Bank of the Sierra Signs with First Data

Bank of the Sierra has signed a new revenue sharing alliance agreement with First Data Merchant Services Corporation for the spring 2007.. The agreement also expands Bank of the Sierra’s merchant support network by adding dedicated First Data sales executives throughout Bank of the Sierra’s markets. Bank of the Sierra operates as the largest community independent bank headquartered in Southern San Joaquin Valley’s Heartland. First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses worldwide.

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VISA Omnibus Survey Finds Mums Need a Gift Card

A new study has found that 11% of Americans expect to spend as much as six or more hours in search of just one gift. According to the omnibus survey, commissioned by VISA USA, significant others and moms are the most troublesome on holiday shoppers♠lists, and the majority of Americans expect to spend up to three hours researching, shopping and buying a single gift. According to the survey, nearly half of the men said a spouse or mom would be the most challenging to buy for, compared with only about a quarter of their female counterparts; women had a harder time shopping for children than men did (22% of women selected a son, daughter or teen, compared with only 8% of men); and more women versus men said their in-laws were tough to buy for (14% of women; 9% of men).

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Sony & Nintendo War Drives 2006 Holiday Sales

Driven by strong sales of Sony’s “Playstation 3” and Nintendo’s “Wii” interactive gaming console, Americans are on track to use general purpose credit/debit cards and store credit cards to charge more than $135 billion in retail sales this holiday season. December 23rd will likely be the busiest shopping day of the season followed closely by December 22nd. While overall spending via all payment means is rising between 5.0% and 7.5%, the figure for payments cards will increase about 12.3% above last year. Signature debit card use is expected to soar by more than 25% while store credit cards will generate fewer sales this year, about 5% less. Credit card volume is running about 11% above last year. Consumers will likely rack up more than $85 billion in holiday sales on VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards.

Holiday Card Volume
(five weeks ending 12/25)
2004 2005 2006 Gain
Credit: $ 73.6 b $ 77.1 b $ 85.9 b +11.0%
Debit: $ 24.2 b $ 28.2 b $ 35.3 b +25.2%
Store: $ 16.0 b $ 14.7 b $ 13.9 b -5.4%
TOTAL $113.8 b $120.0 b $135.1 b +12.3%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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First Data Expects 34 Cents per Share for Q4

First Data expects fourth quarter earnings to be $0.33-$0.35 per share. For the full year 2006, the company expects to earn $1.08-$1.10 per share excluding items of $0.02, or $1.06-$1.08 per share from continuing operations on a GAAP basis. For the full year 2007, First Data announced that it intends to generate strong earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.20-$1.26, while making significant investments in the business that support its long-term strategy. First Data Corp. (NYSE:FDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses worldwide.

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Wright Express Inks Imperial Oil Fleet Card Deal

ME-based Wright Express has signed a 10-year renewal agreement to provide private label fleet card services for Imperial Oil of Canada. The Imperial Oil fleet card programs, which includes Tiger Pro, Tiger Pro Plus, and Esso Business Card, provide small and large commercial and government fleet customers with customizable fleet reports, and convenient Imperial Oil Fleet Online account management, through the added convenience of Imperial Oil’s national network of approximately 2,000 Esso fueling locations throughout Canada. Imperial Oil is one of Canada’s largest corporations and a leading member of the country’s petroleum industry. Wright Express is a leading provider of payment processing and information management services to the U.S. commercial and government vehicle fleet industry.

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FDC Renews Processing Deal with Lloyds TSB

First Data has inked a renewal of a major processing agreement with Lloyds TSB in the United Kingdom. One of the UK’s foremost retail banks, Lloyds TSB has been a client of First Data International since 1991. Today, First Data processes the bank’s UK credit card portfolio, as well as providing a range of customer facing and back office services. The new seven year agreement, effective 2008, between Lloyds TSB and First Data includes conversion of the Lloyds TSB card portfolio to First Data’s market-leading “VisionPLUS” processing platform.

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First Data Renews Advanta Processing Deal

First Data has renewed its agreement with Advanta for small business credit card processing services. Under the terms of the long-term contract extension, First Data will continue to provide comprehensive card processing services, including transaction processing, statement production and mailing, plastics personalization and fraud services for over 1 million Advanta customers. First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses worldwide. Advanta focuses on the small business market and related community, providing funding and support to the nation’s small businesses and business professionals through innovative product offerings and services.

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Contactless Payment Summit Has Heavy Hitters

IQPC’s “Contactless Payment Summit” is being held January 29th through January 31st in Miami Lakes, FL. It will feature the keynote address given by author David Evans. The conference will also feature Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director for Smart Card Alliance, discussing the contactless payments phenomenon and the drivers in the industry. Other contactless payment industry experts speaking at the summit include: Peter Ho Vice President, Wells Fargo Card Services; James Diezemann, Vice President, Business Development, Mastercard Worldwide; Dana Klaboe, Director Merchant Marketing and Development, American Express; Rick Reese, Vice President of Architecture, Discover Financial; Niki Manby, Senior Vice President, VISA USA Product Innovation; and Alif Khawand Director, NFC Center of Excellence Technology Team, Motorola.

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BofA Picks Oberthur Card Systems for Fobs

Bank of America has chosen Oberthur Card Systems to provide contactless payment fobs as part of a trial to test radio frequency contactless payment companion devices. The Bank of America user acceptance trial program will distribute Oberthur’s VersaFOBs with MasterCard PayPass as companion devices to its traditional credit cards. VersaFOB is a contactless payment sub-card that snaps out of a full-size payment card and is inserted in a key-chain casing. Oberthur will supply the cards and fob casings, while Bank of America will handle personalization and fulfillment in-house. MasterCard has certified the Bank of America VersaFOB trial program. Oberthur Card Systems is one of the world’s leading providers of card-based solutions, software and applications including SIM and multi-application smart cards as well as services ranging from consulting to personalization.

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Average Gift Card Sales to Hit $190

A new survey shows that 54% of respondents plan to buy gift cards as gifts this holiday season. The average amount respondents plan to spend on gift cards is $190. The Maritz firm says its poll also found that on average, respondents reported using 90% of the gift cards that they received last year. Respondents who say they will give gift cards this year as holiday gifts plan to give, on average, four gift cards. Additionally, the poll found that the majority of shoppers planning to buy gift cards as holiday gifts say they will choose gift cards that can be used only for a specific retailer (88%). Among those: 87% say they will buy them at the store location; 25% say they will buy them on the store’s Web site and 12% say they will buy them somewhere else.

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TSYS Prepaid Tops 11MM Active Card Accounts

TSYS Prepaid has grown its healthcare business to more than 11 million active card accounts on file. TSYS Prepaid’s card programs offer an innovative and efficient way to manage the complicated flow of information and payments among payers, providers and patients in healthcare. The company offers an array of product features for flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and eligibility cards. TSYS Prepaid, a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS, is a leading global provider of prepaid card services that utilize the Visa, MasterCard and ATM networks.

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GCA Selects VeriFone for Macau Gaming Industry

VeriFone has been selected by Global Cash Access, as the portable cash authorization platform, for Macau’s casinos and other locations worldwide. GCA, a leading provider of cash access products and related services to the gaming industry, has been beta testing its portable cash authorization application in Atlantic City locations using VeriFone’s Vx 610 portable powerhouse with Wi-Fi communications. Global Cash Access Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: GCA – News), directly, or through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is a leading provider of cash access products and related services to approximately 1,060 gaming properties and other clients in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean. VeriFone Holdings, Inc. (“VeriFone”) (NYSE:PAY) is the global leader in secure electronic payment solutions.

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