Former Halifax chief joins ID Data for AIM float

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The Independent Online

ID Data, a company supplying security systems for financial transactions, is to float on AIM next month with Mike Blackburn, formerly chief executive at the Halifax, as its chairman.

ID Data, a company supplying security systems for financial transactions, is to float on AIM next month with Mike Blackburn, formerly chief executive at the Halifax, as its chairman.

The company is the UK's biggest, and the world's eighth biggest, supplier of smart cards, which have a computer chip rather than a magnetic stripe, and are therefore considerably more secure against fraud. It also supplies other secure transactions software and systems to retailers, banks and telephone companies.

Peter Cox, chief executive, said: "The market opportunities for ID Data are significantly enhanced by the rapid development in mobile phone technology, and the convergence in the banking, retail and telecoms sectors."

He said that each of the company's main market sectors was growing at 25-30 per cent a year globally. Visa has said its cards will all be smart cards with an embedded chip by 2005. A new banking industry report this morning shows credit and bank card fraud losses surged by 53 per cent to reach £226m in the year to May. The leap is blamed on a major rise in counterfeit and fraud on mail order, telephone and Net transactions.

Figures from Card Watch, the industry's fraud prevention programme, show that counterfeit fraud has more than doubled to cost £68m, while the value of "card-not-present" fraud grew by 146 per cent to a total of £40m.

A future use for the chips in cards issued by retailers would be storage of data about customers, such as clothes sizes or colour preferences.

The flotation is expected to raise about £12m, and to value the company at around £40m.

ID Data was formed in 1988, and launched the Tesco Club Card in 1994. Its smart card customers include Barclays Bank.

Mr Cox said Mr Blackburn had extensive experience in banking. He was a senior figure at Lloyds Bank, the Access credit card company, the Joint Credit Card Company, and the Leeds Permanent Building Society, before joining the Halifax and steering its merger with the Leeds and its flotation.

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