EFMARK Acquires an Interest in Solvport

EFMARK Premium Armored has acquired a significant interest in OR-based Solvport, a provider of technical services and support for ATM and kiosk owners and operators. Solvport currently provides service to more than 40,000 ATMs, offering telephone support nationwide and on-site repair in 93 metropolitan areas. Solvport also enables EFMARK to strengthen its service directly to financial institutions through its “Tech-Connect” offering, allowing banks and credit union customers to perform their own first line maintenance. EFMARK is the nation’s largest “ATM only” service company. Solvport provides technical service.

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Diebold Lowers Expectations; Pres/COO Out

Leading ATM manufacturer Diebold announced this morning that its President/COO is leaving and that its ATM related revenue for the third quarter may be more than $50 million lower than the previous 7%-9% increase expected. The Company says the lower profit expectations are due to weak overall North America financial self-service revenue, impacted by the effect of Hurricane Katrina, operational inefficiencies, rising fuel costs and pricing pressures. Diebold Chairman/CEO, Walden O’Dell, is immediately taking over the President/COO position from the departing Eric Evans. O’Dell also announced that a new financial self-service business unit combining product and software development, manufacturing, procurement and marketing will be formed into a single global organization. The new business unit will be headed by Thomas Swidarski, who assumes the title of SVP/Financial Self-Service Group. Sales and service operations for both financial self-service and security will remain unchanged and continue to be structured in two organizations focused on North America and International markets. Diebold share price was down as much as 16% this morning.

TOTAL FINANCIAL SELF SERVICE REVENUE
3Q/04: $418.4 million
4Q/04: $528.8 million
1Q/05: $388.5 million
2Q/05: $433.7 million
3Q/05: $397.0 million (projected)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Cendant and MBNA Launch the TripRewards MC

NJ-based Cendant Hotel Group and MBNA have introduced a new MasterCard that awards three points per dollar in addition to the ten points per dollar normally earned for qualifying hotel stays, for a total of thirteen points per dollar. The new “TripRewards Platinum Plus MasterCard from MBNA America” also earns two points per dollar for all other retail purchases. The new card is an enhancement to the current “TripRewards” program which as 5 million members. The “TripRewards” program features more than 6,000 hotels, points-earning opportunities with more than 40 earning participants and 270 point-redemption options, It is the world’s largest hotel loyalty program, based on the number of participating hotels. Cendant Hotel Group is the world’s largest lodging franchisor with 6,355 hotels on five continents under the Super 8, Days Inn, Ramada, Travelodge, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Wingate Inn and AmeriHost Inn brands.

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RewardsNOW Offers a Charitable Option

New Hampshire-based RewardsNOW is encouraging its bank and credit union clients and their members and customers to use their rewards points toward helping the American Red Cross with its massive Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. For every 5,000 points contributed, RewardsNOW will forward $25 to the American Red Cross, and the contribution will be in the name of the customer making the donation, with a receipt sent to the customer directly from the Red Cross. RewardsNOW is giving its client banks and credit unions the option of adding their own contributions on top of the contributions of their customers, through a customized donation-matching program. RewardsNOW is a provider of marketing services to banks and credit unions.

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American Airlines Offers a Cash Payment Option

American Airlines has inked a deal to accept payment for airfare in cash at over 46,000 U.S.-based Western Union locations. Customers can reserve tickets online or by phone. The service is available for a Western Union service fee of $14.95. AA says 32% of consumers simply prefer to pay for major travel expenses with cash or check. AA also says recent market research shows that approximately 50 million adults in the U.S. do not have credit cards.

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FTC Wraps a Do Not Call Scam Case

The FTC has concluded a case against several defendants who deceptively claimed they could register consumers on the “Do Not Call” before the “Registry” even existed. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants cold-called consumers offering to list them on the FCC do not call list. At the time the calls were made, however, the FCC did not have such a list in place, and the defendants had no way of listing consumers, who were charged as much as $99.95 for their first year of “service.” The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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Wells’ COO Takes Over as VISA USA Chairman

VISA USA’s Board of Directors has elected the President/COO of Wells Fargo as it new chairman. John Stumpf has served on the VISA USA Board since 2002, the VISA International board since early 2004 and the Inovant (VISA’s payment processing subsidiary) board for two years. He will resign his posts on the VISA International and Inovant boards. Stumpf takes over the position of chairman from Pat Phillips, Bank of America’s president of premier banking and investments. Phillips, a member of the VISA U.S.A. board of directors since 1990, retires as VISA USA chairman, a post he has held for two years. Phillips also retires from the VISA International board where he has served since 1995.

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OneBridge and RewardsNOW Partner

Indianapolis-based credit and debit card processor OneBridge has allied with NH-based RewardsNOW. OneBridge focuses on small to mid-sized credit unions and community banks for card processing, marketing, and consulting services. The RewardsNOW program is tied to debit cards as well as credit cards, giving cardholders the opportunity to earn award points on both types of accounts. RewardsNOW provides marketing services for the financial industry.

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OPC Signs City of Virginia Beach

Official Payments has been authorized by the City of Virginia Beach to process electronic credit and debit card payments for personal property tax, real estate property tax, utilities and parking ticket obligations. Residents may now make any of these payments online or by phone. OPC charges citizens a convenience fee for the services, however, citizens using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may earn reward points. Official Payments provides electronic payment services for the Internal Revenue Service, 25 states, the District of Columbia and more than 1,800 local government clients nationwide.

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VISA Platinum/Infinite Cardholders Get Free Golf

VISA Asia Pacific has added exclusive golf benefits to its “VISA Platinum” and “VISA Infinite” card programs. The new perk includes complimentary golf at 16 clubs in Australia, China, Indonesia,
Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. In addition, “VISA Infinite” and “VISA Platinum” cardholders will have
access to 100 golf clubs in 25 countries in Europe, United
States, South Africa and Asia Pacific. This includes access to
prestigious courses such as St. Andrews in Edinburgh Scotland, Pebble
Beach in California and Pinehurst in North Carolina, USA. Cardholders can benefit from up to 35% savings on green fees on weekdays. There are currently 238 million VISA-branded cards in the Asia-Pacific region.

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TNB Buys Sterlent CU Card Portfolio

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has purchased the 4,400 account card portfolio of Sterlent Credit Union of Pleasanton, CA. Sterlent Credit Union serves 17,000 member households with $132 million in assets. This acquisition brings to nearly 70 the number of portfolios that TNB has bought since it began the agent card issuing program in late 2002. TNB Card Services is owned and directed by credit unions serving more than 450 financial institutions and managing more than 1.6 million cards.

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BofA and WaMu Dominate Online Banking

A new report has found that online banking sites are laggards in service levels compared to credit card and stock trading sites. Keynote Systems says Bank of America, Wachovia and US Bank were determined to be the best sites in its study. The study also found that Washington Mutual is the current industry leader in online service levels, a measure of overall site responsiveness and reliability. Bank of America, which has the industry’s highest satisfaction with online bill payment, according to the study, also has the industry’s highest use of online bill payment and the greatest percentage of customers accepting online statements. The Keynote “Customer Experience Ranking” is a measure of online customer experience based on evaluation of more than 250 metrics.

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