BofA Launches Emergency Relief Card Line

Bank of America is rolling-out a line of prepaid VISA card products to assist corporations and government agencies to prepare for catastrophic events. The new “Emergency Relief Cards” can be customized to employ merchant code restrictions, cash withdrawals permission/limits and what dollar amount is to be preloaded on the cards. BofA says a new version of the card will be available this summer, allowing clients to pre-order unfunded cards that can be activated and loaded with funds based upon a pre-determined contingency plan. Under this system, intended recipient names and pre-authorized amounts will be kept on file with the bank to be activated if and when needed. This information will be updated monthly by the client. BofA can also activate the cards if the client is unable. BofA provided 200,000 prepaid cards to the Salvation Army following Hurricane Katrina.

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Ahli Bank to Implement Experian-Scorex Solution

Jordan Ahli Bank has announced that it is to implement a managed
application evaluation service from Experian-Scorex. Experian-Scorex
meets the demands of Ahli Bank in establishing automation that responds
to the client within seconds. This application service enables Jordan
Ahli Bank to accurately assess a credit risk and make consistent
decisions about their potential value as a customer. The solution also
enables business-scenario evaluation for calculation of various
potential changes. This also evaluates the effectiveness of lending
strategies. Experian-Scorex maintains connectivity with more than 70
credit bureaus around the world. JAB, in addition to Jordan, has a
presence in Lebanon, Palestine, Cyprus, and a 19% stake in JIB (London).

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Reward Credit Cards Take London by Storm

A new survey has found that 83% of credit cardholders in London have a rewards program attached to their card. The most popular are retail rewards cards (47%) followed by cash back (19%) and travel rewards (17%). The survey by Goldfish also found that between November and January about 39% of Londoners redeemed an average of GBP 349 on their credit cards, in the form of retail vouchers, cash back and travel rewards. Women are slightly more likely to hold a rewards based credit card than men (78% vs. 75%) however, men redeemed two-thirds more over the past three months (GBP 178 vs. GBP 101). Cardholders aged between 30 and 50 redeemed the most over the past three months, gaining GBP 187 compared to GBP 148 redeemed by under 30s and GBP 89 by the over 50s. The survey involved about 2,000 cardholders.

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Euronet Signs its First SEPA Acquiring Agreement

Euronet has announced the company’s first “Single
Euro Payments Area” agreement. Signed with
OMV Refining & Marketing GmbH, the agreement stipulates a “SEPA”
compliant cross-border transaction processing
solution in Central and Eastern Europe. What is referred to as a “SEPA”
is an area in which consumers and companies will be able to make and
receive payments in Euro, regardless whether the transaction is between
or within national boundaries under the same basic conditions, rights
and obligations. The intentions of “SEPA” is to advance European
integration by promoting use of the single currency, a single set of
Euro payment instruments(ie. credit transfers), and efficient processing
infrastructures for Euro payments. The signing of this agreement
signifies a far-reaching change in Europe allowing merchants with
fragmented and expensive operations to achieve significant cost
savings by centralized operations and processing.

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REWARD CARDS

A new survey has found that 83% of credit cardholders in
London have a rewards program attached to their card. The most popular
are retail rewards cards (47%) followed by cash back (19%) and travel
rewards (17%). The survey by Goldfish also found that between November
and January about 39% of Londoners redeemed an average of GBP 349 on
their credit cards, in the form of retail vouchers, cash back and travel
rewards. Women are slightly more likely to hold a rewards based credit
card than men (78% vs. 75%) however, men redeemed two-thirds more over
the past three months (GBP 178 vs. GBP 101). Cardholders aged between 30
and 50 redeemed the most over the past three months, gaining GBP 187
compared to GBP 148 redeemed by under 30s and GBP 89 by the over 50s.
The survey involved about 2,000 cardholders.

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Major Consumer Groups to Promote Maxed Out

Several national consumer groups have come together to form Americans for Fairness in Lending. The new organization is today launching a national campaign that includes print, radio and an interactive Web site. The campaign will coincide with the release of the documentary and book “Maxed Out,” by author/filmmaker James Scurlock. The campaign will call for concrete reforms in lending such as caps on interest rates and binding contract terms. AFFIL includes ACORN, Center for American Progress, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, NAACP, National Consumer Law Center, National Council of La Raza, UAW, and U.S. PIRG, among others. Funding for the AFFIL campaign is provided by the Ford Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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GOL Expands Payment Options

Brazilian airline, GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, has announced the
expansion of payment methods for tickets purchased online. Internet
customers are now able to pay using debit cards or bank transfers. This
service is valuable for customers with limited funds or no credit card.
For those purchasing tickets with a credit card, GOL allows customers to
parcel payments up to 12 months. These customers can pay for tickets up
to six months interest free, with a minimum monthly payment of R$45, or
up to twelve months with interest and a minimum monthly payment of R$10.
Also, for customers requiring longer payment terms, GOL offers the “Fly
Easy” (Voe Facil) program, allowing customers to pay for airline tickets
over a period of up to 36 months. To date, the program has enrolled
approximately 700,000 customers.

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CO-OP Adds a National Relationship Manager

CO-OP Financial Services has named Mary Nyman as National Relationship Manager with initial responsibilities for the Pacific Northwest. Nyman more than 25 years experience in the EFT industry and will focus on growth and member retention in Washington State and Oregon and provide technical, product and client support for its growing member base. Oregon and Washington State have 136 credit unions. CO-OP Financial Services is the nation’s largest credit union service organization with nearly 2,000 credit union members, more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs (including 6,000 deposit-taking), 120 million-plus monthly transactions and 24 million cardholders.

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Freestar Deploys 1500 Hypercom POS Units

FreeStar has announced that its subsidiary, Rahaxi Processing Oy, has
placed an order for 1,500 Hypercom “Optimum” POS Terminals
and pin-pads. Rahaxi Processing has sold Hypercom “Optimum” products since
the fall of 2006. The Finnish markets have a growing need for
international standard products and services Hypercom
offers. Hypercom solutions enable businesses in more than 100
countries to securely expand revenue and profit using global payment
technology. FreeStar Technology provides mission-critical
solutions to the financial industry worldwide.

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U.K.’s Argos Implements VF’s PAYware Merchant

VeriFone Holdings has installed its “PAYware Merchant” system to more than 600 Argos stores in the UK, enabling Argos to process 50 transactions per second, more than 100 million transactions every year. “PAYware Merchant” accepts all major cards and supports the latest fraud prevention initiatives, including EMV and 3D Secure for Internet payments and supports EMV Chip and PIN. VeriFone Holdings provides secure electronic payment solutions. Argos is a merchandise retailer with sales of over GBP 3.5 billion.

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