Moneris Signs Signature Vacations for Processing

Moneris Solutions has signed Signature Vacations, Canada’s leading package holiday company, to a six-year agreement for credit and debit card processing. Signature Vacations chose eSELECTplus because it provides travel agents access to a web-based tool on their desktop, enabling real-time processing of credit card orders and quick end-of-day batch processing. Moneris Solutions Corporation is Canada’s largest provider of payment processing solutions for merchants. Signature Vacations is Canada’s leading mainstream package holiday company, specializing in sun-destination vacations.

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iBIZ and ai Team for a Hosted 3-D Secure Service

TX-based iBIZ Software and the UK’s ai Corporation have partnered to combine the ai “SmartAuth” with iBiz’s “CommerSafe MPI” to provide a hosted service for “3-D Secure” payer authentication for Internet merchants, acquirers, payment gateways, and payment service providers. By requiring cardholders to authenticate themselves in real-time against their issuing bank, programs like Verified by Visa and SecureCode bring a high level of security to online transactions. iBIZ is a pioneer and a recognized leader in online payment card security and offers robust authentication solutions for the entire e-payments industry.

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USTT Hires a Business Development Executive

PA-based USA Technologies has hired John Roughneen as VP/Strategic Business Development. Most recently, Mr. Roughneen was Vice President and General Manager of Crane ARM, a business unit of Crane Merchandising Systems. His responsibilities with Crane included the development of the Automated Retail Machine from concept inception to deployment. USA Technologies is a leader in the networking of distributed assets, wireless non-cash and m-commerce transactions, associated financial/network services and interactive media technology and energy management.

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Top 10 Issuers Grow 25% During the Recession

Despite a recessionary period, the nation’s top issuers expanded their card portfolios by 25%, on average, between year-end 2000 and 2003, based on outstandings. Among the top ten issuers, who now comprise about 80% of the U.S. market, Capital One, Bank of America, and JPM Chase led the charge with growth rates of 76%, 59%, and 44%, respectively. Collectively, the top issuers held card loans of $539.8 billion as of EOY 2003, compared to $431.8 billion as of EOY 2000. The overall industry grew 19% during this period, from $568.5 billion to $677.0 billion. Discover and Bank One were the only top issuers to post single digit gains over the three-year period, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

RANK/ISSUER 2003 2000 CHNG MS
1. Citigroup* $119.8b $103.2b +16% 17.7%
2. MBNA 85.8b 70.4b +22% 12.7%
3. Bank One 76.3b 67.0b + 8% 11.3%
4. JPM Chase 52.3b 36.2b +44% 7.7%
5. Discover** 48.4b 47.1b + 3% 7.1%
6. Cap One 46.3b 26.3b +76% 6.8%
7. AmEx 38.5b 28.7b +34% 5.6%
8. BofA 36.6b 23.0b +59% 5.4%
9. HSBC/HH 18.8b 15.2b +24% 2.8%
10. Fleet 17.0b 14.7b +16% 2.5%
TOTAL: $539.8 $431.8 +25% 79.7%
*Citigroup includes some non-US cards, possibly $5 billion
** Discover data as of 11/30/03
MS= Market Share based on Outstandings
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Yogurt Specialist Joins the Upromise Program

The Dannon Company has joined the Upromise college savings program. The Dannon Company, Inc., is a leading national producer of yogurt products in the United States with corporate headquarters in Tarrytown, NY, and plants in Minster, OH; Fort Worth, TX; and West Jordan, UT. Upromise is a service that helps families save for college. Members can automatically earn money for college while making everyday purchases at more than 18,000 grocery and drug stores, 200 online shopping sites, 9,000 restaurants and 7,000 hotel locations nationwide, as well as tens of thousands of retail locations.

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UK Post Office Offers Loans and Eventually Cards

The UK’s Post Office Ltd and Bank of Ireland launched a major joint venture to offer financial services products via the Post Office’s 16,500 branches in Europe. The partnership began this week with the introduction of an unsecured personal loan product, and may be followed by credit card products in late 2005. The personal loan product offers amounts ranging from $1,800 to $49,000, with interest rates ranging from 7.9% to 14.9%. The Post Office will also offer payment protection insurances. Besides a point of sale marketing and on-line advertising the Post Office is supporting the launch with TV advertising starting on April 5th featuring the “ant” theme. Bank of Ireland, which in the UK operates mainly through Bristol & West plc as well as its own brand branch network, will invest $230 million into the venture over the next 10 years to provide core infrastructure and start-up costs. The venture is equally owned by the Post Office Ltd and Bank of Ireland with profits split evenly between the two. The Post Office offers 170 products and services, including banking, travel insurance and foreign currency, bill payments, lottery products, license applications, phonecards and mobile phone top-ups, and postal services.

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200+ VISA USA Members Join Olympic Marketing

VISA USA reported that more than 200 members and 1,900 merchants in the USA have signed up for VISA “Olympic Games” marketing programs. VISA also has become one of the first major sponsors to initiate marketing activities related to the upcoming “ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.” VISA said this week it has produced two additional “Olympic Games”-themed television spots which will air before the “Games.” During the “Super Bowl” VISA aired its first “Olympic Games”-themed TV spot. VISA’s “Team Spirit Promotion” sweepstakes is still underway and will conclude in April. The “ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games” will mark the 18th year of VISA’s sponsorship. VISA was the first sponsor signed on through 2012. ![][1]

[1]: http://www.cardweb.com/images/v/visa/olympics2004.jpg

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TowerGroup Adds Three Relationship Executives

TowerGroup has hired three sales or relationship executives. Luci Izzo, formerly with Gartner, has a strong background in the insurance industry. Michael McInerney previously held positions at GE Capital and Gartner. Christopher White comes to TowerGroup from Mount Vernon Strategies, a consulting company he founded in 1995, serving financial services clients including Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. His expertise includes M&A research, due diligence, process analysis, revenue modeling and profitability analysis. MasterCard’s MasterCard Advisors is acquiring TowerGroup from Reuters. MasterCard’s research services also include MasterCard Advisors and Purchase Street Research. TowerGroup has been operating as a subsidiary of Reuters since 1999.

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Schmitt Joins Aimbridge Group as COO

Ann Schmitt, former VP of Global Risk Solutions and Management at MasterCard, has joined Denver-based The Aimbridge Group, a provider of financial products through partnerships with credit unions, as COO. Prior to joining The Aimbridge Group, Schmitt was vice president of Global Risk Solutions and Management at MasterCard International. She oversaw staff in the United States, Europe and Asia, where her focus was on payment card risk management for some of the largest financial institutions globally. The Aimbridge Group markets financial products, such as auto loans and leases, mortgages and insurance products through partnerships with credit unions.

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Seinfeld and Levinson Produce AmEx Webisode

American Express has launched a four-minute webisode teaming Jerry Seinfeld with Superman. Television advertising includes three 15-second teasers featuring clips of Seinfeld and Superman from the webisode that will appear on national and cable programming, in addition to local network affiliates. “Daily Planet”-themed polybags promoting the webisode will wrap numerous New York metro area newspapers, and will be distributed via home delivery in the market.Other “surround” marketing efforts include “Lid Rocks” and postcard distribution. Lid Rocks are a new type of specialized lid for fountain drinks served at movie theaters. The lids will house mini disks featuring content about the campaign, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the webisode – accessible by computer. Postcards featuring three creative executions from the webisode will be distributed to hundreds of dining and entertainment merchants as well as health clubs in the greater New York area. The webisode was co-written by Seinfeld and directed by film director Barry Levinson.

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Excel vs Pay By Touch Lawsuit Moves Forward

San Jose-based Excel Innovations reports that San Francisco-based Pay By Touch (f/k/a Solidus and Indivos) has lost its motion to dismiss a patent infringement lawsuit with a trial date now expected to start later this year. The lawsuit is being closely watched by the financial and retail industries, as consumers have shown growing interest in the “tokenless biometric payment system” at issue in the case. Tokenless biometric payments have gained appeal with national retailers and the financial industry, benefiting from diminished smart card usage, increased adoption of biometrics, and the retail industry’s search for new ways to migrate consumers from cash and checks to lower-cost, more secure electronic payment methods.

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e-CommLink to Offer MasterCard STV Services

Houston-based e-CommLink this week announced it will offer MasterCard members both business and consumer stored value services to support issuer programs including payroll, insurance, healthcare, government, money transfers services, corporate and merchant cards, consumer general-purpose, gift and travel. e-CommLink’s advanced processing platform maximizes the value proposition and service matrix of both online and offline financial transactions. e-CommLink originated in 1996 as an Internet banking product company. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs.

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