New Wireless POS Solution Runs on Bell Mobility’s 1X Digital Network

Bell Mobility announced that its digital 1X network will power the first wireless POS device in Canada that incorporates voice, data and messaging services. Working with TD Canada Trust Merchant Services, the NBS Technologies “Freedom II Wireless Point of Sale Terminal” allows merchants to perform secure credit and debit card transactions or place a voice call from this all in one device from any location on Bell Mobility’s 1X digital network. In addition to processing transactions, the NBS Technologies’ “Freedom II”
CDMA terminal also functions as a mobile phone, which is of particular value to delivery and courier markets. Instead of equipping a delivery person with a POS terminal for card acceptance and a cell phone for communication, one device now does both.

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Coinstar Buys an Amusement Vending Firm

WA-based Coinstar this morning announced the acquisition of American Coin Merchandising for $235 million in cash. Combined, Coinstar and ACMI will have over 40,000 distribution points. ACMI, a/k/a SugarLoaf Creations, has more than 167,000 coin-operated amusement vending machines in 18,000 locations in the USA. Coinstar owns and operates a network of nearly 11,000 automated self-service coin-counting machines for consumers. The Company also distributes a wide variety of prepaid products through POS and self-service kiosks in over 13,000 drugstores, universities, shopping malls and convenience stores, bringing the total to over 24,000 distribution points throughout the USA, UK, and Canada. ACMI had $220 million in annual revenue through March 31st and has 1,150 employees. The combination offer coin counting, e-payments, and amusement vending.

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BMO Bank of Montreal Finds Consumers will Tap Savings for Home Renovations

Canadians intend to use their savings to fund the more than $25 billion they are expected to spend in home renovations in 2004 as credit cards have lost luster in the home improvement market. In a recent survey, sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal and conducted by Ipsos-Reid, more than 76% of Canadians who are planning a renovation within the next five years indicated that they intend to pay for future renovations with cash from savings. There is a wide chasm between homeowners planning to renovate in the next five years who have indicated that they intend to pay for future renovations with cash from savings and those who indicated they will borrow the money to fund their renovations. These Canadian homeowners expressed a declining preference for utilizing: a line of credit (7%); a personal loan (6%); a credit card (5%); or, a home equity loan (4%) to fund their planned renovations over the next five years.

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ACG to Distribute a Low Cost New ATM

Atlanta-based ACG ATM-Remarketers has inked a deal to become a national distributor of a walk-up, through-the-wall ATM that sells for about $20,000. South Korea-based Nautilus Hyosung manufactures the ATM that ACG says is comparable in quality to that of NCR and Diebold ATM machines but costs 25% less. The “Ubitus 7040” has an Intel “Pentium III” processor and runs on a “Windows XP” operating system. It has a motorized card reader, 12-inch LCD color monitor, depository and up to four 3,000-note cash cassettes. Specifically, comparable to NCR’s “Persona 86” ATM, “Ubitus 7040” is manufactured to be Triple DES compliant and configured for TCP/IP communications. An additional feature offered with the Korean machine is a digital camera that records images on the hard-drive, used as a surveillance device. ACG says the approximate $20,000 sales tag includes delivery and installation and a one-year warranty on all components in the machine.

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Payment Processor MUZO now Owned 98% by Global Payments

Global Payments now owns 98% of the largest payment processor in the country. In February, Global announced it had acquired from Komercni banka, a 52.6% interest in MUZO for $34.7 million in cash. Global then commenced a public tender offer to acquire the remaining outstanding shares of MUZO. The public tender offer concluded on May 14th . Global paid $30 million in cash for 46,576 additional shares of MUZO. Global intends to further pursue ownership of the remaining 2% of MUZO, and expects it will own 100% of the company by the end of fiscal year 2005. Based in Prague, MUZO offers a comprehensive package of payment services including credit and debit card transaction processing, installation and servicing of ATM and POS terminals, as well as card issuing services.

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Euronet Buys into Electronic Prepaid Voucher Solution Provider ATX Software

Euronet Worldwide has acquired 10% of the shares of ATX Software Ltd., a provider of electronic prepaid voucher solutions headquartered in the U.K. that processes more than 2 million transactions a month. ATX offers software or outsourcing solutions for prepaid processing to existing scratch card distributors willing to switch to electronic top-up
solutions. ATX’s network and transaction processing centers in London and Paris support approximately 14,500 devices using state-of-the-art secure protocols. In the transaction, Euronet was granted an option to purchase an additional 41% of the shares of ATX at any time prior to April 1, 2005. Euronet operates the largest independent pan-European ATM network and is the largest provider of prepaid processing, or top-up services, for prepaid mobile airtime.

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INSIDE Makes its First Deployment of the CAMPUS System in Singapore

The successful integration of a cashless campus payment application into identity cards has taken place at the Australian International School Singapore with the help of Aix-en-Provence-based INSIDE Contactless. The “CAMPUS” system includes INSIDE’s “Accesso” desktop USB reader, “Hand’IT-2G” compact flash module, and “PicoPass” contactless cards. The system allows students and staff to conveniently purchase food at the canteen, uniform and stationary, pay for excursions, photocopies, prints, track attendance, and work with existing libraries infrastructures. The AISS smart card is a contactless card with a smart chip which stores the cardholder’s personal information and provides access to a cash value that can be topped up using the eNETS “Virtual Account,” an online payment service that is powered by NETS account. “Virtual Account VCard” account holders can use the Internet to access their accounts and make secure payments via the Internet, mobile phones and smart cards. Should a card be lost, staff, students and parents can access their eNETS “VCard” account online and disable the card. The smart card also allows parents to monitor students’ dietary habits via the Internet and rewards students for making healthy food choices in the school canteen. The card also has a unique feature that alerts canteen vendors to food allergies or restrictions for individual
students, thus preventing the purchase of potentially dangerous items.

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Telstra Levies a Credit Card Surcharge for the First Time

Telecommunications giant Telstra has for the first time, begun charging its customers a fee for using a credit card for payment. The Advertiser reports that the new fees range from 1.69% for American Express card holders down to 0.63% for bank VISA cards. The number of people who pay by card to Telstra are about 20% and 18% pay by phone by card.
In 2002, the Reserve Bank of Australia issued new reforms on the credit card business permitting merchants to recover from cardholders the costs of accepting credit cards. The new standard went into effect January 1st, 2003. Qantas became the first major merchant to implement the surcharge last year.

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MC & Oracle Integrate Transaction Data

MasterCard has teamed with Oracle to develop and promote comprehensive transaction data integration programs. The new partnership connects MasterCard’s Oracle-based global data repository with the world-class functionality of the Oracle “E-Business Suite.” Delivery of enhanced transaction data — both travel and expense and purchasing card data, from MasterCard’s central hub into select applications within Oracle’s “E-Business Suite” standardizes the capture and integration of MasterCard transaction data and harnesses functionality and capabilities inherent in Oracle applications. The integration of MasterCard “Purchasing Card” data with Oracle “Payables” and MasterCard T&E data with Oracle “Internet Expenses” will simplify transaction data reconciliation and automates processes. The integration will also give users the ability to review, approve and share both purchase order-based and non-PO-based purchase transactions, across different cost centers.

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OCBC Bank Adds NCR APTRA Relate CRM to Personas 77

OCBC Bank has become the first bank in Asia to provide targeted marketing at its ATMs by using NCR’s “APTRA Relate” software to integrate its self-service network with its customer relationship management system. OCBC is initially providing the CRM capability on its NCR “Personas 77” ATMs at all its branches, with plans to extend the functionality to its entire self-service network. Currently, on-screen messages range from “Your fixed deposit is maturing soon. Would you like to find out how to earn more interest?” to “Thanks for taking up the OCBC Home Loan package. Would you like to find out more about the OCBC Reno Loan, too?” Customer responses are then channeled to the bank’s personal financial consultants, branches or call center for follow-up. OCBC Bank customers also have the option to customize and pre-set their usual ATM transaction choices such as the dollar amount and receipt option. During the pilot, more than 60 percent of OCBC Bank’s customers took up this “usual transaction” feature.

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Wells’ I-Volume Continues its Hyper Growth

Wells Fargo this morning reported that its Internet payments business was up 50% in the first quarter to $3.8 billion in processing volume. Last year, Wells processed nearly $12 billion in Internet payment volume compared to $5 billion in 2002. The growth was primarily driven by eBay’s PayPal. eBay reported $4.3 billion of PayPal gross payment volume during the first quarter, a 65% increase over 1Q/03. Wells also handles PayPal’s multi-currency processing. PayPal reaches 38 countries and offers five currencies — the Euro, Pounds Sterling, Japanese Yen, USD and Canadian Dollar. Wells noted its international merchant payments reached nearly one billion in sales last year. Wells processes payments for more than 61,000 online merchants. According to figures published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Wells Fargo’s e-commerce processing accounts for 15% of the nation’s total online shopping volume.

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