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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VeriFone Kiosk Solutions Launched

VeriFone has launched Kiosk Solutions, a secure payment technology for developers of self-service kiosks. Kiosk Solutions is based upon VeriFone’s proven payment software such as PCCharge, RiTA Server and VisualPayments Suite. In addition, a wide variety of customer facing payment devices such as the MX870 multimedia terminal, the Vx 570 fully integrated payment terminal.

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Chockstone Adds Spice to a Taco Card

OR-based Chockstone reports that Taco Bueno nearly doubled its gift card volume last year with its card-based technology over the previous year’s paper-based solution. The company, which has locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, unveiled the new offering in October 2005 in each of its 145 stores, including its first-ever franchise units. Chockstone’s “Single Swipe” technology enables a single payment terminal to process gift, loyalty, and credit cards, keeping transaction time to a minimum. Taco Bueno also leverages Chockstone’s “Gateway” technology, which seamlessly interfaces with the company’s real-time reporting tool to deliver data-rich information about customers and their purchasing preferences. The program is complimented by Chockstone’s retailer-branded Web site, which provides consumers an easy, online tool to purchase cards for themselves or others, reload and combine cards, and check current balances.

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