Friesland to Use Digipass 815 with a Debit Card

VASCO Data Security International announced that Friesland Bank will use a “Digipass 815” unconnected secure smart card reader in combination with a chip and PIN enabled debit card to bolster user authentication to the bank’s Internet banking applications. “Digipass 815” is a light, ultra-portable and easy to use secure smart card
reader. Friesland Bank is an independent bank operating in the north and east of the Netherlands. VASCO designs, develops, markets and supports patented “Identity Authentication” products for e-business and e-commerce.

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Findomestic Outsourcing Payment Data to TNS

Findomestic has outsourced the transport of its payments data to Transaction Network Services. Under the two-year deal, TNS will migrate Findomestic’s credit card transactions from a dedicated in-house “Itapac” system to TNS’IP Dial solution. Using an IP connection, TNS may annually transport up to 15 million payment transactions made using Findomestic’s credit card, “Carte Aura”. TNS’ international network allows data to be relayed between 96 points-of-presence in 25 countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The move will enable Findomestic to expand its business. To safeguard Findomestic’s customers against the risk of disruption to business, TNS has installed a secondary disaster recovery route to the company’s back-up site in Milan.

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National Bank of Canada to Issue Vaughan MuniCard

Toronto-based Civic Strategies has selected National Bank of Canada to issue the
“MuniCard”, North America’s first municipal credit card. The City of
Vaughan will roll out the card in spring 2006. The “MuniCard” was
created to reduce the burden of property taxes for residential owners
and business and to stimulate local economies. The card channels credit
card reward cash points to the property owner’s taxes. Wherever the card
is used, nationally or internationally, reward cash points will be
applied to the cardholder’s municipal taxes. The co-branded credit
cards will be linked to the municipality’s property identification
numbers and, when used, will automatically direct reward cash points to
offset property taxes. Civic Strategies is the first
Canadian company to introduce municipalities and other governments to a
co-branded credit card aimed at reducing residential and commercial
property tax payments as well as other municipal services.

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Blenz Coffee Offers Reloadable Card

British Columbia-based Blenz Coffee have launched the reloadable
“Blenz Card”, developed using technology from Ernex, a division of
Moneris Solutions. By registering their gift card on the
Blenz website, customers can enroll in a service that automatically
reloads the card with funds. As soon as the Blenz Card reaches a
specified limit set by the customer, the Blenz Card is automatically
reloaded with additional funds from a credit card of the customer’s
choice. The automatic reloading capability differs from other
reloadable stored value cards that typically update card balances at the
end of the day. Blenz Cards can also be reloaded for any amount from $5
to $100 anytime at all participating Blenz locations. Blenz Card holders
are eligible to receive benefits on future beverage promotions,
merchandise and other Blenz products through swipe-and-win contests and
receipt coupons and messages. Ernex is a provider of innovative
real-time marketing solutions including privately branded and
multi-merchant loyalty programs, stored-value gift cards, reward
fulfillment services and loyalty database hosting services.

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Avantel Signs POS Agreement with TNS

Avantel has signed an alliance with Transaction Network
Services to provide cohesive network transaction
solutions to Mexican debit, credit and ATM processors. The alliance
marks the first POS agreement for TNS’ Latin American operations.
Avantel TNS will merge Avantel’s telecommunications infrastructure with
TNS’ POS technology and expertise in secure network transactions.
Avantel is Mexico’s leading IP-based telecommunications services
provider.

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Former MBNA Exec Hired by a Gambling Firm

MBNA’s former EVP/Director of Financial Reporting and Control, Desiree Burke, has been hired by Penn National Gaming as VP/Corporate Controller. Burke’s responsibilities at Penn National will include financial accounting and reporting such as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, certifications and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and documentation. Burke brings eighteen years of accounting experience to her new position at Penn National. She joined MBNA in 1994 and held positions of ascending responsibilities in the finance department including Executive Vice President/Assistant Controller and Executive Vice President/Director of Control. During her tenure with MBNA she was also responsible for merger and acquisition accounting and reporting. Burke earned a Masters in Accounting from Widener University. Penn National Gaming owns and operates casino and horse racing facilities in thirteen jurisdictions including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ontario.

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Burger King Opts for ValueLink Gift Cards

First Data Prepaid Services’ ValueLink has inked a deal with Burger King to add prepaid gift card services to its “PAY IT YOUR WAY” card acceptance program. Under terms of the deal, Burger King is ordering gift cards exclusively from ValueLink for stores in the USA and Canada. BK will also process prepaid transactions via FDC. The agreement expands FDC’s relationship with Burger King. In 2004, BK selected Chase Paymentech Solutions, a joint venture between First Data and Chase, as their payments processor in the USA. FDC also processes credit card transactions for BK restaurants in Canada. The “PAY IT YOUR WAY” program includes credit cards, signature-based debit cards, and prepaid cards.

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IKEA Pioneers In-Store Credit Card Kiosks

The largest home furnishings retailer and a pioneer of self-service has launched a credit card for U.S. customers that is available via in-store kiosks. The new IKEA private label credit card is issued by GE Consumer Finance. The self-service bilingual kiosks process credit applications in less than five minutes and without the assistance of an IKEA employee. Applicants receive a receipt they can use immediately through the following business day. The IKEA card is sent within seven to ten business days. Four to five kiosks are placed throughout each store. The card program also offers optional fixed payment plans for big-ticket purchases and special financing offers and payment promotions. IKEA has more than 225 stores in 33 countries, including 26 stores in the USA.

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GE Money to Issue the Ben Moss Jewellers Card

GE Money Canada landed a credit card program for Ben Moss Jewellers. Under this program, GE Money Canada will provide
Ben Moss Jewellers with card services to including marketing, risk
management, customer service, collections and payment processing. The
accounts will be serviced at GE Money Canada’s offices in Edmonton and
Toronto. The Ben Moss credit card has no annual or administration fees
and is currently offering all cardholders a six-month no payments
deferred interest promotion on purchases over $200. Ben Moss Jewellers has 52 stores located in 37 cities across Canada. GE Money Canada is
part of GE Consumer Finance-Americas and provides private label credit
card and MasterCard programs to consumers.

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AmEx Launches The Knot & Nest Credit Cards

American Express and The Knot have launched two new co-branded consumer credit cards. The “Knot Credit Card” was developed for couples planning their wedding, and “The Nest Credit Card” is designed specifically for newlyweds. The Knot is a leading wedding resource that reaches 1.2 million engaged couples annually through the Web, newsstands, bookstores, and national television. The “Knot Credit Card” offers a wedding planning kit, special travel offers and free gifts. The new card also provides benefits and special discounts for wedding-related merchants and events. The “Nest Credit Card” also offers a planning kit as well as discounts for home-related offers plus special travel offers. Both cards carry no annual fee and offer automatic enrollment in the “Membership Rewards” program. Cardholders receive 5,000 bonus points with their first purchase and 10,000 bonus points with annual spend of $15,000.

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Metris & HSBC Close as Metris CEO & CFO Exit

Metris CEO David Wesselink and CFO Bill Houlihan have left Metris Companies today following its merger with HSBC. This past summer the SEC served a “Wells Notice” on Wesselink and controller Mark Wagener. The SEC investigation, first disclosed by Metris in August 2003, concerns the company’s reporting and treatment of allowance for loan losses for 2001 and its valuation of retained interests in securitized loans. HSBC required Metris to resolve the SEC issues. Earlier this week, the Midwest Regional Office of the SEC informed Metris that it does not intend to recommend an enforcement action against Metris. More than 99% of Metris shareholders voted to approve the HSBC acquisition yesterday. The acquisition closed this morning. Metris will become a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC. Metris and HSBC signed an agreement on August 4th for an all-cash transaction of $1.59 billion. (CF Library 7/13/05; 8/4/05; 11/29/05)

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