VISA GOLD MODULO

Montreal-based VISA Desjardins has rolled-out a new credit card with the lowest go-to interest rate in the country. The new “Desjardins VISA GOLD Modulo” offers a four-month 0% interest rate on all purchases, cash advances and balance transfers, followed by an 8.4% on-going APR on unpaid balances. The card, which carries an annual fee of $50, also offers access to the Desjardins “BONUSDOLLARS” rewards program. The 8.4% rate is also being offered to holders of the new “VISA Desjardins
Platinum” card, which also offers the Desjardins “BONUSDOLLAR” rewards program along with an annual cash-back program. The “Platinum” card carries an annual fee of $130. VISA Desjardins has 2.6 million cardholders.

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Hispanic Card Scam Busted by the FTC

The FTC has charged three companies and six individuals with promoting bogus offers of unsecured major credit cards for an advance fee primarily to the Hispanic community. The FTC alleges that Call Center Express Corporation; Abreu Advertising, Inc., doing business as La Familia Group; Pro Line Card LLC; deceptively led consumers to believe that they would receive unsecured VISA or MasterCard credit cards with a guaranteed $2,000 minimum credit limit, for a fee ranging from $149 to $299. However the card issued could only be used to purchase items from the defendant’s own catalogs and Web sites. The complaint also alleges that the defendants refused to provide refunds. The cards involved included: “La Familia Gold Card,” “Destiny MasterCard,” “Advantage Platinum Card” and “Pro Line Card.”

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Riyad Bank Deploys Diebold Opteva ATMs

Riyad Bank has agreed to deploy 100 Diebold “Opteva” ATMs across the bank’s network. Riyad has 200 branches and more than 650 ATMs. The new ATMs will be rolled out in October. Riyad Bank has purchased a mix of Diebold “Opteva 720” advanced-function lobby ATMs and “Opteva 740” advanced-function, through-the-wall, drive-up ATMs. Both run on “Agilis,” Diebold’s multi-vendor software platform. The Diebold “Opteva” ATMs were sold and supplied to Riyad Bank by Alhamrani Universal Company.

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RBS Lands Two Card Veterans for the USA

The US credit card arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has named two top payment card experts to its executive team. Joseph Hoffman, former EVP at Minneapolis-based Metris Companies, has been hired as Chief Marketing Officer. Hoffman also previously served in the credit card business of Advanta and Citibank. Thomas Hessman, former CFO and risk management/compliance officer at Webster Bank, has been named VP/Compliance for RBS’s credit card business. Hessman began his financial services career in the Audit Department of Chase Manhattan Bank. RBS acquired the $2.3 billion credit card business of People’s Bank in March of this year. RBS Group also owns RI-based Citizens Financial Group.

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Barclaycard a Finalist in the NBA

Barclaycard has been chosen as a finalist for “The Best Use
of Technology Award” category in the UK’s prestigious “National Business
Awards” for 2004. Barclaycard has approximately 14 million cards in circulation. The company is using Applix’s BI technology, “TM1,” to help reduce the level of risk it faces from fraud by identifying and reacting more quickly to threats. “TM1” will also soon be used to enable Barclaycard to analyze the risk of cards being intercepted as they are sent to customers and optimize the company’s spending on secure delivery.

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VisaNet’s Oct 1st Update Sets a New Record

VISA recently completed its most complex semi-annual update ever of its payment network with any disruption to the system. More than 120,000 code changes and 27 new or enhanced applications were made to VisaNet’s four data centers around the globe on October 1st. Some 300 engineers in VISA’s development centers, as well as operations staff in the data centers, participate in the overhaul. Among the changes in the latest upgrade: enhancements to VISA’s dispute resolution process applying advanced technology that speed up the process at a lower cost; streamlining of currency conversions for transactions between merchants selling in one currency and member banks that bill cardholders in another currency; and, enhancements to “VISA Extras” loyalty points program and a new consumer credit rewards program. The new scheduled update is April 1st.

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Wells Fargo Expands its Mexican Remittance

Wells Fargo and Grupo Financiero Banorte have teamed to increase by more than one third the number of banking locations in Mexico that can receive consumer remittance services from Wells Fargo banking stores in the USA. The alliance provides the beneficiaries of Wells Fargo’s “InterCuenta Express” customers with access to both a third more bank branches and ATMs in Mexico. The new partnership, with Wells Fargo’s other banking agreements in Mexico, expands Wells Fargo’s already sizable remittance distribution network to a combined total of over 4,000 banking stores and 10,700 ATMs in Mexico. Banorte has over 1,000 branches and 2,500 ATMs throughout Mexico. Last year, Banorte remitted over $600 million to Mexican beneficiaries.

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USTT Rolls Out Generation 5 e-Port

PA-based USA Technologies has released a smaller, less expensive, one-piece, “Generation 5 e-Port” cashless vending transaction device. USA Technologies believes that the Generation 5 e-Port is the first one-piece design that implements cashless vending. The device, which can be installed in less than 5 minutes, comes with wireless connectivity, enabling vending machines to accept credit or debit card transactions. Through USALive Online,™ USA Technologies’ customers can have real-time web-based access to sales as well as inventory and maintenance data from their vending machines. The e-Port offers a greater return on investment in order to accelerate the emergence of cashless vending. USA Technologies is associated with financial/network services and energy management. It is a leading company that networks distributed assets and wireless non-cash transactions.

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AspDotNetStorefront Supports VbV and SecureCode

AspDotNetStorefront has teamed with CardinalCommerce to release a new version of its shopping cart platform that supports the “Verified By VISA” and “MasterCard SecureCode” initiatives. AspDotNetStorefront is a leading Asp.Net shopping cart platform provider. The new version of the platform provides a solution to online merchants, helping them prevent artificial transactions and chargebacks. According to John Lazzaro, senior vice president of CardinalCommerce, the partnership with AspDotNetStorefront has advanced product offering and simplified merchant adoption of payment industry authentication initiatives. AspDotNetStorefront provides platforms to approximately 1,000 online merchants.

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AEIS Signs a Prepaid Card Distributor

Allentown, PA-based marketing group, Giannini O’Connor, has become an authorized distributor of American Express Incentive Services prepaid card products. Clients are now able to partner with AEIS and give their employees stylish gifts that are easy to use. There are many benefits associated with this service. Individual funds can be tracked online, cards can be re-loaded, employees can choose gifts that they prefer, and the cards can have a logo that reflects the image of the company. Bernie O’Connor, a partner to AEIS Area Vice President of Agency Sales, says that employers must simply create a program that will meet its reward objectives, write a check, and get back to work. The hassle of finding lost packages, gift returns, and juggling accounts is eliminated.

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64% of Americans Have a Gift Card Experience

About 139 million Americans have purchased and/or received a gift card in the past 12 months, nearly double the 2001 figure. Also, the average number of gift cards purchased by a consumer has increased from 4.1 cards per year to 6.9 cards per year since 2001. The latest statistics come from the fourth annual “Consumer Insights Survey” commissioned by First Data’s ValueLink division and conducted by TNS Financial Services Group. The research found that 27% of those who received a gift card in the previous 12 months said they spent the initial value of their card within one week of receiving the card. Another 31% spent the value within one month, while 55% of those surveyed said they spent more than the initial value of the card they received. Also, 83% of consumers surveyed purchased gift cards in person at a store location. Another 9% made gift card purchases on the merchant’s Web site. The average amount spent on all gift cards in the previous twelve-months was $247, compared to $197 in the previous year. ValueLink noted that the consumers surveyed carry an average of 4.2 plastic cards (gift, credit, debit) in their wallet or purse at all times, 14% carry 6-9 plastic cards at all times, and 10% carry 10 or more cards at all times.

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