ZVV Selects ACS Fare Collection System

Affiliated Computer Services has been selected by the Zurich
transportation authority to deliver its automated fare collection
system. Under the contract ACS will supply the Zurich public
transportation network with 1,100 automatic ticket vending
machines, plus 500 mobile ticketing devices for operation by bus drivers
by the end of 2008. A contract for the first part of the project, worth CHF 1.37 million, is in place and ACS will be awarded the remainder of the work in the form of further contracts following the successful commissioning of the first phase of the project.The new user-friendly machines will accept electronic payment methods such as direct debit and credit cards. ACS provides business process outsourcing and information technology solutions.

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Thales Introduces Artema Compact Terminal

Weston, FL-based Thales e-Security has introduced the next generation of its “Artema Compact” payment terminal. The “Compact” uses 32-bit RISC processing and a large memory coupled with a sleek compact design and small footprint. The “Compact” handles smart cards, gift and loyalty cards, check services, check imaging, age verification and electronic purses. The new terminal also offers SSL, 3-DES encryption, EMV Level 1 and 2, and VISA PED certification. Several Class B certifications for the “Compact” have been issued by major processing networks.

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Everlink Acquires CGI Assets

Everlink Payment Services and CGI Group announced that Everlink Services
has acquired CGI’s electronic switching assets for CDN$28 million.
Everlink Payment Services is an electronic transaction switching provider
that specializes in gateway transaction switching, ATM driving and
monitoring, and debit card processing for credit unions, banks, and
independent service organizations. CGI is an information technology and
business process services firm with annual revenue of CDN$3.7 billion.

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MasterCard Offers SecureCode Incentives

MasterCard has launched a new multi-faceted campaign to help merchants protect consumer data. To support deployment of MasterCard’s “SecureCode” cardholder authentication solution, online merchants are eligible for up to a 16% reduction over face-to-face transactions. MasterCard also announced the global availability of free network vulnerability scans for merchants. Participating companies include AmbironTrustWave, Cybertrust, One-Sec, Qualys and SecurityMetrics. Additionally, the new security campaign includes an educational campaign that uses advertising, Web content and Webinars to inform merchants about security issues and resources.

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AIRCHARGE Marketed to Tow Truck Group

Massachusetts-based Pipeline Data has signed a deal with towPartners to market its “AIRCHARGE” wireless credit card acceptance and check guarantee technology to towPartners’ 7,000 members. The AIRCHARGE payment solution will enable tow truck drivers to receive payments on the road via swiped credit card and check guarantee transactions over their cell phones. towPartners reports that its members currently use over 25,000 AIRCHARGE compatible mobile phones and activate an additional 400 mobile phones per month. The agreement requires towPartners to promote the AIRCHARGE payment solution to its membership. AIRCHARGE provides credit card processing and wireless check guarantee solutions using Java-enabled cell phones on nearly all major US cellular carriers. Pipeline Data Inc. provides integrated transaction processing services for all major credit cards.

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Navy FCU Card Loans Pass $2B at EOY 2005

The nation’s largest credit union bank credit card issuer posted an 19% annual gain in outstandings, topping $2 billion for the first time. VA-based Navy FCU reported 4Q/05 outstandings of $2.11 billion, ranking it as the 20th largest U.S. issuer according to CardData. Fourth quarter volume was $1.3 billion, compared to $1.1 billion for 4Q/04. For the full year, Navy FCU posted gross dollar volume of $4.64 billion, compared to $3.98 billion for 2004. The issuer’s account base increased 12%, to 1,104,547 accounts. However, active accounts increased only 8%, to 580,376 accounts. At the end of 2005, Navy FCU had 1,196,084 cardholders. The credit union issues “Classic,” “Gold,” and “Platinum” VISA and MasterCards, as well as the “nRewards” VISA and MasterCard, “TravelValue” VISA and a “Student” VISA card. In July, TSYS renewed its agreement to process Navy FCU’s credit card accounts for an additional five years. For complete details on Navy FCU’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 7/7/05)

NAVY FCU EOY OUTSTANDINGS
2001: $1,308,114,643
2002: $1,458,404,990
2003: $1,604,048,644
2004: $1,775,319,090
2005: $2,110,159,600
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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SAGE & VERUS

The U.K.’s largest software company is acquiring a U.S. credit card
processor that focuses on small and medium-sized businesses.
London-based Sage Group has signed a deal to buy Nashville-based Verus
Financial Management for GBP 184 million in cash. Verus posted 2005
revenues of GBP 36 million compared to GBP 29 million in 2004. Operating
profit, before depreciation and amortization was approximately GBP 12
million compared to GBP 4 million in the prior year. At the end of 2005,
Verus had gross assets of approximately GBP 14 million. Verus was found
in April 2002 by Rich Roberts. Roberts was the previous founder and CEO
of PMT Services which was sold to NOVA for $1.3 billion in 1998. Verus
acquired Network 1 in July 2002. Sage says Verus will form the core of
its North American Merchant Services Division, complementing Sage’s
existing North American Payroll Services.

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CardOne Plus Deploys NFR Security System

CardOne Plus, which offers customized, branded debit card solutions for a global client base of merchant resellers, corporations, and users of eWallet solutions, has deployed NFR Security’s “Sentivist Intrusion Prevention System” for its real-time monitoring and alert capabilities against all network threats. NFR Security is a provider of real-time threat protection systems to secure business networks CardOne Plus provides customized, branded debit card solutions for a global client base of merchant resellers, corporations, and users of eWallet solutions.

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Smaller Portfolios Attract Solid Premiums

Smaller credit card portfolio sales produced an average premium of 15% last year, with the range beginning at 5% and ending at more than 20%. This compares to an overall average premium above portfolio asset value of 20.43% for 2005, the highest price level in more than ten years. According to card portfolio broker R.K. Hammer, smaller deals tend to have very conservative local credit quality standards with known customers, thus producing somewhat lower income yields but much better loan quality and FICO Scores. Hammer also says that average cardholder balances are usually lower than larger portfolios and thus create an asset/income growth opportunity after the purchase. Additionally, except in the instance of a partial portfolio sale, smaller sellers and buyers always want high quality ongoing agent programs, making the purchase price a buyer is willing to pay up to twice as much than for a liquidating file.

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AmeriDebt and DebtWorks Settle FTC Charges

The founder of a credit counseling and debt management enterprise has agreed to settle FTC deception charges for as much as $35 million. Andris Pukke, founder of AmeriDebt and DebtWorks, is also permanently barred from engaging in credit counseling, debt management, and credit education activities. In November 2003, the FTC charged that AmeriDebt and DebtWorks deceived consumers with claims that AmeriDebt was a nonprofit organization and that it provided counseling services to consumers seeking to get out of debt. The FTC charged that, rather than operating for charitable purposes as advertised, AmeriDebt funneled profits to affiliated for-profit entities and individuals, including DebtWorks and Pukke. The complaint also charged that the defendants did not provide counseling services, but simply enrolled every customer in a debt management plan. According to the FTC, AmeriDebt also kept its clients’ first payment under their DMPs as its own fee, rather than disbursing the money to consumers’ creditors as promised.

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CUs Offered a 2006 Card Marketing Guide

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has published a new marketing guide for credit unions that covers acquisition, activation, retention and loyalty programs. The TNB 2006 Card Marketing Guide offers a mix of solutions for acquisition, activation, retention, and loyalty programs. TNB works with its client credit unions to develop successful campaigns to drive card usage and increase revenue.

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Verus to be Acquired by UK Firm for $325MM

Nashville-based Verus Financial Management is being acquired by the UK’s Sage Group for $325 million in cash. Verus is a credit card processor that focuses on small and medium-sized businesses. Verus posted 2005 revenues of $64 million compared to $51 million in 2004. Operating profit, before depreciation and amortization was approximately $21 million compared to $7 million in the prior year. At the end of 2005, Verus had gross assets of approximately $25 million. Verus was found in April 2002 by Rich Roberts. Roberts was the previous founder and CEO of PMT Services which was sold to NOVA for $1.3 billion in 1998. Verus acquired Network 1 in July 2002. Sage says Verus will form the core of its North American Merchant Services Division, complementing Sage’s existing North American Payroll Services.

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