BW STV Card

Best Western has launched a prepaid “Travel Card” that is available in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, and Euros. BW says by the end of the year the card will be available in 15 additional currencies. The company has more than 4,000 independently owned and operated hotels in over 80 countries and territories. The card is available for purchase or reloading on-line, at Best Western hotels, through a travel agent or by calling a toll-free number. Cards can be shipped or, for instant delivery, printed from a computer. Guests who are members of Best Western’s “Gold Crown Club International” frequent traveler program will receive one bonus point for every dollar purchased on the card. U.S. residents who purchase a $100 card have the option of selecting a 100-minute calling card from AT&T in lieu of the bonus points at the time of purchase.

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POS Finger-Scanning Pad

Hypercom’s Secure Systems and Transaction Group has developed a low cost finger-scanning pad that connects to a POS terminal, which is used to create a digital vector from the image of the fingerprint. The system, developed by Hypercom’s Secure Systems and Transaction Group, which supplies the Government’s security and transaction market, employs a low cost finger-scanning pad connected to the point-of-sale terminal, which is used to create a digital vector from the image of the fingerprint. The vector is a 256-byte value which, when coupled with the card number, provides an extremely reliable and foolproof method of identity verification.

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NC VISA Gift

OH-based National City Bank has launched an instant-issue “VISA Gift” card at more than 1,100 branch banking locations in a six-state region. Whatever the purpose, the National City Visa Gift Card provides recipients with purchasing convenience and flexibility. The Gift Card offers significant benefits over cash and checks, as all of Visa’s consumer security protection policies apply.

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LOGICA SRI LANKA

London-based Logica has signed a US$9 million contract to build a
national payments system for Sri Lanka. Logica will implement the “Real
Time Gross Settlement System” and the “Scripless Securities Settlement” for
the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. All commercial banks in Sri Lanka will be direct
participants in the Logica-developed “RTGS” system. Both the “RTGS” and the
“SSS” systems will use the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial
Telecommunications or “S.W.I.F.T.” message formats and will be connected
through a Delivery vs. Payment (DvP) link. Full disaster recovery
capabilities will also be provided by Logica. IBM Sri Lanka, and Just In
Time Holdings, Colombo, an established player in the Sri Lankan IT industry
will work with Logica to develop the system.

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Concord Execs

Concord EFS has promoted Bond Isaacson to president of financial services. Isaacson, formerly payments executive at BofA and VISA, joined Concord as EVP in September. Ronald Congemi, president, Star Systems, will continue to have responsibility for the STAR network. Concord also promoted Christopher Reckert as president of payment services. Reckert joined Concord in 1995. The Company also announced that Dan Palmer, chairman and outgoing CEO, will assume the role of chief strategic & financial planning officer in May when Edward Labry, president, succeeds Palmer as CEO.

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ONLINE SPENDING

A new study has found that Londoners spend an average of £114 online every
month, 13% spend more than £200 and 6% a whopping £500 or more. According
to new figures from The Royal Bank of Scotland the national average is £94
with just 7% spending more than £200 and 3% more than £500, while in the
Midlands, the lowest spending region, the average spend is just £68 and
none spend more than £500.
But although they spend most, Londoners are less likely to use the web for
shopping than those in any other region. Just 13% of Londoners regularly
shop online compared to a national average of 21% and a quarter of those in
the south east and East Anglia.

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Pseudo Numbers

A new survey has found that online shoppers spend two to four times more using substitute card number technology. The analysis of aggregate information from consumers using this technology, comparing last year’s second and third quarter Internet sales totals with this year’s Q2 and Q3 figures, reveals an average increase in spending of over 220% compared with only 29% for the typical online shopper. The study, based on Orbiscom data, contradicts previous notions about online shoppers and their concerns about safety. They also indicate that security products such as Orbiscom’s “Controlled Payment Number” technology can appeal not only to those consumers reluctant to purchase online, but also the larger percentage of consumers already making Internet purchases.

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DATAWIRE EXECUTIVE

Datawire Communication Networks has named Michael Geihsler as
SVP/Operations. He will be based out of Datawire’s U.S. headquarters in
Atlanta. Most recently, Geihsler served as VP/Client Services for
Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems. At Alliance Data, he was responsible
for the maintenance and growth of client revenue for the Network Service
Division through a suite of transaction processing products and managed
relationships. Datawire Communication Networks offers the “VXN,” a globally
focused, secure, reliable, real-time, Internet-based transaction delivery
network.

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GSI Picks ebitGuard

GSI Commerce has selected Retail Decisions “ebitGuard” e-commerce fraud detection and prevention service. GSI Commerce manages Web site development, merchandising, customer service, order processing and fulfillment on behalf of its partners. Its partners include more than 40 retailers, branded manufacturers, media companies, television networks and professional sports organizations.

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GZS TERMINAL DEPLOYMENT

Germany’s top steak-house chain is installing Gesellschaft für
Zahlungssysteme’s “MultiCardManager” mobile payment terminal in all 60+
outlets in the country. Maredo, a subsidiary of Whitbread Restaurants
Holding GmbH, expects to process as many as 400,000 transactions in the
first year with the new terminals. GZS and Maredo signed a five-year
contract for the terminal deployment. The full roll-out is expected to be
completed by January. GZS processes transactions for around 2,300 domestic
and international banks. At its corporate headquarters in Bad Vilbel, near
to Frankfurt, more than 1,100 staff provide support for approximately 7.6
million credit cardholders and handle over 300 million payment transactions
a year.

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MasterCard Lead

For the first time in the industry’s history, MasterCard has overtaken VISA as the largest credit card brand in the USA. At the end of the third quarter, MasterCard had 264.2 million credit cards-in-force compared to VISA’s 259.0 million credit cards. The gap narrowed in the second quarter to 8.9 million cards from more than 20 million in the first quarter, according to data tracked by CardData (www.carddata.com). MasterCard’s U.S. cardbase is now growing at a 15%+ annual rate while VISA’s credit cardbase is growing about 1.5% annually. American Express and Discover have experienced little, if any, growth in their respective cardbases over the past twelve months. Based on card volume, VISA remains the largest credit card brand. For the third quarter, VISA reported credit card volume of $156.8 billion compared to MasterCard’s $126.1 billion. While MasterCard may dominate the credit card segment, VISA’s share of the off-line debit card market is commanding. VISA has 126 million off-line debit cards in-force compared to MasterCard’s 44.7 million at the end of the third quarter. For complete details on VISA and MasterCard’s third quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

U.S. Quarterly Cards-in-Force by Brand

CREDIT CARDS
3Q/02
VISA 259.0m (+1.4%)
MasterCard 264.2m (+15.3%)
American Express 34.8m (+0.3%)
Discover 50.0m (NC)
TOTAL: 608.0m (+6.7%)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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