Tokyo, February 23, 2006 - JCB, a leading international payment brand, is pleased to announce that Transcard AD, Bulgaria's largest credit card issuer and acquirer, will roll out the JCB branded TRANSCARD JCB card in March. This will mark the first time for a JCB card compliant with EMV to be issued in Europe, and will bring the number of countries and territories in which JCB cards are issued to 20.
"We are delighted with this launch of TRANSCARD JCB smart card in Bulgaria. It will be a powerful impetus to strengthening the JCB cardmember base that we have been building throughout the world", said Mr. Eiji Tamura, Senior Vice President of JCB International. "The addition of an issuing partnership with Transcard along with the acquiring business we started in 2004, offers both of us a growth opportunity. Cardmembers will benefit from improved convenience and merchants can expect increased sales", he added.
Transcard AD, established by a major petroleum company, Petrol Holding, and an IT company, SISTEC Holding AD, in December 2001, was the first to issue credit cards in Bulgaria in 2002. Now it ranks the first in the market with 186,000 issued credit cards. The credit card market in Bulgaria has a significant potential for expansion, as only 3% of payment transactions are made by credit card according to BORICA (Bank Organisation for Payments Initiated by Cards Ltd.)
The newly issued TRANSCARD JCB card is Bulgaria's first international credit card in compliance with EMV, and offers Classic and Gold cards for individuals, a Business card for corporate clients, and a wide variety of TRANSCARD services. The advantages of chip technology provide greater protection against fraudulent use and counterfeiting than magnetic stripe cards. Furthermore, TRANSCARD JCB cardmembers will enjoy a 45-day interest-free period for purchases and cash-back benefits that vary from 1 to 30%, as well as an extensive worldwide acceptance network of over 13 million merchants.
Bulgaria is ready to join the EU in 2007, the perfect opportunity for making the TRANSCARD JCB card the must-have international brand card. The TRANSCARD JCB card is expected to rapidly become a leading international credit card in the Bulgarian market, and Transcard anticipates issuing 30,000 of the new TRANSCARD JCB cards in the first year alone.
JCB has had a brand presence in Bulgaria since 1985, through an acquiring partnership with Balkantourist Credit Card Inc. and expanded its acquiring business with United Bulgarian Bank in 1997. In October 2004, JCBI signed acquiring and card issuing license agreements with Transcard, which now has the largest cardmember base and terminal network in the country.
In 2004, JCB acquired a one-third ownership in EMVCo along with Visa and MasterCard to participate in the EMV Specifications standards maintenance that ensures worldwide interoperability and acceptance of smart card payment systems. JCB is actively sharing its expertise in smart card technology with its partners around the world.
Transcard AD developed the first Bulgarian credit card - TRANSCARD. With its 186,000 issued credit cards the company is ranked first on the market. The company is deploying the largest network of its own terminals across the country - these are more than 4,300 merchant outlets located in 225 towns and cities. TRANSCARD has the prominent features of a classic credit card with a revolving credit - you can use it for every-day shopping in supermarkets, household appliances stores, shops, fashion boutiques, pharmacies, traveling agencies, restaurants, hotels, gas stations and many other outlets. TRANSCARD grants a 45-day-long interest-free period to its holder as well as is providing a unique opportunity for a special discount (Cash Back) for every purchase made. This discount is accrued as actual cash in the card. For more information about Transcard, please visit at www.transcard.bg (Bulgarian only) .
JCB is an international credit card brand and the largest card issuer and acquirer in Japan. JCB launched its card business in Japan in 1961 and began expanding overseas in 1981. Its merchant network includes 13.16 million merchants and spans 190 countries and territories. JCB cards are now issued in 19 countries and territories, with 55.99 million cardmembers. As part of its international growth strategy, JCB has formed alliances with more than 350 leading banks and financial institutions globally to increase merchant coverage and cardmember base. JCB's corporate philosophy of "Service from the heart", a commitment to responsive and high-quality service, continues to guide it as it creates the future together with its customers, merchants and partners. For more information, please visit: www.jcb-global.com/english or www.jcbcorporate.com/english.