One in three credit cards
inactive in Korea
According to South Korea’s
Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), one in three credit cards
issued in the country are inactive, despite card issuers pursuing
aggressive expansion strategies.
The financial regulator said that
the number of credit cards issued totalled 107m as of the end of
2009, up 11.2% from 2008. It means each of the economically active
population in South Korea holds 4.4 credit cards on average.
However, around 30.6m credit cards,
or one out of three, have gone unused for at least one year. The
number of inactive cards grew by 19.1% from 2008, surpassing
The FSS explained that inactive
cards are increasing due to marketing competition between rival
companies. Credit card spending totaled KRW472 trillion ($416bn) in
2009, up 1.7% from the previous year.
State Bank of India signs for
State Bank of India (SBI) is to
roll out over 300 solar-powered ATMs from Indian technology vendor
Vortex Engineering across the country. SBI has ordered 545 ATMs in
total, 300 of which will be solar-powered and developed in
conjunction with IIT Madras.
According to Vortex, a conventional
ATM consumes around 1,000 watts of power and requires an
air-conditioned environment which adds another 1,500 watts. In
contrast, solar-powered ATMs consume less than 100 watts of power
and do not require air conditioning.
Vortex Engineering CEO Vijay Babu
said: “With an ATM penetration of about 0.04 per 1,000 people in
India, there is a huge need for rural ATMs. With this solar
innovation becoming a viable option, Vortex looks forward to
revolutionising the rural ATM market.”
CUP partners with Maldives
Chinese domestic bankcard network
China UnionPay (CUP) has partnered with the Bank of Maldives to
offer ATM withdrawal services in 95% of ATMs in the Maldives.
Following cooperation between the
CUP and the Bank of Maldives, CUP card payment services will also
expand to 90% of POS terminals in the Maldives.
The move aims to better serve card
users as China has become the Maldives’ fastest-growing tourist
source country since 2008, with visitors hitting 40,000 a year,
according to Cai Jianbo, CUP first executive vice-president. The
international network of CUP has now expanded to 84 countries and
Opus signs $10m electraSwitch
Opus Software Solutions, an Indian
provider of software solutions to the payments industry, has signed
a $10m deal with State Bank of India (SBI) to replace its existing
ATM platform with the electraSwitch solution. Opus is implementing
this solution through its wholly owned subsidiary ElectraCard
The deal with SBI will power 25,000
ATMs, 500,000 POS terminals and kiosks and authorise 80m debit
cards by 2011; these numbers are expected to double (including
ATMs) by 2014, making this the largest such installation in the
Opus is also providing other
solutions to enable SBI to implement go-to-market strategies
quickly and deliver value-added services to its customers. These
include an internet payment gateway, 3-D secure authentication
software, debit card management software and a fraud management
Cassis powers Alliance Bank’s
personalised credit cards
Smart payment service provider
Cassis has partnered with Alliance Bank of Malaysia to launch the
bank’s personalised credit card You:nique, which incorporates a
photo of the cardholder. It is the first personalised credit card
to be issued in Malaysia and was launched through the use of
Cassis’ service management platform.
Customers can personalise the face
of their You:nique card using images from the bank’s picture
library or they can upload their own favourites, and they can
personalise their credit card features by selecting a monthly
rebate, a low-rate finance charge or a reward programme. In
addition, cardholders can change their card face picture as many
times as they like after the card has been issued.
Lakshmi Vilas Bank launches
Visa debit card
Indian private sector bank Lakshmi
Vilas Bank (LVB) has teamed up with Visa to launch the LVB Visa
debit card, on offer to the bank’s 200,000 customers. Bank
customers will now be able to shop, book tickets, withdraw cash,
make online purchases and pay utility bills with the card. LVB has
168 ATMs across the country.
LVB managing director and CEO KSR
Anjaneyulu said: “The launch of the Visa debit card marks another
milestone for the bank.
It reflects the bank’s continuous
commitment towards providing customers with quality products that
will enhance their lifestyle by giving access to Visa-accepting
merchant outlets worldwide through offline POS as well as
Strategy and trends
Indian credit card spending on
According to data from the Reserve
Bank of India, the country’s central bank, credit card spending is
on the rise. For the quarter ended December 2009, average credit
card spend rose by 22% compared to the same period in 2008, from
INR2,153 ($47) to INR2,623.
“We are witnessing a firm up-trend
over the last three months and 2010 started strongly with a
year-on-year growth of over 40% on card spend,” said Simran Kalra,
vice-president at American Express in India. “We are optimistic for
card spend to achieve the same growth we witnessed in
American Express witnessed a rise
in billing across segments such as lodging, restaurants, retail and
Mergers and acquisitions
ANZ seeks buyer for stake in
Australian banking group ANZ is
seeking a buyer for its 10% stake in Sacombank of Vietnam. As one
of 10 foreign banks to have acquired stakes in Vietnamese banks in
recent years, ANZ is the first to sell its stake in a Vietnam bank.
ANZ’s Vietnamese unit acquired permission to operate as a fully
foreign-owned bank in October 2008.
Foreign banks who have stakes in
Vietnamese banks include United Overseas Bank of Singapore, which
has a 15% stake in Phuong Nam Bank, and Overseas Chinese Banking,
which owns 15% of VP Bank. Sacombank has targeted annual credit
growth of 45% to around VND87trn ($4.7bn) and aims to increase
deposits by 50% to VND129 trillion this year.