First Data Invests in ViVOtech NFC

The contactless push in the U.S. gained even more momentum as First Data confirms it has made a strategic investment in ViVOtech. FDC will also deploy ViVOtech’s collection of emerging technologies such as “Near Field Communication” terminals and mobile commerce enablement. Currently, ViVOtech has more than 250,000 units in 22 countries. The Company was the first vendor to deliver stand-alone contactless readers for “MasterCard PayPass” customers. FDC’s investment will come in the form of the company’s participation as lead investor in ViVOtech’s Series C round of financing. FT Partners acted as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to ViVOtech and its Board of Directors in this transaction.

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Synergent to Offer VSoft to CUs

VSoft Corporation announced that ME-based Synergent has chosen to expand its existing “VSoft” imaging suite of solutions to include ATM Image Capture for member credit unions. VSoft’s ATM Image Capture interfaces with any image-based ATM, allowing members of Synergent’s credit unions to deposit checks directly into the ATM. Once the image is captured at the ATM, the software sends it to the central check-processing site. Each check is positively matched against the ATM records, and a complete audit trail is maintained for clearing purposes. Synergent provides business, financial and marketing needs of credit unions. VSoft Corporation is a global provider of financial technology solutions.

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Hypercom First Quarter Revenues Up 6%

Hypercom posted a 6% increase in revenue for the first quarter compared to the year ago quarter despite a significant sales decline in North America. However, gross profit declined 12% for the first quarter compared to 1Q/06 due to the impact of lower margin revenue in Brazil, as well as a reduced volume of higher margin North American product sales. Revenue for the first quarter was $64.8 million, compared to $61.0 million of revenue in the same quarter of 2006, and flat sequentially. During the quarter, the Company announced that its “P4100 PIN Pad” is now “PCI PED” approved and includes a choice of contactless, EMV Smart Card, or magnetic stripe payment, and also includes a touch screen display. Also, Apriva “Class A” certified Hypercom’s “Optimum T4100” IP-enabled payment terminal for use on Apriva’s Intelligent Gateway. Additionally during the first quarter, Hypercom came under pressure from some investors to sell or merge. For complete details on Hypercom’s first quarter results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 3/20/07)

HYPERCOM REVENUE HISTORICAL
1Q/05: $50.6 million
2Q/05: $60.2 million
3Q/05: $66.5 million
4Q/05: $68.1 million
1Q/06: $61.0 million
2Q/06: $66.1 million
3Q/06: $56.7 million
4Q/06: $64.8 million
1Q/07: $64.8 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Comdata First Quarter Revenues Rise 12%

Minneapolis-based Ceridian reported that its first quarter revenues rose 5% to $406 million, while its payment processing and card issuing subsidiary posted a 12% gain over 1Q/06. The Comdata subsidiary, which primarily serves the trucking and retail industries, reported $117 million in first quarter revenues. The Company said Comdata’s growth was driven by robust demand for gift cards, both in the U.S. and internationally, and from growth within the core transportation business and through expansion into adjacent markets. Ceridian projected that Comdata revenue will grow in the low to mid-teens on a percentage basis, during 2007. During the quarter, two antitrust lawsuits seeking class action status were filed against Comdata alleging the company has harmed competition by using its market dominance to impair the ability of rival card issuers to challenge Comdata’s monopoly. In the prior quarter, the Company announced it was exploring strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, which could include a Comdata spin-off. For complete details on Ceridian/Comdata’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

COMDATA REVENUES
1Q/06: $104.4 million
2Q/06: $115.8 million
3Q/06: $123.8 million
4Q/06: $121.3 million
1Q/07: $117.4 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Contactless to Top 2B Transactions by 2011

A new report projects that total contactless credit and debit cards in the U.S. will reach 109 million by 2011. The study says last year there were only 27 million contactless payment cards in circulation in the U.S. The research by Packaged Facts also says total purchase volume in the U.S. via cards with a contactless feature neared an estimated $15 billion last year, registering a 700% CAGR from 2004 to 2006. That figure should increase significantly as the number of contactless transactions-nearly 777 million in 2006-are expected to reach 2.2 billion by 2011. Packaged Facts says the percentage of retailers having contactless payment systems is also expected to nearly triple within two years.

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Gas Rebate Added to the TrueEarnings Card

American Express and Costco have added a 5% annual rebate on automobile gas purchased at Costco and stand-alone gas stations for their “TrueEarnings Business Card”. The 5% annual rebate complements the current “TrueEarnings Business Card” benefits which include a simple, rewards structure: 3% cash back for eating out; 2% cash back for traveling and 1% cash back virtually everywhere else, inside or outside of Costco warehouses. The “TrueEarnings Business Card” incorporates programs and services tailored specifically to the needs of small business owners, including the OPEN Savings program which gives automatic discounts on purchases and provides expense management reporting, an online spend tracking system, and the ability to add spend limits to employee cards. TrueEarnings Business Cardmembers receive their annual cash rebate as a coupon that can be used for purchases or redeemed for cash at Costco warehouses around the United States. There is no fee for this card with a paid Costco membership. Costco currently operates 508 warehouses.

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FirstMerit Hires a Chief Credit Officer

OH-based FirstMerit has named former Chase executive, William Richgels, as EVP and CCO. Richgels will be responsible for overseeing all of FirstMerit’s credit and portfolio management functions. He has over 25 years of banking industry experience and joins FirstMerit from JP Morgan Chase, in Chicago, where he was the senior credit executive overseeing a Midwest commercial portfolio of middle market customers. FirstMerit Corporation is a diversified financial services company with assets of $10.3 billion as of March 31, 2007 and 161 banking offices and 176 ATMs in 25 Ohio and Western Pennsylvania counties.

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JetBlue Employees Arrested for Card Fraud

Four JetBlue employees and a New York City Department of Corrections Officer were arrested for the unauthorized use of credit cards from JetBlue customers. The investigation revealed that the group used cards inadvertently left at customer service desks by JetBlue passengers. The five defendants used the stolen cards at a variety of different locations such as Bloomingdale’s, Target, Victoria’s Secret, Express, H&M, Champs Sports, restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores, gas stations, etc., all over Manhattan and Queens. The defendants allegedly charged between $300 to $500 per card during each of their shopping sprees. Some of the unauthorized use began as early as December 2005.

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Largest MD CU Joins the CO-OP Network

The State Employees Credit Union of Maryland has joined the CO-OP surcharge-free ATM network. The State Employees Credit Union of Maryland (SECU) with $1.6 billion in assets has 248,000 members who will now gain access to 490 CO-OP Network ATMs in Maryland and 25,000 surcharge-free machines across the U.S. The CO-OP Network, which consists of ATMs in 50 states and 10 countries, has a partnership with 7-Eleven that provides surcharge-free ATM access for 24 million credit union cardholders at 5,500 7-Eleven locations across the country. CO-OP Financial Services (formerly CO-OP Network) is the nation’s largest credit union service organization.

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Alaska Airlines Loyalty Card Earns Awards

The Alaska Airlines “Mileage Plan” loyalty card program has captured three first-place awards from the “19th Annual Freddie Awards.” Alaska received first-place honors for “Best Elite-Level Program” for the second consecutive year, “Best Member Communications” for the fifth year and “Best Web Site” for the fourth year. Alaska also netted second-place awards for “Program of the Year,” “Best Award” and “Best Award Redemption.” Alaska Airlines recently became the first major U.S. airline to offer one- way mileage awards, allowing customers to book one-way travel for half the mileage of round-trip awards. When traveling round trip, customers can combine different types of one-way tickets, including Saver and Peak Awards, coach and first-class awards, and purchased tickets. Mileage Plan members can earn and redeem mileage on more than a dozen airlines, including more major U.S. airlines than any other frequent flier program. The Freddie Awards are named after aviation pioneer Sir Freddie Laker who founded Britain’s first all-jet carrier, Laker Airways Limited, in 1966. Alaska Airlines and sister carrier, Horizon Air, serve 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and Mexico.

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U.S. Bank Invests in the InstaMed Platform

U.S. Bank has made an equity investment in “InstaMed,” a real-time gateway and processor of healthcare and payment transactions. U.S. Bank’s equity investment was part of InstaMed’s third round of funding, which included participation from InstaMed’s existing investors, including NJTC Venture Fund and a private equity group based in Newport Beach, Calif. The “InstaMed” Platform is the industry’s first integrated processing platform built with the capability to process healthcare and payment transactions in both real-time and batch modes. The platform’s capabilities include merchant acquiring, provider and patient portals, gateway services, bankcard and electronic check processing, patient financing and comprehensive healthcare clearinghouse functions. InstaMed is registered with Visa and MasterCard as an ISO/MSP/PSP of U.S. Bank and is Payment Card Industry Level One certified and fully accredited by the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission.

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