Thursday, 31 March 2011

Which? Launches Super Complaint against Excessive Card Fees

Which? a registered consumer charity, has submitted a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) asking it to investigate excessive credit and debit card surcharges.

The consumer champion warns that these charges are unjustifiable and becoming increasingly widespread. While the cost to companies for taking payment by card is around 20 pence to process a debit card payment, and 1 - 2.5% of the transaction value for a credit card, researchers found dozens of examples of companies charging far higher fees.

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, says: "Consumers are really fed up with paying excessive card charges. So far, over 40,000 people have pledged their support for our campaign to bring these to an end. Low-cost airlines are some of the worst offenders, but excessive card surcharges are becoming ever more widespread, with everyone from cinemas and cabs to hotels and even some local authorities getting in on the act."

Visa and MasterCard support the campaign as the high fees being charged are damaging their reputation.

The OFT has 90 days to investigate and decide whether to launch a full inquiry.

Zenius Offers World's First Universal NFC Transactions Suite

Zenius Solutions, Inc. has released the world's first universal NFC Transactions Suite. The Suite includes a modular set of frameworks and applications that allows quicker deployment of NFC-based systems.

The universal NFC Transactions Suite is made of the Zenius NFC Framework, an NFC hardware abstraction layer; Zenius Mobile Wallet, a re-brandable electronic wallet that enables users to select and manage applications, Zenius Open-loop MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover applets and Zenius owned White-label card applications.

Of late, Zenius Solutions, Inc has also introduced 2 more devices:

  • M-Transact - a software that can turn NFC-enabled smart phones into NFC-based point-of-sale (POS) and transaction devices
  • TransactionServer - an advanced transaction server that supports Zenius White-label applications

The Suite can work with practically all kinds of mobile devices, point-of-sale (POS) systems and transactional backend devices. The NFC Transactions Suite is believed to help all mobile payment carriers, banks, merchants, marketers, developers and manufacturers generate increased NFC-based financial transactions of goods and services.

Indian Security Agencies and Companies to Meet On Secure Mobile Interception

India's top security officials and well-known companies will meet on April 1, tomorrow, to discuss the crucial encryption related issues. An ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) spokesperson said: "We have been trying hard to put up a case to protect interests of the industry on data encryption related issues".

India wants access of high-end encryption services from the major foreign telecommunication companies that are operating within the country. Among the foreign companies - Research-in-Motion, Chinese telecom equipment provider Huawei, Intel, Microsoft, Israel-based Altal Security, will be present in the meet to discus their e-mail and messaging encryption services.

Officials of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs will also participate in tomorrow's meeting along with National Investigation Agency, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Technical Research Organisation, state police officials and Cert-In members.

The ASSOCHAM spokesman said: "Our attempt is to ensure that any government access to intercept electronic mails and cyber data for security reasons is lawful and the scope for misuse is removed".

Miracle Software Solutions Changes Its Name

The Pune-based Miracle Software Solutions has recently changed its name to Miracle Smart Card Pvt. Ltd. The Indian company provides smart cards and RFID based technologies to organisations.

Miracle Smart Card Pvt. Ltd has gained expertise in new and emerging areas of Smart Card and RFID technology to develop innovative solutions for different business verticals and to suit various customer requirements.

Watchdata Successfully Rolled Out 3 Million SIMpass

Today, at the CARTES in Asia 2011 conference, Watchdata announced that its SIMpass commercial deployment has exceeded the 3 million-unit mark.

SIMpass mobile payments system supports integrated transportation and campus payment applications onto a single mobile phone, and its low deployment costs and scalability makes it suitable for multi-industries applications. Presently, it has become the mainstream mobile payment technology in China.

Using SIMpass, China Telecom officially launched Yang Cheng Tong Card on 24 February 2011 to target the users in Guangzhou and Foshan. Guangdong residents are now able to travel, dine and shop in a smarter way through the new era of mobile payment.

In Dongguan, in addition to transport and supermarket payments, residents are enjoying the convenience of SIMpass mobile payment at farm produce markets. There are currently more than 20,000 POS terminals at the markets. The residents just need to carry their SIMpass mobile payment-enabled handset to pay for fresh vegetable products and seafood.

Currently, China Telecom has issued almost 2 million cards in more than 20 provinces in China, including Hunan, Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangsu. A recent survey conducted by China Telecom shows that 90 percent of SIMpass users are actively using the new channel to make payments while 32 percent of subscribers switched to China Telecom simply because of SIMpass-enabled mobile payment services that offer a more secured and convenient way to make cashless transactions.

UK Survey Finds 1 in 3 Mobile Phone Owners Aware of Their Lost Phones in 15 Minutes

Researchers with YouGov, the company that carried out the survey on almost 2,000 people on behalf of SecurEnvoy found out that over a third of mobile phone owners notice they have lost their phone within 15 minutes, while 61% notice it within an hour.

The survey further showed that men would notice the loss of their mobile phones much quicker than women. 40% male notice they have lost their phone against 29% female mobile phone owners who would notice the loss of their phone within 15 minutes' time.

According to the survey, which was carried out early this month, the younger mobile phone owners notice their loss sooner. 28% falling between the age group of 18 to 24 notice the loss within 5 minutes of losing it, 13% of men falling of 55-plus age notice the loss of their mobile phones within the same span of time. Again, bachelors think they are quicker to notice their phone missing within 5 minutes (26%) compared with those who are married (13%).

As Steve Watts, Co-founder of SecurEnvoy believes: "What these figures suggest is that mobile phones have become part of the national psyche, with people carrying them around much in the same way as they carry their wallets and purses. The clear trend is that the younger a person is - and the more steeped in the digital culture they are - the more use and awareness they have of their mobile handset, resulting in mental alarm bells ringing if they find their prize possession missing, for whatever reason".

Currently, mobile phones act as multi-functional devices, with people using them for paying in shops to listening music and authenticating their computers. Users need to be more aware of their mobile phones, since criminals are always on the look-out to steal their phones.

Gemalto Received Sesames Award at CARTES Asia 2011

Gemalto's Smart Badge Holder won the Sesames Award at CARTES in Asia 2011. The Sesames Awards granted in Europe and Asia each year celebrate the unique contribution and investment of leading industry players in developing next generation products and solutions for the digital age.

The smart badge holder enables the use of the Company's corporate badge to provide secure logical access on mobile devices such as smartphones. By simply inserting their badge in the wireless Smart Badge Holder, corporate users will be able to access their encrypted e-mails and to sign their documents electronically from their smartphones in the same way they do on their desktop PC with a conventional wired card reader

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