Discover Reaches Out to Merchants

Like the other U.S. networks, Discover is reaching out to merchants and linking up to more issuers. This morning the Discover Network announced the establishment of a “Merchant Advisory Council” and that it has recently reached agreements with five new financial institutions to issue credit or prepaid cards on its network. Discover’s “Merchant Advisory Council is made up of approximately 20 member companies including American Airlines, Darden Restaurants, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Knowledge Learning, Kohl’s, McDonald’s, QuikTrip, The Sharper Image, SUPERVALU, and Wal-Mart. The Council will meet every six months with the first meeting scheduled for next week. Discover also announced it recently added new network issuers including: Alliance Data, First Bank & Trust, Morgan Beaumont, West Suburban Bancorp and Palm Desert National Bank. Previously announced issuers include HSBC Bank Nevada, affiliates of GE Consumer Finance, and CompuCredit. Discover Card has more than 50 million cardholders and over 4 million merchant and cash access locations in the USA.

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BidPay Returns After 6-Months

CyberSource announced the relaunch of the “BidPay” auction payment service. Acquired by CyberSource in March 2006, BidPay had over 4 million registered users prior to ceasing operations in December. CyberSource says it returns with a number of competitive innovations including seller protection and the ability for sellers to accept payments from buyers around the world. Subject to certain conditions, “BidPay” sellers receive charge-back protection for “BidPay” approved payments received from BidPay buyers. Seller protection means sellers receive payment for their auctions without the need for special bonding, insurance, escrow, or risk of subsequent charge-backs.

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GZS & FDC

The sale of GZS Gesellschaft fur Zahlungssysteme to First Data has been completed. The deal comes on the heels of GZS’ first quarter report which shows a consolidated profit of around 2.5 million euros before taxes, an increase of around 50% over the same period last year.
Last year, GZS posted a full-year profit of 11.4 million euros after losing 20.2 million euros in 2004 and 26.9 million euros in 2003. GZS is Germany’s leading processor of cashless, card-based payment transactions. GZS processes nearly one billion transactions per year
and provides processing services for more than 8.5 million German and
Swiss credit cards that have been outsourced by the banks. The shares of GZS that were previously held by the savings banks organization, private banks and the co-operative banking sector have been fully transferred to First Data. Through the acquisition, First Data becomes the market leading processor of card-based payment transactions in Germany.

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ISO BPS Signs MedCom USA

Arizona-based MedCom USA has signed an agreement with Business Payment Systems, the largest ISO that works with Bank of America Merchant Services. The agreement with MedCom System will expand exponentially the coverage of sales territories for the MedCom System and complement many of the current sales personnel by creating a presence for MedCom in areas not presently covered under current arrangements. MedCom has been building an extensive sales network encompassing strategic partnerships with major ISO organizations in order to effectively expand the presentation of its system to the healthcare and dental market.

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Gemalto’s Toronto Plant is ISO Certified

Gemalto has achieved ISO/IEC 27001 certification for its advanced card
personalization center outside Toronto. This is the first card
personalization center in Canada to receive the ISO designation. The new
certification is a globally recognized certification that details
stringent requirements for the implementation
of an information security management system. Through its
personalization center, Gemalto is assisting Canadian
financial institutions as they begin converting an estimated 100 million
magnetic stripe cards to microprocessor-based smart cards based on
standards from VISA, MasterCard and others.

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InterceptEFT Partners with EFT Canada

InterceptEFT announced a strategic partnership with EFT Canada Inc.
Through the EFT Canada partnership, InterceptEFT will improve its
ACH processing capabilities for transmitting Canadian funds and
maintaining customer data. Customers will benefit from paperless and
seamless EFT/ACH transactions between Canadian and U.S. bank accounts.
EFT Canada provides direct customer billing and collections for
business services and products on a scheduled basis. InterceptEFT
provides payment-processing services and software. It processed more
than 26 million ACH transactions in 2005.

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PPI to Offer Processing to Aldelo

Payment Processing has partnered with Aldelo Systems (f/k/a NextPOS) to offer Aldelo customers high speed Internet credit card processing. Utilizing the PPI PayMover for Restaurants secure online gateway, restaurateurs receive state-of-the-art technology and the fastest transaction times available. PPI PayMover for Restaurants features include payments, integration, security, communication,compliance, and 24/7/365 live merchant support. Payment Processing provides integrated payment processing solutions. Aldelo Systems provides POS software solutions for the hospitality industry.

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Credit Scores Lag Credit Problems

A newly launched study of the effectiveness of consumer credit counseling has found the act of seeking counseling is a valuable “early warning” indicator of serious financial trouble that facilitates timely intervention and assistance. Credit bureau information available at the time of counseling often does not reflect private information that many counseled clients possess regarding recent or impending negative changes to their financial condition. As a result, creditors have limited indicators that such borrowers may need assistance. Effective credit counseling agencies can help to identify borrowers who are in financial distress. Telephone and face-to-face delivery of the initial counseling appear to generate equivalent outcomes for consumers’ creditworthiness measured two years later. This is true both for clients who complete only an initial counseling session and those who enter debt management programs. The ongoing study is being conducted for the Consumer Federation of America and American Express Company by the Georgetown University Credit Research Center using data supplied by ten leading consumer credit counseling agencies.

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eFunds Launches RAPIDReviewer

eFunds Retail Solutions has released a new workflow and data management solution that helps Internet retailers improve the performance and efficiency of their manual order review process for suspicious transactions. The new “RAPIDReviewer” software is the first commercially available solution to automate the back-office manual order review process. eFunds says the new software can dramatically increase the number of orders reviewed with fewer resources and fewer mistakes. Without an efficient manual review, legitimate orders are often rejected and fraudulent orders are accepted, resulting in lost profits, increased operating costs and poor customer relations. “RAPIDReviewer” is expected to be available in the summer for companies in U.S., Canada, and U.K., and following soon in the rest of Europe. eFunds Retail Solutions was formerly known as ClearCommerce Corporation.

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Wells to Offer Contactless Cards

Wells Fargo has joined the contactless bandwagon with the upcoming launch of “VISA Contactless” for its “VISA Platinum” and “VISA Signature” cards. Wells joins other major issuers such as Chase and Citibank who have launched contactless cards. Chase is the market leader with its “blink” contactless cards with more than six million cards issued to-date. The new Wells Fargo “VISA Contactless” cards will be personalized by First Data. Globally there are almost 4.5 million VISA cards with the contactless feature and more than 30,000 merchant locations in the U.S. accept contactless payments.

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Hypercom Lands 90 Intl Distributors

Hypercom has expanded to 90 its number of international distributors. This coordinated initiative is designed to drive sales of its trusted, high-security electronic transaction products in both traditional and emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Hypercom provides high-security, end-to-end electronic payment products and services.

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