ICICI and First Data enter
merchant acquiring alliance
ICICI Bank, India’s largest private
sector bank, and global payment processor First Data have formed a
merchant-acquiring alliance named ICICI Merchant Services, which
has taken over ICICI Bank’s merchant acquiring portfolio,
representing 30 percent of the current Indian acquiring market.
ICICI Merchant Services, which is 81
percent-owned by First Data and 19 percent by ICICI Bank, will
build on the bank’s existing portfolio of approximately 150,000
merchants. Over time, ICICI Merchant Services expects to deliver an
enhanced suite of card acquiring services to these and to new
merchants. ICICI Bank will continue to act as a settlement banker
for the merchants.
ICICI Bank is India’s second largest bank with
more than 1,500 branches across the country. First Data provides
payment processing services for 5.3 million merchant locations
globally and serves customers in 36 countries around the world.
Luup opens remittance corridor
Luup, a Norway-based mobile payments
solutions provider, has announced its intent to open a
mobile-enabled remittances corridor between the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia with the cooperation of PT Koinstar
Dhasatra Indonesia Remittance.
Dhasatra is an Indonesian-based
company with a network of 120 banks and 5,000 post offices around
When the service launches next year, over
300,000 Indonesians living in the UAE will be able to transfer
money to their families and other recipients in Indonesia directly
from their mobile phone handsets.
“There is a large, untapped market in the
remittances sector, be they banks, money exchange companies and
post offices,” said Nicolas Dharmawan, president and director of
Dhasatra Indonesia Remittance.
“Not only will this innovative service provide
remitters and their beneficiaries with low-cost, secure and
high-speed remittance services, but it will bring new revenue
channels to all parties which execute the transactions.”
MoneyGram begins mobile money
transfer in the Philippines
MoneyGram, a global money transfer
company, has released details of an agreement with SMART
Communications, a wireless services provider in the Philippines,
which will make it easier and more convenient for consumers in the
Philippines to receive money transfers to their SMART Money account
on their mobile phones.
MoneyGram will launch a pilot of the service
in a select number of agent locations in San Diego, California, and
Hong Kong. Consumers can send transactions from these pilot
locations to any SMART Money account linked to the SMART mobile
phone in the Philippines.
Through the SMART Money platform, remittance
beneficiaries have the ability to store the remittance value in
their SMART Money account linked to their phone, pay bills or
withdraw the money from an ATM, a SMART wireless centre or SMART
money centre. Beneficiaries also receive real-time text
notifications after every transaction.
MMV and Citi launch mobile
banking solution in Thailand
Mobile Money Ventures (MMV), a
global provider of mobile financial services, has announced the
continued adoption of its mobile financial services platform with
the release of Citi Mobile in Thailand.
The solution – now available in six countries
– allows customers secure access to their bank accounts by using
their phone’s mobile browser. Using Citi Mobile, customers can
access many of the services offered through online banking,
including viewing account summaries, transferring money, and making
Developed for both English and Thai-speaking
users, the service will work on most mobile phones, on any wireless
carrier. To ensure the highest level of security, MMV’s mobile
solution utilises two-factor authentication and no personal
information will be stored on mobile device.
In addition to the offering in Thailand, Citi
and MMV have worked together to deploy mobile banking services for
customers in Hong Kong, the US, the Philippines, Singapore and
China. The two companies will be announcing additional deployments
in the coming months.
Global Payments launches CUP
card acceptance in Taiwan
Global Payments Asia-Pacific, a
joint venture between the US-based Global Payments and HSBC, has
launched a China UnionPay (CUP) card acceptance service in
This service allows mainland Chinese tourists
to pay for goods and services in Taiwan with their CUP cards at
merchants served by Global Payments. Global Payments in Taiwan
processes the highest volume of payment transactions by non-Taiwan
The Taiwan launch marks another major
milestone for Global Payments’ CUP card acceptance programme, which
was started six years ago in Hong Kong and has since grown into
Macau and Malaysia.
Since the open policy to mainland Chinese
tourists was implemented in July 2008, the number of mainland
travellers visiting Taiwan has increased rapidly. This new service
means Taiwanese merchants can capture the fast-growing spending of
Merchants in Taiwan can add the CUP card
acceptance functionality to their existing Global Payments’ POS
terminals through free re-programming.
Monitise links with First
Eastern and Carphone Warehouse
Monitise, the leading international
mobile banking and payments company, has announced it is to develop
its mobile money services in Asia-Pacific and extend mobile banking
and payments into the world of retail.
Monitise has reached an agreement with First
Eastern, a Hong Kong-based direct investment firm, to roll out its
mobile money network across Hong Kong, China and other territories
in the Asia-Pacific region, enabling people to use Monitise’s
mobile banking and payments services.
The first services are expected to be
available in Asia-Pacific through banks and financial institutions
to consumers during 2010.
Monitise has also announced a strategic
relationship with UK mobile retailer The Carphone Warehouse to
create a ‘mobile money network’, which will deliver shopping
services for consumers via their mobile phones.
The mobile money network will initially be
open to people in the UK in early 2010 from The Carphone Warehouse
retail business in the UK, which has over 800 outlets, before being
rolled out into Europe and the US.
EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST,
VeriFone chosen for South African
VeriFone, the US secure electronic
payment provider, has announced a licensing agreement for
deployment of its taxi payment and media solutions in South
The agreement with iMobilise Transportation
Systems (iMTS) is being brought in to modernise taxis in time for
the World Cup football tournament in June.
iMTS anticipates installation of VeriFone
systems in 1,500 taxis in the urban centres of Johannesburg, Durban
and Cape Town.
Deployments will begin this spring and provide
passengers with the latest in passenger information technology and
payment options including credit cards, chip and PIN-based debit,
“Our solutions enhance the customer experience
by providing them with their preferred payment options and access
to multimedia content during their trips,” said VeriFone CEO
“These systems ensure the convenience of card
payments and offer real-time media delivery that provides
advertisers with a compelling new venue for digital content.”
VeriFone has deployed transportation systems
around the world, from Istanbul to Singapore to New York City, and
supports both EMV and non-EMV bank-issued cards as well as
INSIDE Contactless and TazTag partner
on NFC innovations
INSIDE Contactless, the contactless
payment specialist, and secure contactless providers TazTag have
created a partnership to develop and bring to market a variety of
highly secured, multi-application contactless solutions based on
near-field-communication (NFC) technology.
INSIDE’s third-generation MicroRead NFC
solution has already been integrated into TazTag’s TazCard, the
first NFC electronic wallet and open application platform, as well
as the TazKiosk, the first interactive NFC urban advertising kiosk,
developed in partnership with Hyundai IT.
Essentially a special purpose, Java-based
tablet computer about the size of a credit card, the TazCard is
capable of supporting a variety of identity, health care,
transportation, loyalty, ticketing, payments and other secure
An autonomous smart mobile device designed for
corporate, campus and consumer environments, the TazCard features a
3.5-inch colour touch screen, biometric authentication, audio
output, data storage and a tamper-resistant secure element, in
addition to the NFC provided by the MicroRead chip.
HSBC Merchant Services selected
by trade association
Global Payments, a provider of
electronic transaction processing solutions, has announced that
HSBC Merchant Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global
Payments, located in the UK, has been appointed as the preferred
supplier of card processing solutions to the 7,000 small and
medium-size enterprises that make up the newly-merged BHF-BSSA
Group Trade Association.
The new group, which was created from the
British Shops & Stores Association (BSSA) and the British
Hardware Federation (BHF Group) trade bodies, has appointed HSBC
Merchant Services, who will now offer a full range of card payment
services to the combined membership, enabling merchants to take
advantage of rates and offerings normally reserved for much larger
Atos Origin and ING Belgium
Atos Worldline, the payment
processing subsidiary of IT group Atos Origin, has extended its
payment card partnership with banking group ING Belgium until the
end of 2013. In addition to existing services, including the
processing of all the bank’s debit and credit card payment
transactions, Atos Worldline will be exploring new opportunities
together with ING Belgium.
Atos Worldline services cover the processing
of all ING Belgium payment transactions for their 2.3 million debit
and credit cards.
In addition, ING Belgium cardholders can use
the Atos Worldline Card Stop services to block all of their payment
cards and also access a dedicated contact centre. Atos Worldline
also provides fraud management services.
TSYS and Marfin Laiki Bank
launch women’s credit card in Cyprus
Global payment processor TSYS and
Cyprus-based Marfin Laiki Bank have announced the successful launch
of the Woman’s Card, the first and only card in Cyprus designed
exclusively for women.
Marfin Laiki Bank has been a client of TSYS
since 2004 and the new Woman’s Card is supported by TSYS’ PRIME
licensed card management solution.
The Visa-branded credit card is linked with a
loyalty programme that allows cardholders to redeem points as
vouchers for free purchases from a range of stores for women.
The card’s key differentiator is the
distinctive benefits that focus on women’s welfare, such as free
mammography or osteoporosis tests, travel insurance, purchase
protection insurance and home care services.
“We are very excited about the launch of our
new Woman’s Card. With TSYS’ support, we’ve achieved a new
milestone in the Cyprus market by bringing a truly unique card to
market,” said Rodoula Hadjikyriacou, director of retail banking at
Marfin Laiki Bank.
5m Barclays contactless cards
now issued in UK
UK bank Barclays and its card
subsidiary Barclaycard have announced that they have over five
million contactless-enabled cards in issue in the UK.
Contactless payment technology was pioneered
by Barclaycard in the UK in 2007 with the launch of Barclaycard
The announcement coincides with additional
retailers accepting, and rolling out, contactless payment
Caffé Nero, the largest independent coffee
retailer in the UK, has signed up to contactless and completed the
roll-out of the technology across all its 380 stores.
Caffé Nero first trialled the integrated EPOS
contactless system in several outlets in central London in December
2008, and completed the roll-out across the entire network in
Pret A Manger, the high street food chain that
started accepting contactless payments in November 2008, has also
successfully rolled out the technology in all 199 of its stores in
the UK. Together, these retailers bring the number of outlets now
accepting contactless payment through Barclaycard to 20,000.
Redecard to process Discover
cards in Brazil
Brazilian card processor Redecard
has formalised an agreement to handle transactions from overseas
holders of Discover Financial Services cards within Brazil, making
Redecard the first Brazilian processor to accept Discover
Redecard said it expects to increase the
percentage of transactions it processes from overseas consumers to
5 percent of its total processed transactions, from 4 percent
Redecard also said the move will help to
promote business in the next few years – Brazil is hosting the FIFA
World Cup football tournament in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
In the first three quarters of 2009, Redecard
processed BRL69.4 billion ($39.6 billion) in credit card
transactions in Brazil.
WorldVest to launch Brazilian
consumer finance entity
Global merchant bank WorldVest is to
Brasil Finance FIDC as an investment vehicle to enter the Brazilian
consumer finance market.
WVB Finance FIDC will be structured
as a Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios, which is a
Brazilian securitised finance fund consisting of senior and
WVB Finance FIDC will initially invest in
credit generated within the retail sector such as consumer direct
credit and credit cards, with plans to expand into other lucrative
areas of the growing Brazilian financial market.
WorldVest has identified and entered into
initial negotiations with nine retailers whose 2009 combined
revenues totalled more than $2 billion.
According to the Brazilian Association of
Credit Card Companies, Brazilian consumers’ use of payment cards
increased to 21.4 percent of all purchases in 2008 from 8.7 percent
The 2008 year-over-year growth in overall card
transactions and volume were 19.4 percent and 25.8 percent
respectively, with purchase volumes growing by 20 percent annually
Credit card transactions totaled approximately
BRL220 billion ($129 billion) in 2008, while all payment cards
accounted for BRL375.4 billion.
Banco do Brasil eyes stake in
Banco do Brasil is in talks to
acquire a stake in Argentina’s Banco Patagonia. Banco do Brasil is
also in talks with other financial companies as part of a strategy
to expand outside Brazil, according to CEO Aldemir Bendine.
Banco Patagonia is Argentina’s fourth-largest
private bank, mainly serving individuals and small- and
medium-sized businesses. It acknowledged the talks with the
Brazilian bank, but said in a statement that no deal had been
Banco do Brasil may sell between BRL8 billion
($4.5 billion) and BRL9 billion of new stock to fund lending growth
and its expansion plans.
The bank also plans to open 2,000 branches
over the next five years to bring its total to 7,000 in Brazil’s
Consumer loans grow slightly in
Mexico’s banks lent slightly more in
November 2009 than October indicating that a fall in consumer
lending may be ending as the economy recovers from a recession.
Banks’ performing consumer credit increased 0.08 percent in
November, the first growth since June 2008, the National Bank and
Securities Commission said in a statement.
Mexican banks curtailed consumer lending over
the past two years due to economic turbulence, rising unemployment
and a surge in credit card defaults. Non-performing consumer loans
remained high at 7.56 percent of total consumer loans in November,
the commission added.
Burger King joins El Salvador
mobile payments network
Fast food chain Burger King in El
Salvador has joined a mobile payment network established by
RegaloCard, a prepaid solution provider.
RegaloCard serves Hispanic
immigrants in the US by offering them prepaid gift cards, and then
delivering the redemption PIN to chosen recipients in Latin America
so funds can be transferred between them. RegaloCard recently
raised $7 million in financing from Dublin Ventures and the Kinsail
The RegaloCard service works with all mobile
handsets and all carriers worldwide, and cards are available from a
range of retailers across Latin America.
RegaloCard chairman and CEO Gregory Keough
said: “Salvadorans sent home $3.8 billion in 2008 representing 18
percent of the GDP of El Salvador. Some 80 percent or $3 billion of
the money sent was spent on consumption, which is exactly
RegaloCard’s focus and sweet spot.”
Venezuela government launches
Venezuela’s government has launched
a new state-run bank, following the closure of several small banks.
State-run Banfoandes bank and former private-sector banks Bolivar,
Central and Confederado are now one large institution with 390
branches nationwide, the government said in a statement in
The new Banco Bicentenario will hold an
estimated 20 percent of all deposits in Venezuela. Bicentenario is
designed to serve “all Venezuelans who traditionally were not
granted access to services offered by private banks,” according to
As part of a shake-up of Venezuela’s banking
sector, the government has also passed a banking reform law that
raises government control and depositor insurance levels.
Banco Hipotecario acquires
Banco Hipotecario of Argentina has
acquired the credit card brand Tarshop from retailer and shopping
centre developer Alto Palermo. The deal is worth $26.8 million for
80 percent of the equity, with the remaining 20 percent owned by
Leon Halak, creator of Provencred.
Infosys signs Brazilian
Infosys BPO, the business process
outsourcing subsidiary of global IT giant Infosys Technologies, has
announced its alliance with electronics manufacturer Philips in
As a part of the agreement, Infosys BPO will
support a range of processes across Brazil, Argentina and Chile in
the procure-to-pay, order-to-cash and record-to-report areas such
as accounts receivable, intercompany, foreign exchange, local
payments, and travel and entertainment expenses.
Philips Latin America CFO Ronald Eikelenboom
said: “This marks a new beginning in the relationship between
Philips and Infosys in Latin America.
“The relationship is now truly global since it
is the first activity in Brazil serving the rest of Latin America,
after having established a relationship in the US, Europe and
Heartland agrees on Visa
Heartland Payment Systems, one of
the US’s largest payments processors, and Visa have announced a
settlement agreement under which issuers of Visa-branded credit and
debit cards will have an opportunity to obtain a recovery from
Heartland with respect to losses they may have incurred from the
2008 criminal breach of Heartland’s payment system environment.
Heartland will pay up to $60 million to fund
the settlement programme, which is subject to certain conditions,
including a specified level of participation by US Visa
Bob Carr, Heartland’s chairman and CEO,
stated: “We are pleased to have reached a fair settlement agreement
that helps issuers obtain a recovery with respect to losses they
may have incurred from the intrusion. At Heartland, we are also
committed to helping issuers – as well as all stakeholders in the
payment ecosystem – mitigate future risk. We have assumed a
leadership position in the development of enhanced data security
and fostering the sharing of information.”
The Visa/Heartland settlement agreement is
contingent upon acceptance by financial institutions representing
80 percent of the eligible issuers’ US accounts that Visa
considered to have been placed at risk of compromise during the
Vesta powers online reloads for
NetSpend prepaid cards
Vesta Corporation, a US-based
electronic payment services provider, has announced the launch of a
web reload service for NetSpend, a US provider of card-based
prepaid financial products to underbanked consumers.
Powered by Vesta’s payment technology, the
service lets NetSpend customers immediately add funds to their
prepaid cards from bank-issued debit cards. NetSpend cardholders
can now add up to $250 to their prepaid debit cards from any bank
Unlike some other online reload services, new
funds are added in real time to the cardholder’s account, making
funds immediately available. With Vesta managing online reload
transactions, NetSpend cardholders can now reload their prepaid
cards without having to visit a POS location.
eBay sees surge in mobile
According to US online auction site
eBay, holiday shopping went mobile this season, with the site
seeing a surge in buyers tapping their eBay iPhone app and other
eBay mobile applications to purchase goods.
The number of items bought via eBay mobile
apps this year was triple last year’s holiday volume. In 2009, eBay
buyers and sellers were generating more than half a billion dollars
of transactions via mobile. Nearly 6 million people have eBay on
their iPhone and shoppers are making 750,000 unique visits a day to
eBay via mobile apps.
“Mobile is changing the way people shop this
holiday season,” said Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay
“With eBay on your iPhone, great deals are
available anytime, anywhere. We see consumers taking advantage of
that freedom to find great holiday gifts and deals without sitting
at their computer or being stuck at the mall. eBay buyers and
sellers have rapidly embraced mobile commerce this year, and this
holiday season has been a mobile commerce tipping point. Shopping
will never be the same again.”
Fiserv offers mobile financial
services to credit union
Fiserv, a global provider of
financial services technology solutions, has announced that Merced
School Employees Federal Credit Union (MSEFCU), a $371 million
credit union in the US, is now providing members access to mobile
financial services with Mobile Money from Fiserv.
Mobile Money enables users to transfer funds
between accounts, check balances, pay bills and receive alerts,
such as payment notifications and account balance transfer alerts,
on any mobile device. MSEFCU members will be able to access Mobile
Money by using SMS or through a mobile browser, and an application
for the Apple iPhone is also planned.
MSEFCU serves a diverse member base, which
includes school employees and high school students in Merced and
Mariposa counties, as well as employees and students at the
University of California, Merced and Merced College.
The credit union launched mobile banking to
appeal to students, yet initial feedback indicates that the service
is being adopted by a broad range of members.
MasterCard and Ohana leverage
MasterCard Worldwide has partnered
with Ohana Companies, an integrated retailer rebate processing
specialist, to enhance the rebate fulfilment and redemption process
for Ohana’s merchant partners and their customers. Customers who
file for product rebate offers may now receive funds on a
MasterCard prepaid card, allowing quicker, simpler and more
flexible rebate redemption compared to old-fashioned paper-based
MasterCard prepaid rebate cards will be issued
to retail customers as part of Ohana’s RoCS (Return of Customer
Spend) platform, a paperless rebate process that ties directly into
merchants’ point of sale systems and provides redemption offers to
customers when they file their rebate offers. Ohana currently has
relationships with several top retailers, in industries such as
consumer goods, confectionary, pet and other food products, and
baby products, among others, for which the company designs and
implements rebate programmes.
By receiving rebates on MasterCard prepaid
cards, consumers benefit from being able to spend their rebate
immediately, rather than making a trip to the bank to deposit a
cheque, and can use their card to make purchases at store
locations, over the phone or online.
Trusted Labs joins
Trusted Labs, a global expert in
security consulting and evaluation services, has become the latest
organisation to join GlobalPlatform, the international
specification body for smart card infrastructure.
Joining at Participating Member level, Trusted
Labs will play an active role in GlobalPlatform’s Card Committee,
where it will contribute to the evolution of interoperable smart
card specifications as well as support GlobalPlatform’s efforts
towards developing an open compliance ecosystem. The security
expert will also have the opportunity to take part in
GlobalPlatform’s Advisory Council, provide input to both the mobile
and government task forces and will have voting privileges in
matters that come before the membership.
Claire Loiseaux, CEO of Trusted Labs, said:
“Trusted Labs has always believed in the value of open standards,
which is why we are thrilled to join GlobalPlatform. We look
forward to contributing to the body’s key work initiatives,
particularly the ongoing enhancement of its compliance procedures
and the creation of new evaluation models that allow post-issuance