NCSC Secured Canada Inks a Card Deal

Smart Card Marketing Systems has inked NCSC New Card Secured Canada to a co-brand secured MasterCard distribution agreement. Smart Card will benefit from the sale of the cards with a royalty on transactional based revenue generated by active cards. The total estimated value of the revenue generated by the cards, according to industry standards, will be between $225,000 and $375,000 per year. Smart Card Marketing Systems, Inc. was established in 2003 and is a leading provider of prepaid cards, value smart storage cards, loyalty programs and payment processing services. NCSC New Card Secured Canada, Inc. is a Canadian based company that works to repair the credit of individuals using secured credit cards.

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Shell Extends Merchant Fee Reduction

Shell Oil has extended its temporary reduction of credit card fees for VISA, MasterCard and American Express electronic transactions through August 15th. The temporary rates were originally introduced in May 2006. The rates for VISA were reduced from 1.95% +$0.10 To 1.75% +$0.13. MasterCard from 2.10% +$0.10 To 1.90% +$0.13. American Express from 2.90% +$0.15 To 2.70% +$0.17. Shell says the change should help stabilize transaction costs in both rising and falling markets due to the adjustment in both the fixed and variable portions of the fee equation.

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Viisage Technology Acquires an Iris Firm

MS-based Viisage Technology has signed an agreement to acquire privately-held Iridian Technologies for $28.5 million. Iridian is the company responsible for the initial development and commercialization of iris recognition technology. Iridian’s extensive intellectual property portfolio and industry-standard iris recognition algorithm will be combined with Viisage’s wholly-owned subsidiary SecuriMetrics to advance the development and implementation of SecuriMetrics’ advanced hardware, software and database capabilities. Upon completion of the Iridian transaction and the pending merger with Identix Incorporated, Viisage is expected to become the only U.S.-based manufacturer of a full range of handheld and multi-modal biometric recognition solutions encompassing iris, finger and face.

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PSCU Expands a Virginia CU Deal

Fairfax County Federal CU of Virginia is converting its signature, PIN and ATM debit programs to PSCU Financial Services’ “DebitAdvantage” and has signed a five-year contract extension for credit card processing services. Under the terms of the agreement, Fairfax County FCU will convert more than 11,000 signature, PIN and ATM debit card accounts to the DebitAdvantage platform and PSCU Financial Services will continue processing more than 4,100 credit card accounts for the $145 million, 18,000-member credit union. Fairfax County Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a not-for-profit, member owned and operated, full-service financial institution. PSCU Financial Services is owned by more than 500 member credit unions representing 10 million cardholder accounts and more than 345,000 online bill payment subscribers.

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VISA LAC Purchase Volume Soars 43%

VISA’s Latin American and Caribbean Region continues leading electronic payments in the region with an overall purchase volume of US$91 billion for the year ending March. This represents a growth rate of 45%. Credit products accounted for US$61 billion of the total purchase volume while debit and prepaid volume reached US$30 billion. Among the fastest growing segments in VISA’s payment portfolio are commercial cards, which already exceeded the annual forecast of US$4 billion and experienced a 55% increase by the first quarter of calendar year 2006. The number of VISA commercial cards in the LAC region climbed to an all-time high of 2.1 million cards at the end of March.

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U.S. Consumer Confidence Holds Steady in July

Consumer confidence is apparently holding steady in July, according to the most recent results of the “RBC CASH Index.” A softening of confidence rather than an increase in negativity, which was seen across all measures of the Index, produced a slight dip in overall consumer sentiment. As a result, the “RBC CASH Index” for July stands at 80.1, compared to 84.1 in June. Expectations regarding personal financial situations held steady as 37% of Americans said they expected improvements in personal financial strength, compared to 38% cent with similar expectations in June.

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RBC Intros the No Limit Account for Debit Transactions

RBC Royal Bank has introduced a new high volume transaction account that
offers significant cost savings for those Canadians who rely upon the
convenience of debit cards for everyday transactions. For a flat monthly
fee of $11.95, the new RBC No Limit Account lets you make as many debit
card purchases in Canada as you want, including debit card purchases,
cash withdrawals at RBC banking machines, bill payments at RBC banking
machines, bill payments through online banking, funds transfers through
online banking, funds transfers through telephone banking,
pre-authorized payments, cash withdrawals, transfers, and bill payments
in branches and cheque writing.

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VISA USA to Offer Operating Regulations in Sept

VISA USA yesterday announced it is taking transparency one step further by providing its “Operating Regulations” to qualifying merchants and third party agents in the U.S. The operating regulations will be available beginning September 1st, and will be provided under a non-disclosure agreement to protect confidentiality. VISA noted it has demonstrated openness with the publication of VISA USA’s “Annual Report” and the addition of independent directors to the its board. In August 2004, MasterCard launched a special Web site for the merchant community, providing insight into its rules manual. The “MasterCard Merchant Rules Manual” includes rules covering a wide range of topics relevant to merchants, such as the steps that a merchant must follow to complete a sale, how MasterCard transactions are processed, and programs that MasterCard has put in place to reduce fraud. Regional variations of these rules are also included in the manual. (CF Library 8/13/04)

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