VocaLink and STET establish SEPA ties
In a move towards realising full benefits of the Single Euro
Payments Area (SEPA) two of Europe’s three largest payments
processors, UK-based VocaLink and France’s retail interbank
clearing system Systèmes Technologiques d’Echange et de Traitemen
(STET), are to establish interconnection services between their
clearing and settlement mechanisms.
Specifically, interconnectivity will be established between
VocaLink’s Euro Clearing and Settlements Mechanism SEPA debit and
credit service and STET’s CORE central payments hub. Since October
2008 CORE has been France’s sole retail infrastructure for
exchange, clearing and settlement of all dematerialised national
payments instruments and SEPA credit transfers.
VocaLink and STET plan to have the connectivity operational for
SEPA credit transfers by the end of 2009, with an intention to
extend the agreement to include SEPA direct debits. Exchange of
SEPA payments will be based on the European Automated Clearing
House Association’s interoperability standards.
The agreement between VocaLink and STET is the latest of a number
of SEPA bilateral agreements between Europe’s major payments
processors. Another significant agreement is that between VocaLink
and Equens, which serves the Dutch and German markets, to provide
SEPA credit and debit payments processing.
Equens also has SEPA agreements with DIAS in Greece, Iberpay in
Spain, ICBPI/Banca d’Italia in Italy and OeNB in Austria.
Western Union readies for EU regulatory
Western Union has hailed three new long-term agreements which will
considerably increase its reach in Europe as a significant step in
its strategy to capitalise on opportunities offered by the European
Union’s (EU) Payment Services Directive (PSD).
Specifically, the PSD comes into effect on 1 November 2009 and is
aimed at increasing pan-European competition and participation in
the payments industry, in part by enabling retailers and other
non-bank organisations to offer worldwide payment services
currently only offered by financial institutions in the EU.
The retail slant is evident in Western Union’s new partners,
Lagardère Services, an international media distribution specialist,
Ortel Finance, one of the largest providers of money transfer
services and insurance in the Netherlands, and PayUp, a
multinational company offering mobile phone top-ups and bill
Lagardère Services also operates the largest international network
of media and convenience stores with 3,900 stores in over 100
airports, 680 railway and commuter stations and 450 malls.
The agreements with the three companies provide Western Union with
an opportunity to potentially add up to 15,000 additional money
transfer service agent locations including France, The Netherlands,
Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Romania and
Wincor Nixdorf secures key contract in India
German payments technology vendor Wincor Nixdorf has made a
significant breakthrough in India with the awarding to it by State
Bank of India (SBI) of a contract to supply it with 300
multifunctional and 700 cash dispensing ATMs.
This is the first order awarded to Wincor Nixdorf by SBI, which
operates an ATM network of some 15,000 ATMs and 12,000 bank
branches across India.
As part of the contract AGS Infotech, Wincor Nixdorf’s Indian
partner, will supply, install, commission and maintain the ATMs at
the sites across the country on behalf of Wincor Nixdorf.
SBI, India’s largest bank, plans to open a further 1,000 branches
and install 10,000 additional ATMs in its 2009/2010 financial year
to cater to rising self-service demand in urban areas and in rural
areas that have so far had limited access to automated banking
Zenius hits the NFC market in fine style
In a claimed world-first, US near field communication (NFC)
specialist Zenius Solutions has completed an end-to-end live
acceptance of a contactless credit card on a mobile phone.
The test transaction was performed on a mobile phone equipped with
ZeniusMobilePOS NFC solution which reads information from a
contactless card, performs transaction processing and connects with
CyberSource’s Authorize.net payment gateway for online real-time
According to Zenius, its new offering enables merchants to read and
process MasterCard PayPass, Visa payWave, American Express
ExpressPay and Discover Network Zip on an NFC-enabled mobile
ZeniusMobilePOS can also accept transactions from other NFC-enabled
devices or transactions including payments, couponing, ticketing
Founded in 2008 Zenius lays claim to its engineers having been
directly involved in more than 90 percent of current global NFC
deployments and trials.
The vendor backs its claim with a formidable line up of executives,
including its president, CEO John Wiese, who formerly held
positions including engineering manager of contactless/NFC
technology at Verifone and engineering team-leader in ViVOtech’s
Firmware group, focusing on contactless/NFC product
Zenius’s vice-president of engineering, Ming-Li Liu was formerly
systems architect at ViVOtech, focusing on contactless/NFC
Citi goes maritime
Despite generating freight revenues of some $380 billion annually,
the global maritime industry’s invoice presentation and payments
processes remain largely a paper-chase presenting payment
processors with what remains a largely untapped growth
It is an opportunity US bank Citi’s Global Transaction Services
(GTS) division intends seizing with the launch of a partnership
with online trade and logistics specialist GT Nexus to deliver an
electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP) solution to the
ocean logistics industry.
According to Citi the new service will provide ocean carriers and
their freight forwarder customers a fully electronic means to
present and pay ocean freight invoices and builds on its electronic
invoice settlement solution currently offered to the air logistics
“We look to modify this existing solution and make similar strides
in the ocean space,” said GTS’ global logistics sector head, Brent
Citi’s entry into the maritime industry follows recent similar
moves by Deutsche Bank (see EPI 262) and First Data (see EPI
Bacs challenges gloomy uSwitch data
A recent report by UK services comparison specialist uSwitch.com in
which it claimed that consumers in their droves are cancelling gas
and electricity account direct debits has been challenged by Bacs
Payment Schemes, the banking industry body responsible for direct
debits and credits.
In its report uSwitch stated that compared with 2008 there has this
year been a 7.3 percent fall in the number of households paying via
direct debit while the number paying by cheque or cash has risen by
72 percent (see EPI 266).
In a written comment to EPI Bacs refuted uSwitch’s claim, noting
that its official figures show that there has been a 3.75 percent
increase in the number of people paying their gas and electricity
bills by direct debit in 2009.
“Our absolute processing figures show an upturn in the number of
direct debit payments for energy bills year on year,” commented
Mike Hutchinson, Head of Bacs Marketing.
“We do not have the data uSwitch used to draw their conclusions
from so are unable to identify why their figures reflect such a
stark contrast to the Bacs processing figures for direct
Oberthur lands Montreal transit ticketing
Montreal has become one of a growing number of major cities to turn
to contactless cards for its transport ticketing. For the project
the Canadian city’s transit authority, Société de Transport de
Montréal (STM) has selected French payment technology vendor
Oberthur Technologies, the world’s second-largest supplier of smart
Under the contract, over the next four years Oberthur will deliver
ticketing smart cards which can be used on buses, the underground
and commuter trains throughout the Greater Montreal area and Quebec
According to STM it recorded a total of 361 million passenger
journeys in 2005, the latest year for which figures are
The cards to be supplied by Oberthur provide both a contact and
contactless interface and can be recharged at automated fare
vending machines or POS.
The cards are compliant with the Calypso international e-ticketing
standard for smart cards to which some 30 manufacturers of smart
card software and hardware currently adhere.
VeriFone targets Latin America with new cash and payments
PROSA, Mexico’s largest electronic switch and processor, has
partnered with VeriFone to introduce the MX ATM kiosk, a new
multi-function payments kiosk specifically designed by the US
payment systems vendor for the Latin American market.
A national roll-out of the MX ATM is planned targeting off-premises
locations such as hotels, retail stores and night clubs.
Functionality of the MX ATM includes cash dispensing, balance
inquiry mobile phone top-up, bill payment and redemption and
reloading of prepaid cards.
The MX ATM can also be configured to include other peripherals such
as barcode readers, biometric readers and coin acceptors for
deployment in different environments, such as parking and mass
Aon offers small businesses data breach
Data breaches impacting major businesses make the headlines.
However, these are just the tip of the iceberg with 90 percent of
cardholder data breaches occurring in small businesses or in
companies that process fewer than 20,000 transactions annually,
according to US payments security services vendor Trustwave.
For small businesses, warns risk management specialist Aon
Corporation, a data breach can bring with it forensic costs,
penalties and payment card industry fines which, combined with
reputation damage and lost business, can prove financially
To address this risk Aon has made available to banks and payment
processors a data breach protection programme which they can offer
to small business clients.
Programme features include:
• Privacy and security data breach protection;
• Addressing on an international basis financial exposures in the
form of forensic costs and payment card industry fines;
• Coverage for liabilities not covered under standard professional
liability and general liability policies; and
• Increasing levels of protection based on the security needs of
MasterCard approval for Gemalto’s trusted service
Gemalto’s Taiwan-based data centre has been certified by MasterCard
to support financial institutions in the deployment of near field
communications contactless payments services on mobile
Certification confirms that MasterCard recognises and endorses the
Dutch digital security specialist’s ability to manage personal user
information for banking transactions.
Under the certification the data centre will begin offering
Gemalto’s trusted service management (TSM) solution which is aimed
at assisting financial institutions to securely distribute and
manage contactless payments services using the networks of multiple
mobile network operators (MNO).
The TSM approach is endorsed by global MNO industry organisation,
the GSM Association.
Another possible role envisaged for a TSM is to act as a commercial
intermediary facilitating contractual arrangements and other
aspects of ongoing business relationships between payments service
providers and MNOs.
US technology consultancy Gartner foresees a prominent role for
TSMs and anticipates that by 2012 just five TSMs will share 80
percent of the mobile phone based contactless payments
MoreMagic helps Sierra Leone go mobile
Sierra Leone has joined the growing number of African countries
enjoying benefits of mobile phone-based money transfers with the
launch of a service by US mobile payment system vendor MoreMagic
Solutions and mobile payment system provider Splash Mobile
The service using MoreMagic’s mWallet mobile payment solution
enables users to purchase what is being marketed as SplashCash and
send it using a mobile text message via either the Zain or Africell
mobile networks. Recipients can exchange SplashCash for cash at
Founded in 2001 MoreMagic has made solid inroads into the
international mobile phone top up market with its MTopUp electronic
recharge solution which is currently in use in more than 30
Users of the solution include LIME, a major Caribbean mobile
network operator, which has recently deployed MTopUp to enable
consumers to transfer airtime to LIME phones from any of Western
Union’s 46,000 agent locations in the US.
Another major recent adopter of MTopUp in the Latin
America/Caribbean region is Spanish telecommunications group
Telefónica. The company is offering the service to consumers in the
US wishing to transfer airtime to subscribers to its Movistar
mobile service in 12 Latin American countries, including Argentina,
Brazil, Chile and Mexico.