Trycera and Catwalk Intro the Model MasterCard

Trycera Financial and Catwalk Distribution have teamed to launch the “Model Prepaid MasterCard” The contest is an educational program that encourages young women to explore their dreams to be a model, while teaching them what it takes to be successful. The Trycera card platform enables a cardholder to pre-fund money on the card for shopping at millions of merchant locations worldwide where Debit MasterCard is accepted, and for withdrawing cash via ATMs and is a flexible and multi-functional financial tool for individuals learning important principles about fiscal management. Trycera Financial specializes in customized and turnkey prepaid programs and partnerships that serve the needs of self-banked consumers.

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OTI to Help the MBTA Project to Get Smart

New Jersey-based On Track Innovations has signed a deal to provide smart card technology to Scheidt & Bachmann for their Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority project wherein a new mass transit ticketing solution is scheduled to go online next year. The MBTA is America’s first subway system and one of the largest in the nation with over 1.1 million riders each day. OTI will supply readers and support software to be integrated into Scheidt & Bachmann’s front end systems consisting of 3,000 fare boxes, ticket vending machines, point-of-sales devices and fare gates. Under the new agreement, the system will be installed in all Boston subway stations, Commuter Rail lines and dedicated Retail Sales offices. The solution allows the transit card to be used for loyalty programs and tiered fare structures while providing security and transaction speed. OTI is a provider of secure contactless microprocessor-based smart card technology to address the needs of a wide variety of markets. Scheidt & Bachmann produce and market systems for car park and leisure center installations, protection of railway crossings, fare collection technology and gas stations.

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Hypercom’s NETSET Awarded ISO9001:2000

Hypercom announced that its NETSET
multi-technical services organization has been awarded the
International Organization for Standardization ISO9001:2000
certification for quality assurance in Brazil. The certification
indicates that NETSET adheres to stringent quality management
standards for products and services established by the International
Organization for Standardization to serve as a guide for
organizations that want to better serve their clients. Hypercom’s
NETSET Services Division serves more than 450,000 customers in the
retail, financial and healthcare sectors through several authorized
service centers all over the country and more than 1,200 field
technicians capable of handling more than 80,000 calls per month.

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Consumer Spending to Rise 3.1% in 2006

A new forecast suggests that the Fed will increase the funds rate to 4.75% by March and will hold that rate steady throughout the rest of 2006. Despite a housing price slowdown, higher oil prices and Fed rate increases, Wells Fargo’s senior economists forecast steady economic growth next year. However, the main risk for the economy next year is the extent to which the housing market downturn could dampen consumer spending, credit quality and job creation. Nevertheless, Wells Fargo forecasts a 3.1% growth rate in consumer spending next year, down from 3.6% in 2005.

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DHL Inks the Encore Payment Systems Contract

DHL has inked a deal to handle all transportation services for Encore Payment Systems’ hand-held credit card payment scanners, including shipments to retail customer locations, deliveries to Encore’s corporate office and distribution facility in Addison, Texas and repair and return shipping. DHL is also providing e-commerce consulting services to assess Encore’s technology requirements, and identify the automation system solutions to best enable shipment processing and tracking. For Encore, DHL’s e-commerce consultants arranged to connect Encore’s CRM system to DHL’s ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) for automatic processing of credit card payment system orders. Leveraging DHL’s scanning capabilities, both companies’ systems will be automatically updated to keep track of inventory, providing greater visibility into the status of orders.

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Credit Card Up 15% and Tops the A$32B Mark

Credit card debt passed the A$32 billion milestone in October as
charge volume plateaued in the face of higher energy prices and
cardholder fees at the POS. Australians also are expected to submit
875,000 applications for credit cards during the fourth quarter, an increase of 11% from one-year ago.
During the past twelve months, credit card debt has increased 14.9%
while credit card volume has risen 13.3%. One-year ago credit card debt
stood at A$28.1 billion. Gross dollar volume on credit card and charge
cards in October was A$14.5 billion, the same as September. Credit card
volume peaked in December 2004 at A$16.2 billion. Based on data from the
Reserve Bank of Australia, consumers charged A$13.5 billion in purchases
on credit/charge cards during October, compared to A$11.9 billion
one-year ago. Card credit limits reached A$89.5 billion at the end of
October, compared to A$79.3 billion for October 2004. There are
currently 12.4 million credit card and charge card accounts in
Australia, compared to 11.5 million one-year ago. Meanwhile, Baycorp
Advantage says 90,000 more Australians will file applications for credit
cards in the fourth quarter, compared to one-year ago.

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BofA Becomes the 4th AmEx U.S. Issuer

Bank of America, the largest VISA issuer in the U.S., has agreed to become the fourth U.S. issuer of American Express cards. In return, AmEx has agreed to dismiss BofA from its antitrust lawsuit against VISA, MasterCard and other U.S. banks. The deal also means that the card-issuing partnership between MBNA and AmEx will continue after BofA and MBNA merge. The merger, which is expected to close January 1st, will create the largest U.S. credit card issuer based on card loans, the country’s largest debit card issuer and the world’s largest affinity card issuer. In January 2004, MBNA became the first U.S. financial institution to sign a network partnership with AmEx. MBNA has been issuing AmEx cards for slightly more than one year. BofA plans to start issuing the cards later next year. BofA has more than 5,800 banking centers nationwide. Totally, AmEx has established 93 card-issuing partnerships in more than 100 countries. Yesterday, Citibank announced the launch of five U.S. credit cards on the American Express network after inking a deal last December. USAA FSB, which signed a deal in May, expects to launch AmEx cards in the second quarter of 2006. (CF Library 1/30/04; 12/14/04; 6/1/05; 12/16/05; 12/20/05)

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SVS to Issue Hyatt Hotels Gift Cards

Comdata’s Louisville-based Stored Value Systems has launched an electronic gift card program for Hyatt Hotels. The new cards can be purchased at any participating Hyatt Hotel, online and select retail outlets, including Staples and Kroger stores nationwide, in denominations up to $500. Louisville-based Stored Value Systems also began issuing the Panda Express gift card and the Schlotzsky’s restaurant chain gift card in September. In August SVS began issuing gift cards for the Atlanta Falcons. (CF Library 8/24/05; 9/30/05)

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TRANSFIRST ISS Names a New Western Exec

Dallas-based TRANSFIRST has named Jaime Gonzalez as the western region VP of business development for the Independent Sales Services division In this role, Gonzalez will help lead the company’s business growth and development with independent sales organizations and agents in the country’s western region. His primary responsibilities will be to develop new business relationships, increase market share for TRANSFIRST’s products and services and assist independent sales organizations and sales contractors in customizing merchant processing programs. TRANSFIRST is a provider of transaction processing services and payment enabling technologies.

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TRX and MasterCard Expand the DATATRAX Deal

Atlanta-based TRX has extended and expanded its “DATATRAX” data integration contract with MasterCard. The new agreement expands TRX’s data integration responsibilities to manage content from global travel management companies (TMCs). By providing access to consolidated TMC information, MasterCard helps its issuing banks increase their value to their corporate clients. DATATRAX supports data consolidation, enhancement, warehousing, file delivery, and business intelligence and reporting services on behalf of global travel and financial services leaders. TRX is a leading, independent provider of transaction processing and data integration services to the global travel industry.

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TSYS Loses BofA Consumer Card Processing

Bank of America, pending its acquisition of MBNA, has notified TSYS of its intent to bring the processing of its consumer card portfolio in-house next October. The BofA decision will reduce TSYS annual revenues by approximately 14.9%. However, TSYS expects to continue providing commercial and small business card processing for BofA and MBNA as well as merchant processing for BofA. BofA will pay a termination fee related to the deconversion of the consumer portfolio. TSYS says all relationships with BofA and MBNA are expected to generate a combined total of $376.9 million in revenues for 2005, or 23.5% of total revenues. TSYS projects an annualized loss of approximately $239 million in revenues upon deconversion of the consumer card portfolio that BofA plans to move in-house.

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