TAS Group has upgraded its card management software to allow banks to quickly design new EMV chip-based payment products and develop related programs.

The Milan-based EMV migration technology provider plans to unveil Card 3.0 next month to European banks and make it available in the U.S. early next year, says Andrea Bianchi, executive vice president of payments for TAS Group.

Banks using Card 3.0 to develop credit, debit or prepaid products and marketing programs should be able to get a new product to market in less than two months, or about a third of the time it would normally take, Bianchi says.

"The software allows card management in a much easier way and also will help in the EMV migration," Bianchi says, referring to the U.S. move to the chip-based cards over the next two years.

However, TAS Group faces headwinds from the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the U.S. EMV migration at this time, industry analysts say.

"This is a nice, slick technology, but whether banks in the U.S. would be ready for it in early 2014 remains to be seen," says Scott Strumello of New York- and London-based Auriemma Consulting Group.

Card 3.0 may have a lot of potential down the road, but a lot has to happen to resolve EMV issues in the U.S. for TAS Group to have a captive audience, Strumello says. "I would say, maybe another six months before all of the EMV particulars fall into place," he adds.

Brian Riley, senior research director and analyst with Boston-based CEB TowerGroup, agrees.

"As you look toward EMV, there are milestones, such as chip-and-PIN (vs. chip-and-signature) that have to be resolved," Riley says. "It's a little early in the game for any issuer to be going down the pike on having EMV product capabilities."

TAS Group's technology will bring banks a lot of convenience in addition to its knowledge of the European EMV market, Riley says.

Financial institutions, processors and issuers can operate Card 3.0 through a Web-based dashboard that helps users create payment products.

"You can create a closed-loop product just for your marketplace, or you can choose parameters on a card for use in a specific country, only for travelers," Bianchi says.

Card 3.0 allows up to 40 different types of prepaid products with value-added services or loyalty programs for targeted audiences, such younger or older consumers, families or corporations, Bianchi says.

"The bank can produce a payment card for your daughter, but set it up to work only in the daytime and not at night, if that's what you wanted," he adds.

After a bank creates a payment product, it would submit it to TAS for approval. TAS then initiates the security, sales management and marketing.

"We want to help the banks guide consumers to choosing the right card with the right services, as well as monitor the activity of that card [for future offerings]," Bianchi says.

In addition to EMV, Card 3.0 leverages mobile technology.

TAS Group is currently working with two different types of mobile wallets. One is a closed-loop digital wallet for banks with person-to-person capabilities, and the other is a mobile wallet for contactless Near Field Communication payments at the physical point of sale, Bianchi says. Both of those wallets are in testing phases.

Independent Card 3.0 modules include acquiring, issuing, fraud management, credit management, payment gateway and direct link.
Banks in the U.S. may find Card 3.0 software especially helpful in planning for the conversion to EMV, says Ennio Ponzetto, U.S. manager for TAS Group, which a location in Las Vegas.

"You are looking at far fewer days to set up a new program and this will be very good for the U.S. market," Ponzetto says.

In addition, banks may view Card 3.0 as a budgeting and planning tool, or one that can generate revenue in needed areas, Ponzetto adds.

"Banks have to look at prepaid cards because they are losing revenue in reduced fees, and they have to regain that and move up in the market chain with diverse products," Ponzetto says. "Prepaid is an extremely good market for Card 3.0."

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