Prepaid cards

TransCash, TSYS launch prepaid money transfer
card

Global payment processor TSYS has signed an agreement with
TransCash, a US money transfer specialist, to launch a prepaid
money transfer card. The prepaid card will initially be launched in
France during the third quarter of 2009 and will be sold by Midi
France Telecom.

TransCash is extending its successful US business model to Europe
by offering consumers the ability to purchase prepaid cards to make
international transfers. The card will be Visa-branded and will be
distributed in dual card packs through supermarkets, initially with
the Auchan supermarket chain. The first card is loaded with value
while the second card can be sent to relatives abroad. The initial
target markets include Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Contactless
payment                                  

NXP world’s first industry standard contactless
chip

NXP, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, has
revealed the world’s first industry standard
near-field-communication (NFC) controller. The new chip is based on
the latest NFC specifications from the European Telecommunications
Standard Institute (ETSI). It will enable mobile phone users to
access a new range of contactless applications such as mobile
payments, transport and event ticketing as well as data sharing
directly from the mobile phone SIM for improved experiences.

NXP co-invented NFC jointly with Sony in 2002 and co-founded the
NFC Forum in 2004 to drive collaboration with all stakeholders
within the industry and help standardise the technology.

Corporate cards

Barclaycard to pilot Visa corporate card

UK card issuer Barclaycard is piloting an innovative new payment
card alongside business consultancy Deloitte and Visa Europe that
will provide added convenience and cost benefits to Barclaycard
corporate Visa cardholders.

While still a standard Visa Corporate card, the new card enables
Deloitte employees to remotely access their company IT system via a
virtual private network. The card has a keypad and LCD screen
embedded into it, allowing users to enter their PIN and generate a
one-time use passcode. In addition the card means that cardholders
only need to carry their corporate Barclaycard, without a separate
security token or device.

The Barclaycard pilot is the first corporate card pilot of the Visa
card with one-time code functionality in Europe and is expected to
reduce costs when compared to using a separate token device for
remote network access. The pilot will include up to 500 cardholders
and will run for three months from April 2009.

EMV migration

Ahli United Bank adds EMV capability to debit card
network

Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank (AUB) has announced plans to restructure
its ATM and debit cards in an attempt to reduce ATM fraud. All
existing ATM and debit cards are to be phased out over the next
three months and replaced with EMV-compliant, chip-enabled ATM and
debit cards.

“The introduction of new EMV-compliant debit cards is in line with
our strategy to constantly enhance and upgrade our product offering
in order to meet industry’s highest standards and better respond to
customers’ expectations and concerns. AUB is at the forefront of
Bahrain’s retail banking sector, and we are pleased to be among the
first banks in the country to roll out this new generation ATM and
debit cards, thereby ensuring maximum convenience and security for
all our customers,” said Abdulla Al-Raeesi, deputy group CEO of
retail banking at AUB.

Product launch

Crane Banks launches Visa credit card in
Uganda

Ugandan financial institution Crane Bank has launched its first
Visa credit card, aimed at aimed consumers who wish to carry out
purchases abroad without using traveller’s cheques or exchanging
their cash into foreign currencies

Customers can choose one of four versions of the card – the Visa
classic, Visa gold, Visa platinum and a corporate credit card. Visa
classic credit cardholders can take out up to UGX 2 million ($875),
while the Visa platinum card comes with a maximum credit line of
UGX 20 million ($8,700). The cards are available for new and
existing Crane Bank account holders. In an attempt to add security,
all cardholders will receive an instant message as soon as any
transaction is completed.

Contactless payment

EPC, GlobalPlatform sign MoU to align mobile contactless
technology

Payments regulatory body, the European Payments Council, has teamed
up with GlobalPlatform, the international body for smart card
structures, to agree on the future of mobile contactless
technology.

The two bodies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to
coordinate their work initiatives within the mobile contactless
environment. By signing the MoU the two parties aim to promote the
availability of interoperable and neutral technology that will
support a flexible and sustainable mobile payments
marketplace.

Dag-Inge Flatraaker, the Chairman of EPC M-Channel Group, states
that: “We have now created and approved an EPC-Roadmap for mobile
payments services such as SEPA contactless card proximity payments
and SEPA remote payments. We clearly see the importance of working
together with GlobalPlatform in the contactless domain in order to
facilitate the implementation of our Roadmap, foster
interoperability and contribute to a cohesive ecosystem that
leverages the SEPA infrastructure implemented by the European
banking industry.”

EMV migration

Gulf Bank completes EMV migration

Gulf Bank of Kuwait has completed its migration to EMV chip-enabled
debit MasterCard cards. The migration is ahead of the Central Bank
of Kuwait’s deadline for all payment cards to be EMV chip-enabled
by the beginning of June 2009. Gulf Bank was established in 1960
and has since progressed to becoming a major financial services
provider with a network of 47 branches throughout Kuwait.

Mark Davies, head of consumer credit at Gulf Bank, said: “We are
committed to providing our customers with innovative payment
solutions such as chip cards that are globally recognised and
accepted. EMV chip cards provide advanced levels of card and data
security, in addition to the ability to store more information than
a magnetic stripe card. Our migration to EMV chip-enabled debit
MasterCard cards will now enable our customers to conveniently and
securely make purchases locally and overseas.”