Apr 23, 2010

Open Solutions helps ATMs accept CUP, Diners, Discover, Pulse cards

TORONTO--ATM processor Open Solutions Canada is expanding foreign card acceptance service at 35,000 Canadian white-label cash machines.

The Canadian subsidiary of US-based Open Solutions Inc, Open Solutions Canada operates the Poshnet network of switches and processing centres.

Poshnet provides services to 35,000 white-label ATMs and merchant point-of-sale terminals across Canada. Open Solutions accepts designated cards, approves and settles transactions on Poshnet, and provides transaction authorization through Interac.

In the face of encroaching competition from Visa- and MasterCard-branded debit cards in Canada, Interac has been expanding its link with international card networks. Last year, Interac reached an agreement with US ATM/debit network Pulse, which allows Pulse to process ATM transactions for Diners Club, Discover and Pulse cardholders traveling in Canada. This deal enables Diners Club, Discover and Pulse cardholders to withdraw money from participating ATMs via Interac while in Canada.

In September 2009, Interac and China UnionPay (CUP), China's national bank card payment network, launched a new service that enables CUP cardholders travelling in Canada to withdraw cash from ATMs belonging to participating acquirers in Canada.

Of the 58,200 ATMs in Canada, approximately 30% are accepting Discover, Diners, PULSE and China Unionpay cards, says Tina Romano, public relations manager at Interac Association. 

According to Statistics Canada, travel by 1.7 million U.S. residents travelled  to Canada in September 2009, while 14,000 Chinese residents visited Canada in that month. Overall, the number of trips to Canada from abroad was 2 million in September 2009.

“We will continue to work with our existing partner networks,” Romano says. “In addition to PULSE and China Unionpay, we also have an agreement in place with NYCE, which allows Canadian cardholders to use their cards at more than 1.5 million stores in the U.S.  In addition, we will continue to explore other potential networks to expand our business relationships.“

CUP has 2.1 billion cards in issue, and the Chinese network is keen to promote international use of its cards by the increasing number of Chinese nationals travelling abroad.

Now, through a gateway between Interac and Poshnet, Open Solutions-connected ATMs can provide acceptance for China UnionPay, Discover, Pulse and Diners Club cards. Open Solutions began processing CUP cards through Interac in March 2010. ATMs that offer the service feature the China UnionPay logo.

According to Interac, CUP cards can also be accepted at ABMs operated by CIBC. Interac says that access to the CUP transaction service is available to all Canadian acquirers.

In a separate agreement, signed on March 31, 2010, with Interac sister company, Acxsys Corp., Open Solutions is also providing ATM transaction processing services to Diners Club, Discover and Pulse cardholders in Canada.



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