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Controlling corporate cards

02 March 2009  |  8943 views  |  0
Steve Abrams, group executive for commercial payments at MasterCard, spoke to Finextra about the company's recent acquisition of Irish firm Orbiscom, and trends in corporate card usage and control.

ORBISCOM has been in business for 10 years

03 March 2009  |  6976 views  |  0

I thought the video interview with Steve Abrams of Mastercard was quite interesting. Just as I suspected, Mastercard was not aware of the existing patent which does not belong to ORBISCOM. His response of “ORBISCOM has been in business for the last 10 years” sounded like a knee-jerk answer. Was this a spontaneous interview or was he aware of the questions before the interview?

I do recall informing ORBISCOM of this prior patent a couple of years ago. It would be interesting to know if ORBISCOM disclosed this to HG Capital or Paschal Taggart.

According to Mastercard, the 100 million $ ORBISCOM deal is contingent on the future performance of the business. With this, Mastercard might have a way out considering previous historical performance by ORBISCOM (see details below).

A quick review of ORBISCOM as seen through a previous news article : http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2005/07/24/story6560.asp

·         Orbiscom was founded by Graham O'Donnell and Ian Flitcroft. Its backers include HG Capital, GLG Partners, Goodbody clients and AIB.

·         Other investors include businessman Paschal Taggart and John Nagle, the founder and chief executive of Alphyra.

·         The company, which has raised more than $50 million from investors, had shareholders' funds of $1.3 million at the end of 2003, the accounts show. The company's revenue for the year is not disclosed in the accounts, but it is understood to have been in the region of $5 million.

·         Orbiscom has developed controlled payment technology to allow people to buy online without disclosing credit card details. It was valued at $250 million in 2000, before the collapse in the technology sector.

·         Online payments firm Orbiscom had an accumulated loss of $33.5 million at the end of 2003, before a restructuring of the firm, according to recently-filed accounts, writes Gavin Daly.

·         In 2004, the Sunday Business Post reported that Goodbody Stockbrokers had told its private clients who held shares in Orbiscom that it had written down the value of the shares to zero. The write-off followed “a review of trading'‘ at the company, Goodbody said.

There is a good reason why VISA, a bigger card scheme than Mastercard has not offered this system that enables cardholder to dictate their own user limits and prohibitions. VISA has been aware of this existing patent since June 23, 2004. VISA’s patent law firm who is handling their patent application 20030172040 / March 2, 2002 filed a reference to patent 6931382 (prior patent filed February 2001).

This perhaps is why VISA has opted to offer SMS alerts instead and are now being sued by C.S.N.C. I do not know the merits of C.S.N.C’s case. I have not seen their patent and their claims. My invention is quite more complicated than SMS alerts. In order to make it work, one must know 8583, 18245, 3166, 4217 and to a great extent ISOs related to chip and pin; national level standards such as ansi x9, cb2, etc. and other industry protocols such as base1, base24, etc.

Thank you FINEXTRA for doing this interview.


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