Everest Software and PPI Team for SMBs

Virginia-based Everest Software has teamed with Payment Processing to offer a fully integrated payment processing solution to small and medium-sized businesses. Under the terms of the agreement, Everest will leverage PPI’s payment processing services with its new PayBridge product, a fast, efficient, and affordable integrated payment processing solution, specifically built for SMBs. PayBridge will allow Everest customers to implement integrated and secure credit card processing systems into their existing operations. For the first time, SMBs can now leverage a single resource to significantly simplify the process and reduce the costs associated with accepting credit card payments.

ECHO’s 4Q/05 Revenues Grow 33%

Camarillo, CA-based card processor Electronic Clearing House posted fourth quarter of $16.9 million, a 33% increase over the prior year. Bankcard and transaction processing revenue grew 37% to $12.6 million and bankcard processing volume increased 48% to $388 million during 4Q/05. ECHO also reports that ACH transactions processed in Q4 increased 11.3% to 9.8 million transactions. For 2006, the Company is targeting total revenue growth in the 17% to 24% range, driven by 18% to 25% growth in its bankcard business and 15% to 22% growth in its check processing business. Net income for 2006 is expected to range from $1.5 million to $2.5 million. For complete details on ECHO’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Barclays and Icelandair Launch a Co-Brand

Icelandair and Barclays have teamed for the first time to launch a frequent flyer MasterCard. The new “Icelandair MasterCard” offers two pricing options, one with an annual fee and one without. The $39 annual fee card offers 10,000 bonus points for the first usage, two points for every dollar spent with Icelandair and one point for every dollar spent on other purchases. The no annual fee card offers 5,000 miles for the first transaction, one point for every dollar spent on Icelandair and one point for every $2 spent elsewhere. The APR for both cards starts at 13.99%. With six U.S. gateways, Icelandair’s primary destinations include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik and Stockholm.

Altiris Introduces SecurityExpressions

San Jose-based Altiris announced audit-ready support for PCI data security standards through its “SecurityExpressions” solution. The PCI Data Security Standards are system and network security and business practice guidelines developed by the leading credit card companies to establish a minimum security standard for cardholders’ account and transaction information. The standards require compliance via on-site reviews, security self-assessments and security scans. Altiris provides IT lifecycle management software that allows IT organizations to easily manage, secure and service desktops, notebooks, thin clients, handhelds, industry-standard servers, and heterogeneous software including Windows, Linux and UNIX.

ICELANDAIR MASTERCARD

Icelandair and Barclays have teamed for the first time to launch a
frequent flyer MasterCard. The new “Icelandair MasterCard” offers two
pricing options, one with an annual fee and one without. The $39 annual fee
card offers 10,000 bonus points for the first usage, two points for
every dollar spent with Icelandair and one point for every dollar spent
on other purchases. The no-annual fee card offers 5,000 miles for the
first transaction, one point for every dollar spent on Icelandair and
one point for every $2 spent elsewhere. The APR for both cards starts at
13.99%. With six U.S. gateways, Icelandair’s primary destinations
include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg,
Helsinki, London, Manchester, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik and Stockholm.

ADS’ Epsilon Acquires Email Marketing Firm

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems and its Epsilon division has reached an agreement to acquire DoubleClick Email Solutions, the largest permission-based email marketing service provider in the industry. The combination of DoubleClick Email Solutions and Epsilon Interactive (formerly Bigfoot Interactive) will further strengthen Epsilon Interactive’s technology and marketing service capabilities particularly in the areas of strategic consulting, client services, delivery optimization and analytics.

Economic Inflection Point Likely in 2006

A softening housing market and climbing mortgage rates could negatively affect consumer spending, particularly in durable goods and home furnishings. The latest Deloitte Research “Leading Index of Consumer Spending” forecasts a potential economic inflection point if employment trends continue. The labor market, with unemployment rates at lows not seen since the late 1990s, will lead to higher wages. Deloitte says the labor market is adding positively to the index, but not enough to offset deterioration in the other three components including tax burden, wages and real home prices.

Fort Knox National Hires Hines as CEO

Fort Knox National Company has hired Jerry Hines, former EVP of Certegy and EVP/COO of AT&T Universal Card Services, as President and CEO Before joining Fort Knox, Hines most recently served as executive vice president of global development for Certegy, Inc. He was responsible for leading the company’s business development activities, including strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions. Prior to this position, he served as group executive for Certegy’s global credit card processing units. These units process more than 43 million credit card, debit card, and private label cards for more than 6,000 clients around the world. Prior to joining Certegy in 1997, Hines was executive vice president and chief operating officer at AT&T Universal Card Services and chairman of AT&T Universal Services Corporation. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in finance from St. Louis University. Fort Knox National Company is provider of electronic payment solutions.

Semtek Hires a New CEO

San Diego-based Semtek Innovative Solutions has named Patrick Hazel, formerly CEO of EWI Holdings, as CEO. Hazel brings vast experience in the payment processing and technology industries to Semtek, a developer of solutions for the mobile payments sector. He has also been active in early stage technology ventures, serving as a director of several high growth companies on the West Coast as well as an active advisor to the venture capital and private equity world on issues such as technology commercialization, IP portfolio development, and payment processing opportunities. Semtek Innovative Solutions provides mobile commerce devices and applications, magnetic stripe security solutions, and wireless gateway services to the mobile payments sector.

Alliance to Acquire ICOM

Alliance Data has reached an agreement to acquire ICOM Information and
Communication Inc., a provider of targeted list, marketing data
and communication solutions for the direct response, consumer packaged
goods and over-the-counter pharmaceutical industries in North
America. These include the AIR MILES Reward Program, Canada’s premiere
coalition loyalty marketing program, Epsilon, a leading provider of
integrated direct marketing solutions and COLLOQUY, a leading provider
of loyalty-marketing publishing, research, educational and consulting
services. ICOM will remain a distinct business within Alliance Data.