Wal-Mart Adds a Seamless FSA Card Solution

Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club this morning announced a new system to enable customers to pay for FSA eligible health care merchandise with their FSA debit card. The “Inventory Information Approval System” automatically identifies FSA eligible merchandise during the checkout process. Once all items have been scanned, a total is displayed for the entire transaction showing both FSA and non-FSA merchandise. The customer can then use an FSA card for payment of FSA eligible merchandise and then pay for the non-FSA merchandise with another form of payment.

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VeriFone’s Bergeron to Stay Through 2009

VeriFone’s Chairman and CEO, Douglas Bergeron, has agreed to an extension of his employment agreement through the end of the Company’s fiscal year ending October 31, 2009. Bergeron has been Chairman and CEO of VeriFone since he led the acquisition of the company from Hewlett-Packard. In April 2005, Bergeron led VeriFone’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, which valued VeriFone with an equity market capitalization of $650 million. As of December 31, 2006, VeriFone’s equity market capitalization was approximately $2.9 billion. Bergeron remains the single largest private shareholder of the company.

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November Credit Card Debt Rebounds Slightly

Credit card outstandings grew during November by GBP 200 million. However, the GBP 55.6 billion figure remains well below December’s peak of GBP 59.0 billion. Year-on-year credit card outstandings (not seasonally adjusted) are running about 4% lower than one-year ago. According to the The Bank of England, the increase in total net lending to individuals in November (GBP 10.9 billion) was higher than the increase in October and the previous six month average.
The increase in consumer credit (GBP 1.0 billion) was slightly lower than in October. While net credit card lending grew by GBP 200 million in November, net other loans and advances rose by GBP 900 million. The annual growth rate of consumer credit was unchanged from October at 6.2% and the three-month annualized growth rate increased by 40 basis points to 6.0%.

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NASDAQ Puts TSAI on Delisting Notice

NASDAQ has notified Transaction Systems Architects of a possible delisting due to a delayed 10-K which was delayed due to a voluntary review of its historical stock option grants. The review and related audit procedures to be performed by the company’s outside auditors are not yet complete. The company will request a hearing before a NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel to review the Staff Determination. Pending a decision by the hearing panel, the common stock will continue to be traded on The NASDAQ Global Select Market.

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INTERAC Reaches a New Holiday Record

For the first time the busiest shopping day of the year for Canadians came on December 22nd instead of December 23rd. Toronto-based INTERAC Direct Payment, the country’s national debit card service, also reported that the combination of the two shopping days produced the largest two-day total in its history, hitting 31.2 million transactions. The two busiest days in 2005 totaled 30.0 million. Last year, INTERAC posted 15.5 million transactions for December 23rd. The figure for the same day in 2004 was 13.1 million and for 2003 is was 12.5 million. There are more than 35 million debit cards in circulation in Canada, accounting for more than three billion IDP transactions in 2005.

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Contactless Payments Near Tipping Point

A new study has found that within the next 24 months, 58% of all survey respondents indicated they will have a contactless payment system in place. The Aberdeen research also found that of this group, 28% of respondents have said that they will adopt the solutions within one year. The top risks of contactless payment systems were identified by respondents as the rate of customer adoption and performance of contactless payment devices. However, Aberdeen also notes that just as in the case of RFID technology, RF-based contactless payment technology will cross the tipping point of adoption in retail only when enterprises start measuring and using contactless transactional data in their internal processes and systems to attain the real ROI.

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Global Payments Revenue Jumps 19% in Q4

Atlanta-based Global Payments reported that revenues for the quarter ended November 30th increased 19% to $260.7 million. Net income for the quarter jumped 11% to $34.0 million. GPN says the growth was driven by expansion in its merchant services segment and the new Asia-Pacific joint venture with HSBC. Merchant services also benefited from a favorable Canadian currency exchange rate compared to the prior year. During the quarter, GPN named Ruth Ann Marshall, former President of the Americas for MasterCard, to its Board of Directors; signed a deal with Payment Alliance International to provide PAI with end-to-end processing services including authorization, capture, settlement, and BIN sponsorship; and, inked a referral agreement with Ruesch International, a premier provider of business-to-business payment solutions. The Company reaffirmed the low end of its annual fiscal 2007 revenue guidance of $1,057 million, and reduced the high end of this guidance to $1,069 million. For complete details on Global Payments latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 9/18/06; 10/12/06; 11/1/06)

GPN HISTORICAL
PERIOD REVENUES NET INCOME
4Q/05: $219.7mm $30.6mm
1Q/06: $225.2mm $30.1mm
2Q/06: $238.8mm $34.1mm
3Q/06: $260.3mm $44.2mm
4Q/06: $260.7mm $34.0mm
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Global Cash Adds Five More UK Casinos

Global Cash Access has signed new agreements with five properties in the United Kingdom for its cash access products including ATM technology. All properties, with the exception of Thistle Hotel, will use GCA’s “QuikCash” cash advance terminals and “QuikCash Plus” (QCP) Web. “QuikCash” cash advance terminals provide patrons with point-of-sale (POS) debit card and credit card cash advance transaction options, while QCP Web is a proprietary browser-based, full-service cash access transaction processing system for casino cashier operations. The Thistle Hotel will offer GCA’s Central Credit, a source for gaming credit information with a proprietary database of gaming patron credit history and transaction data on millions of gaming patrons worldwide.

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Purepay Seeks Payments Company Deals

OH-based Purepay says it is entering the payments private equity marketplace seeking companies involved in cash management, Check 21, ARC, remote capture, stored value cards, payments BPOs, ACH platforms, mobile banking and micro payments. Purepay will utilize this methodology to acquire smaller to mid-sized payments vehicles with unique capabilities, and work with management teams to extend capabilities and accelerate growth.

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NACHA Accredits 668 Payments Pros in 2006

NACHA reports it has accredited or re-accredited 668 payments industry professionals last year under the “Accredited ACH Professional” program. The current number of AAPs nationwide is now at an all-time high of 3,036, and has increased by 85% since 1999. Four hundred forty-three payments professional earned the “AAP” designation by passing the national “AAP” examination in October. Of those, 33 received 5-year re-accreditation. An additional 225 payments professionals received re-accreditation in 2006 through NACHA’s continuing education program. “AAP” accreditation is valid for five years.

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VISA USA Hits 6K Transactions Per Second

VISA USA reports that on December 23rd, the payment network’s data centers cleared and settled a record $9.8 billion. Also, the payment network’s data centers processed a record 6,803 transactions per second, sustained over a one-hour period on December 22nd, a 7% increase from the previous year. VISA also says retail categories that experienced the strongest year-over-year sales increases during the holiday shopping season included drugstores/pharmacies, electronics and home furnishings stores and restaurants. VISA says its volume also showed that the holiday season turned out to be softer than many had predicted.

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