August 15, 2006 at 08:00 AM EDT
Wells Fargo Begins Contactless Card Rollout: On Track to Distribute 400,000 Cards by the End of 2006
Contactless Card Part Of Visa Smart Breakthrough Program

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has begun issuing Wells Fargo(R) Visa(R) Platinum Credit Cards and Wells Fargo Visa Signature Credit Cards with Visa Contactless to customers, and is on track to distribute 400,000 cards by the end of 2006.

Wells Fargo is distributing contactless cards to select customers as a replacement to their expired Wells Fargo Visa Platinum(R) Credit Cards and Wells Fargo Visa Signature(R) Credit Cards. Customers also can request their current cards be upgraded to include the contactless feature, and card account numbers will stay the same regardless of the contactless upgrade. Customers opening new credit card accounts will have the opportunity to request the feature later this year.

"Our contactless pilot program was very well received by our initial pilot group of Well Fargo team members and Visa merchants," said Peter Ho, Wells Fargo Card Services vice president and product manager. "We're confident our customers will embrace the convenience and speed the cards offer, and enjoy the benefit of being able to track their smaller purchases for greater financial control."

Cardholders can use Wells Fargo's free online money management tool -- My Spending Report -- to help better manage and protect their finances. My Spending Report automatically collects, categorizes and summarizes Wells Fargo accounts into one powerful, online report. Cardholders can quickly review purchases and their month-to-month spending habits for easier money management.

Wells Fargo's contactless cards also offer built-in security with the WellsProtect(R) program. With this program, cardholders are protected against any unauthorized transactions made at merchants, over the phone, on the Internet, or at the ATM. Wells Fargo, along with Visa, protects cardholders from fraud with zero liability to the customer, when reported promptly. Wells Fargo ATM, Check Cards and Credit Cards are all covered by the WellsProtect program.

Consumers can use their contactless cards at thousands of Visa merchants nationwide, and can learn more about contactless card features and participating merchants online at www.visa.com/contactlesspayments .

Wells Fargo is initially sourcing its contactless cards through the Visa Smart(R) Breakthrough program, and is currently using cards manufactured by CPI Card Group powered by the MicroPass platform from INSIDE Contactless. The Visa Smart Breakthrough program can improve the economics, availability and performance of chip technology worldwide by making cards, terminals and personalization solutions more cost effective to financial institutions, merchants and consumers.

"As the world's leading payment brand, Visa plays a vital role in ensuring the successful deployment of new payment technologies like contactless," said Brian Triplett, senior vice president at Visa USA. "We are excited to see Wells Fargo take advantage of the Visa Smart Breakthrough program as they deploy Visa Contactless nationwide."

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $500 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,200 stores and the Internet (wellsfargo.com ) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the highest credit-rated bank in the U.S., receiving an "Aaa" by Moody's Investors Service -- its top credit rating -- and "AA+" by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

Contactless Cards

Cardholders simply hold their cards near a secure reader at checkout instead of swiping them or handing them to a cashier. Cardholders will not be required to provide a signature for most purchases under $25, and contactless merchants will not have to provide a receipt for purchases under $25 to cardholders (unless requested by the cardholder).

Visa Contactless is enabled by radio frequency (RF) technology. The Visa Contactless RF payment chip uses industrial strength encryption technology -- 128-bit and triple DES encryption -- the highest level encryption allowed by the federal government.

The transfer of payment information from card to reader occurs only at about one to two inches. Visa Contactless generates a unique numeric code with each contactless transaction, similar to a watermark that's difficult to forge. All other aspects of a contactless transaction are handled just as any other Visa transaction, and benefit from the reliability, and sophisticated fraud monitoring tools of VisaNet(R), the global Visa payment processing network.

Contactless cards are ideal for use at participating convenience stores, fast food restaurants, movie theaters, and gas stations. Customers can continue to use their cards in the traditional way at more than 24 million Visa acceptance locations worldwide.

Visa Contactless can increase checkout transaction speeds for merchants and customers, and thus provides a more convenient purchase experience for customers and helps enable merchants to earn more revenue.

Source: Wells Fargo & Company

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