ADS Signs Bealls and Burke’s Outlet Stores

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has signed a five-year agreement to provide private label credit card services for Bealls Outlet Stores and Burke’s Outlet Stores and their 500 stores in 14 states. Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will provide turnkey private label credit card services including account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; customer service functions; and marketing services.

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Debit Card Rewards Hit a Hot Button

Even though debit card rewards are less rewarding than their credit card counterparts, 57% of households are likely to use a debit card with rewards over a credit card with rewards. However, fewer than one in ten debit card users are using cards connected to a rewards program due to low availability. According to TNS’ Financial Services “Consumer Credit Card Program Study,” more than 60% of consumers prefer using a debit card over a credit card because it is more like real money. TNS also found that 65% of debit card users are paying less often with cash and checks than they used to. Indeed, the number of households using an ATM or debit card has grown from 47% to 60% over the past four years. TNS says 61% of debit card users who do have debit card rewards are age 35 or older and that household income is not a factor on debit card rewards use.

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PREPAID MAESTRO

The Austrian Airlines Group and Europay Austria have implemented the “Austrian
Prepaid Card”, which replaces previous cash payments for passenger
compensation in international aviation. Passengers can use the “Maestro”-based card 15 minutes after activation for payment or cash withdrawal worldwide. If a flight is overbooked or canceled the cash payment is replaced by the prepaid card, a plastic chip card loaded with the respective amount. A February 2005 EU Directive for passenger rights requires airlines to hold a certain cash amount at their airport
and sales offices, to be able to refund tickets or make compensation
payments in cash in case of flight irregularities or cancellations. The card can be loaded with amounts from EUR 10 to EUR 1,000 and is valid for 6 months after activation.

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FDC Inks Deals with A&P and Golden 1

First Data has executed two major deals this week including a major supermarket chain and the nation’s sixth-largest credit union. FDC recently began processing credit and debit card transactions for the 407 locations of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. The supermarket chain trades as A&P, A&P Super Foodmart, Farmer Jack, Food Basics, The Food Emporium, Sav-A-Center, Super Fresh and Waldbaum’s. A&P has annual sales volume of approximately $11 billion. FDC also renewed its agreement with Golden 1 Credit Union to provide “STAR Network” access and PIN-debit processing for its more than 280,000 cardholders and its 271 ATMs. FDC signed an additional deal with Golden 1 to provide its official check and money order processing through Integrated Payments Systems, a FDC subsidiary. There are more than 140 million cards carrying the “STAR” logo.

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Givex and Shift4 Integrate

Givex and Shift4 have completed a systems integration for gift cards and are targeting the retail and hospitality markets. In addition to Shift4’s broad credit and debit processing suite, Givex customers have access to real-time transaction processing, 24/7 support, online reporting, program administration, card marketing, card production and more. Shift4 is a developer of secure financial transaction processing software and services.

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Citi Upromise MC Delivers $100MM

Citibank reports that Upromise members using the “Citi Upromise MasterCard” have received $100 million in college savings contributions in less than five years. A recent Citi/Upromise study offers hopeful news: most American families can bridge the average college savings gap of $28,022 with daily savings of just a few more dollars per day. Citi Upromise cardholders earn a 1 percent contribution on all purchases made on the card and receive 10 percent of purchases on 7,000+ Upromise items at participating grocery and drug stores, as well as 2 percent on eligible gasoline purchases at Exxon and Mobil locations. There is no cap on the contribution amount cardmembers can earn on participating grocery, drug store and gas purchases. There is a $300 cap per calendar year on the 1 percent contribution on purchases.

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FNB Deploys 500 Off-Premise Diebold ATMs

South Africa’s First National Bank will utilize the Diebold’s
off-premises ATMs as part of its strategy to expand its reach across South Africa. The purchase of Diebold’s “Opteva” ATMs will enable FNB to offer self-service banking in areas where it has lacked presence, primarily due to the high costs involved in operating stand-alone banking outlets. Maintenance services will be delivered to FNB through Diebold’s partnership with local supplier “Banking Machine Services.”
First National Bank trades as a division of FirstRand Bank
Limited.

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JyvePro Implements Click&Buy

Click&Buy announced it is implementing a digital commerce payment system for JyvePro, which enables individuals to charge for their time over a Skype call. Click&Buy LLC, a leading ePayment and storefront provider for online and mobile digital content and services, is implementing a digital commerce payment system for JyvePro, which enables individuals to charge for their time over a Skype call. Click&Buy gives consumers easier access to online digital, mobile and paid content, such as games, music, streaming video, publications, podcasts and blogs.

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AFFN Continues the Fiserv EFT Deal

The Armed Forces Financial Network has signed a contract extension with Fiserv EFT for network switching services through December 2009. Under the agreement, Fiserv EFT will continue to provide ATM and POS gateway services for AFFN. The two have partnered since 1985 to provide all U.S. military personnel access to their funds. Fiserv also helped AFFN become the first network to switch POS transactions coast-to-coast in the U.S. with a generic ATM card, enabling AFFN to become the first network to transmit debit card POS transactions overseas in real time. The AFFN serves more than 337 defense credit unions and military banks and 92 million cardholders. The network provides access to funds through more than 181,000 ATMs and more than 1.2 million merchant/retail locations globally.

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UK Interchange Fight Presses On

The U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading says it will continue its campaign to contest the lawfulness of current interchange fee practices by both VISA and MasterCard. The OFT issued the statement shortly after the Competition Appeal Tribunal this week annulled a 2005 decision by the OFT which claimed that MasterCard’s pre-November 2004 UK credit card interchange fees violated EU and UK competition law. The OFT pursued MasterCard for six years over its prior UK interchange fees, finally ruling last September that the fees were illegal. Since then, the OFT began abandoning significant parts of its decision, even acknowledging that it is necessary for a four-party payment system operating with an “honor all cards” rule to establish default terms of reference between card issuers and merchant acquirers. The OFT says the CAT ruling leaves it free to devote resources to carrying out simultaneous investigations and reaching decisions in respect of MasterCard’s and VISA’s current arrangements, rather than continuing action on historic arrangements. MasterCard says the OFT’s unprecedented action of abandoning a case after having issued a negative decision is testament to the strength of MasterCard’s and the industry’s position. (CF Library 6/20/06)

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Firstrand to Issue kulula Airlines VISA Card

kulula.com has launched a co-branded VISA credit card built around an
innovative rewards program. This is the first time that an airline in
South Africa has offered its own credit card linked to a rewards
program. The card issued under License of Firstrand Bank Limited and managed by FNB a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, will offer cash back for every rand spent which will be used for flights
on kulula.com. kulula, which has been operating for nearly five years, is already South Africa’s biggest online retailer with internet sales of some R3.5 million per day.

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OFT & INTERCHANGE

The Office of Fair Trading says it will continue its campaign to contest the lawfulness of current interchange fee practices by both VISA and MasterCard. The OFT issued the statement shortly after the Competition Appeal Tribunal this week annulled a 2005 decision by the OFT which claimed that MasterCard’s pre-November 2004 UK credit card interchange fees violated EU and UK competition law. The OFT pursued
MasterCard for six years over its prior UK interchange fees, finally
ruling last September that the fees were illegal. Since then, the OFT began abandoning significant parts of its decision, even acknowledging that it is necessary for a four-party payment system operating with an “honor all cards” rule to establish default terms of reference between card issuers and merchant acquirers. The OFT says the CAT ruling leaves it free to devote resources to carrying out simultaneous investigations and reaching decisions in respect of MasterCard’s and VISA’s current arrangements, rather than continuing action on historic arrangements.
MasterCard says the OFT’s unprecedented action of abandoning a case after having issued a negative decision is testament to the strength of MasterCard’s and the industry’s position.

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