NTT and Hutchison Telecom Launch i-mode Services

NTT DoCoMo and Hutchison
Telecom Hong Kong have formed a strategic partnership to bring “i-mode”
services to Hong Kong and Macau. With the signing of this agreement, there will be
16 “i-mode” operators in 24 countries and areas around the world. Under terms of the deal, DoCoMo will provide the technology and
marketing expertise to the partnership, enabling Hutchison Telecom Hong
Kong to offer “i-mode” services via its territory-wide networks. The
“i-mode” platform allows service providers to readily integrate their
Internet content and applications for mobile i-mode usage. The
“i-mode” service is provided on an open platform based on de facto
Internet standards. NTT DoCoMo serves more than 51 million subscribers.

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Premium SMS Set to Rule Mobile Payments

A new report from Research and Markets predicts “Premium SMS” will become the dominant mobile payment method since its reduces the cost to the merchant from 40% to 4% per transaction. Under the proposed scheme, brands would be able to sell mobile content directly to consumers using a modified form of their existing online payment method. Meanwhile, consumers would benefit because all their transactions would be consolidated into one combined online/mobile account and card brands like Visa and MasterCard would enjoy incremental transaction volumes.

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Rahaxi Processing & Oy Wike Ab Agentur Team

FreeStar Technology’s subsidiary Rahaxi Processing Oy. has signed a
sales and referral agreement with Oy Wike Ab Agentur. Under the terms
of the agreement, Oy Wike Ab Agentur will market Rahaxi Processing Oy.’s wide variety of international standard payments processing products and services, including the EMV-compliant Hypercom “Optimum” POS product family to its more than 4,500 merchant clients in Finland and Estonia. FreeStar Technology is a payment processing company. Oy Wike Ab Agentur is an independent ECR and POS vendor and distributor.

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Braintree and Suncorp Partner On Wireless ATMs

Brisbane-based Braintree Communications has announced a deal with Suncorp Metway to roll-out up to 250 wireless ATMs that use a public General Packet Radio Service network. Suncorp is using Braintree’s “Axon” series of GPRS router products to convert its ATMs to GPRS wireless. Braintree says it has also shipped 200 units for use in shopping centers in Thailand.

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ANZ and Sacombank Establish Card Joint Venture

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Sacombank have
signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” to establish a credit card
joint venture in Vietnam. ANZ will have a 40% stake in the joint
venture and Sacombank 60%. The joint venture will build on ANZ and
Sacombank’s existing strategic alliance and ANZ’s 10% shareholding
in Sacombank. There are about 100,000 credit cards currently on issue
in a population of approximately 84 million in Vietnam. With estimates
that only about 5% of the population uses banking services, growth in
the financial services sector is expected to remain strong for some
time. Sacombank is the largest private commercial bank in Vietnam by
capital with a network of 109 branches, 34 ATMs and a further 19 ANZ
co-branded ATMs.

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ACE Cash is Bought Out by Management

Dallas-based ACE Cash Express has signed a merger agreement with an entity formed by JLL Partners Fund whereby ACE’s CEO and senior management team would acquire all of the outstanding shares of ACE’s common stock. Shareholders of ACE will receive $30 per share in cash. Based on ACE’s outstanding shares the deal is valued at about $420 million. After the completion of the merger, Jay Shipowitz will continue in his role as ACE’s President and Chief Executive Officer. The agreement was negotiated on behalf of ACE by a special committee of the Board of Directors composed entirely of disinterested members of the Board. UBS Securities LLC acted as financial advisor.

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Sagem Orga and AFS Form Strategic Partnership

Sagem Orga has signed a strategic partnership with Arab Financial Service Company. This partnership joins the EMV personalization capabilities of AFS and Sagem Orga’s proven track record in EMV migration both in European markets and overseas. Sales, customer support and training will continue to be provided by Sagem Orga’s regional banking center in Dubai. AFS is the largest payment card processor in the Middle East and North African regions and a Principal Member of the VISA and MasterCard Payment Associations and an authorized third-party processor center.

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Level Four Intros New Management Team and BOD

Level Four Software announced changes in the company’s board and a new management structure to support the company’s ambitious venture capital-backed expansion plans. Ian Kerr, who joined Level Four as Regional Business Director has been appointed to the main board as Sales and Customer Services Director. Jim Tomaney is now appointed to the main board as Product Director. Martin Macmillan moves from CEO to become Marketing and Business Development Director and Nigel Walsh meanwhile will take over the CEO position in addition to his responsibilities as Chairman. Level Four is a provider of ATM software solutions.

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TRANSFIRST Becomes a Barclays ISO/MSP

Dallas-based TRANSFIRST has become a registered ISO/MSP of Barclays Bank and Barclays and TRANSFIRST have incorporated the service of E4X, for providing currency exchange rates. These services will allow U.S. merchants to accept payment in Europe, in their international customers’ currency of choice while receiving U.S. dollars for payment. The E4X exchange rate function decreases the risks and worries of fluctuating international rates and the complexities of foreign currency treasury management.

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CARExpress MasterCard Set to Roll-Out

Pennsylvania-based National Health Partners is rolling out the first stage of its prepaid “CARExpress MasterCard” program next week. The announcement of the company’s upcoming launch of its CARExpress MasterCard program follows closely on the heels of the company’s launch of its Hispanic advertising campaign featuring international superstar entertainer Lucia Mendez on June 1st. National Health Partners is a national healthcare savings organization.

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TSYS Signs Delta Payment Solutions

TSYS Acquiring Solutions has signed an agreement to provide merchant processing services for Houston-based Delta Payment Solutions. Delta Payment Solutions provides credit card merchant services to national restaurant, hotel and retail merchants. TSYS Acquiring Solutions is a supplier of acquiring solutions, related systems and integrated support services to the acquiring industry and its customers.

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PO PREPAID CARD

The U.K. Post Office has launched “The Post Office Travel Money VISA Card” in 2,250 branches. The new prepaid card is valid for two years and carries a one-off purchase charge of just GBP 10 and is available in three currencies; euros, US Dollars and Sterling. The minimum initial load is GBP 250 and subsequent top-ups are set at GBP 50 or over. Customers can top-up the card, free of charge, at any point in the year. The Post Office already provides pre-paid debit card top-up services for the following cards – “cashplus,” “360money” and “bluecorner.” The Post Office credit card launched in September.

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