First Data Inks Acquiring Agreement With WestJet

First Data has announced the signing of an acquiring agreement with
WestJet Airlines to provide electronic processing services. VISA and
Mastercard will be among processing services provided to the Airline.
WestJet offers flight service through its 35-city North American and
Caribbean network. First Data serves over 5 million merchant locations
with 1,900 card issuers and their customers. The company’s STAR
Network offers debit acceptance at 2 million ATM and retail locations.

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DCS Receives a CardWizard Patent

CO-based Dynamic Card Solutions has been awarded a patent for its flagship product, “CardWizard” instant issue technology. The patent, titled “Systems and Methods for Enterprise Based Issuance of Identification Cards,” covers CardWizard’s enterprise server component, which is the center of the CardWizard system, and the methods and associated systems used in the enterprise-wide issuance of ATM, debit and credit cards. The enterprise server component handles card production requests, logging, reporting, production queues and database storage. As an easy-to-use, component-based Windows 9x/NT software application, CardWizard can be combined with a variety of card issuance machines and PIN pad devices to create flexible card issuance environments to accommodate most user requirements. Dynamic Card Solutions is an innovative developer of instant issuance and PIN selection solutions for banks, credit unions and retailers.

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Verifone Awarded Payment System Contract

Verifone holdings has been awarded a contract to provide
Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi with 20,000 payment systems and
PINpads. To update the Turkish banks’ electronic card payment
capabilities, Verifone will provide it with the payment terminal
devices including the “NURIT 8210” countertop model, the
“NURIT 8010” wireless model, the “PINpad 1000SE”, and will
be the first to use the “NURIT 8400” countertop model. The
“NURIT 8400” is a flexible countertop terminal with dial-up, LAN
and wireless communications choices with device interface options.

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Average Late Payment Fees Begin to Wither

For the first time in more than 20 years the average late payment fee for bank credit cards declined in March to $35.01 compared to $35.07 for the prior month. Most of the top issuers charged a late fee of $39, however the fee is now assessed based on the outstanding balance which has helped drive down the average. Over the past ten years late fees have soared by 133% from $15.01 to $35.01 following a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. On June 3, 1996 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that card fees should be treated the same as interest rates when it comes to the preemption of state laws. Previously the Supreme Court ruled commercial banks may charge interest rates on credit cards subject to the limitations imposed by the bank’s home state or issuing state, not the cardholder’s state of residence. The ruling gave the same protection to fees associated with a bank credit card program.

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WestPac Launches Pacific-Market AmEx Card

WestPac, together with American Express, has introduced an
American Express Card designed specifically for the Pacific
market, the “WestPac American Express” Credit Card.
WestPac will introduce 3 cards in 7 Pacific countries which
include a card for business clients, the consumer market and
a Gold Card for high net worth personal clients. The card will
offer 24 hour customer service, promotions, discounts and
emergency support services while traveling abroad. Also,
cardholders will be billed in local currency to avoid inconvenient
exchange rate conversion on local purchases. Customers will
have access to more than 550,000 ATMs worldwide and
access to more than 2,200 American Express Travel Services
Offices in more than 140 countries.

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Encore Capital Lands Three New Investors

San Diego-based Encore Capital Group has landed new investors J.C. Flowers, FPK Capital and Red Mountain Capital Partners and announced the departure from the Board of Raymond Fleming, Treasurer of Consolidated Press Holdings, Eric Kogan, Partner of Clarion Capital Partners, and Peter May, President and Chief Operating Officer of Triarc Companies. Encore Capital Group is a systems-driven purchaser and manager of charged-off consumer receivables portfolios. FPK Capital manages principal investments for Fox-Pitt, Kelton, a leading specialist investment bank servicing financial institutions worldwide. J.C. Flowers & Co. is a specialist private equity investor in the global financial services industry. Red Mountain Capital Partners is an investment firm based in Los Angeles that takes long-term strategic stakes in public companies.

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EMIRATES VISA INFINITE

Emirates Islamic Bank has launched a “VISA Infinite” credit card. The new card offers a much higher credit limit plus worldwide priority access to VIP airport lounges, complimentary Concierge services across the globe, special global travel, dining and retail offers, complimentary travel insurance, and complimentary purchase protection.
Emirates Islamic Bank also says the new “VISA Infinite” includes free online access facility, which enables the holder to check balances, make payments and complete transactions anytime.

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ESC Loyalty Becomes TSYS Loyalty

Enhancement Services Corporation, the loyalty services company of TSYS, announced it has re-branded the company as TSYS Loyalty. As part of the re-brand, TSYS Loyalty has transitioned from a rewards fulfillment provider to a full service loyalty and consulting partner. TSYS offers a broad range of technologies for issuing and acquiring, including support of consumer-finance, credit, debit and prepaid services. TSYS is a $31 billion financial-services company.

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SMART Orders 100,000 OTI Medical Cards

On Track Innovations(OTI)will provide Smart Applications International (SMART) with 100,000 smart payment cards. Using OTI’s “MediSmart”,
SMART’s healthcare solution, including cards and readers, has
approximately 200 device points of service across Kenya. “MediSmart”
provides health history, enables patient authentication, verification of
benefits and claims processing through contactless cards. The solution
also generates statements and invoices faster, reducing administration time and cost. OTI develops smartcard technology for a variety of markets. SMART is a Kenyan limited liability company.

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Most ID Theft Victims Informed by a Bank

A new survey shows that 62% of identity theft victims were notified of suspicious activity by a financial services company. The Identity Theft Assistance Center says nearly 10% of the consumers it talked to said they learned they were victims because they received bills that weren’t theirs. About 38% said they were notified by their financial services company. Another 23% said they were notified by another financial services company. Less than 4% said they received a call from a collection agency.

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Westpac Introduces BusinessPLUS Gold

Westpac has introduced the BusinessPLUS Gold Mastercard offering
rewards for small business through Westpac “hotpoints”. This rewards
system offers points that can be used towards business or personal
service costs, equipment costs, or redemption for air mileage with
Air New Zealand “Airpoints Dollars”. Cardholders can also manage
accounts and view their statements online through MasterCard “Smart
Data OnLine”.

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NFCC Explores Sub-Prime and Consumer Debt

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling this morning opened its “Spring Meeting” in Washington, DC focusing on issues such as housing, sub-prime mortgages, and consumer debt. Those scheduled to speak at the meeting include: John Dugan, U.S. Comptroller of the Currency; Mary McIntosh, President, Princeton Survey Research Associates International; Douglas Duncan, Chief Economist, Mortgage Bankers Association; John Taylor, President, National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Steve Grodnitzky, Internal Revenue Service and Deanne Loonin of the National Consumer Law Center. Over the next two days, leaders and policy makers will be discussing ways to reach more consumers with services and education tools aimed at improving financial literacy levels. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. NFCC members annually help two million consumers through its nearly 1,000 community-based offices nationwide.

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