Standard Chartered Bank Ghana and VISA this weekend launched the first ‘VISA Horizon’ card program. The new card is a chip-based, pre-authorized, offline payment card. The program marks the first large scale roll out of ‘VISA Horizon’ with up to 100,000 cards being issued and over 300 participating merchants. The initial roll out takes place in the capital city, Accra, with the planned roll out and promotions expanding to other major Ghanaian cities, including Takoradi and Kumasi, in the near future. The launch of the new payment card by Standard Chartered Bank is being accompanied by a nationwide advertising campaign including radio and TV. Standard Chartered says ‘VISA Horizon’ benefits the cardholder by reducing the need to carry cash. In Ghana, where bulky notes have to be carried around to buy goods and services, this represents a significant benefit. Furthermore, the risk of losing cash is reduced since funds on the card are safe even if the card is lost.Details
The fallout of Creditrust’s bankrupcty continues. The Baltimore-based sub-prime credit card issuer was sued Friday for artificially inflating the price of Creditrust’s stock. The complaint claims that officers and directors caused Creditrust to overstate its earnings by deliberately inflating the estimated amounts that could be collected on bad debt receivables purchased by the company, thereby inflating revenue and pre-tax earnings by at least $4.9 million for the fiscal year 1999 alone. In addition, the suit alleges that Creditrust’s CEO sold more than 500,000 shares of his personal holdings in the company during the same period for a profit in excess of $18 million. The suit was filed by Philadelphia-based Berger & Montague and seeks class action status.Details
London-based Sema Group launched a new payment card issuing and merchant management system solution. ‘Essentis’ is compliant with all of the major international payment brands including: VISA, MasterCard, Europay and JCB and is capable of managing large portfolios of cards. ‘Essentis’ can also manage a wide variety of payment card products including credit cards, debit cards, multi-application cards, charge cards, loyalty cards, business cards, duality cards, private label cards, affinity cards, co-branded cards and purchasing cards and also fixed-term loan products. Alliance & Leicester, one of the UK’s largest card issuers, have chosen ‘Essentis’ for its one million+ card portfolio.Details
Credit card portfolios remain highly profitable for issuers even as cardholders repay outstanding balances at historically high rates. Also, seriously late payments on card portfolios have fallen to their lowest level in four years. According to data collected by Fitch IBCA on credit card-backed bonds, monthly payment rates and portfolio yields rebounded from their seasonal dips in May, with the MPR index gaining 118 bps to register 16.65%. The MPR index tracks total payments made by cardholders each month. Meanwhile, Fitch’s portfolio yield index rose 96 bps to 19.40%. Excess spread, a key measure of card portfolio health and credit card-backed security strength, widened to 5.84%* from 5.47% in May. The current level is the index’s highest since January, although slightly below June 1999’s 6.04%. Fitch notes that its June index has been adjusted in consideration of an accounting change at Banc One. The one-time accounting change was implemented to bring all of Banc One’s credit card portfolios into compliance with certain FFIEC guidelines regarding deceased and bankrupt cardholders and resulted in overstated chargeoffs and understated excess spread for each of its master trusts. Absent the adjustment, Fitch’s chargeoff index would have been 5.20% and the excess spread index would have been 5.84%.
CREDIT CARD SECURITIZATION PERFORMANCE
Period CO GY MP DL SP
Jun00 5.80%* 19.40% 16.65% 2.79% 5.24%*
May00 5.38% 18.44% 15.47% 2.89% 5.47%
Apr00 5.43% 19.72% 17.34% 3.01% 5.62%
Mar00 5.50% 19.30% 16.05% 3.21% 5.52%
Feb00 5.45% 18.48% 16.36% 3.06% 5.53%
Jan00 5.53% 19.36% 16.71% 3.17% 5.89%
Jun99 5.95% 19.71% 16.36% 3.03% 6.04%
CO-chargeoffs; GY-gross yield; MP-monthly payment rate;
DL- 60+ day delinquency rate; SP-3-month excess spread
* adjusted for Banc One’s FFIEC compliance, otherwise
5.20% and 5.84%
Source: Fitch IBCA Credit Card Index
While American Express is prohibited from doing credit card deals with VISA and MasterCard members, it is doing business in other ways with major U.S. banks. PNC Financial Services Group announced last week that PNC Bank has entered an agreement with American Express to be the exclusive provider of origination, processing and servicing for American Express’ home equity loans and lines of credit. PNC provides origination, processing, and servicing of home equity loans, whether they are requested by phone and via the Internet. PNC notes that its third-party loan servicing division, CLC Consumer Services Co., continues to grow by providing companies with e-commerce capabilities for new products and services.Details
The U.S. government has concluded that real-time disclosure of ATM fees is not feasible. The General Accounting Office study concluded that banks, networks, and ATM owners of all sizes would likely incur significant fixed costs to install, test, and certify the hardware and software that would be needed to implement real-time ATM fee disclosure. The GAO chose not to make any recommendations to Congress. In its study the GAO cited two industry representatives who compared such an effort and associated costs to the Y2K readiness effort, which cost the financial industry an estimated $10 billion. The report implicitly questioned whether there was a compelling need that would justify such a cost, by suggesting that the potential consequences of foreign fee disclosure may offset consumer benefits.Details
OrderTrust, Inc., the leading provider of direct commerce services and outsourced e-commerce infrastructure solutions, introduced its newest Order Management Service enhancement: SmartSettlement. This new suite of features provides unprecedented fund collection options to catalogers, retailers and online merchants that accept credit card orders via any non face-to-face medium. Utilizing SmartSettlement, merchants can now collect payment on each item as it ships, eliminating the need to wait until an entire order is fulfilled, thus improving cash flow.
“Until now, you couldn’t get these settlement options without significant custom work,” said Jim Daniell, CEO of OrderTrust. “By allowing merchants to collect money as fast as possible, rather than waiting for all items on an order to be resolved, SmartSettlement provides merchants with an easy way to improve cash flow and contribute directly to the bottom line. Equally important, merchants can use SmartSettlement to boost customer satisfaction and build a stronger, more loyal customer base by meeting customer expectations for payment.”
SmartSettlement Feature Suite
The SmartSettlement Feature Suite is comprised of three distinct components: SmartOrder Settlement, SmartLine Settlement and SmartItem Settlement. These components can be implemented in a variety of combinations and are configurable at the merchant level. With this added flexibility, merchants can choose the combination of features that most closely align with their companies’ business strategies.
–SmartOrder(SM) Settlement allows merchants to settle an order once for the correct amount. Using SmartOrder Settlement, a single authorization for the entire order is conveyed and the cost of any cancelled or discontinued items are deducted from the final settlement amount. This feature eliminates refund transactions, saving the merchant’s time and providing customers with a better shopping experience since they no longer need to wait for a refund.
A quick scenario: assume that during the purchase flow, a consumer purchased three items for $10 each, totaling $30. Shipping and handling is free due to a promotion, and there is no tax on the items, so it is an even $30 order. However, at the time the order is conveyed to OrderTrust, the third item has been discontinued. Utilizing SmartOrder Settlement, the final settlement amount to the merchant will be $20 rather than $30 with the merchant having to then issue a $10 refund.
–SmartLine(SM) Settlement allows merchants to authorize and settle each line item separately. As individual line items are closed, payment is settled on a line-by-line basis. This eliminates the delays between the time when the entire order is filled and when the merchant gets paid.
This means that when, in the above example, the first line item ships, a $10 settlement will be processed. The same will be true, for example, if 10 days later the second line item is shipped and 30 days later the third line item is shipped.
–SmartItem(SM) Settlement, used in conjunction with SmartLine or SmartOrder Settlement, enables merchants to collect funds, even on a partial shipment of a line item. The final total settlement is automatically adjusted to reflect the change. This allows merchants to quickly collect funds before a total order is processed.
To illustrate this feature, assume that a consumer purchases three sets of dishes – generating an order consisting of a single line with multiple items. When the order is sent to the fulfiller, however, two items are in stock and they will never be able to ship the third item because it has been discontinued. When this scenario occurs, SmartItem Settlement steps in.
If a line item is closed and one or more items are discontinued or cancelled, SmartItem Settlement performs a simple calculation, (Number of items shipped / Total quantity of items) –Line Item Price Total, and adjusts the line item total.
OrderTrust’s SmartSettlement, available now, complements OrderTrust’s existing range of order management services, which provide seamless integration of merchant order-capture systems with real-time credit card authorization; real-time and proxy inventory checking; flexible and intelligent routing of fulfillment requests to multiple suppliers; and data exchange management so order information can be sent and received using native formats and protocols. Together, these order management services help catalogers, retailers and online merchants meet their business objectives, enabling them to focus on front- end e-commerce initiatives, such as building brand identity and driving traffic to their sites, while providing superior service to their customers.
About OrderTrust, Inc.
Established in 1995, OrderTrust, Inc. delivers industry leading direct commerce services and outsourced e-commerce infrastructure solutions to retailers, catalogers, suppliers and loyalty program providers. OrderTrust’s direct commerce services include order management, product sourcing for electronic marketplaces and on- and off-line consumer loyalty tracking.
With connections to over 850 commerce partners, OrderTrust’s commerce network offers a fully redundant and highly scalable communications extranet that provides seamless integration of merchant order-capture systems with real-time credit card authorization and inventory checking; flexible routing of fulfillment requests to multiple suppliers; and data exchange management so order information can be sent and received using native formats and protocols.
OrderTrust clients include 1-800-FLOWERS, SkyMall, Inc., Blockbuster.com, S&H greenpoints, Transmedia/Dining a la Card, Publishers Clearing House, ShopExpert, Iconomy and VerticalNet, Inc. Visit [http://www.ordertrust.net] for more information.
Datacard Group announced it has been selected as a solutions partner to the prime contractors participating in the U.S. General Service Administration Smart Access Common ID Card program. The program, which is managed by the GSA Office of Smart Card Initiatives, is designed to establish interoperability standards and favorable pricing for all federal agencies looking to deploy multi-application smart cards for use in building access, logical access and biometric authentication.
Datacard Group will offer prime contractors a wide range of card personalization and management systems, including multi-application card life cycle management, cardholder enrollment systems, card personalization systems, photo ID printers, biometrics capture devices and onsite badging services. “We’re thrilled to be part of this program,” said Paula Varin, Vice President of Smart Card Marketing for Datacard Group. “We believe the work GSA is doing will pave the way for broad acceptance of smart card solutions at the state government level — and eventually the commercial level.”
Datacard Group is the world’s leading provider of high-volume card issuance systems, smart card personalization systems and digital photo ID systems. Many of the world’s financial cards, drivers licenses, national IDs, employee badges and student IDs are produced with Datacard systems.
“We’ve been a GSA provider for many years, in terms of card issuance systems, photo ID systems and smart card solutions,” Varin said. “But this is the first GSA exposure for our new Datacard Platform Seven card life cycle management systems. We believe our systems offer the most complete and effective solutions on the market. This gives us a great opportunity to prove it.” Card life cycle management systems enable card issuers to manage and update large populations of multi-application smart cards. Cardholders and card issuers can remotely add, upgrade, delete or block applications using Internet or wide area network (WAN) connections. Instead of re-issuing cards, card issuers can quickly and easily update existing cards. In addition, if a card is lost or stolen, card issuers can replace it with the exact same applications, even if they were added to the card via post issuance processes.
“It’s a powerful concept,” Varin said. “It provides the necessary infrastructure to enable the true benefits of dynamic, multi-application smart cards.” Datacard Group is a world leader in innovative plastic card personalization and identity management solutions. The company provides its customers with integrated systems for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications. A diverse solutions portfolio features a broad range of card-related products and services, including the world’s best-selling card personalization and printing systems. Datacard Group also offers card life cycle management software, smart card personalization systems and applications, custom solution development and products designed to enhance card issuing operations. Datacard Corporation, doing business as Datacard Group, is privately held and based in Minnetonka, Minn. Datacard Group serves customers in more than 120 countries.Details
IVI Checkmate Corp. announced it has formed a strategic partnership with Ten Square of San Jose, CA., to jointly provide a secure Internet broadcasting system for consumers promotions and services in retail stores. The offering is targeted to local, regional and national retailers, financial institutions and service providers.
! Ten Square’s secure Internet broadcasting system links local merchants directly within their geographic community by providing promotions and services tailored to their customers, creating a ‘digital neighborhood’. IVI Checkmate provides the integration services and Application Service Provider (ASP) model needed to implement the Internet broadcasting system in retail store locations. The resulting system delivers value-added consumer services and targeted promotions that improve customer loyalty while creating a new revenue stream for participating retailers. Customers receive personalized promotions and service offerings at different points of influence when visiting participating retailers, financial institutions and convenience/petroleum locations.
The partnership positions Ten Square to leverage IVI Checkmate’s interactive touch screen terminal family, enterprise-wide transaction management applications and integration services to provide interactive digital media at retail point-of-service counters and throughout the store. The Ten Square and IVI Checkmate partnership will provide significant value-added benefits and an easy-to-implement migration path to Internet-based interactivity for participating businesses. Ten Square’s applications will be available to IVI Checkmate’s extensive retail customer base through IVI Checkmate’s direct and indirect distribution channels.
Scott Slinker, President and CEO of Ten Square, stated, “IVI Checkmate’s eN-to-eN Transaction Solution strategy is Ten Square’s gateway to retail point of service. Their integration experience and professional services organization makes them the ideal partner to implement and deliver promotional, informational and community services content to retail store.”
Barry Thomson, President and CEO of IVI Checkmate stated, “This is the first of many announcements we will make with key Internet-based content suppliers that will leverage our retail ASP model to deliver targeted promotions, messaging and advertising to the retail store. By fostering a closer relationship with the consumers, retailers are better able to allocate marketing dollars while driving incremental sales. The result is a far more efficient and profitable business.” Thomson added, “Ten Square’s Internet-based broadcasting system provides IVI Checkmate with a quality offering that will greatly benefit our customers.”
About Ten Square
Ten Square provides a secure, Internet-based broadcasting system, that takes advantage of existing network infrastructures to deliver interactive digital media right to where consumers shop, including promotional, informational, and community service messages. Ten Square links local merchants within a community by providing applications and services tailored to their customer’s interests, creating a digital neighborhood. For more information, please visit [www.tensquare.com].
About IVI Checkmate
IVI Checkmate is the third largest electronic transaction solutions provider in North America. The Company designs, develops and markets innovative payment and value-added solutions that optimize transaction management at the point-of-service in the retail, financial, hospitality, healthcare and transportation industries. IVI Checkmate’s software, hardware and professional services minimize transaction costs, reduce operational complexity and improve profitability for its customers in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.
Schlumberger Network Solutions, a unit of the Test & Transactions business segment of Schlumberger launched a 16 kilobytes capacity version of its Cryptoflex smart card, giving the ability to store multiple passwords and certificates and enabling an increased number of secure applications and cryptographic services. Called Cryptoflex 16K, this smart card works with all major PKI (public key infrastructure) providers, including the PKI integrated into Windows 2000. It enables multiple applications that do not need to share keys and can be used with Microsoft, Netscape, Entrust and a whole host of applications. Enhanced 2048-bit RSA encryption and Identrus-compliance makes it the ideal portable ID device for securing B2B and B2C e-commerce transactions and network access.
‘The rapid spread of the use of the Internet has made securing user trust over networks fundamental for the growth of businesses today,’ says Jean-Claude Perrin, IT smart cards manager at Schlumberger. ‘Cryptoflex 16K implements the most powerful industry-standard security functions, making it today the ideal portable digital identity device to secure systems requiring strong authentication anywhere in the world.’
‘One of the biggest obstacles to e-commerce expansion is how to prove the identity of an individual over networks and electronic services. Electronic service providers and financial institutions are embracing strong authentication and PKI technology as a key enabler,’ added Marc Hudavert, vice president and general manager of ActivCard Europe. ‘Schlumberger Cryptoflex 16K is the ideal token to perform encryption and digital signature operations, and for storing the increasing number of credentials static passwords, one-time passwords and digital certificates needed to forge agreements and engage payments in a confident and trusted manner. ActivCard Gold software and ActivCard Management Suite seamlessly use Cryptoflex 16K cards to generate, store, control and manage all these credentials, with the strong value of being network independent, PKI independent, and credential independent.’
Unlike computer discs which are very prone to failure, human error or attack by viruses, the on-card cryptoprocessor of the Cryptoflex 16K protects keys and certificates from damage and unauthorized disclosure.
Schlumberger leads the world in the development of smart card security techniques.
Cryptoflex 16K builds on the established Schlumberger Cryptoflex range by extending memory from 8 to 16 Kbytes and speeding up algorithm computation: RSA (2048, 1024, 768 and 512 key lengths) and DES. The enhanced user-selectable key length increases the choices available to IT managers, value-added resellers and developers building commercial security products. It enables a single Cryptoflex-based solution to meet the varied encryption requirements of different countries. The additional memory provides ample space to store valuable information such as remote dial-in numbers, network addresses, account password information and users’ digital credentials. PC/SC & PKCS#11 standard middlewares are also available, enabling the Cryptoflex 16k to work in any heterogeneous IT environment.
ActivCard S.A., a leader in digital identity and electronic certification technology, delivers core components required to enable next generation business communications and transactions. ActivCard’s technology suite offers the ease-of-use of an ATM transaction with a security level better than a face-to-face meeting. ActivCard’s solutions, in conjunction with the applications support for public or symmetric key-based data confidentiality and integrity, allow individuals and businesses to perform secure online transactions over the Internet. Based on sales, we believe that today, more than one million people use ActivCard products for secure Internet banking, web access and remote access to corporate networks. ActivCard has corporate headquarters in Fremont, California, Suresnes, France, and Singapore.
Schlumberger is the leading provider of smart card-based solutions worldwide. Drawing on 20 years experience in pioneering smart card innovations, Schlumberger is continuing to evolve the new generation of smart cards, parking terminals, ticketing machines, payphones, banking terminals, servers, software, applications and systems integration that will play a key role in the 21st century’s digital age. Additional information is available at .Details
Six luxury cruise liners of Norwegian Cruise Line Limited and three gaming properties recently signed contracts to utilize the technologically advanced products and services of Global Cash Access, the leading provider of cash access, financial management and customer relationship marketing technologies to the gaming industry.
Norwegian Cruise Line Limited has signed a multi-year contract to use Global Cash Access’s flagship cash access service, QuikCash POS debit/credit card cash advance.
Using a client-server platform, the GCA QuikCash devices are smart-card ready, feature touch-screen technology and can provide patrons credit card or POS debit cash advances in less than 15 seconds. Their multilingual capabilities make them perfectly suited to cruise ships that traverse the world, as well as land-based facilities.
Properties that recently signed agreements with GCA are:
— Norwegian Cruise Line Limited – Miami, Fla.
— M.S. Norwegian Sky
— S.S. Norway
— M.S. Norwegian Sea
— M.S. Norwegian Dream
— M.S. Norwegian Wind
— M.S. Norwegian Majesty
— Nooksack River Casino – Deming, Wash.
— Spotlight 29 Casino – Cochella, Calif.
— Cash Casino – Calgary, Alberta (CAN)
Global Cash Access was formed in 1998 through a joint venture of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), First Data Corp. (NYSE:FDC) and USA Processing, Inc. Providing access to the gaming industry’s largest patron database, Global Cash Access uses Internet technologies to deliver funds transfer, financial management and customer relationship marketing services to more than 1,200 gaming properties nationwide.Details
With online retail sales projected to exceed $140 billion in the US alone during the next three years, already-high consumer, merchant and regulatory demand for tighter security on the Internet is expected to reach unprecedented levels. Squarely addressing this demand, the electronic payments industry is introducing countertop information appliances that combine the high security of credit/debit card payment terminals with revenue-enhancing applications and services at the point-of-sale. Therein lies an opportunity for consumers at the retail countertop, and quite possibly for Internet users at home as well.
“Unlike the Internet, which has a clear reputation for poor security, the electronic payment industry has a virtually unblemished record of over 20 years,” said Paul Whittle, senior vice president, Hypercom Corporation. “The emergence of Internet-enabled card payment information appliances for the first time allows merchants and consumers to access the Internet with the high security levels inherent in traditional card payment terminals and could well herald the migration of these security technologies to other consumer appliances used for payments.”
Dual-function card payment appliances such as Hypercom’s highly secure ePic (ePOS-infocommerce(TM)) ICE(TM) 6000 and ePic ICE 6500 devices, feature embedded software as well as an HTML/HTTP browser, hardware-based security, controlled access and more. The Hypercom(R) appliances come equipped with a variety of communication options, including ethernet TCP/IP, and can quickly interface with virtually any point-of-sale (POS) register system. Both appliances are compatible with Hypercom’s ePicPortz(TM) 1.0, a suite of security and gateway server software that enables browser equipped POS card payment devices to securely interface with the Internet and access a broad range of revenue-generating web based applications such as advertising and coupons, electronic receipt capture, check imaging and conversion, e-commerce, and direct consumer marketing.
“We can for the first time bring the benefits of the Internet to the vast majority of ‘brick and mortar’ merchants with security features that are far superior to the average PC. That spells new revenues for processors and merchants, value-added services for the consumer, and just possibly new levels of security for other consumer payment appliances,” Whittle said.
Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is the global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices. European offices are located in the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia and South Africa. More information on Hypercom and its products can be found at [www.hypercom.com].
Hypercom is a registered trademark of Hypercom Corporation. ICE, ePOS-infocommerce and ePicPortz are trademarks of Hypercom Corporation. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners.