ACI Worldwide Powers Emporiki Bank’s EMV Cards

ACI Worldwide has enabled the deployment of one million EMV debit cards
for Emporiki Bank. Emporiki Bank issues its multi-application EMV cards
using ACI “Smart Chip Manager for Card and Application Management” to manage and automate the process of smart card issuance.
Emporiki Bank was the first Greek bank to issue EMV on a sizable scale
and now has the ability to handle international payments quickly and
efficiently. The bank will also benefit from the liability shift and the
market positioning of the Visa and MasterCard brands.

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CARD SHARE

The market share of American Express and Diners Club has slipped in January to its lowest level since June. In December AmEx and Diners held a 16.8% share but it plummeted to 15.2% in January. One-year ago the two card networks held a combined share of 17.0%. While the January decline can be attributed to higher VISA, MasterCard and Bankcard activity during the holiday season, merchants are resisting the higher fees charged by American Express and Diners Club. The Reserve Bank of Australia forced pricing reforms on VISA, MasterCard and Bankcard in 2003. The average merchant service fee charged by Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA in the fourth quarter rose slightly to 96 basis points but remains down by three basis points compared to one-year ago, but up four basis points from the prior quarter. American Express’ average merchant service fee declined by five basis points to 2.30% from the prior quarter and eight basis points lower than one year ago. Diners Club edged up by four basis points to 2.33%, compared to the prior quarter.
(CFI Library 3/15/06)

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Chase Paymentech Offers the Vx 510

Chase Paymentech Solutions has launched the VeriFone “Vx 510” payment solution for smaller Canadian merchants. This solution efficiently processes all major credit and Interac debit payments, and supports Chase Paymentech’s electronic gift card program, FlexCache. The Vx 510 countertop payment system, supported by the external SC5000 PIN Pad, provides extraordinary electronic payment options using Chase Paymentech’s communication methods.

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Royal LePage and AMEX Offer Relocation Card

Royal LePage Relocation Services Limited, in partnership with American
Express, is announcing the launch of the first-ever purchasing solution
designed specifically for relocating employees in Canada. The customized
American Express Corporate Purchasing Card is loaded with a pre-
determined amount that relocating employees can draw on for their out-of-
pocket expenses. The card not only eliminates some of the financial
inconveniences normally passed off to employees during relocation, but
also
provides employers with supplier controls, so they can identify where the
cardis to be used, and enhanced expense management to help them keep track
of their overall relocation costs.

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Consumer Confidence Nears a 4-Year High

Consumer confidence has been pushed to a near four-year high in March. The Conference Board “Consumer Confidence Index,” which had declined in February, increased in March. The Index now stands at 107.2, up from 102.7 last month. The CB says the improvement in consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions is yet another sign that the economy gained steam in early 2006. Consumer expectations, while improved, remain subdued and still suggest a cooling in activity in the latter half of this year. Consumers expecting business conditions to worsen decreased to 9.9% from 10.9%, while consumers expecting business conditions to improve increased to 18.0% from 16.2%. The proportion of consumers anticipating their incomes to increase in the months ahead held steady at 18.8%.

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Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Hires a CTO

Texas-based Fujitsu Transaction Solutions has hired Scott Langdoc, formerly with AMR Research, as CTO, effective April 10th. Langdoc brings more than 19 years of information technology experience, including chief information officer (CIO) and strategic consulting positions, to his new role at Fujitsu. He was formerly CIO of Raley’s, a $3 billion west coast regional grocery and drug store chain, where he successfully led major point-of-sale (POS) and data warehousing deployments; and PDQuick, a multi-channel convenience store retailer. He was also a general partner at InfoMatrix, LLC, where he provided broad business guidance to the retail and telecommunications industries, as well as the public sector.

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Card Express Integrates with EWI PayGo

Card Express has integrated its prepaid gift, travel and cash debit card products with EWI Holdings’ “PayGo” processing platform. Card Express Inc. is a processor of prepaid debit card products for financial institutions and corporate clients worldwide. About EWI Holdings Inc. EWI Holdings Inc. is a provider of advanced payment processing technologies to the prepaid and cash payments sectors in the U.S. and Latin America.

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GUS to Spin-Off Experian in Next 12 Months

GUS indicated yestersday it will spin-off its Experian business within the next six to 12 months. The move would make the Argos Retail Group a standalone entity. Experian and ARG would become independently listed on the London Stock Exchange. Some analysts suggest the plan may value Experian at more than $13 billion. GUS said it would keep its management including group including CEO John Peace, who would become chairman. The new CEO would be Don Robert. Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Co. announced in November 1996 that they and management sold Experian Information Solutions to the Great Universal Stores for approximately $1.7 billion.

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HSBC Renewals Art Van Furniture Card Deal

Michigan-based Art Van Furniture has extended its long-term private label credit card program with HSBC Retail Services. Since 1980, HSBC and Art Van have partnered to offer Art Van customers financing solutions for purchasing furniture, bedding and accessories for their entire home. In 2001, Art Van and HSBC enhanced the private label program by adding electronic signature capture for point of sale credit applications. Instead of filling out a paper application, a sales associate enters the guest’s information into Art Van’s system, and the guest simply signs the signature pad. HSBC provides a credit decision within seconds, along with a credit line so that the customer can use their new buying power immediately. In 2005, features were added to the program to improve online credit program applications and allow for the first-time, online purchases that are both simple and secure.

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Info Touch Q4 Transaction Volume Up 51%

Canada’s Info Touch Technologies reported that transactional revenue for the fourth quarter increased by 51% to $2.2 million. The EBITDA loss for the period was $403,328. During the quarter, the Company shipped 84 kiosks bringing the total number of kiosks deployed to 743. As of January 31st, 702 of these kiosks were installed and operational (669 in the US and 33 in Canada). The quarter was the 14th straight quarter of double digit percentage growth in number of transactions. The Company also recently disclosed agreements with Cingular Wireless, MetroPCS Wireless and Arizona Public Service Company. For more details on Info Touch’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Holiday Gift Cards Redeemed By February

A new survey shows that nearly 80% of Americans would rather receive a gift card to their favorite retailer than any other kind of gift. The research also showed that 91% of adults who had received holiday gift cards had redeemed them before the end of February. The survey conducted by Comdata’s Stored Value Systems found that 76% of adults purchased gift cards in the 2005 holiday season. Other findings: more than 50% say that they always or often add their own money when making a purchase with a gift card; of those purchasing holiday gift cards, two-thirds bought them in early December; eight respondents in 10 say that they spend more or the same amount on a gift card than they would on an alternate gift; and those who received gift cards during the 2005 holiday season were given an average of 2.6 cards, with an average value of $42.32.

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