China’s ICBC Deploys Affina EMV Solution

The Datacard Group has announced that it has successfully implemented a fully-integrated EMV smart card solution for the Industrial Commercial Bank of China. The “Affina” smart card issuance and management software suite enables card issuers to introduce smart cards into their existing Datacard production environments affordably for pilot and rollout program phases. The modular and scalable platform allows an issuer to reuse the same software and hardware resources as the size and needs of their smart card program change over time. Datacard Group provides secure ID and card personalization solutions in more than 120 countries.

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First Annapolis Expands Card Issuing Team

First Annapolis has hired Brent Samuels, formerly with MBNA, as a member of its “Card Issuing” team. With over eight years of card industry experience, Samuels joins us from MBNA where he managed and marketed many of the company’s affinity programs in the education and professional services sectors. Most recently, Samuels focused on MBNA’s new market development efforts where he evaluated opportunities in segments such as the brokerage, healthcare and real estate markets.

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Elvis Presley Prepaid VISA to Launch

EDP Licensing has been granted rights for an Elvis branded debit card program from Elvis Presley Enterprises. The “Elvis Presley Prepaid VISA” card will launch later this month. EDP Licensing, EDebitPay and EDP Secure Deposit Card are wholly-owned subsidiaries of EDP Technologies Corporation. Elvis Presley Enterprises is a subsidiary of CKX, Inc. CKX is engaged in the ownership, development and commercial utilization of entertainment content.

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Swift Gift Becomes Swift Prepaid

IL-based prepaid bankcard specialist Swift Gift has changed its name to “Swift Prepaid Solutions, Inc.” The idea for the company emerged in 1996 when two women tried to purchase a gift certificate for a friend living out of state. They found a bank, a processor and an association willing to sponsor their concept and began selling one of the first consumer prepaid bankcard products in early 1998. Shortly thereafter, Swift Gift migrated its business efforts towards a B2B2C model focused on employee rewards and consumer promotions and incentives. The Company has about 350 business clients today.

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Credit Card Outstandings Up 3.8% in 05

Bank credit card outstandings rose 3.8% last year to $710.9 billion. However, the top five issuers, who control more than $400 billion in outstandings, posted a 1% year-on-year gain. Citigroup and Discover posted declines of about 3%. The Federal Reserve reported this week that revolving consumer credit debt was $803.9 billion for February. On an annual basis, revolving consumer credit, mostly credit card debt, grew by a rate of 1.2% in February.

Credit Card Outstandings
2000: $568.5 billion
2001: $607.7 billion
2002: $660.9 billion
2003: $677.0 billion
2004: $684.9 billion
2005: $710.9 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Mars Sells-Off MEI Conlux

Bain Capital and Advantage Partners have announced they have entered into an agreement to acquire unattended payment systems provider MEI Conlux from Mars, Incorporated. MEI Conlux has the world’s largest installed base of unattended payment systems, handling over 1 billion cash transactions every week. The transaction is subject to normal regulatory approvals. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Financing for the transaction will be provided by Citigroup Japan and Nikko Citigroup. Mars Incorporated was advised by Goldman Sachs. Bain Capital is a global private investment firm with more than $35 billion in assets under management. Advantage Partners is a private equity investment firm and manages about $1 billion in funds.

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ExaDigm and JR’s POS Depot Team

ExaDigm and JR’s POS Depot have teamed to offer the “XD2000 Cellular Wireless Solution” to the merchant acquiring industry. his new partnership will see JR’s POS Depot offering the XD2000 Cellular Wireless Solution as the wireless point-of-sale solution of choice to their key channels, specifically the merchant acquiring industry. ExaDigm is the leading innovator of IP wireless, wired and modular point-of-sale (POS) terminal solutions.

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New Jersey Renews ACS Fare Contract

Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services has signed a $76 million contract renewal with NJ TRANSIT for an upgrade of its fare collection system. The contract includes the upgrade of New Jersey’s existing fare collection system, purchase and delivery of new equipment, and a customer enhancement program of NJ TRANSIT’s ticket vending machine fleet. Further, there are seven one-year options for continuing maintenance and services valued at $112 million for a potential total contract value of $188 million.

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Tranax and TIO Networks Partner

Tranax Technologies and TIO Networks have partnered to launch a joint hybrid ATM initiative. With this agreement, TIO financial services will be available on the new Tranax Mini-Bank 4000 series ATMs. TIO’s services include bill payment, stored value card dispensing and reloading, and prepaid services. TIO networks will process all transactions for financial applications, except for the traditional ATM services. TIO Networks Corp, a strategic investment of Hewlett Packard, is building a national multi-retailer network of financial services kiosks for the “cash preferred” consumer marketplace.

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Disaster No Worry to Business Owners

A new survey from MasterCard found that more than 84% of U.S. small business owners are not worried that a natural disaster will affect their business within the next 12 months. However, while most small business owners are not worried that a disaster will impact their business, 77% admit that their businesses are not fully prepared should one occur. When asked about their top concerns following a natural disaster, 25% of small business owners said that losing customers would be their top concern. The second most identified concern (20%) was the loss of financial records. Nearly 80% of small business owners said that they do back up their business’s financial records, including 52% who create CD or hard drive back-ups that they store off-site.

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