TransFirst Acquires PRI, Adding $1.8B

Dallas-based TransFirst has acquired Newport Beach, CA-based Payment Resources International. The deal will add approximately $1.8 billion in annual processing volume, and 7,500 total merchant contracts to TransFirst’s network. TransFirst also acquired proprietary, internally developed technology capable of supporting its growth in Internet-based credit card processing, ACH / check conversion processing, recurring billing and wireless processing. PRI is the second acquisition TransFirst has announced this month. Two weeks ago, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions signed a deal to sell its third party and agent bank merchant division to TransFirst. TransFirst currently processes approximately $11 billion in annual sales volume for more than 70,000 merchants and 545 banks. The Fifth Third acquisition, which will close this week, will bring TransFirst’s annual volume to about $18.5 billion. (CF Library 3/11/04)

TransFirst Historical
2000: $2.5 billion
2001: $3.1 billion
2002: $5.8 billion
2003: $11.0 billion
2004: $18.5 billion
Source: CardData (


UAL Names New Card Program Manager

United Airlines has hired Arnold Lewis, formerly VP for Strategic Alliances at AARP Services, as VP/Marketing Programs and president of United Loyalty Services, overseeing the “Mileage Plus” program as well as the co-branded credit card program with Bank One and VISA. He will also oversee the United Loyalty Services membership programs, which include the Silver Wings Plus seniors’ program, the newly launched Ameniti program for luxury travel, and — the leading provider of Internet direct marketing services. United, United Express and Ted operate more than 3,400 flights a day on a route network that spans the globe.


UATP Names a New UAL Exec to the Board

UATP has named Dirk Locascio, who recently joined United Airlines as director of passenger revenue accounting after a position at Bank One, to its board to replace Marc Krohn, who was promoted within United Airlines. Prior to joining United, Locascio held management positions with Deloitte & Touche LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP. Most recently, he worked for Bank One Corporation, where he was responsible for managing numerous process reviews and evaluating control environments in areas such as consolidations, general ledger operations, corporate tax, procurement, and real estate management. UATP is a global corporate travel payment network. UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.


EFG to Pay $3.9 Million in Consumer Redress

TX-based Electronic Financial Group and EFG Card Services have agreed to pay $3.9 million in consumer redress for providing substantial assistance to numerous deceptive telemarketers. In July, the FTC alleged that EFG provided ACH payment processing services to outbound telemarketers, and systematically breached a contractual provision with their bank that required EFG to comply with the NACHA “Operating Rules,” specifically, the prohibition on processing ACH transactions on behalf of outbound telemarketers, and thereby engaged in an unfair practice. Second, the FTC alleged that the defendants violated the “FTC Act” by deceptively marketing their own advance-fee debit cards. Also as part of the settlement, the defendants are banned from processing payments for any telephone-initiated sales through the ACH Network.


GO Software Certified for Paymentech’s NetConnect

GA-based GO Software announced its certification to Paymentech’s “NetConnect,” a direct Internet connection to its card authorization center. Paymentech, L.P. processes more payment transactions than any other company in North America – and more than half of all Internet transactions – for retailers accepting U.S. and international payments via traditional point of sale, Internet, catalog and recurring payments. GO Software, a subsidiary of Return On Investment Corporation, is a leading provider of POS payment processing software. More than 100,000 businesses use GO Software’s solutions to process payments at high speed, expand tender types, and lower credit card costs.


HSBC Takes Over John Lewis Partnership Cards and Teams for a Co-Branded Card

The John Lewis Partnership has inked a seven-year deal with HSBC Group’s HFC Bank to launch a new co-branded credit card for its 1.8 million “Account Card” users in John Lewis, Peter Jones and Waitrose stores. Under terms of the agreement, HFC will pay a £27m upfront premium to JLP; JLP will transfer £250m of existing account balances to HFC; and, both parties will enter into a revenue sharing arrangement. The employee-owned department store and supermarket group will also transfer all of the back office administration functions relating to the JLP Customer Accounts business to HFC Bank’s Birmingham office. The move will affect around 130 full time positions. JLP currently has 860,000 active store card users among its 1.8 million registered cardholders. JLP will continue to offer the store “Account Card” program. The new HFC/JLP co-branded “Partnership” credit card will offer a 13% interest rate and 1% rebates on JLP transactions, and 0.5% rebates on purchases made elsewhere. The John Lewis Partnership operates 26 department stores across the country and 141 Waitrose supermarkets in Central and Southern England (one in Wales). HFC Bank issues cards under its own brand, “marbles,” through major partnerships with organizations such as Vauxhall Motors, and through over 80 affinity arrangements with organizations such as the RSPCA, IoD, Open University.


FRB is Continuing to Scrutinize DCA/DSA Deals

The Federal Reserve Board on Friday issued revisions to Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act, and to the official staff commentary that applies and interprets the requirements of the regulation.

Regulation Z is revised to add an interpretative rule of construction to clarify that where the word “amount” is used in the regulation to describe disclosure requirements, it refers to a numerical amount. In addition, revisions to the staff commentary provide guidance on consumers’ exercise of rescission rights for certain home-secured loans.

The Board is also publishing several technical revisions to the commentary. The revisions are effective April 1, 2004. The date for mandatory compliance is October 1, 2004.

[Click Here For The Full Story In PDF Format.][1]

[1]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/2004/march/29c.pdf


National City Opts for TWS ATM Management Solution

OH-based National City has selected TWS Systems’ ATM management solution for its 1,580 ATMs. Some of the features the new ATM solution will provide for the bank include the latest balancing and fraud detection technology on the market. The solution will help the bank meet windows on deposits and balance transactions to the general ledger. National City Corporation, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of the nation’s largest financial holding companies. Clearwater, Fla.-based TWS Systems, Inc. is a privately held financial services company that is the first company to offer total deposit automation with image-based ATMs.


Penna Check Cashers Cap Fees for Gov Checks

Pennsylvania Secretary of Banking, Bill Schenck, last week announced that 84% of the check cashers in the state that cash government checks, and 87% of grocery store registrants, have agreed to charge no more than 2.5% to cash government checks. In many communities, check cashers are the primary financial services provider and people in these communities rely on them to pay their bills. A comprehensive list of the check cashers and grocery store registrants who have voluntarily made this pledge is on the Department’s Web site at , or call 1-800-PA BANKS for more information.


BioPay Cuts BI-LO’s Bad Checks by 60%+

BioPay reports that BI-LO has signed up about 20,000 customers, and cut check cashing fraud by more than 60% using its biometric “Paycheck Secure” solution. The company has used Paycheck Secure to successfully complete nearly 100,000 check cashing transactions worth more than $21 million dollars. Nearly 40,000 BI-LO customers are now enrolled in Paycheck Secure. BI-LO, with headquarters in Mauldin, SC, operates nearly 300 supermarkets in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee, and employs 22,000 associates. BioPay(R) has been providing smart, secure methods for processing financial transactions.


Advanta Launches the WITI Platinum Business Card

Advanta has teamed with Women in Technology International to launch the “WITI Platinum Business Card”. In connection with the alliance, the organizations announced the introduction of the WITI Platinum Business Card that offers the convenience, access and savings that appeal to women business owners. The organizations also introduced the “Building Business for Women” program designed to increase revenues and brand awareness for women-owned businesses. WITI is the premiere organization empowering women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities, transformations, and a global culture of inclusiveness through leadership and economic prosperity. Advanta is a highly focused financial services company serving the small business market.


U.S. Wireless Data Files for Bankruptcy; Sells Assets

NY-based U.S. Wireless Data has filed for bankruptcy and is selling off its two major business units. USWD is selling its “Synapse” POS gateway business to Brascan/NBS for $2.85 million in cash, plus up to $2.15 million credit for free payment processing services to be rendered to USWD for its vending operations. The company simultaneously announced that it had reached agreement with SANI Operating Co. to sell its vending operations to Sani, including the $2.15 million credit for free payment processing services from NBS, for $1.6 million in cash plus the assumption of certain liabilities. NBS will also assume certain liabilities. The two deals are expected to be consummated by May 21st, however other parties will have an opportunity to submit bids for the “Synapse” and vending businesses through a court-supervised competitive bidding process. USWD says it was unable to increase revenues sufficiently to bring the company to profitability or to secure additional financing to maintain its viability. Last month the Company reported fourth quarter revenues of $1.3 million. For complete details on USWD’s fourth quarter results visit CardData ([][1]).