INSIDE Contactless has introduced a collection of application software, NFC tags and services for handset manufacturers and wireless operators that speed the development of NFC applications and enable consumers to more easily load these applications into their handsets and launch them with effortless gestures. The new “Wave-Me” Java applet, “Wave-Me” handset pack and OTW side loading technology extend NFC’s capabilities to provide consumers with useful out-of-the-box NFC functionality that accelerates access to services while opening the door for operators and third-party service providers to new service, branding and revenue opportunities. “Wave-Me” tags could also contain relevant phone numbers or complex URLs to send SMS messages or send and retrieve information from web sites, extending the utility of NFC to simplify and accelerate access to a wide variety of services, and thus encourage their use. Merchants and other businesses can sponsor the various “Wave-Me” applications, with the possibility of displaying branding information not only on the tag itself, but also on the handset screen during the use of the applet with accompanying sound or music.


Time and Pay & TransCard to Team

Payroll processor Time and Pay has teamed with prepaid card provider TransCard to offer employees an electronic “PayCard.”
“The Time & Pay PayCard” will allow employees who do not have a bank account or who are currently not enrolled in direct deposit
with their banks to receive their paychecks via direct deposit. It provides cardholders with many other value-added benefits, including mobile banking, online bill pay, roadside assistance, a universal benefits discount card and a personal financial management tool with detailed budget and spending reports, a net worth tracker and custom alerts. The program allows employers to offer direct deposit to 100% of their employees, reducing their overall bank service charges and mailing expenses.


AmEx and Hilton HHonors Launch a New Card

American Express and Hilton HHonors have teamed to launch the “Hilton
HHonors Surpass Card” that offers 9 points for every eligible $1 spent
at Hilton Family hotels. The “Hilton HHonors Surpass Card” also offers
benefits such as complimentary standard membership in “Priority Pass,”
which gives cardholders access to more than 500 airport lounges
worldwide; and the ability to earn “Hilton HHonors” “Diamond VIP” status
with an annual spend of $40,000, which provides room upgrades, access to
Executive Floor lounges and a 50% bonus on all “HHonors Base” points
earned. The “Hilton HHonors Card” enhancements also include giving
cardholders the ability to earn more bonus points (6 up from 5) for
spending in an expanded list of double point categories, including
day-to-day necessities and paying household bills. While staying at
Hilton Family hotels, cardholders can also take advantage of the “Double
Dip” option, which allows members to earn both “HHonors” points and
airline miles with more than 60 “Double Dip” partners for every stay.


I.C.E. Tops $800 MM in Processing

Merchant account provider International Card Establishment has processed
over 28,000,000 gift and loyalty transactions totaling over $800,000,000.
The rapidly growing “NEOS/LIFT Gift and Loyalty” programs have yielded
over 3.5 million cards in circulation
with over $180 million dollars in gift load and redemption. I.C.E.
establishes merchant
accounts for businesses that enable them to accept credit cards, debit
cards and other forms of electronic payments; supplies point-of-sale
systems; facilitates processing; and markets a proprietary “Smart
Card”-based system that enables merchants to offer store-branded gift
and rewards cards.


GE Settles with Katz Technology Over Patents

General Electric Company (GE), a
diversified technology, media and financial services company,
and Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing, L.P., announced the
settlement of patent litigation between the parties. As part of the
settlement, GE has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for a nonexclusive
license under a comprehensive portfolio of patents that Katz owns
relating to interactive voice applications.

The patents held by Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing, L.P. cover a
wide range of interactive technology including automated forms of:
customer service, prescription refill services, securities trading,
merchandising, prepaid services, telephone conferences, registration,
home shopping, as well as functions involved in securing information
from databases by telephone, interactive cable transactions, and various
other uses of toll free and local numbers.

Ronald A. Katz stated, “We welcome GE to the significant group of
technology, media and financial services companies who have purchased a
license under this portfolio.”

There are over 275 companies with license rights under this portfolio,
including over 45 energy and utility companies. Companies with license
rights under this portfolio include: Advanta Corp., Aetna Inc., Alltel
Corporation, American Century, American Express, American International
Group, Inc., Amtrak, AT&T Inc., Avis Budget Group, Inc., Avon Products,
Inc., Bank of America Corporation, Capital One Services Inc., CIGNA
Corporation, Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Comerica Inc., Continental Airlines,
Costco Wholesale Corporation, CVS Caremark Corporation, Dell Inc., Delta
Air Lines, Inc., Discover Financial Services, Experian, Express Scripts,
Exxon Mobil Corp., First Data Corporation, FirstMerit Corporation,
Frontier Communications Corporation, The Gallup Organization, The
Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Hilton
Hotels Corporation, Household International, Inc., ING North America
Insurance Corp., International Business Machines (IBM), Kaiser
Permanente Insurance Co., KeyCorp, Kohl’s Corporation, Massachusetts
Mutual Life Insurance Company, MCI Inc., Mellon Financial Corporation,
Merck & Co., Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Metris Companies Inc.,
Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Navy Federal Credit Union, New York Life
Insurance Company, OppenheimerFunds, Inc., Premier Global Services,
Inc., Principal Financial Group, Inc., Prudential Financial, Inc., Qwest
Communications International Inc., QVC, Inc., Regions Financial
Corporation, Rite Aid Corporation, Safeway Inc., Sears, Roebuck and Co.,
ShopKo Stores, Sprint Corporation, Sunoco, Inc., SUPERVALU Inc., TD
Banknorth Inc., T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., T-Mobile USA, United Air
Lines, Inc., UnitedHealth Group, Verizon California Inc., Wachovia
Corporation, Walgreen Co., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, Webster Financial
Corporation, WellPoint, Inc., Wells Fargo & Company, West Corporation,
Whirlpool Corporation, Wilmington Trust Corporation and Zions

Mr. Katz is the named inventor on a large number of patents primarily in
the fields of telecommunications and computing. He also formed
Telecredit, Inc., the nation’s first on-line real time credit and check
cashing authorization system, and was awarded a patent as co-inventor of
that technology.


Encore Capital Buys $1.7B for $64MM in Q4

Collection specialist Encore Capital Group reported that net income dropped to $0.2 million, compared to net income of $4.8 million
in the same period of the prior year. However, gross collections were $94.4 million, a 10% increase over the $85.4 million in the same period of the prior year. Investment in receivable portfolios was $63.8 million, to purchase $1.7 billion in face value of debt, compared to $74.6 million, to purchase $1.8 billion in face value of debt in the same period of the prior year. Available capacity under the revolving credit facility, subject to borrowing base and applicable debt covenants, was $97.0 million as of December 31st, compared to $57.8 million as of December 31, 2007. Revenue from receivable portfolios was $47.9 million, a 14% decrease from $55.8 million in the same period of the prior year. Revenue recognized on receivable portfolios, as a percentage of portfolio collections, excluding the effects of impairment provisions, was 78%, compared to 76% in the same period of the prior year. For complete details on Encore’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).


Business Cash Advance.com is Launched

FL-based Business Cash Advance.com has launched and will offer small
business capital in exchange for
future credit card receivables. Business Cash Advance.com advances funds
to many different types
of small businesses and creates an automated system to retain a percentage
of credit card receivables. The company offers quick approvals, fast
funding and no up-front fees or closing costs to businesses that process
at least $5,000 per month in Visa and Mastercard sales.
Business cash advances are particularly useful for retail locations with
low average tickets but a high transaction volume with products/services
that are rendered on site at the time of the charge such as liquor
stores, fast
food outlets, parts companies, retail shops, dentists, florists, salons,
veterinarians, restaurants and warehouse/storage companies.
Business Cash Advance.com stems from an online business directory
company, 4smallbusiness.com, which was originally founded in 1997.


Wright Express Revenues Slip 11% in 4Q/08

ME-based fuel card specialist Wright Express posted an 11% drop in fourth quarter revenue to $80.9 million. On a non-GAAP basis, the
Company’s adjusted net income for the fourth quarter was $12.5
million, compared with $19.7 million for the year-earlier period. Total fuel transactions processed increased 6% from 4Q/07 to 66.9 million. However, payment processing transactions decreased 4% to 51.5 million, and transaction processing transactions increased 58% to 15.3 million.
Average expenditure per payment processing transaction decreased
16% from the fourth quarter of 2007 to $52.69. Average retail fuel price declined 15% to $2.59 per gallon from $3.06 per gallon in the fourth quarter of 2007. Total MasterCard purchase volume grew 21% to $586 million, from $484 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. First quarter adjusted net income is expected to be in the range of $10 million to $12 million. For complete details on Wright Express’ latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).


USA Technologies Expands ePort in Canada

USA Technologies has launched a major expansion program in Canada of
its “ePort” and “ePort Connect” Service. USAT customers are installing
the ePort system in beverage vending machines, coffee brewing machines,
and desktop touch screen entertainment systems, enabling them to accept
credit and debit cards for payment for the first time, as well as to
monitor the performance of these locations via the “USALive” reporting
capability included with the ePort Connect Service with an initial 1,000
connections already completed. To help support its ePort Connect
Service, USA Technologies has teamed with Rogers Wireless
Communications, one of the biggest wireless operators in Canada, to
ensure the most efficient and secure ePort cashless card payment
solution possible. USA has also partnered with an additional credit card
processor to support these customers. e-Port Connect is the first
complete portfolio of secure, high-speed turnkey services that enables
self-serve POS terminals to accept cashless payments, handles all
elements of transaction processing, wireless connectivity and in
addition allows customers to monitor and manage their locations online.


Aricent to Develop Tradebridge’s Pocit

Communications provider Aricent has entered into a joint partnership to
develop Tradebridge’s “Pocit” mobile banking application. The “Pocit”
application allows anyone with a credit card or bank account to make
payments directly from the mobile application via a cell phone without
having to know the recipient’s specific banking details. Once registered
with “Pocit”, a user can receive, send, request and store money. In
December 2008 the company launched “Pocit Money” which is similar to a
shopping voucher; it allows money to be stored in the phone for multiple
uses. “Pocit Elect” is a world first for elections, based on the model
used by Barack Obama and his team, Pocit Elect takes the idea of
cellphone fundraising for political parties further by giving a single
sms number for donating to any one of multiple political parties.



Western Union has signed an agreement to acquire the money transfer business of
FEXCO. The transaction, expected to close the first half of 2009 and subject to
customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, is part of
Western Union’s strategy to be closer to its consumer base and position
its brand for continued growth. FEXCO currently manages and provides all
services and support to more than 10,000 consumer-facing locations in
seven European countries: the United Kingdom, Spain, Ireland, Sweden,
Norway, Denmark and Finland. As a result of this transaction, Western
Union will now directly manage more than 10,000 consumer-facing locations in
seven European countries and provide direct training, marketing and
operations support;have greater influence over the consumer brand experience
and be better positioned in Europe following the implementation of
the Payment Services Directive (PSD), scheduled to take place in
November of 2009, to enter new markets, introduce new products and
services, and expand the type of agents to new classes of trade in
certain countries.



The Arab National Bank has selected the Postilion
solution for Card Issuers to manage its card issuance program. The Bank
will introduce instant card issuance at their branches,
provided by Dynamic Card Solutions (DCS), will
improve service for new customers and facilitate the rapid replacement
of lost or stolen cards for current customers. The Postilion
solution will provide the bank with complete lifecycle management for
debit cards, including the secure preparation of production files, PIN
generation, and account status management. Furthermore, the Postilion
solution will help the Bank meet the local SPAN 2 payment processing
regulations. The Bank’s ability to
issue a fully-functional, scheme branded EMV debit card on-demand when
an account is opened optimizes its customer loyalty program, while
immediate transaction activity increases revenue. DCS’ CardWizard
software also enables the Bank’s customers to select their own PINs,
increasing card activation rates and eliminating the expense of PIN mailers.