SOURCE: Welcome

October 20, 2005 12:17 ET

New Director for Welcome's UK Operation

New Office in London

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 20, 2005 -- Welcome today announced the opening of its new subsidiary in London, UK and the appointment of Michael Jensen as Welcome's country manager for UK and Ireland.

Michael Jensen has been working for 15 years in the software industry, selling solutions to the finance industry. Most recently, Michael worked as the regional manager, northern Europe for Attachmate, an integration vendor. Michael is 39 years old and holds a degree in computing.

"The UK is a mature market and sets new records every year for the level of spending made on plastic cards," said Michael Jensen. "However, the commoditization in this market is very high. Welcome is in a unique position to be able to offer the UK finance industry 'a new way to pay' to address both fraud and commoditization."

"The opening of the UK subsidiary is part of Welcome's deployment strategy in key markets of Europe," added Philippe Bontemps, regional director EMEA, Welcome. "This is another step for the company's growing presence in Europe. We are all very pleased to have Michael on board and are looking forward to working with him."

Throughout 2004, the value of transactions made on all payment cards in the UK rose by 11 per cent. Convenience is driving the growing popularity of plastic payment. However, the market is mature and highly competitive. The increased commoditization of payment could soon be costing UK banks up to £2 billion a year, primarily through rate wars and imminent fee reforms. Rate wars are estimated to cost UK banks £1 billion a year through customers switching card companies because they are unable to differentiate between cards other than the rates they offer. In addition, the threat of fee reforms is pressuring banks to reduce the transaction fees charged to merchants, which could result in a loss of revenues estimated at another £1 billion a year.

About Welcome

Welcome is the world's leading provider of payment software that utilizes the full capabilities of EMV standard (Europay-MasterCard-Visa) chip credit and debit cards to create a much more exciting and richer payment experience. Payment commoditization, resulting in rate wars and fee reforms, has recently been shown to cost banks five to ten times more than fraud. EMV cards without Welcome's software can only combat fraud, whereas the same cards with Welcome's software can also fight commoditization, for essentially the same cost as fraud alone. Welcome recently won 'ROI of the Year Award' from The Banker magazine. The company works with major banks and financial institutions around the world. Welcome is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, France, with offices and R&D facilities in Singapore, London, Philadelphia and Sao Paulo. For further information visit: www.welcome-rt.com.

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