Argencard to be Acquired by First Data

First Data International has signed an agreement for the
acquisition of Argencard. Buenos Aires-based Argencard is a provider of
card issuing and merchant acquiring processing services supporting more
than 70 banks with nine million cardholders and over 150,000 active
merchants. The company is an acquirer of MasterCard, Maestro and JCB in Argentina and Uruguay, and also delivers, through its subsidiary POSNET, point of sale services for more than 60,000 merchants and 75 credit card issuers of private label cards. The deal is expected to close by year end.

First Data Acquires Argencard

First Data International has signed an agreement for the acquisition of Argencard. Buenos Aires-based Argencard is a provider of card issuing and merchant acquiring processing services supporting more than 70 banks with nine million cardholders and over 150,000 active merchants. The company is an acquirer of MasterCard, Maestro and JCB in Argentina and Uruguay, and also delivers, through its subsidiary POSNET, point of sale services for more than 60,000 merchants and 75 credit card issuers of private label cards. The deal is expected to close by year end.

EnterCard Signs a Long Term Agreement with MasterCard

EnterCard International has signed a long term agreement with MasterCard to promote and advance the use of MasterCard in the Nordic region. The total number of “EnterCard MasterCard” branded cards in circulation broke the 500,000 barrier in June. Some of the cards include the “Swedish ForeningsSparbanken’s Charge & Credit Card,” the “Swedish Golf Association’s Membership & Credit Card,” the “Norwegian LOfavor Card” and the credit cards of Norwegian Sparebank1.

MasterCard and Yahoo Launch a Promotion

MasterCard and Yahoo! Music have launched a summer promotion wherein U.S. MasterCard cardholders who use their cards from now through October 4th to purchase a one year subscription of Yahoo! Music Unlimited, will automatically receive an additional year for free. With Yahoo! Music Unlimited, users can play music from a catalog of more than 2 million songs and enjoy the unique ability to share and discover music with other subscribers through Yahoo! Messenger. Yahoo! Music offers user the most comprehensive music-related content, features and information available online. MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link between financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide.

Cards Capture Back-to-School Spending

A new poll reveals that 74% of parents are expected to rely on payment cards for back-to-school shopping. The MasterCard Worldwide/Harris Interactive “Back to School Spending Index” found that 58% of parents of U.S. students college age or younger plan to use debit cards for back-to-school purchases, increasing from 26% last year. Parents of U.S. students college age and younger expect to spend, on average, $424 this year on back-to-school items. Sixteen percent anticipate 2006 back-to-school expenses for books, clothes, and supplies to exceed $500. Two-thirds claimed that clothing will be their highest expense, followed by books (13%) and supplies (9%).

BankAtlantic Expands ATMs on Cruise Ships

FL-based BankAtlantic is deploying ATMS on the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas, bringing its total ATMs deployed on cruise ships to nearly 100. Identical to BankAtlantic’s land based ATMs; the offshore fleet of ATMs offers the convenience of cash withdrawals, transfer of funds, and instant access to account balances. Check Cards and/or ATM Cards are accepted from STAR, VISA, PLUS, AFFN, MasterCard, Maestro, CIRRUS, American Express, DISCOVER/NOVUS, and QUEST Networks. BankAtlantic, “Florida’s Most Convenient Bank”, is one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in Florida and provides a comprehensive offering of banking services and products via its broad network of community stores and its online banking division – BankAtlantic.com. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 29 ships in service and six under construction.

MALEV AIRLINES CARD

Malev Hungarian Airlines and Citibank have launched a co-brand credit card which will be available for individual customers beginning August 1st. The new MasterCard offers a welcome gift of 2,000 points for “Silver” cardholders and 4,000 points for new “Gold” cardholders. Also, on the occasion of the first flight after joining the “Malev Duna Club,” a joining gift of 2,000 points is rewarded to the “Silver” cardholders,
while this gift is 6,000 points for “Gold” cardholders. “Silver” cardholders earn 1 point after each HUF 250 spending and
double points are logged in the first three months, while the “Gold”
cardholders receive 2 points for a spending of HUF 400 with their credit
card, and double points are logged in the first six months. The annual fee for “Silver” main cardholders is HUF 6,400, while “Gold” main cardholders are charged an annual fee of HUF 16,400.

PayPass Moves into Europe via Garanti Bank

Turkey’s Garanti Bank has become the first European MasterCard issuer to launch a “PayPass” card. Starbucks, Burger King and Cinebonus are among the local merchants already signed-up for the rapidly growing contactless payment card program. Garanti will upgrade about 25,000 “Bonus” to the “PayPass” technology. There are a number of “PayPass”-related programs currently underway in ten countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, Philippines and the USA. At mid-year there were nearly 10 million “PayPass” cards and devices in the market and approximately 32,000 merchant locations around the world that accept PayPass, including McDonald’s, 7 Eleven, CVS, Duane Reade, Sheetz and Regal Entertainment Group.

Garanti Brings PayPass to Europe

Turkey’s Garanti Bank has become the first European MasterCard issuer to launch a “PayPass” card. Starbucks, Burger King and Cinebonus are among the local merchants already signed-up for the rapidly growing contactless payment card program. Garanti will upgrade about 25,000 “Bonus” to the “PayPass” technology. There are a number of “PayPass”-related programs currently underway in ten countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, Philippines and the USA. At mid-year there were nearly 10 million “PayPass” cards and devices in the market and approximately 32,000 merchant locations around the world that accept PayPass, including McDonald’s, 7 Eleven, CVS, Duane Reade, Sheetz and Regal Entertainment Group.

GARANTI PAYPASS

Garanti Bank has become the first European MasterCard issuer to launch a “PayPass” card. Starbucks, Burger King and Cinebonus are among the local merchants already signed-up for the rapidly growing contactless payment card program. Garanti will upgrade about 25,000 “Bonus” to the “PayPass” technology. There are a number of “PayPass”-related programs currently underway in ten countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, Philippines and the USA. At mid-year there were nearly 10 million “PayPass” cards and devices in the market and approximately 32,000 merchant locations around the world that accept PayPass, including McDonald’s, 7 Eleven, CVS, Duane Reade, Sheetz and Regal Entertainment Group.

MASTERCARD & EU

MasterCard has blasted the European Commission over its ignorance of the cards payments business. The EU states that interchange fees are “unnecessary” but MasterCard says there is a fundamental
misunderstanding of the way payment systems actually operate and that interchange fees, which are central to the operation of four-party card
programs, balances costs and is a proven and necessary mechanism that has led to plastic payments being one of the most innovative industries in the world. MasterCard says this is why the Office of Fair Trading recently withdraw its decision against MasterCard’s UK interchange fees.
The EU has issued an “Interim Report” on interchange fees but MasterCard says making the four-party program more expensive to consumers will simply lead to more cash and check transactions and to greater reliance on store cards and three-party cards. In the long run, even merchants will be less well off too, since these alternatives usually end up being more expensive. Smaller merchants would suffer the most because they tend to have the highest cash handling costs and, unlike their larger
competitors, can’t offer their own proprietary cards. It is expected that the EU Commission will issue a final report before the
end of the year.

PaySquare Powers CUP Card Acceptance

PaySquare and China UnionPay have signed an exclusive partnership wherein PaySquare becomes the exclusive provider for acceptance of the “CUP” credit card brand in the Netherlands.
Clients from Belgium, Luxembourg and other parts of Europe can also contact PaySquare if they are interested in accepting credit cards from China UnionPay as a means of payment. In 2005, the number of outbound
Chinese travelers amounted to 31 million exits. Over 150,000 Chinese
visited Holland last year with total expenditures of US$40 million.
PaySquare is one of the largest players in the Benelux for the
acceptance of international means of payment.