HID Names Sullivan to Head EMEA region

Contactless specialist HID has named David Sullivan as managing director of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, effective March 1st. He succeeds Spencer Hall who is retiring from the company in June of this year. Sullivan previously held the VP of Business Development for HID. HID’s product line includes iCLASS 13.56 MHz contactless smart cards and readers, 125 kHz proximity, magnetic stripe and Wiegand technology cards and readers. The company also provides specialized card manufacturing services including custom pre-printed graphics, micro printing and anti-counterfeiting elements, holograms or ultraviolet ink for increased card security.

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Washington, D.C. Rental Units Accept AmEx Cards

Virginia-based KSI Management, which manages more than 8,000 housing units in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, has signed an agreement to accept American Express cards for rent payments. KSI Management Corporation provides property management and marketing services for its own properties and for third parties on a fee-managed basis. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.

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New York Community Bank Offers Prepaid Services

New York Community Bank, has teamed with Ingenico and Dallas-based TRANSFIRST to launch a prepaid and stored value services program. New York Community Bank is the primary subsidiary of New York Community Bancorp, Inc. the fourth largest thrift in the nation with assets of $24 billion. TRANSFIRST provides transaction processing for healthcare providers, public entities, online and other non-traditional merchants, as well as brick and mortar retailers. Ingenico is the world’s largest provider of secure payment and transaction systems used by banking, retail, petroleum, transportation, healthcare and governments.

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DEBIT INTERCHANGE

The Reserve Bank’s Payments System Board is recommending that
interchange fees for the EFTPOS and “VISA Debit” payment systems be
slashed by approximately 70%. The bank says the current levels of these
fees are not conducive to the efficiency of the Australian payments
system. If the proposed standards are implemented, the maximum
interchange fee in the EFTPOS system is likely to be around 5 cents paid
to the merchant’s bank. This compares with the current average fee of
around 20 cents. In the “Visa Debit” system, the interchange fee paid to
the cardholder’s bank would fall from an average of around 40 cents, to
a maximum of around 15 cents. The combined effect of these proposed
changes would be to reduce the gap between the two interchange fees from
around 60 cents at present to a maximum of around 20 cents. The EFTPOS
standard would also further reduce the gap between the interchange fees
in the EFTPOS and credit card systems. The Payments System Board also
proposed the removal of the current requirement that merchants accepting
VISA credit cards also have to accept “VISA Debit” cards.

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Australia Exempts AmEx & Diners from Regulation

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payments System Board has decided not to regulate American Express and Diners Club, following the issuing of AmEx cards by two banks and the establishment of a partnership between another bank and Diners Club. The RBA said regulation of these payments would have relatively little effect on merchant charges since such charges are largely determined independently of the payment to the partner banks. The RBA also decided not to regulate the totality of payments, including marketing payments, between AmEx and Diners Club and their bank partners. Such regulation would then also be required in the Bankcard, MasterCard and VISA programs. The Bank’s view is that at the current time this form of extensive regulation is not in the public interest. However, AmEx and Diners Club have agreed to reword clauses in their merchant agreements that currently prohibit merchants from encouraging cardholders to use another card and publish their average merchant service fee in Australia on a quarterly basis.

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Intelli-Check Lands a Major Licensing Contract

Integrated Solutions International has purchased more than 1,300 software licenses of Intelli-Check’s proprietary ID-CHECK technology. Intelli-Check, Inc. is the acknowledged leader in technology that assures the authenticity of driver licenses, state issued non-driver and military identification cards used as proof of identity. North Carolina-based Integrated Solutions International, LLC is a leading provider of mobile business solutions.

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Card Penetration at CUs Dips Below 19% in 04

Penetration, or the percentage of credit union members that have credit union credit cards, continued to decline last year, falling from 19.0% in December 2003 to 18.4% in December 2004. Four years ago the figure stood at 21.0%. Total card assets for portfolios over $1 million continued their decline as a percentage of assets, falling from 4.29% in December 2003 to 4.22% in December 2004. The statistics come from a comprehensive study conducted by Oregon-based AssetExchange. The research also found that 54% of card portfolios shrunk in inflation-adjusted dollars between December 2003 and December 2004. Approximately 65 credit unions sold their credit card portfolios last year, accounting for about $475 million in total volume.

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Citi Launches a Teen Card in the UAE

Citibank has launched a credit card for 13-19 year olds in The United Arab Emirates offering a credit limit up to AED 500 (US$136). The new “Citibank Teen Card MasterCard” requires no application form since it is issued as a supplementary card to existing credit card holders. The new card also offers shopping discounts at a wide range of UAE merchants. Citibank currently dominates UAE’s credit card market and is a major provider of consumer credit services including personal and auto loans. Last year, Citibank won the regional “Credit Card of the Year Award” from the GCC Banking Awards 2004 program run by Banker Middle East Magazine.

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Precidia’s POSLynx Router Gets GPN Gateway Access

Precidia Technologies announced “Class B” certification of its “POSLynx” retail router with Global Payments “GlobalNet @dvantage SSL” gateway. Global Payments Inc. is a leading provider of electronic transaction processing services to consumers, merchants, Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), financial institutions, government agencies and multi-national corporations. Precidia Technologies Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of IP access devices for a wide range of industries, including retail payments and building automation.

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ADS Renews PacSun Private Label Card Contract

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has inked a multi-year renewal agreement to provide private label credit card services for clothing retailer Pacific Sun, which generates more than $1 billion in annual sales. Alliance Data Systems is a leading provider of transaction, credit and marketing services, managing approximately 95 million consumer relationships. Pacific Sunwear is a leading specialty retailer of everyday casual apparel, accessories and footwear designed to meet the needs of active teens and young adults.

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IP Network for Prepaid Calling Cards is Launched

Brooktrout Technology and BayPackets have jointly developed a highly scalable IP-based network prepaid calling card solution for service providers. California-based BayPackets’ applications enable wireless, wireline and cable operators to rapidly bundle and deliver enhanced voice and data services tailored to the needs of their business and consumer customers. Brooktrout Technology is a leading supplier of media processing, network interface, call control and signal processing products that enable the development of applications, systems and services based in Massachusetts.

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First Data to Expand its Stock Buyback

First Data announced that its share repurchase program is being increased by $2 billion. Added to the company’s existing authorization, the additional authorization now enables First Data to repurchase approximately $2.32 billion of its stock. Thus far in the first quarter, First Data has repurchased 14.4 million shares for $584 million at an average price of $40.67. The company raised its quarterly dividend to $0.06 per common share, triple the previous level of $0.02 per share.

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