Interchange Litigation Bandwagon Grows

More merchant associations have jumped on the litigation bandwagon to take on credit card interchange fees. The latest group represents thousands of drug stores, convenience stores and food stores. The National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Cooperative Grocers Association filed an antitrust, class-action lawsuit against VISA, MasterCard, BofA, Citibank, Bank One, Chase, Capital One, among others, alleging the defendants colluded in setting interchange fees for credit cards. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Friday by Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. Last month, Kroger and six other major merchants filed a similar lawsuit against MasterCard, and in July against VISA. To-date, more than two dozen interchange-related lawsuits have been filed. The first major lawsuit by merchants to take on U.S. interchange fees, filed in October 2004, was thrown out of court in July for lack of standing under current antitrust laws. The judge found that the merchants had no factual basis to support their allegation that VISA and MasterCard set the merchant discount fee. A recent Morgan Stanley study determined that VISA and MasterCard interchange dollar volume grew to $17.4 billion last year, compared to $9.4 billion six years ago. (CF Library 6/23/05; 7/27/05; 8/4/05)

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e-Port Powers Spray Suntan Lotion Booths

Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies is integrating its “e-Port” payment card technology into spray suntan lotion booths to be installed in hotels nationwide. e-Port will provide debit and credit card transactions as well as provide real-time sales reporting, allowing the machines to be available to customers on demand. The e-Port technology operates on Cingular wireless and the transaction cost will automatically be deposited in the booth operator’s business account. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries.

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ViVOtech Raises $18MM in Funding Round

Contactless payment specialist ViVOtech has raised more than $18 million in a second round of funding led by Draper Fisher Jurveston. Also participating in the round are Nokia Growth Partners, DFJ Gotham and previous investor Alloy Ventures. ViVOtech provides an end-to-end transaction platform that allows consumers to make contactless payments. Draper Fisher Jurvetson has created a global network of affiliated venture funds with over $3 billion in capital commitments. Nokia Growth Partners focuses on investments in information and communications technologies. Alloy Ventures primary areas of investment are in information technology and life science industries with more than $750 million under management.

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STAR CHOICE MASTERCARD

Star Choice Communications and MBNA Canada have teamed to launch two co-branded rewards credit cards. The new “Star Choice Platinum
MasterCard” and the “Star Choice Preferred MasterCard” offer MBNA’s “WorldPoints” rewards program. Cardholders can also receive $50 in programming credits from Star Choice for pre-authorizing their monthly Star Choice to the card. The card carries a $29 annual fee.

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Fair Isaac Wins an Oracle Partner Award

Fair Isaac has won the “2005 Oracle North America Titan Partner of the Year Award” in the “Database” category. Based on Fair Isaac’s market-proven neural network and patented profiling technologies, the solution analyzes transaction data encompassing the traffic traversing a network and assigns risk scores that alert managers to potential network trouble. Oracle Partner Network is a global business network of 15,000 companies who deliver innovative software solutions based on Oracle software. Fair Isaac provides predictive modeling, decision analysis, intelligence management, decision management systems and consulting services.

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Smart Card Cross-License Agreement

Axalto and Infineon Technologies announced they have entered
into a non-exclusive cross-licensing agreement, granting each other
license rights regarding some of their respective patents in the field
of smart cards with enhanced connectivity. The deal centers around USB-enabled smart cards. Axalto is a provider of microprocessor cards and a major supplier of point-of-sale
terminals. Infineon Technologies AG offers semiconductor and
system solutions for applications in communication and memory products.

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NBD Implements S1 Postilion for its ATMs

The National Bank of Dubai has implemented the company’s “Postilion” product, S1 Electronic
Payment Management to run the bank’s expanding ATM network. “S1 Postilion,” delivered in conjunction with STS, the specialist system
integrator for the Middle East, fulfills all EMV compliance commitments and provides advanced services to NBD’s network of 131 ATMs. “S1
Postilion” will replace NBD’s existing system and enable the bank to take
advantage of new revenue generating opportunities. The National Bank of
Dubai is one of the UAE’s oldest and most prominent banking
institutions. Mosaic Software, an S1 Company, is a global EFT software
company with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, South
Africa, and Asia Pacific.

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Americans Pay $150B+ of Bills on Cards

Americans paid nearly $128 billion in household bills on credit and debit cards last year. The figure for this year, which includes insurance, rent, cable TV, home phone and mobile phone bills may top $161 billion, or about 26% higher than 2004. Americans also charged $22.5 billion to their credit and debit cards in quick service restaurants last year. QSR volume has been running about 60% higher than last year and may well top $36 billion for 2005. VISA reported that cardholders paid $69.9 billion in household bills with its debit and credit cards last year, a 25% increase over 2003. VISA also noted that its volume in the utilities segment increased 44% during the same period. (CF Library 6/14/05)

Consumer Bills on Cards
2000: $49.6 billion
2001: $60.4 billion
2002: $79.6 billion
2003: $98.4 billion
2004: $127.8 billion
2005: $161.1 billion
SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Chase Field Official; Chase Tower Coming

As a result of the Bank One/Chase merger, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ home was renamed “Chase Field” on Friday and Arizona’s tallest building will become “Chase Tower” in December. JPMorgan Chase is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $1.2 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries. The Arizona Diamondbacks entered Major League Baseball on March 31, 1998.

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MasterCard and Joseph Sansone Partner

MasterCard and Joseph Sansone Company, a provider of business and tax solutions, have partnered to assist large corporations to optimize their purchasing card programs. The new alliance will combine audit recovery efforts that identify and recover supplier credits and customer overpayments with detailed spend analysis of purchasing card programs. The Joseph C. Sansone Company is a provider of business & tax solutions to medium and large companies throughout the United States and Canada.

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