JCB EMV CARDS

JCB International has begun issuing EMV smart cards in Taiwan which
feature a contact chip with the “J/Smart” credit payment application and a
contactless “Mifare” chip to offer an access control function. Taipei Bank,
which is one of 30 JCB card issuers in Taiwan, has begun issuing the smart
cards to about 3,000 employees of First International Computers. The
National Credit Card Center in Taiwan is providing support for the smart
cards issuing program. The “FIC Employee Smart Cards” provide five
functions: credit payment, office building access control, office car park
access control, payment at the company cafeteria and employee
identification. In the past five years in Taiwan, the number of JCB
cardmembers has grown ten-fold to 1.2 million and the number of merchants
has doubled to 140,000. Five NCCC member banks began issuing JCB cards in
1994, and 25 other banks have followed.

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Rate Inaction

By a vote of 10-2, the Federal Open Market Committee decided Tuesday to keep its target for the federal funds rate unchanged at 1.75%. The Committee says aggregate demand is growing at a moderate pace. Over time, the current accommodative stance of monetary policy, coupled with still robust underlying growth in productivity, should be sufficient to foster an improving business climate. However, considerable uncertainty persists about the extent and timing of the expected pickup in production and employment owing in part to the emergence of heightened geopolitical risks. Consequently, the Committee believes that, for the foreseeable future, against the background of its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth and of the information currently available, the risks are weighted mainly toward conditions that may generate economic weakness. Govenor Edward Gramlich and Govenor Robert McTeer preferred a reduction in the target for the federal funds rate.

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VISA Gift Card

Just ahead of the 2002 holiday season, VISA U.S.A. this morning announced it has expanded its suite of prepaid products to include the “VISA Gift” card. The new card includes four primary product applications targeting consumers, employers, and corporate clients. According to VISA, prepaid products are designed to serve a large market opportunity comprised of mostly cash and check transactions estimated to be more than $2 trillion. VISA estimates the overall market for gift cards to be nearly $300 billion, which corresponds to approximately $174 billion for consumer gift cards and another $124 billion for commercial applications. The four distinct product applications within the “VISA Gift” card category include consumer load for consumer gift-giving; commercial/corporate load for employee bonus/incentive; commercial/corporate load for consumer rebate; and, commercial/corporate load for promotional participants such as special events, sponsorships, contests, grand openings or other promotions. The card can be issued on a personalized or non-personalized basis. It can also be disposable or reloadable. VISA says some members have begun issuance of “VISA Gift”. VISA’s prepaid products include “VISA Buxx” and “VISA Payroll.”

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SEARS CLUB PERK

Sears Canada and Coldwell Banker Canada have joined to offer more than 9.1
million “Sears Club” members benefits when buying or selling a home through
Coldwell Banker. When a Sears card member registers with the program and
then buys or sells residential real estate through Coldwell Banker, Sears
will reward the “Sears Club” member with points for each transaction
registered. Eligible transactions will earn 1,000 “Sears Club Points” for
every $10,000 in real estate value. Another key aspect of the marketing
alliance is the participation of “Sears HomeCentral” in Coldwell Banker
“Concierge”, a value-added program
of home-related services. Coldwell Banker “Concierge” offers one-stop
shopping for all a homeowner’s needs. Sears “HomeCentral” will be the
exclusive home repair and improvement provider.

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Smart Bands

San Fernando, CA-based Precision Dynamics announced that two theme parks in Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park and Six Flags Over Georgia, have begun using its “Smart Band” RFID wristbands. The wristbands enable visitors to pay for merchandise and refreshments, as well as to gain access to parks, individual rides, and lockers, with a “flick of the wrist.” “Smart Band” incorporates radio frequency identification technology from Texas Instruments. Precision Dynamics has also implemented its “Smart Band” technology at Six Flags Over Georgia in a “Floating Locker System” developed by Compusafe Electronic Locker Systems of Wentworth Falls, Australia. Guests purchase their “Locker Band” for the day and the new RFID-based system lets them rent a locker on demand at any of the park’s lockers for just the time they need it. Each “Locker Band” is equipped with TI’s “Tag-it” smart label inlay, which individually identifies each patron and allows data to be written to and read from the bands to control access to the lockers. Precision Dynamics introduced the first patient bar code ID wristband in 1984 and RFID wristbands in 2000.

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Toshiba Card

Household Bank has inked a deal with the Computer Systems Group of Toshiba America Information Systems to provide Toshiba CSG with a private-label credit card program. The new private-label program will be offered exclusively through Toshiba CSG’s Shop Toshiba business unit, the company’s online and telesales operations. Customers will be able to apply for instant credit with no annual fee using the Toshiba card and if approved, make immediate purchases. Household will provide all key customer service functions, including reviewing applications, opening new accounts, authorizing transactions, making billing adjustments and responding to customer inquiries. Customers can apply for the new card directly online, or by calling telephone sales.

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MOSAIC & NCR

Mosaic Software has teamed with NCR Corporation to provide
software for advanced ATM and self-service solutions. The deal involves the
integration of NCR’s “APTRA Edge” self-service software and Mosaic’s
“eSocket.ATM.” “APTRA” is NCR’s software architecture for self-service,
developed on Windows NT. “APTRA” gives users the ability to run a single
application on a mixed vendor hardware base, and the freedom to apply
favourite tools and graphics to ATM programming. The “APTRA Edge”
development environment allows ATM owners to design and deliver new ATM
functions with speed, to develop targeted campaign marketing and to
Web-enable financial services. “eSocket.ATM” communicates transaction
information to a central “Postilion” system using a rich transaction
protocol with significantly more functionality than legacy protocols. This
allows support for technologies like EMV, 3DES, bunch note acceptance,
cheque deposit and advanced services like mobile prepaid top-up, ticket
purchase, cheque printing, cheque cashing, wire transfer, as well as the
traditional transactions like cash withdrawal and balance enquiry.

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NPC & Hypercom

National Processing Co. has signed a multi-year agreement with Hypercom to offer “ICE 5500Plus” and “T7Plus” card payment terminals and “HFT” quick service payment technology to its merchant customers. The feature-rich T7Plus sets a new performance benchmark for mid-range point-of-sale terminals. The ICE 5500Plus is a high performance, touch screen-based, Web-enabled card payment terminal that incorporates physical security features and Hypercom’s HyperSafe(TM) operating system.

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