SOM Survey Reveals Concern Over ID Theft

A Canadian survey, conducted by SOM on behalf of Sigma Assistel,
reflects concern amongst the population regarding identity theft. Results
show that two out of every three Canadian are concerned about
becoming victims of the growing trend while 40% are concerned with
becoming victims in the future. In addition, 60% have taken proactive
measures to protect against identity theft. Of this population, 45% use
a shredder; 30% rely on home alarms; 30% use a safety-deposit box,
and 18% are researching other means of protection. However, the
survey also finds that 38% don’t feel the need, 28% don’t know enough
about it or how to protect themselves from it and 18% think prevention
is futile.

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Underbanked Consumers are Very Different

A new study has found that underbanked consumers make financial decisions differently than mass market customers, strongly emphasizing intangibles such as respect, trust, safety, security, and a sense of belonging. Underbanked check cashers place much more weight on previous experiences with the financial system, check-cashing companies, and institutions broadly defined. Yet they can also be segmented along more traditional lines, such price and convenience. The research by The Center for Financial Services Innovation also found that these consumers, estimated at 40 million, cash an average of 20 checks a year, with an average check size of $452. More than 60% of those surveyed have a checking account and 45% have a savings account. Of those who do not have such accounts, 30% said they would like to open a checking account in the next year, and 39% would like to open a savings account.

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Level Four Releases Enhanced Windows-based ATM Software

Level Four has introduced test automation Windows-based ATM software
called “BRIDGE: test 2.9”. “BRIDGE: test 2.9” allows banks and payment
processors who run Windows-based ATMs to automate network testing
and saving up to 80% of time consumption. The solution is used to test main
application software from ATM manufacturers and software vendors. These
vendors include NCR’s APTRA EDGE, Wincor-Nixdorf’s ProCash, Phoenix
Interactive’s VistaATM, Absolute System’s Interact software and KAL’s
Kalignite software. The solution can be deployed with manufacturer-provided
solutions or as a solution for ATM software needs. Level Four’s integrated
“BRIDGE” suite of ATM software targets banks and ATM deployers running,
or seeking to run, on a modern ATM network.

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Merchant Management Systems Renews TSYS

TSYS Acquiring Solutions has renewed its merchant-processing service agreement with KY-based Merchant Management Systems. The agreement continues a long-standing partnership between the two companies. TSYS Acquiring Solutions will continue to provide transaction processing and related support services for MMS. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. MMS is one of the fastest growing electronic payment providers in the United States. TSYS Acquiring Solutions is a supplier of acquiring solutions, related systems and integrated support services to the acquiring industry and its customers.

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CPI Expands Gift Card Personalization

The CO-based CPI Card Group facility offers a complete portfolio of services for secure gift card personalization. Capabilities in the new personalization area include secure gift card embossing, attaching and packaging at a capacity of two and a half million cards per month. Services include end-to-end card and carrier fulfillment capabilities from manufacturing to shipment of packages to distribution centers.Future enhancements include distribution services for open loop gift cards. CPI Card Group is a manufacturer of plastic cards. All facilities are outfitted with the latest in card technology and are ISO 9001:2000 certified.

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Loose Change to Fund the CVS Gift Card

CVS/pharmacy will offer its own gift card in Coinstar’s “Coin to Card” program. WA-based Coinstar, a self-service coin counting specialist, notes that CVS is the first Coinstar retailer to offer its own gift card via the program. CVS is expected to have gift cards available in more than 360 Coinstar kiosks in its stores this summer. The “Coin to Card” service allows consumers to convert their loose change to a CVS card at the Coinstar kiosk and pay no coin-counting fee. The CVS card and eCertificates, such as Amazon.com, Circuit City, Eddie Bauer and iTunes, are expected to be available at Coinstar Centers located in CVS/pharmacy stores in 11 Mid-West and Western states. CVS has approximately 6,200 retail locations nationwide.

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TNS Adds 3-D Secure to Tackle CNP Fraud

Transaction Network Services (TNS) has added “3D Secure” anti-fraud
service to its merchant card services. “3D Secure” was developed by
Visa and Arcot Systems as authentication protocol for merchants and
card issuers as a second line of defense against fraud. For cardholders to
use the service, they must register a secondary password with their card
issuers, which they are to use whenever they shop on a 3-D Secure
enabled website. Merchants benefit from using “3D Secure” in its
substantial reduction of fraud.

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Bill Ackman Takes on the Ceridian Deal

Ceridian, which includes major payment processor Comdata, is coming under fire from its largest shareholder over its $5.3 billion merger with Thomas H. Lee Partners and Fidelity National Financial. Pershing Square Capital Management says the deal isn’t valued fully and the company should be split up. Pershing, which holds nearly a nearly 15% stake in Ceridian, has hired Lazard Freres and Sullivan & Cromwell to explore alternatives. The activist hedge fund, managed by Bill Ackman, says it may also extend its long feud with Ceridian’s management while it continues its proxy contest. Ceridian says within the next several days it expects to file its proxy statement, which will contain more information about the Board’s process and review of strategic alternatives. Ceridian also says its Board welcomes involvement by shareholders and is prepared to review any proposals that might result in a superior proposal per the merger agreement. The Board says it remains committed to its goal of maximizing shareholder value through its review of all alternatives. Ceridian’s Comdata division is a processor and issuer of credit, debit and stored value cards, primarily for the trucking and retail industries in the USA. (CF Library 5/31/07)

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Visa Introduces Inaugural Tourism Forum

With the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, Visa International introduces an
inaugural “Tourism Forum” emphasizing the importance of electronic
payments in the tourism industry and what can be done to contribute to
growth. Sources of cooperation are also being examined for contribution
to the expanding industry in the country. Partnerships that are being
examined concern the tourism industry and financial institutions and
establishments whom accept electronic and online payments. Also
discussed is banks’ fundamental role in expanding the payments cards
industry.

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Fitch Expands SMARTView to U.S. Cards

Fitch Ratings has added U.S. asset-backed credit card transactions to its SMARTView eligible transactions. 663 credit card deals totaling $345.6 billion were designated June 12, indicating that no immediate action is necessary. SMARTView is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at www.fitchratings.com, along with the report titled “SMARTView, Fitch U.S. Structured Finance Monthly Public Reviews.”Fitch’s rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency’s public site, www.fitchratings.com.

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Delta Eliminates a $1.1B Card Holdback

Delta Air Lines has an extra $800 million in unrestricted cash to use after the elimination of a cash holdback required under its VISA/MasterCard processing agreement. The holdback also included a $300 million letter of credit provided by Merrill Lynch which was likewise terminated. Under the amended agreement, which was extended to October 31, 2008, no future holdback or cash reserve is required except in limited circumstances. The holdback was required to protect the processor’s potential liability for tickets purchased with VISA or MasterCard which have not yet been used for travel. Delta also announced that it has changed the accounting method for its “SkyMiles” program. Delta has historically accounted for frequent flyer miles earned on Delta flights on an incremental cost basis as an accrued liability and as operating expense, while miles sold to airline and non-airline business partners were accounted for on a deferred revenue basis. Effective with its emergence from bankruptcy on April 30th, Delta is now using a deferred revenue model for all frequent flyer miles. Miles earned after April 30th, will be valued and the related revenue deferred using a rate of $0.0054 per mile.

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Hypercom SmartPayments is Vista Certified

Hypercom’s “SmartPayments” solution suite has become the first electronic payment processing software to pass certification tests ensuring compatibility with “Windows Vista”. SmartPayments Server is a complete electronic payment processing solution that combines a comprehensive front-end payment application for retail, restaurant, mail-order/telephone-order and Internet transactions with a centralized transaction processing gateway that can run as an inexpensive in-store controller for smaller merchants, at corporate headquarters of multi-store operations, or in datacenters that process payments for multiple businesses. The product has a built-in browser-based virtual terminal for anytime/anywhere management by merchants or ISO/resellers. Hypercom SmartPayments products still maintain their certifications for earlier-generation operating systems, including Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

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