Providian Offers a NASCAR Sweepstakes

Providian has joined VISA’s “2004 Ultimate NASCAR Experience” promotion offering cardholders a chance to win a total VIP treatment to a NASCAR event. Cardholders are automatically entered to win through September 15th. The grand prize includes round-trip airfare and ground transportation, weekend accommodations in a luxury motor coach at the track, VIP access and attendance at the pre-race driver’s meeting, and a hot lap in a pace car with either Rusty Wallace or Kurt Busch. Each of four first place winners will receive a 42″ Panasonic plasma screen TV, and 250 second place winners will receive a NASCAR gift pack.

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OFT Challenges MBNA’s UK Default Charges

MBNA has been notified by the U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading that the OFT intends to challenge MBNA’s default charges, such as late, over-limit and returned check fees. The OFT began an industry wide investigation into alleged unfair contract terms in March after Parliament’s “Treasury Select Committee” asked credit card issuers to stop overcharging and misleading customers. The “Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999” render unenforceable credit agreement terms relating to default charges to the extent they are disproportionately high in relation to their actual costs to the card issuer. The OFT made inquiry during March to eight card issuers seeking information on revenue generated from penalties imposed on cardholders. Other US-based issuers operating in the UK have not confirmed an OFT challenge. MBNA says it is possible that future default charges revenue could decline and that refunds may be ordered if the OFT prevails. MBNA said it is still assessing the situation.

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SCA Asking of OSCA Award Nominations

NJ-based The Smart Card Alliance is now accepting nominations for the organization’s “Outstanding Smart Card Achievement” awards to be handed out in mid-October. This will be the first year that the Smart Card Industry will present an OSCA award to an individual for leadership and accomplishments in the smart card industry. A judging panel, consisting of North American industry leaders along with individuals from the analyst and media communities, will evaluate the OSCA applications and select the winners. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology.

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Fair Isaac Releases Payment Optimizer 2.0

Fair Isaac has released “Payment Optimizer 2.0,” the first fraud detection system for healthcare payers. Version 2.0 of Payment Optimizer incorporates six additional models, which offer clients more refined and highly effective pre-payment fraud detection capabilities. Other key enhancements include an improved ability to review at both the individual claim and the aggregate levels, such as provider, patient and procedure, resulting in a more insightful analysis of fraudulent activity prior to payment and before losses mount. Fair Isaac healthcare analytics deliver proven solutions that unlock value and improve decision making for healthcare payers and providers.

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Fiserv Names New eProducts Group Head

Fiserv has named Michael Gantt as President of the Fiserv Bank Systems & eProducts Group, replacing the retiring Rodney Poskochil. During his tenure with the Fiserv Insurance Solutions Group, Gantt led a successful expansion of the group’s business into new industries such as health plan administration. As a group president, Gantt will be a part of Fiserv’s Management Committee, a group that shapes much of the company’s strategy and direction. Gantt will report directly to Balthasar. Fiserv, Inc. (Nasdaq: FISV) provides industry leading information management systems and services to the financial industry, including transaction processing, outsourcing, business process outsourcing and software and systems solutions.

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Benihana Launches its Emperor’s Club Card

Benihana is rolling out its new “Emperor’s Club” loyalty card in the fourth quarter. The pilot program was launched in 2003 at Doraku, part of Benihana’s boutique restaurant division and is slated for system-wide roll out in the fourth quarter of 2004. The Emperor’s Club Program employs the Verifone 3300 terminal with credit card and gift card services from Paymentech, soon to be available in restaurant terminals and Real Time Rewards from Ernex Marketing Technologies, headquartered in Vancouver BC, Canada.

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Canada Post Acquires the BCE Emergis’ webdoxs

Thales has selected ASK to supply the contactless cards and tickets for the Dutch public transports. The Netherlands will be one of the first countries in the world to have a full contactless AFC system on their whole public transportation network. The Deutsh e-ticketing project under the supervision of “Trans Link System” project involves a consortium of the 5 largest transit operators in the Netherlands and should be starting in Rotterdam in fall 2004 to spread to the
other cities by 2006. Over 2 million passengers daily should be thus
traveling by train, metro, bus, boat or tramway.

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COLLECTIVE POS & SCTN

Collective Point of Sale Solutions has signed an agreement to license and resell SCTN’s patent-protected, end-to-end loyalty program management solution to its customers throughout Canada. The program includes “e-llegiance” and “Loyalty Central.” Smart Chip Technologies’ turnkey loyalty program management system, co-developed with the Airos Group and IBM, enables smarter, click-and-mortar, real-time rewards programs running on bar code, magnetic stripe, RFID, or smart cards, laptops, PDAs such as Palm or Windows devices, TV set top boxes, or mobile phones. Collective-POS is Canada’s leading private provider of merchant services including point-of-sale hardware, software, and credit/debit transaction processing, with thousands of satisfied merchants from coast to coast.

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Rewards Network Adds Canadian Restaurants

Moneris Solutions recently analyzed the credit card and debit card transaction volumes of Quebec merchants during the province-wide “Moving Day” period, around July 1st. As expected, related businesses such as moving vans, paint and wallpaper stores, and even hotels enjoyed a healthy spending increase during this year’s moving period. Other findings include: debit and credit card spending at motor freight carriers jumped 24%; video tape rental stores sales also increased by 24%; car rentals rose 13%; household appliance sales were up 13%; hotels were up by 10%; and glass, paint and wallpaper sales increased by 5%.
While there is no definitive explanation for the July 1st moving
custom, an old Scottish tradition might help explain it. Every 1st of May, residents were allowed to terminate their lease in order to find better housing. Scottish immigrants brought this tradition to Quebec and the day was moved to the 1st of July, in order to avoid conflicting with the school year.

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Triton PIN Pads Certified for New VISA Rules

Triton’s new encrypting PIN pads on the Triton “Mako,” “SuperScrip,” “9100,” “9700,” and “9600” series ATMs have been certified as being compliant with new VISA security requirements. This additional compliance confirms Triton’s ongoing commitment to providing a secure vehicle for consumers to carry out various financial transactions. Triton continues to uphold consumer security by also providing Triple DES encryption capabilities, now standard on all Triton ATMs. Triton is the largest provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America and has more than 100,000 installations in over 17 countries worldwide.

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