Desjardins Lowers POS Ceiling on Debit Cards

Banco Patagonia and American Express have launched a credit card
denominated in both in pesos and U.S. dollar denominations. The new “Banco Patagonia American Express Card” will be available as both a standard and gold card. The card will be designed, issued and managed by Banco Patagonia. Banco Patagonia ranks fifth among the Argentine financial system’s privately held domestic banks. American Express Global Network Services has entered into 91 strategic alliances to issue cards in over 104 countries. In Latin America, American Express GNS has 25 alliances in 19 markets, therefore ensuring the successful growth for the business in the region.

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Heartland Sets 3 Processing Records in Aug

New Jersey-based Heartland Payment Systems reports it handled over $2 billion in VISA card processing volume and more than $1 billion in MasterCard processing volume during August, for a record total of $3.4 billion. Heartland Payment Systems, Inc.provides credit/debit card processing and payroll solutions to over 100,000 small to medium-sized merchants throughout the United States.

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BankWest and First Data Team for Merchant Acquiring

BankWest and First Data have formed an alliance for
merchant acquiring services in the Australian market. BWA Merchant Services combines the benefits of BankWest’s local market
knowledge and existing merchant relationships with First Data’s
extensive merchant services experience and expertise. BankWest’s decision to form this alliance reflects the growth strategy
of its UK-based parent, HBOS. First Data has a long-standing
relationship with both BankWest and HBOS. It is anticipated that the business will move to First Data’s merchant processing platform over a period of eight months. The financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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Fair Isaac Releases Debt Manager 6.0

Fair Isaac has released “Debt Manager 6.0,” an end-to-end collections and recovery software, now featuring daytime account processing through “Routers,” the system’s rule-based workflow engine. Debt Manager is a flexible workflow management platform capable of managing delinquent accounts at both the customer and account level. It addresses all phases of the debt lifecycle. Fair Isaac Corporation provides predictive modeling, decision analysis, intelligence management, decision management systems and consulting services.

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NEW VISA CARDS

Korea’s Woori Bank, Lotte Card and Korea Exchange Bank have become the
first in the world to issue the newly-branded VISA card. VISA first
announced the change in its brand identity in March and it is now being
implemented globally, with the first signage starting to appear in shop
windows, on the Internet, on mobile phones and at major sponsored events
worldwide. Under the changes, VISA relocated its dove hologram to the
back of the card. The dove hologram, which was adopted in 1984, is now
being integrated with the magnetic stripe. The “CVV2” code will be moved
off the signature panel. The “V” in VISA has been enhanced with a gold
color to highlight the VISA wordmark’s unique serif, the size of the
VISA logo has been increased, and the banners used as borders in the
current design have been eliminated. “Visa Electron” will share the same
new VISA identity on the card and at the point-of-sale but will be
identified by the word “Electron” below the VISA logo. In some European
areas, “V” will be used on its own with a different brand name, such as
“V PAY.” The worldwide transition to the new VISA brand identity will be
completed by 2010.

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Axalto Profits Up 71% in the First Half

Axalto reported that it shipped close to 204 million microprocessor cards during the first six months of this year, a 32% increase in volume compared the year-ago period. Overall revenues were up 16% to $498 million and net income soared by 71% to $33 million. The Europe Middle East Africa area posted solid growth of 14% compared with the first half of 2004, reaching $275 million. However, the Americas recorded the fastest revenue increase, both in absolute terms, adding $40.2 million, and in percentage terms with a 52% jump in sales to $118 million. Axalto has 4,500 employees and worldwide sales of more than three billion smart cards to-date. For complete details on Axalto’s latest performance, visit CardData.com (www.carddata.com)

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Debit Card Settlement May Not Reach All

A claim filing specialist says billions of dollars will be left on the table in the $3 billion VISA/MasterCard class action settlement payout. San Francisco-based Spectrum Settlement Recovery says a large majority of the businesses eligible to recover money in the debit card settlement will miss their opportunity for a refund. Spectrum notes that court documents filed on August 22 by Garden City Group, the Claims Administrator, shows as many as one-third of the eligible businesses may not show up in data provided by the credit card networks. The amount of the settlement fund associated with this group, comprising approximately 2.8 million claimants, could rise well above the earlier 10% estimate. Spectrum says the Garden City filing indicates that claimants will receive a 6-page claim form and an instruction manual up to 8 pages long which may scare away many eligible companies from filing.

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Virgin Aims a Fee at Rate Tarts

Chasing rates and switching credit cards is getting more difficult as UK
banks introduce balance transfer fees. Virgin credit card is taking
aim at so-called “rate tarts” with a 2% balance transfer fee with a cap
of GBP 50. Many UK issuers now offer 0% rate deals.
Capital One recently launched a card that offers a 0% rate through
January 2007 but it carries a 2% balance transfer fee with no cap.
Marbles and Co-op currently offer 0% balance transfer deals without
balance transfer fees. The Bristol Business School recently concluded
that “rate tarts” are costing the UK card industry about GBP 80 million
per month.

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Bank of Canada Raises Rates by One-Quarter Point

The Bank of Canada has raised its target for the overnight rate by
one-quarter of one percentage point to 2.75%. The operating band for the
overnight rate is correspondingly increased, and the Bank Rate is now
3.0%. The BOC said that with the economy operating close to full
capacity and consistent with its analysis in the “Monetary Policy
Report Update,” the interest rate increase will help to promote a
balance between aggregate demand and supply in the economy and keep
inflation on target over the medium term.

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Paymetric Joins the Texas Fast 50

Houston-based Paymetric has been named among the top ten fastest-growing technology companies in Texas by Deloitte & Touche’s “Texas Technology Fast 50 Program”. To qualify for the Technology Fast 50, companies must have had operating revenues of at least $50,000 in 2000 and $1,000,000 in 2004, be headquartered in North America, and be a “technology company,” defined as a company that owns proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company’s operating revenues; or devotes a significant proportion of revenues to the research and development of technology. Paymetric empowers organizations to leverage payment cards more effectively by integrating buying and selling functions directly into their ERP-enabled business operations.

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