BofA Introduces the PetRewards VISA

Bank of America and Hill’s Pet Nutrition have launched a new credit card that will earn reward points for pet-related expenses and donations to participating animal shelters. “PetRewards VISA” cardholders are also able to add a picture of their pet on the new card. Cardholders receive two reward points for every dollar spent at participating veterinary clinics, major pet retailers, farm and feed stores and neighborhood pet specialty stores. They also receive one point for every dollar spent for other purchases. Cardholders receive 500 bonus points with their first purchase and can earn up to 100,000 points annually. For 1,000 points, cardholders can get a $20 rebate on veterinary clinic expenses or make a $10 donation to a needy animal shelter.

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HID & FARGO

Stockholm-based ASSA ABLOY’s HID Global Corporation has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Fargo Electronics. The companies said the acquisition is a result of a long-standing relationship and the decision to jointly pursue opportunities in the secure identification field. Fargo is a major provider in the development of secure technologies for identity card issuance systems, including secure
card printer/encoders, materials and software. The company has
sold more than 120,000 systems in the U.S. and over 80 other countries
worldwide. For the first quarter the Company had $20.1 million in sales, compared to $18.7 million for 1Q/05. HID is a top supplier of contactless access control cards and readers, and other security products for corporations and governments globally.

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Allegiant Group & Loyalty Lab Partner

Cincinnati-based The Allegiant Group has signed a deal to provide San Francisco-based Loyalty Lab with program development, management and marketing expertise in exchange for Loyalty Lab’s CRM platform. Allegiant reward certificates and stored value cards are accepted nationwide for purchases and experiences in categories such as retail, travel, dining, movies & entertainment, sports & leisure. Loyalty Lab provides on-demand retail loyalty and customer management solutions.

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HID Global to Acquire Fargo Electronics

Sweden’s ASSA ABLOY’s U.S.-based HID Global Corporation has inked a definitive agreement to acquire MN-based Fargo Electronics for cash. The companies said the acquisition is a result of a long-standing relationship and the decision to jointly pursue opportunities in the secure identification field. Fargo is a major provider in the development of secure technologies for identity card issuance systems, including secure card printer/encoders, materials and software. The company has sold more than 120,000 systems in the U.S. and over 80 other countries worldwide. For the first quarter the Company had $20.1 million in sales, compared to $18.7 million for 1Q/05. HID is a top supplier of contactless access control cards and readers and other security products for corporations and governments globally.

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AirPlus’ 2005 Transaction Volume Up 15%

AirPlus International reported a 14% increase in transaction volume for 2005 to nearly $15.5 billion. The main drivers of growth were international markets, where volume rose by 37 percent. AirPlus served over 30,000 corporate customers in 2005. Profit before taxes was USD 14 million. AirPlus International offers customized travel payment solutions, including central bill accounts, corporate cards and management information tools.

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Cards Help MT’s Corrections Collections

The Montana Department of Corrections reports that its online payment service has watched the number of credit or debit card transactions increase from 14 in the opening month to 135 in April and that monthly payments have nearly tripled in that time from about $5,900 to $16,600. Since the launch last fall, the Web site has provided Montana offenders with a convenient way to pay court-ordered restitution to the victims of their crimes and to pay a share of their community supervision costs. The department has been responsible for collecting restitution payments since October 2003 when a change in a law removed the duty from district courts. The department has thus far distributed $4.8 million directly to victims owed restitution and another $215,450 in supervision fees. The amount of restitution collected has grown by about 16 percent annually since the agency took over the job.

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IL AG Sues a Debt Collection Agency

The Illinois Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Financial Credit Service, Inc. that allegedly used unfair pressure tactics and misrepresentations to convince consumers they had to make payments on often uncollectible debt. Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division has received 88 complaints against Financial Credit Service, alleging the collection agency used unfair and deceptive representations to obtain payments on uncollectible debt. In some cases, consumers alleged they were intimidated into making payments of between $100 and $5,000. In other reported instances, the defendants allegedly deducted money from the consumer’s bank account without the consumer’s permission.

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Citibank and AmEx Receive TV Ad Awards

The Financial Communications Society has awarded Citibank six “Gold” awards,including “Best In Show” in the “Consumer Retail” category for its “Train” television spot and awarded American Express six “Gold” awards, including “Best In Show” in the “Corporate Image” category for its “Winslet” television spot. This year’s Awards competition included 350 entries and was expanded to include Collateral for the first time. Winning entries were received from more than 30 financial services providers. The Financial Communications Society is a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to improving professional standards in financial communications.

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QuickBooks POS Tops 50,000 Retailers

Intuit reported that 50,000 small business retailers now use the “QuickBooks Point of Sale” management system. Since its introduction in 2001, the software has seen an average year-over-year growth of 30%. The “QuickBooks Point of Sale” system sells for $799 and up and is available as stand-alone software or with a complete set of retail hardware including a receipt printer, bar code scanner, credit card reader and cash drawer. The software and hardware can be used alone or together with QuickBooks financial software. The new version 5.0 offers increased simplicity and flexibility along with new inventory and gift card features.

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BenSoft Selects the MBI Benefits Card

San Diego-based BenSoft is integrating with Metavante’s “MBI Benefits Card” Under the terms of the agreement, BenSoft and Metavante Healthcare Payment Solutions have developed an interface that facilitates information flows between the two companies’ systems on a real-time basis. Additionally, BenSoft built a common platform for use with the MBI Benefits Card. RepayMe participants are issued a nationally accepted debit card that gives them immediate access to their FSA/HRA/HSA funds at the point of service. BenSoft markets RepayMe.com, an ASP-based flexible benefits administration software solution.

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