VISA ELECTRON

Digital River has launched a PIN debit card for the global clients of its hosted e-commerce sites. The new “Digital River VISA Electron Card” is targeted at small- to mid-sized clients operating where credit card acceptance is low or withdrawing cash from banks is difficult. The card can be used for making off-line PIN purchases, withdrawing cash, and receiving payments from the company for revenue they generate on their Digital River-hosted e-commerce sites. The
card also is accompanied by a “Virtual VISA” card, which can be used to
make online purchases. The “Digital River VISA Electron Card” is powered by ePassporte. Digital River has more than 40,000 software publishers,
manufacturers, distributors and online retailers as clients.

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VeriFone EMEA Names a Head of Marketing

VeriFone has named Chris Lomax as Head of Marketing for VeriFone
EMEA. Lomas previously worked for Aconite, Datacard, and Racal (now Thales). Aconite is a consultancy and software solutions provider with expertise in smart card systems and security for the banking and retail sectors. Lomax replaces Richard Crookston, who becomes Director of Product Strategy. VeriFone has shipped over eleven million electronic payment systems since inception in 1981.

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College Students Rely on Credit Cards

A new study of college students has found that 25% rely on credit cards to pay a portion of their tuition and fees. Students cite the loan limits set for government programs as a contributing factor. The February study on Minnesota State Colleges and Universities also found that 37% of students use credit cards for other educational expenses, such as books, supplies or special equipment. Most students indicate they will not be able to pay off their credit card balances while in school. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system serves about 240,000 students per year in credit-based courses and an additional 130,000 students in non-credit courses.

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IDL Terminal Offers e-Discounts & Redemptions

Instant Discounts Limited has launched the first ever total
multi-application payment terminal with a fully electronic discount and
voucher redemption program. The IDL customer retention application sits on the IDL payment terminal, allowing integrated and independent
merchants to be able to afford to offer an instant cash discount
program which is completely electronic. The IDL terminal and customer retention application stimulates consumer repeat purchases at merchant’s stores and offers then similar or reduced credit and debit card transaction rates and reduced terminal rental fees. Instant Discounts Limited also has an ongoing strategic alliance with card
acquirer, Streamline. Streamline processes all credit and debit card
transactions made on IDL terminals as well as all IDL customer retention
application transactions.

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Green Dot MasterCards Go Nationwide

Los Angeles-based Next Estate Communications has launched a retail-based cash acceptance network designed for the reloading of prepaid debit cards. The “Green Dot Financial Network” has more than 35,000 locations nationwide, including Rite Aid, CVS, RadioShack, The Pantry, and Food Lion. Next Estate recently consolidated its “i-Gen,” “Free & Clear,” and “Truth” branded prepaid debit MasterCard cards under the “Green Dot” brand. The company will now offer the “Green Dot Everyday Card,” the “Green Dot Uso Diario Card” and, the “Green Dot Student Card” nationwide. The cards carry a $4.95 monthly fee. The cards are issued via Columbus Bank and Trust.

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Small Businesses are Optimistic for 2005

American Express’ OPEN Small Business Network Semi-Annual Monitor survey has been released. Highlights include: 85% of small businesses report seeing growth opportunities for their companies over the next six months, up from 72% in the spring of 2004 and 56% in the spring of 2003. In addition, more than half (57%) of businesses surveyed say they expect their revenues to exceed last year. However, respondents cite a number of barriers to securing the financing they need to grow their business. One in five (20%) say the size of their business is the greatest barrier, followed by overwhelming paperwork requirements (12%), a low credit score (11%), limited knowledge of financing resources (8%) and lack of documentation to support their loan application (6%). Sixteen percent of small businesses report having been denied a loan or line of credit. The OPEN Small Business Network Semi-Annual Monitor, released each spring and fall, is based on a nationally representative sample of 627 small business owners/managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees.

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CardXX Seeks More RAMP Smart Card Patents

CardXX has filed for a patent for its Advanced Smart Card. Advanced smart cards are capable of many sophisticated functions, such as displaying data, enabling users to enter Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) and passwords and detecting security threats. CardXX provides secure encapsulation of advanced electronics through manufacturing and licensing secure and intelligent smart cards.

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AmEx Incents Cardholders for Tax Payments

American Express has launched a number of incentives for cardholders using their AmEx card to pay 2004 income taxes. Cardholders enrolled in the “Membership Rewards” program can redeem points to offset the convenience fee charged for paying taxes via Official Payments Corporation or Link2Gov. A total of 200 points are required for each $1 of the convenience fee. Through April 15th, “Delta SkyMiles Credit Card” users will earn double miles for 2004 federal income tax payments. “Starwood Preferred Guest Credit” users earn double “Starpoints” on the first $5,000 of federal income taxes paid with the card. AmEx is also offering special discounts to cardholders on a variety of tax services.

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