EFunds International Limited, a leading provider of electronic payments, global outsourcing and risk management solutions, today announced that it is working together with Aconite, a leading provider of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) and smartcard software solutions, to market a card portfolio management solution which will help banks comply with the requirements of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Card Framework.
The SEPA Card Framework, announced in September, defines the guiding principles for all card transactions within the Euro zone and requires the full implementation of EMV chip and PIN security standards in all Euro countries by 2010. Magnetic stripe cards will be phased out between 2008 and 2010. In many countries the implementation of EMV is far from complete but now banks will have no option but to conform to the new guidelines.
eFunds is to market Aconite's EMV Script Processor solution as a component of its comprehensive software solution for card issuing, portfolio management and back office services in the SEPA environment. EMV Script Processor enables banks to increase their control over credit and debit card risk by using sophisticated scripts to dynamically update information held in the chip and control card behaviour after the card has been issued. The inclusion of EMV Script Processor will enhance eFunds' end-to-end payments expertise as a building block in innovative solutions for risk management, pre-authorized debit and contactless payments.
Ron Drake, managing director, eFunds Europe, commented, "Fraud management and EMV compliance are two areas of high cost for banks. The Aconite solution enhances our existing EMV solutions and gives banks unprecedented flexibility to reduce the risk of fraud in the new integrated European payments environment."
Mike Woods, CEO of Aconite, added, "This solution enables banks to profit from EMV instead of simply bearing the cost, which has been a barrier to widespread adoption of the standards. With reduced fraud losses, reduced cost of chargeback processing, the ability to download new applications and better risk profiling, there will be a real return on the investment associated with EMV."
Seperately, eFunds Corporation today announced that it has reached an agreement with Romanian bank BRD, a subsidiary of the Société Générale Group, to provide outsourced card processing services.
In June of this year, eFunds signed a contract with Société Générale to provide complete card processing services for the bank's international retail subsidiaries, including ATM management, merchant acquiring, back office services and card management. BRD, the second largest bank in Romania by assets, is the first European subsidiary of Société Générale Group to enter into agreement with eFunds for these card-processing services.
The bank aims to leverage eFunds' services to complement its recent program of investment to improve bank access for its retail customers, including expansion of its network of branches, cards, ATMs and POS devices. Today the bank has more than 290 branches, 1.14 million cards in circulation, 557 ATMs and more than 4,600 POS devices. Romania is one of the fastest developing banking markets in Eastern Europe, with regulatory change promoting full harmonization with the EU banking infrastructure and stimulating significant growth. Nevertheless, the distribution of plastic cards is still far lower than in many of the acceding European countries, with a total of only approximately 6.2 million cards in circulation, of which less than 1 million are credit cards. Card penetration is very low, with fewer than 0.3 cards per head of population*.
"Enormous scope remains for retail banking growth in Romania," commented Paul Walsh, CEO, eFunds Corporation. "By moving all its card management activities onto the eFunds processing platform, BRD will find it easier to implement new compliance standards such as Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV), as well as having access to scalable first-class processing capabilities that can support its aims to expand customer reach and grow its share of customer wallet."
"eFunds is providing us with a standardized and proven processing capability that will be consistent with other parts of the Société Générale Group," explained Patrick Gelin, Chairman and CEO, BRD. "This will enable us to rapidly introduce innovative products to satisfy consumer demand and gives us the basis for expanding our card transaction volumes to take advantage of opportunities for debit and credit-based card growth in the local market."