPay. WesPay has notified authorities in the U.S. and United Kingdom about the fraudulent claim, and is urging its 1,000 members in the western U.S. and Pacific region to proceed with extreme caution if approached by the entity.

Details

LATINA ECONOMIES

A new research report found that Latin American nations located closest to the USA appear to have fared better economically than those furthest from the USA. Puerto Rico and Mexico have the highest levels of average buying power per household, among the 125 million Latin American households, the report from Strategy Research Corporation says 22% of Mexicans and 21% of Costa Ricans feel they are personally better off economically than in the previous year, while 64% of Latin Americans feel that their personal economic situations are worse than the year before. At the same time, 54% of Latin Americans consider that their countries’ economic situations will be the same or better next year, while 38% believe their country’s economic situations will be worse. It’s important to note that Argentina experienced a 62% decline in consumer buying power this year, while other countries, including Ecuador, experienced an 18% growth in buying power for the same period.

Details

U.S. Seniors

A new survey has found that more than 75% of American seniors have at least one credit card, with 23% holding two cards, and 20.7% who carry four or more credit cards. More than one third of seniors (aged 60+) say they do not know what identity theft is or where to find financial information online. According to a recent survey conducted for Capital One, “Boomers” (34.4%), and seniors (33.2%), both said they would turn to their credit card company for advice on using credit wisely. More than one-third of seniors do not know what identity theft is while most Boomers (81.7%) are aware of it. Cap One also found that one-quarter of all Boomers surveyed said they have four or more credit cards, 21% said they have no credit cards and 18.4% said they have one credit card. One-quarter of all women surveyed said they have four or more credit cards while most men (24.1%) said they only have two credit cards.

Details

3Q/02 DELINQUENCY

Canadian credit card delinquency has declined for the 11th consecutive quarter, even as credit card debt is up 6% in September, year over year to $32.6 billion. Moody’s Investors Service reports that the percent of Canadian credit card accounts that are 30 or more days past due fell by nearly 11% to 2.29% of accounts, compared to 2.57% for the same period in 2001, and marked the lowest quarterly rate dating back to the first quarter 1999. Canadian cardholders continued to expand the use of their credit cards as average outstanding balances grew 6.9% to approximately $32.6 billion dollars as of September 30th, compared to a year earlier. The gross yield on Canadian credit cards has fallen for the third consecutive quarter to 13.89% from 14.41% in the third quarter of 2001. Net yield (i.e. gross yield less net losses) followed suit in the third quarter, falling to 11.22% from 11.80% a year earlier.

Details