Consumer Payment Card News

@ease Smart Card

The program will be launched at Hickman Air Force Base in Honolulu. Some 5,000 ‘@ease’ cards along with free key chain pocket readers will initially be issued by Hickman Federal Credit Union and First Hawaiian Bank’s Hickman Branch. Among more than 100 on-base acceptance locations at Hickman: gas stations, Burger King, pizza shops, 40 vending machines, barber shops, dry cleaners and video rental stores. TTI is using its ‘CardTouch’ multi-function smart card system for the program. AFFN has 50 million ATM cardholders.

Touch Technology International Inc. (TTI) Tuesday announced that it will install the first complete “smart card” system for the Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN) which provides financial services around the globe for U.S. military personnel.

The smart card program, a cooperative effort with the Department of Defense, will be launched at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu to provide more convenient and secure transaction services to military customers.

“AFFN has proven its capability through past accomplishments with the automated teller machine (ATM) and point-of-sale (POS) networks,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. John J. Hamre.

“This application will benefit individuals and our financial operations. By getting the cash out of the system, we will reduce the significant costs associated with handling and disbursing money,” he added.

Touch Technology customized its CardTouch smart card system to meet AFFN’s specific requirements.

“Touch Technology has a successful track record of providing smart card technology for very-high-volume transaction processing. It is an important qualification that made us confident that TTI’s multi-function CardTouch system would be able to handle the more than 50 million ATM card holders who participate in AFFN,” said Leroy Collins, president of AFFN.

“CardTouch also will facilitate future integration into surrounding civilian locations. We expect the system will grow in value as it is implemented around the world. Imagine a card that can compute currency conversions instantly — at a vending machine.”

“This is not a test, but a production rollout,” added Bill Hussey, president and chief executive officer of Touch Technology.

“Furthermore, with the participation of two AFFN financial institutions, it is an open system from day one. As the deployment widens, AFFN member banks and credit unions throughout the world will be able to offer these same services to their cardholders and merchants.”

The @ease card will be offered at no cost to personnel who already are served by AFFN’s ATM network.

Some 5,000 cards will be issued by Hickam Federal Credit Union and First Hawaiian Bank — Hickam Branch — allowing military personnel to pay for purchases at many service locations on Hickam Air Force Base, including the BX, BXtra, gas stations, barber shops, dry cleaners, tailors, video rental stores, the Burger King Food Court, Robin Hood Sandwich Shop, pizza shops and many vending machines around the base.

A free key chain pocket reader will enable the customer to see the current card balance as well as the amount of the most recent purchases. The card can be easily reloaded at ATM-like devices located throughout the base.

Smart cards are plastic, credit-card-sized cards that contain embedded microprocessor chips and memory. The cards generate and store transactions off-line, thus improving speed and convenience at the point of sale and eliminating the need for expensive dedicated on-line networks.

Hickam shoppers will use their cards in more than 100 point-of-sale terminals at on-base merchants. In addition, 40 vending machines will accept the smart cards, helping to reduce the number of coin jams that are the primary reason for breakdowns.

Founded in 1991, Touch Technology International ( provides software solutions, integration services and operations support for high-volume transaction processing systems using smart cards and other emerging technologies.

Engineered to provide a common foundation for a wide variety of smart card applications, TTI’s CardTouch delivers comprehensive back office capabilities for a number of markets such as transit, banking and retail.

The Armed Forces Financial Network’s international ATM and POS network was formed in 1985 to provide all U.S. military personnel with ready access to their funds through its terminals located at or near military bases worldwide.

Owned by two not-for-profit associations, the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC), AFFN’s 210 participating financial institutions process millions of ATM and POS transactions.

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