Deluxe ID TheftBlock is Released

Deluxe Financial Services has introduced “Deluxe ID TheftBlock” which enhances traditional identity protection tools by adding check order screening, daily credit monitoring, access to fraud resolution assistance, and a comprehensive membership kit. Deluxe ID TheftBlock helps Deluxe fulfill its commitment to satisfying consumers and financial institutions. Deluxe ID TheftBlock enrollment is easy for consumers and requires minimal involvement from financial institutions. It offers consumers the option of mail or e-mail notifications of unusual credit activity. Deluxe ID TheftBlock will generate more revenue for financial institutions in addition to minimizing fraud, increasing security, and improving consumer satisfaction. Deluxe offers checks and similar products to enhance consumer satisfaction, strengthen check program security, increase revenue, and improve efficiency.

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Catalina Sells Direct Marketing Business

FL-based Catalina Marketing has sold its direct mail division to Valassis. The transaction supports Catalina Marketing’s strategy to focus on proprietary applications delivered at the point-of-sale while enhancing Valassis’ 1-1 direct mail business. The 1-1 direct mail business offered by both companies specializes in direct mail that is targeted based on consumer purchase behavior and lifestyle changes of consumers. Catalina Marketing combines insight into consumer behavior and consumer access, enabling marketers to execute behavior-based marketing programs. Listed as one of Fortune magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For” for seven years in a row, Valassis offers a range of marketing services to consumer packaged goods manufacturers, retailers, technology companies, and other customers. It has operations in the U.S., Europe, Mexico, and Canada.

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VISA CEO Says AmEx Has Product Problems

VISA’s top executive this morning predicted that VISA will, for the first time, unseat American Express in small business market share during the first quarter due to signed deals in the pipeline. CEO Carl Pascarella also said that no matter what happens with VISA’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, American Express always loses. Pascarella says AmEx has flawed products and competes against itself. He said VISA is competing with cash and checks, while everyone else, particularly AmEx, is competing with VISA. Pascarella said AmEx’s share in the small business market shrank from 75% in 1997 to 41% last year. VISA’s small business market share is currently 39%.

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Ctrip and CMB Launch a Dual-Currency Credit Card

A major consolidator of hotel accommodations and airline tickets in China has teamed with a China-based commercial bank to launch the country’s first dual-currency international travel credit card. The new card introduced by Ctrip.com International and China Merchants Bank
also offers access to Ctrip’s customer reward program and up to 30%-50% discounts at approximately 3,000 specified merchants in all major cities in China. Cardholders can use the travel credit card to book hotels in China and abroad, air-tickets and packaged-tour products, and settle the payments in either RMB or U.S. dollars.

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RBS Becomes the 3rd Largest Merchant Acquirer

The Royal Bank of Scotland has become the third largest merchant acquirer in the world after completing its acquisition of Atlanta-based
Lynk Systems for $525 million. RBS’ interests also includes Citizens Bank, one of the 10 largest commercial holding banks in the USA. Lynk is considered the 6th largest non-bank acquirer and the 9th largest merchant acquirer in the U.S. market. In addition, Lynk is the 3rd largest processor of ATMs in the USA.

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Credit Cards and Shoes Come Together

As card issuers physically downsize payment cards to fit on keychains, a Seattle-based firm has inked a deal to distribute a patented shoe wallet designed to carry payment cards. San Francisco-based Jamba Juice will nationally distribute the new product produced by Internet retailer shoewallet.com. The Company initially developed the product to address the need for joggers to carry ID and/or medical information. The wallet now has a credit card sleeve and is large enough to accommodate keys, driver’s license, and other wallet items.

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MasterCard to Name the Best Co-Brands in Europe

MasterCard will be naming the best co-branded MasterCards in Europe during its “5th MasterCard Europe Affinity and Co-Branding” scheduled for Athens on September 23-24. From 17 nominees, MasterCard will select the “Best Program Launch,” “Best Usage/Expansion Program,” and, the “Long-term Achievement Award.” The judging panel includes Bob Hand, Managing Director of Affinity Solutions Ltd; Alan Leach, Director and Co-Founder of Finaccord; and Peter Trembling, Managing Director of The Affinity Company. Winning nominees will be invited to speak as MasterCard’s guests at either the Asia Pacific or North America MasterCard Co-Brand conference in 2005.

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The Rewards Network Signs its First Canadian Bank

Canada’s RBC Royal Bank has signed an agreement with Chicago-based Rewards Network to provide its VISA cardholders with additional rewards points when dining. The is the first Canadian bank alliance for the Rewards Network. Last month, Hudson’s Bay Company introduced the “Hbc Rewards Dining & Hotels Program” in partnership with the Rewards Network. With plans to add non-dining merchants throughout Canada, Rewards Network currently includes more than 10,400 restaurants in Canada and the U.S. Under the arrangement, once registered, “RBC Rewards VISA” cardholders in Canada will automatically earn one additional point for every dollar spent when they dine at participating restaurants and pay using their card. These points are earned in addition to the “RBC Rewards” points cardholders already collect for these purchases, and for most cardholders, that means doubling their points.

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ActivCard Tackles the Phishing Problem

ActivCard has rolled-out two solutions to thwart phishing-related fraud that is currently plaguing the credit card and general banking industry. The solutions are token-based or public key infrastructure-based, ensuring that a customers’ password cannot be stolen or used without their knowledge. The “Token Protected Online Consumer Banking” solution adds immediate password protection for online customers through a time-limited, one-time use password. The second solution uses PKI, the ActivCard USB Key, smart cards, and “ActivClient” middleware to support high value, high risk transactions for commercial banking customers.ActivCard is based in Fremont, California.

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