The City of Vaughan has teamed with GE Money and Civic Strategies to
launch a credit card that produces savings on municipal property tax
bills. The “MuniCard MasterCard” offers no annual fee and rewards on all
purchases good towards the cardholder’s residential property tax
account. Reward points never go unused because they are deposited in the
property owner’s municipal tax account. Also, Civic Strategies’
“MuniCard Program” includes a merchant discount program and residents
benefit from POS discounts offered by local merchants enrolled in the
program. GE Money is the first in Canada to market this co-brand
municipal credit card. Toronto-based Civic Strategies will provide
everything from a controlled audit system between the city and GE Money,
to complete customer and marketing support.

Holiday Gift Cards May Approach $35B This Year

A new research study has predicted that gift card purchases may hit $35 billion this holiday season, a 28% increase over last year. CT-based Archstone Consulting says more than 56% of gift cards are redeemed within the first month of purchase; 85% of all cards are redeemed within three months; and almost 50% of the respondents spend more than the value of the card upon redemption. Also, luxury, auto and music were generally the first cards to be redeemed within the first month; entertainment, food and beverage, and mass stores gift cards were among the higher redemption rates within three months; and after three months, consumers tend to have the most cards outstanding in the travel, luxury, and home improvement categories. The survey was conducted by in collaboration with The Hazelton Group.


RBC has launched the VISA payWave contactless payment solution. The
contactless card provides chip security and quicker transactions for all of
the RBC credit cards. For purchases under $25.00, no signature is required
of the card holder to complete the transaction and no additional device is
required, such as a key-chain fob.

Phoenix ATMs to Dispense Prepaid VISA Cards

AZ-based Better ATM Services has unveiled its patented prepaid card technology at five Phoenix area ATMs. The new technology enables existing ATM machines to dispense prepaid cards through ATM cash trays without a “sidecar.” Better ATM Services’ cards are contained on a single plastic card sheet consisting of three panels. The card sheet has approximately the same dimensions of larger foreign currencies like the Danish Kroner. ATM cassettes can be adjusted to accommodate larger currencies and the specified size of Better ATM card sheets. Early testing with three industry leading ATM manufacturers? equipment has proven that the card sheets can be easily retrieved and dispensed with minor modifications. Better ATM’s business model is focused on licensing and certificating participants with its technology in both the ATM and prepaid card industries and not competing with them.


SCHUFA & Fair Isaac have signed collaborative agreements to
provide German financial institutions with credit risk assessment and
fraud management solutions. With this agreement, both companies
will market Fair Isaac’s Enterprise Decision Management (EDM)
solutions and will integrate initiatives. SCHUFA’s credit data will
provide analysis for Fair Isaac’s risk and decision management,
first-level local implementation and language support. This agreement
will also allow lenders to implement Fair Isaac’s applications such as
the “Debt Manager” recovery solution and “TRIAD” adaptive control
system. SCHUFA had a 2006 revenue gain of EUR 80.5 million and
employed about 760 workers. Fair Isaac and technologies for EDM
provide organizations with the ability to automate decisions with
applications in 80 countries.

AT&T Gets Nailed Over Calling Card Patents

Dallas-based McKool Smith has won a federal court jury verdict of $156 million against AT&T for infringement over two patents covering POS activation of telephone calling cards. The verdict was announced last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division. Co-defendant MCI/Verizon reached a confidential settlement with TGIP on the second day of trial. Other defendants reached similar confidential settlements prior to trial. The patents involved enabled customers to purchase calling time and to “recharge” previously-used calling cards at retail outlets. The jury award was based on a 4% royalty rate multiplied against AT&T’s infringing sales of approximately $3.5 billion.


Diebold has signed agreements with Sinopec Oil to install ATMs at the oil
company’s gas stations throughout China. This is part of an industry-wide
effort to provide banking customers with convenient services with more
satellite ATM locations and delivery channels. Banks such as China
Bank have partaken in the development by installing an Opteva(R) 562
ATM at a busy Beijing gas station. The Sinopec ATM installation will be
complete with a number of the 260 stations that the company is remodeling.
Sinopec owns nearly 30,000 fuel stations throughout China, making for a
network for banks to provide ATM access. Diebold employs more than
15,000 with partnerships in 90 countries worldwide and had a 2006 revenue
of $2.9 billion in 2006.

VISA Expands its Life Takes VISA Campaign

VISA USA has launched a new print and online advertising campaign for its “Life Takes VISA” brand advertising platform. The new campaign uses print and online channels as well as specific merchant partnerships. The multi-million-dollar campaign also includes an innovative online consumer destination that will provide consumers access to whatever “Life Takes.” Partners such as Banana Republic, Sony and will provide discounts available only to VISA cardholders that will be featured online throughout the entire campaign as well as in upcoming print executions during the holiday time frame. The campaign kicks off with print advertising in the October issues of national publications. The campaign also features an online marketplace at, designed to serve as a “digital magazine” of deals and content.


MasterCard has designed a SEPA Development Program for banks and retailers
currently implementing the Europe-wide payment program. For these
the MasterCard Development Program will leverage the benefits of local
and provide new solutions. MasterCard Europe has identified 149 card
features in
separate countries to provide the SEPA solution cost effectively, on a
level. These “best in class” categories include, for example, the
easiest â˜PIN change at
ATM’, the most convenient ‘mobile phone top-up’, and the most secure â˜mail
order/telephone order’solutions. In doing so, however, MasterCard
maintains the
overall SEPA features, including the electronic purse. “E-purse”
Migration through
MasterCard PayPass provides globally inter-operative payment solutions,
of the card currency. Additionally, MasterCard Europe’s “combo card” has
introduced with 5 banks in Finland. The “combo card” will serve as a
payment card to combine debit and credit accounts, determined at the
time of
purchase by the cardholder. MasterCard Europe works with 51 European
for the incorporation of (SEPA) and is a division of Mastercard.
MasterCard processes
over 16 billion transactions annually and serves consumers and
businesses in more than
210 countries and territories.

Imperva Joins the PCI Security Council

Data security provider Imperva has joined the PCI Security Standards Council. Imperva ADC Insight Services are a continuously updated library of configuration packages that tailor SecureSphere gateways for the security, audit, and compliance needs of specific business applications and regulations. Created by the Imperva Application Defense Center, an internationally recognized security and compliance research organization, ADC Insights instantly set-up SecureSphere to monitor and protect SAP ERP and Oracle E-Business applications, and meet requirements for the PCI DSS Standard, and other mandates including Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and more. ADC Insights enable organizations to quickly and easily secure databases and meet regulatory pressures without in-depth knowledge of these applications or mandates. The mission of the PCI Security Standards Council is to enhance payment account security by fostering broad adoption of the PCI Data Security Standard and other standards that increase payment data security.


InterCard Systemelectronic, On Track Innovations(OTI) subsidiary, has
opened a German manufacturing facility for OEM board, PCB, Contactless
Reader and Electronic Manufacturing Service production. The building itself
is designed to meet auto industry standards and will consist of 24,000
foot of manufacturing space. This is part of an effort, on InterCard
Systemelectronic’s behalf, to increase production capacity and to meet and
exceed industry quality requirements. OTI and its subsidiaries design,
and market contactless microprocessor-based smart card technology for
various markets around the world.

Encore Capital Changes Board and Cuts Costs

Encore Capital Group has added two independent directors to its Board and several cost savings initiatives aimed at reducing both its overall cost per dollar collected and its bankruptcy servicing operating expenses. George Lund and Warren Wilcox have joined the Board effective today and that Barry Barkley and Alexander Lemond will retire from the Board as of the annual stockholders meeting on October 30. Lund is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Torch HillInvestment Partners, a private equity firm focusing on defense, intelligence, and civil and corporate security. Wilcox currently serves as the Vice Chairman, Marketing and Planning at Washington Mutual Card Services, a leading provider of credit cards and deposit products to customers throughout the United States. The cost cutting initiatives will include the reduction of headcount in certain sites and the cessation of the Company’s healthcare purchasing and collection activities which have not met the Company’s profitability targets. The costs associated with exiting these activities will be approximately $1.7 million, including a charge of $1.3 million related to the disposal of the portfolios.