Fiserv Acquires CheckAGAIN

WI-based Fiserv has acquired CheckAGAIN, a provider of electronic check re-presentment services. The acquisition will contribute an estimated $15 million in annualized revenues. CheckAGAIN will enable Fiserv to expand its services into a fast-growing, complementary market as well as cross-sell a valuable service to its financial institution clients. CheckAGAIN uses automated clearinghouse transactions to re-present returned checks. It has developed a proprietary system for recovering checks that were returned due to insufficient funds. Services provided by CheckAGAIN enables businesses to reduce costs associated with check collection. CheckAGAIN has also reduced problems associated with resolving misunderstandings concerning returned checks, which greatly benefits consumers. Fiserv, Inc. serves over 15,000 clients worldwide, providing information management systems and services. The company reported $2.7 billion in processing and services revenues for 2003.

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Merrill Lynch Card Offers a Major Make-Over

VISA and Merrill Lynch have teamed to launch a special promotion offering a lifestyle make-over worth $1 million. The “Merrill Lynch Million Dollar Make-Over” offers one grand prize that includes a personal make-over, designer wardrobe, home interior make-over, 2005 Porsche “Boxster S,” 25 hours of private jet time, cooking classes with Jacques Pepin, a dream family vacation in Tuscany, and $250,000 in cash. “MERRILL+ VISA” and “Merrill Lynch VISA Signature Rewards” cardholders will automatically be entered into the sweepstakes through December 31st each time they use the card. MBNA and Merrill Lynch launched their co-branded credit cards in April. (CF Library 4/27/04)

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VISA Tops $200B in Global Comm Card GDV

VISA International reported that dollar value of all purchases and cash withdrawals made with “VISA Commercial” payment solutions hit $200 billion for the four quarters ending June 30th. The figure was up 26% over the same period last year. VISA says it took 10 years for VISA to reach the $100 billion milestone and just three years to achieve $200 billion in annual commercial volume. VISA’s nine commercial products posted volume of $177.5 billion in 2003, an increase of 19% over the year-ago period. In the U.S., VISA reported that commercial cards produced a second quarter sales volume of $28.2 billion, a 23.9% increase year-on-year. As of June 30th, VISA had 22 million commercial cards in the USA. (CF Library 4/6/04; 8/6/04)

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Retalix and GTECH Integrate POS Technologies

Ra’anana-based Retalix has teamed with GTECH to launch
the first integration of a Web-browser lottery application into a clerk POS touch-screen application in the USA. As the new GTECH “Lottery Inside” browser-based online lottery solution can run on standard POS hardware – the new interface between Retalix’s “StorePoint” and GTECH allows the cashier to complete a versatile sales transaction which may include C-store items, fuel, and lottery, as one transaction, on a single POS device, thus simplifying sales processes, cutting down on time and space, and speeding up checkout. Until recently, online lottery ticket sales required a dedicated lottery terminal at a retail location. With the “Lottery Inside” technology, retailers can sell online lottery tickets through their existing in-store POS system.

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Surinaamse Postspaarbank to Use Euronet Software

Paramaribo-based Surinaamse Postspaarbank has selected Euronet’s ATM management software to run its in-house ATM operations. Surinaamse Postspaarbank will also use the software solution to interface to the recently announced national switch in Suriname, which enables four Suriname banks to use ATM and POS machines from any of the participating banks. Euronet’s ATM Management software enables Surinaamse Postspaarbank to control its ATM network in real time with ATM driving, ATM monitoring and ATM reporting. Surinaamse Postspaarbank has 5,500 customers. One-year ago, Hakrinbank NV, also based in Paramaribo, inked a deal with Euronet to launch the first Internet banking solution in Suriname.

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ViVOtech Rolls-Out Next-Gen Contactless

ViVOtech has rolled-out its next-generation single or multi-lane contactless payment solution. The new “ViVOpay 4000” is designed to work with “MasterCard PayPass,” “ExpressPay” from American Express, and “VISA Contactless.” The smaller size of the “ViVOpay 4000” makes it possible for retailers to seamlessly upgrade their systems by simply mounting the new device to any POS terminal. “ViVOpay 4000” has also incorporated the benefits of both RFID and NFC technologies. The ViVOpay 4000 will be available for shipment in volume quantities next month.

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Court Approves CIBC Foreign Exchange Settlement

CIBC has received court approval of a settlement of a class action brought on behalf of CIBC VISA cardholders in respect of foreign exchange transactions. The card issuer began publishing notices in 28 newspapers over the weekend. Under terms of the settlement, announced in late August, CIBC VISA cardholders will be getting up to a $14 credit by year end. CIBC agreed to a settlement of $16.5 million, plus $3 million to plaintiffs’ counsel, and to pay the costs of notification, administration and distribution of the settlement funds. Up to $13.85 million will be paid directly to cardholders in December as credits ranging from $.72 to $14.32. The plaintiffs, represented by Paul Pape and Harvey Strosberg, had alleged that the conversion of transactions from a foreign currency resulted in an undisclosed or inadequately disclosed mark up. This mark up was added to the VISA International wholesale conversion rate to obtain the Canadian dollar equivalent for foreign transactions. Similar lawsuits are pending in the USA.

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AmEx Extends Double SkyMiles to All Purchases

American Express has launched a nationwide promotion that will give “Delta SkyMiles” credit cardholders double miles on all eligible retail purchases made through November 15th. To take part in the promotion, cardmembers must enroll their Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards at http://www.americanexpress.com/deltaenroll or call 1-800-227-7081 by November 15. Each year, through the card’s unique Always Double Miles(R)(ii) feature, Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardmembers earn two SkyMiles for every eligible dollar charged to the card for purchases at stand-alone supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, the U.S. Postal Service, wireless phone bills, and Delta Air Lines. American Express Company is a worldwide travel, financial, and network services company. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance, and international banking.

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CFC Introduces a Full Face Hologram Card

Chicago-based CFC International has introduced a full face holographic patterned laminate for transaction cards including credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards, gift cards, security cards and ID cards. The new patent-pending “HoloLam Plus” card offers the ability to effectively build in a variety of layers of security features such as registered holography and security inks, making it difficult for counterfeiters. CFC says “HoloLam Plus” is print receptive, process-friendly and available in rainbow, stock and custom holographic patterns. In addition to holographic patterns, “HoloLam Plus” is also available in brushed, woodgrain, or marble patterns. CFC’s “HoloLam” is a family of clear, holographic, and metalized films. CFC plans to display the card at next month’s “Cartes 2004” show in Paris. CFC also operates facilities in London and Goppingen, Germany.

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TCF Debit Concerns Muted as Revenues Climb

MN-based TCF Financial reported last week that debit card revenues were up 26% during the third quarter due to a 16% increase in off-line sales volume coupled with a 7% increase in the average off-line interchange rate. During the second quarter, TCF’s debit card revenues were only up 9%, as a 19% increase in off-line sales volume was partially offset by a 12% decline in the average off-line interchange rate. The average off-line interchange rate of 1.44% during the second quarter was up 12 basis points from the first quarter primarily due to the new interchange rates established by VISA, effective February 1st. Last year, TCF publicly objected to VISA’s debit card settlement over future revenue concerns. In May 2003, TCF filed a “motion to intervene” with Federal district court Judge John Gleeson over the proposed debit card settlement. The next month, Gleeson dismissed TCF’s objection for lack of merit. In August 2003, TCF disclosed a letter from VISA to the Wall Street Journal concerning a VISA bylaw that established exit fees for top debit card members. TCF reportedly explored the possibility of leaving VISA but said it will face a $20 million exit fee if it did so. (CF Library 5/14/03; 6/17/03; 8/5/03)

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