CSAIR PHONE PAY

China Southern Airlines has deployed a telephone payment system
allowing its customers to purchase airline tickets over the phone. This
new solution provides a hotline that allows the user to make flight
reservations using a credit/debt card from ICBC, CCB and CMBC
financial institutions. The Airline says that the phone payment system
will soon accept payment from additional banks and organizations.

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Fifth Third Inks 4 Restaurant Contracts

Fifth Third Processing Solutions has signed new contracts with Bojangles, Shoney’s, Yoshinoya and Logan’s Roadhouse for processing services. Bojangles’ Restaurant operates more than 390 restaurants in 11 states. Shoney’s owns, operates and franchises 274 restaurants in 18 states. Yoshinoya has 85 locations throughout California, New York and Las Vegas and Logan’s Roadhouse currently owns 162 company-operated and 26 franchised Logan’s Roadhouse restaurants in 23 states. Fifth Third Processing Solutions processes over 21 billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 2,400 financial institutions and over 154,692 retail locations worldwide.

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AIRPLUS AWARD

Airplus International has been awarded the “Diamond Award” for the
“Best Corporate Card Provider”. The award ceremonies were organized
by “Buying Business Travel Magazine” to honor suppliers in the business
travel industry and were voted on by the magazine readers. AirPlus
features that swayed the voter decision include the organization’s central
settlement accounts, corporate cards, analysis tools and carbon offsetting
card feature. AirPlus International provides business travel payment
solutions to over 32,000 corporate customers and settles flight tickets
from
over 260 airlines.

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Zebra Unveils a Low-Cost Card Printer

Card printing solution provider Zebra Technologies has introduced the Zebra “P100i”, a single-sided, single-card color printer. The P100i lets such customers print monochrome or color employee and student ID cards, loyalty, gift and membership cards, or travel and leisure passes in a single card feed on varied types of cards and technologies, including those that are pre-printed. Besides providing both magnetic stripe and smart card encoding, the P100i offers both USB and Ethernet connectivity so that customers can deploy and manage card printers on an enterprise-wide basis.

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P-Card Acceptance Rules Hindering Growth

A new report concludes that rewriting p-card acceptance rules might be the key to opening up bigger revenue opportunities for issuers. The study by Boston-based Aite Group argues that issuer strategies to increase p-card usage for large-ticket items may actually be hindering p-card growth in the USA. Currently, card issuers and networks seek to expand p-card usage from low-ticket, high-volume payments, to high-ticket, low-volume transactions, in which profits appear greater. However, because p-cards are the only payment vehicle priced as a percentage of a transaction in B2B transactions, high-ticket items translate to higher costs of acceptance for suppliers, which has resulted in only a small number of suppliers accepting p-cards. The report encourages card networks and issuers to consider allowing suppliers to accept p-cards for low-ticket items only and discriminate against their use for high-ticket items.

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Merchant Fee Consulting Firm is Launched

A California payment systems executive has formed a new entity to help businesses cut payment card processing fees. Adam Pflaumer, who spent 15 years in the merchant services industry including president of a top merchant service provider, has created EP Consulting. Pflaumer says businesses that have retained its services have experienced anywhere from $150 to $1,500 per month in savings. EP will pinpoint a processor’s break even cost; identify attainable target savings; renegotiate with existing processor; provide specific information on future best pricing; and deliver expert advice with no out-of-pocket expense.

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Discover Signs First American Payment Systems

TX-based First American Payment Systems has signed a merchant acquiring agreement with Discover Financial Services, providing an integrated processing package that includes Discover Network card transactions. First American provides electronic transaction processing services for more than 90,000 U.S. merchants. The Company expects to be certified and processing Discover transactions during the first quarter. Last week Metavante inked an agreement to offer its merchant clients full-service processing for all Discover Network card transactions. In November Global Payments activated the first of its ISOs relationships to acquire Discover Network merchants. In October, TSYS signed an issuer processor agreement with Discover. In September, Chase Paymentech began integrating the Discover Network into the merchant boarding process as the first step towards full integration and expects to rollout the full processing package to its existing merchant customers starting early next year. In December 2006, RBS Lynk completed integration and roll-out of direct Discover Network card processing. Also last year, First National Merchant Solutions agreed to offer its customers Discover card acquiring services. Additionally, U.S. Bancorp’s NOVA Information Systems signed a merchant acquiring agreement to add Discover Network card acceptance. (CF Library 10/10/06; 12/5/06; 12/18/06; 9/20/07; 10/9/07; 10/18/07; 11/27/07; 12/6/07)

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SSH & PCI

SSH Communications has joined the PCI Security Standards Council
for the compliance of its encryption and network security. Endorsed by
American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard
Worldwide and VISA Inc, the PCI DS Standard requires merchants
and service providers to follow card security guidelines for the protection
of customer data integrity. This will protect against ID data criminals,
provide the organization with SSH Communication Security, access to
payment card security standards and the ability to provide feedback and
input regarding the standards. The PCI Council was established to enhance
payment account security through the input of a wide range of organizations
while SSH Communications Security provides security solutions around the
world to various organizations, financial institutions and government
agencies.
Among these clients, included is over 100 of the current Global Fortune
500 companies.

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Gift Cards Re-Sell at a 15% Discount

Research from Loyola Marymount University found gift cards from certain stores fetch consistently lower sale prices than others. The research suggests gift cards are less valuable to recipients when given for stores that offer less product variety and fewer locations. Ranked according to their resale value, the ten “best” gift cards are Home Depot, Lowe’s, Office Max, Circuit City, Starbucks, Old Navy, Wal-Mart, Target, Staples and Best Buy, all selling for above 86% of their original value (a 14% maximum discount). The five “worst” gift cards are Tiffany & Co, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, with Express coming in last at 74% (a 26% discount). LMU is the largest Catholic institution of higher education in Southern California with nearly 5,500 undergraduate students and more than 3,000 graduate and law students.

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OTI & WARSAW

The On Track Innovations (OTI) Polish subsidiary, ASEC, reportedly
will be providing the Transport Department of the City of Warsaw with
contactless tickets. The tickets will generate revenue at over $500,000
per and will be applicable to all methods of transportation including buses,
tramways, metros and street parking meters. OTI implements contactless
smart card technology for a variety of different markets.

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