Debitman Raises $3.6 Million in Funding

Chico, California-based Debitman has closed on a $3.6 million equity investment round that includes Cardinal Venture Capital, Selby Venture Partners and a number of private individuals. Over the past year, Debitman has focused on retailer and consumer adoption. The funding will allow Debitman to accelerate this momentum and strengthen its competitive position relative to providers of bank issued debit cards.

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Credit Bureaus to Beef-Up Encryption

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion announced an initiative to adopt coordinated encryption standards to assure the protection of sensitive consumer data when transmitted between data furnishers and credit reporting companies. The coordinated approach includes “Advanced Encryption Standard” and “Triple Data Encryption Standard” encrypted algorithms and a minimum of 128-bit key encryption. The three national credit reporting companies have also established an ongoing encryption task force to ensure the adopted standards reflect the continuing progress of technologies and methods.

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Card Industry Braces for Rita’s Impact

In anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Rita this weekend, payment related companies are making advance preparations. Houston-based PULSE EFT has transitioned its Houston processing platform to its fully redundant operations center in Dallas. PULSE, a Discover Financial Services subsidiary, says the PULSE switch is operating normally in its Dallas facility and should continue to provide uninterrupted service throughout the hurricane period. Hibernia Bank is closing operations today in some parts of Louisiana, Southern Texas and East Texas. Regions Bank has closed some operations in Texas. The OCC is encouraging national banks to consider extending the terms of loan repayments; restructuring a borrower’s debt obligations; and, easing credit terms for new loans to certain borrowers, consistent with prudent banking practice.

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UK’s Barclaycard Intros Repayment Rewards

Barclaycard is testing a new credit card product in the U.K. designed to encourage higher monthly payments. The new “Repayment Rewards” is experimenting with interest rates ranging from 9.9% to 16.9% with repayments ranging from 2.5% to 10% or more. A repayment of 2.5% of the outstanding balance will be charged 16.9%; 5.05% to 9.99% of balance will be 12.9%; and 10% or more of the balance will quality for the 9.9% annual interest rate. No launch date has yet been confirmed, although the company is aiming to make the product more widely available by the end of the year. In March, Barclaycard began testing another credit card to encourage responsible debt management. The “Combinations VISA” comes with a separate line of credit with a lower interest rate and set repayment terms. The issuer has 11.2 million cardholders in the UK.

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DirectCash Fund Announces Cash Distribution

DirectCash Income Fund has announced a cash distribution of $0.09 per
Unit for the month of September 2005 to be paid on October 31, 2005,
to Unitholders of record on September 30, 2005. The ex-distribution
date is September 28, 2005. The Fund is the largest branded ATM
provider in Canada, operating under the trade name “DirectCash ATM”,
and is one of the leading providers of branded non-financial
institution debit terminals and prepaid cash cards.

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InCharge Warns on Min Payment Impact

Orlando-based InCharge Institute of America warns that higher minimum payments will be too much to bear for heavily indebted consumers. InCharge offers a “survival guide” for individuals that will most feel the impact of increasing minimum payments. Creating and adhering to a budget is key to alliviating the burden. InCharge Institute of America, Inc. is a national non-profit organization specializing in personal finance education and credit counseling.

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Axalto Opens Advanced Payment Card Center

Axalto has opened a new advanced payment card personalization
center outside of Toronto, Ontario and will start deliveries immediately
to one of Canada’s largest financial institutions. At the new
personalization center, Axalto will assist each bank in preparing and
personalizing EMV banking cards. This mass customization includes
loading appropriate cardholder data and then packaging and sending the
cards to banks or directly to cardholders. Axalto shipped more than 70
million microprocessor banking cards worldwide last year. Axalto is the
world’s leading provider of microprocessor cards and a major supplier of
point-of-sale terminals.

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Coinamatic to Use Hypercom’s T7Plus

Coinamatic, Canada’s largest multi-housing laundry route operator, has agreed to purchase Hypercom’s new “T7Plus” credit/debit card terminals for use with their “SmartCity” smart card platform. The Hypercom terminals will be integrated into Coinamatic’s “SmartCity Card Reload Centre” kiosks and installed in or near the buildings where Coinamatic supplies smart card-activated laundry, parking and vending equipment as well as access control devices. Coinamatic has issued over 450,000 reloadable smart cards. Hypercom’s “T7Plus” terminals are the newest generation of the company’s 3-million-selling T7 series of point-of-sale devices with integrated printers.

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Net1 Provides POS Equipment to NedBank

Net 1 UEPS Technologies will provide Nedbank Limited with 9,080
pin-pads and 7,280 point-of-sale terminals for Nedbank’s new
business requirements. Net1 expects to generate revenue of approximately
$4.6 million (ZAR 30 million) at the current exchange rate. Net1 is the
exclusive provider to Nedbank of POS terminals and pin-pads.
The POS terminals have the functionality, flexibility and industrial
strength to support Nedbank’s existing acquirer base and will facilitate
the continued deployment of Nedbank’s Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV)
rollout. Net1 provides its universal electronic payment system, or UEPS,
as an alternative payment system for the unbanked and under-banked
populations of developing economies.

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AmEx Kicks-Off its Chicago Centric Card

American Express formally launched its “IN:CHICAGO Card” this week. To assist the card kick-off, AmEx is sponsoring “Fashion Focus Chicago 2005” through September 29th. Under the card program, cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent and double points on dining, movies, mobile phone service, cable and satellite TV service, Internet service, gym membership and magazine/newspaper subscriptions. Rewards points can be redeemed for certificates for use at 60 Chicago establishments. In addition, cardholders receive discounts from some local partners. The IN:CHICAGO Card is the second city-centric credit card from AmEx following the launch one year ago of the “IN:NYC Card.” (CF Library 9/30/04)

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