CARDTECH/SECURETECH CONFERENCE, NEW ORLEANS, April 23, 2002 – Visa U.S.A. and rewards-software developers Catuity and Welcome Real-time announced today an agreement to collaboratively develop interoperable solutions for smart-card-based rewards or incentive services.
Designed to enhance the market adoption of these services, the agreement marks the first time that competing companies plan to develop and market compatible rewards solutions for banks and merchants.
“This important achievement will enable us to more effectively develop the supply chain for a thorough package of rewards products and services in North America,” said Patrick Gauthier, senior vice president of smart card applications for e-Visa U.S.A., a division of Visa U.S.A. “With the help of Catuity and Welcome Real-time, we have the proper strategy, focus and horsepower needed to achieve true interoperability and tremendous value to all stakeholders.”
According to the agreement, Visa has appointed Welcome to define and implement a common approach for supporting multiple card technologies at a single rewards-enabled point-of-sale (POS) device. While initially focused on products and services by Catuity and Welcome Real-time, the resulting middleware will be designed to support a wide range of rewards and electronic-marketing solutions for smart cards and terminals offered by other companies. A similar approach will be applied for back-end customer-service functions.
Welcome Real-time was part of Visa’s smart Loyalty working group in 2000. “With Visa’s enthusiastic support and vision for a robust rewards system, our POS developments will side-step the format debate,” said Aneace Haddad, president and CEO of Welcome Real-time. “This is akin to offering VCR technology that supports both Beta and VHS tapes. It opens up the possibility of more rapid adoption by merchants and issuers who will benefit from an expanding pool of loyalty and e-marketing solutions to provide convenient rewards to their customers.”
Catuity has been a smart Visa Technology provider since the launch of the initiative in September 2000. Millions of smart Visa cards have already been issued with Catuity technology. “Rewards programs are increasingly becoming an important component of CRM strategies,” said Michael V. Howe, president and CEO of Catuity. “The new class of products we are developing will further enhance the consumer value proposition for a range of loyalty programs, by allowing issuers and merchants to offer best-of-class service levels to customers right out of the gate.”
About smart Visa
Visa U.S.A. launched its smart Visa smart card product platform in September 2000, enabling financial institutions to combine the purchasing power of traditional payment cards with chip-enabled technology. Enabling Web-delivered applications, online payments security, rewards services and a range of other functions, smart Visa gives Visa issuers a broad range of prepackaged applications that readily adapt to individual issuer strategies for smart cards. With more than 80 smart card programs in more than 35 countries and on the Internet, Visa Members have issued more than 10 million cards in the United States, and approximately 50 million Visa smart cards worldwide.