U.S. Bank Goes VISA Contactless in Denver

U.S. Bank is introducing “VISA Contactless” cards in the Denver area that will be accepted at more than 600 merchant locations. Merchants like contactless cards because it expedites the transaction and allows their employees to focus more on customer service. Visa estimates that the average transaction is 25 percent faster than using cash. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets of $217 billion, is the 6th largest financial holding company in the United States.

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ADS Signs Pamida Stores to a Retail Card Deal

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has signed a six-year agreement with Omaha-based Pamida Stores to provide an integrated private label credit card program for its 206 U.S. retail locations. Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will provide private label credit card services including account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; and customer service functions for Pamida. Pamida is a national retailer focused on bringing value and convenience close to home in small, rural communities. Sun Capital Partners, Inc. is a leading private investment firm focused on leveraged buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies that can benefit from its in-house operating professionals and experience. Alliance Data (NYSE: ADS) is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services, managing over 105 million consumer relationships for some of North America’s most recognizable companies.

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GPN Europe Completes Asset Acquisition of Diginet

Global Payments has completed the acquisition of the assets of Diginet, an indirect payment processor for both point-of-sale and ATM transactions based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Diginet’s management team and employees will join Global Payments Europe and will help to expand its reach into the Balkan region. Diginet was founded in 1996. Global Payments Europe (formerly MUZO) serves financial institutions with a comprehensive package of payment services including
credit and debit card transaction processing, installation and servicing of ATM and POS terminals, as well as card issuing services such as card database management and card personalization.

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More Than a Third to Holiday Shop Online

The Conference Board released a survey that shows U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $449 on gifts during the holiday season, down moderately from last year’s estimate of $466. About 35% of all consumers will buy holiday gifts on the Internet, up from 33% a year ago. Books top the list of online holiday buying, with 40% saying they will buy books as gifts. Also, households headed by individuals 55-64 intend to spend the most this year, with $508 the average expenditure. Households headed by those aged 35-44 represent the second largest spending group. For them, average expenditures are expected to reach $478. Households whose incomes top $50,000 intend to spend $631 for holiday gifts. The top holiday spenders will be New England households (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) who intend to spend $545. Lowest holiday spending will be in the Mountain region (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada) where consumers intend to spend a mere $348 on Christmas gifts.

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American Holiday Spend to Run About $500

A new survey shows that 55% of consumers plan to spend up to $500 on gifts with 27% planning to spend from $500 to $1,000. The first Discover Card “Holiday Shopping Survey” also found that 31% of all respondents will buy at least one holiday gift online. About 54% actively look for sales and other incentives to make their money go further while sticking to a holiday budget. Electronics and apparel are the top places consumers plan to spend the most money this holiday season. Only 6% plan to spend the most money on travel and just 5% percent plan to spend on jewelry.

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Study Finds Consumers Want CHIP & PIN for TO Transactions

A new survey shows that there is a growing trend among consumers for purchasing goods and services by telephone in Europe. The research, commissioned by MasterCard, reveals that nearly 57% of debit and
credit cardholders who make payments by telephone use this sales channel
more frequently than a few years ago. Over the last 12 months, 55% of credit and debit cardholders have made a telephone order transaction, making an average of seven TO payments per person. Debit and credit cards are the most frequently used payment method for TO transactions,
with debit cards the most popular (44%) among consumers and credit cards
used for 31% of transactions. In Europe, 76% of consumers think a
personal “CHIP & PIN” card reader would help to reduce fraud and 74% said that using the “CHIP & PIN” card reader would make them feel more secure when making payments over the telephone.

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TSYS Managed Services EMEA JV is Formed

GA-based TSYS has formed a joint-venture agreement with Merchants to create TSYS Managed Services EMEA for delivery of a comprehensive range of managed services to financial institutions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The new venture will be called TSYS Managed Services EMEA, and includes existing Merchants centers that comprise more than 200 seats in Milton Keynes, England, near London, and Barneveld, The Netherlands, near Amsterdam. Merchants (merchants.co.uk) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dimension Data (www.dimensiondata.com), an IT solutions and services provider headquartered in South Africa. TSYS (tsys.com) is one of the world’s largest payment-services companies, offering a broad range of packaged and outsourced issuer- and acquirer-processing technologies that support consumer-finance, credit, debit and prepaid services for financial institutions and retail companies worldwide.

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INSIDE and CPI to Supply VISA Contactless

CPI Card Group and INSIDE Contactless, has been selected by Visa Latin America to provide cards with contactless technology for three major banks in Guatemala. The contactless cards, manufactured by CPI and powered by MicroPass from INSIDE Contactless, will be issued at Banco Uno, Banco Custcatlan and Bi-Credit. MicroPass is a contactless card chip platform in use within the U.S. market offering best-in-class cardholder experience.

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Retailers Benefit from Gift Card Breakage

A new study has concluded that the unused value on gift cards, or “breakage”, has a bigger impact on consumers than the combined total of both debit and credit card fraud. The research found that nearly $8 billion is lost due to unredeemed value, expiration or loss of gift cards. Unlike dormant accounts in the traditional credit card realm, which typically fall under escheatment laws regulated by states, anonymous gift cards often languish on retailers’ accounting books. TowerGroup says that retailers do not generate revenue until a card is either used or permitted to be declared as dormant, they do receive a “free float” on unused cards. One large retailer recently showed a $42 million benefit to its income statement for unused gift cards more than two years old. As a result, TowerGroup says gift cards appear to make better presents for retailers and card issuers than the actual gifter or receiver. Debit and credit card fraud in the U.S. totals $3.5 billion annually.

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DBS Bank to Issue Gemalto/VISA Java EMV cards

Gemalto has delivered the first “VISA Java EMV” cards to DBS Bank in Hong Kong. In taking the lead in DBS Bank’s EMV migration project, Gemalto’s card solution enables the bank to introduce to
Hong Kong market its “ComPass VISA” card program, involving in particular two major cards issued by the bank: “ComPass VISA” and “ComPass Everyday VISA.” Gemalto also provided full consulting support to the DBS Information Technology team, to point of sales
vendors, to loyalty program providers, and to personalization service
providers throughout the entire process.

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Ticketmaster and GoDaddy Offer Gift Cards

Ticketmaster and GoDaddy.com have introduced gift cards this year. Ticketmaster’s first-ever gift card enables consumers and corporate buyers to purchase cards redeemable toward tickets to events in the USA. “Ticketmaster Gift Cards” are available in denominations ranging from $25 to $250 and have no expiration date, plus multiple gift cards can be redeemed toward a single purchase. The new cards are available for purchase and redemption online, by phone, and at most retail Ticket Centers and select venue box offices. Ticketmaster has approximately 6,500 retail outlets and 20 worldwide telephone call centers. Go Daddy, a rapidly emerging provider of domain name registration and Web site hosting services, has launched gift cards in any amount from $2 up to $1,000. The “Go Daddy Gift Card” can be used to register a domain name or purchase any of more than 35 products, including “WebSite Tonight,” “Quick Podcast” or “QuickBlog.” Go Daddy Group has more than 16.8 million domain names under management.

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INGENICO 3Q/06

Credit card debt soared to a new record, hitting A$37.2 billion in September. However, credit card volume retreated from a record high set in August, while credit card limits reached a new high. Card volume declined to A$15.4 billion during September, compared to A$16.5 billion in August. During the past twelve months, credit card debt has increased 17% in Australia. For September, credit card balances increased A$200 million from the previous month. One-year ago credit card debt stood at A$31.9 billion. Gross dollar volume on credit card and charge cards was A$14.5 billion one-year ago. Year-on-year credit card volume has increased 6% in Australia. Card credit limits reached A$100.8 billion at the end of September, compared to A$89.1 billion for September 2005. There are currently 13.2 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 12.3 million one-year ago.

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