AmEx Names New Head of its Government Affairs Office

American Express has hired Arne Christenson, former SVP for Regulatory Policy at Fannie Mae, as SVP/Government Affairs, and head of the company’s Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Christenson most recently served as senior vice president for Regulatory Policy at Fannie Mae. In this role, he managed Fannie Mae’s relationship with federal regulators and developed the company’s policy positions in areas including financial markets, the regulation and governance of financial institutions, and the expansion of affordable housing. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.

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Windows ATMs May be Too Open

A new research report says that the migration of ATMs from legacy systems to “Microsoft Windows” environments have made ATM networks susceptible to computer virus attacks. The study also says that although banks have spent millions of dollars implementing network firewalls to prevent unauthorized access from hackers dialing in from home, they surprisingly place ATMs on street corners, bypassing firewalls by connecting those machines directly to the network. The new TowerGroup report notes that while the Windows platform is not inherently less secure than competitive products, it is open to a larger number of users and thus, more open to users that mean to inflict damage through the creation of viruses and other types of attacks. In August 2003, two US banks experienced the first case of a Windows-based virus to ever infect an ATM. TowerGroup suggests that the “clean room” environment used by the semiconductor industry to eliminate contaminants may hold the key to ATM exposure to viruses, worms, exploits and other malicious software.

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Sears Drops Expiration Date from Gift Cards

Starting with cards issued today, Sears is eliminating expiration dates from all its gift cards which formerly carried a two-year time limit. Sears gift cards can be purchased in increments of $5-$500 and can be redeemed at all Sears store locations. Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. With revenues in 2002 of $41.4 billion, the company offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,700 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the U.S. and Canada, including approximately 1,000 full-line stores and 1,600 specialty stores.

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New Government ID Card Places Another LaserCard Order

Rome-based Laser Memory Card SRL has signed a $3.8 million order with the government for “LaserCard” optical memory cards slated for use as Italy’s new national ID card. The new ID card, the “Carta d’Identita Elettronica” will be distributed in phases, starting with 56 cities in 2004. The government previously purchased $2.4 million of “CIE” cards in July. Developed in close cooperation with various agencies of the Italian government, the “CIE” card is a specialized LaserCard optical memory card which contains a 1 megabyte optical memory stripe for security and which is designed so that the Italian government can add a smart chip, currently supplied by Siemens. Laser Memory Card SRL is a value-added reseller for Drexler’s optical memory cards.

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Triton Names TRM Nationwide Service Provider

MS-based Triton, which has an installed base of 60,000 ATMs, has signed an agreement to make TRM the nationwide service provider for Triton’s entire ATM product line. The partnership will provide Triton ATM owners and operators with a comprehensive, single-source installation and maintenance solution with “24×7” service availability. TRM is certified to service all Triton ATM models including the new RL5000 lobby and FT5000 through-the-wall Windows® Intel® XScale™ PC platform ATMs designed especially for financial institutions. TRM Corporation is a consumer services company that has provided convenience banking (ATM) and photocopying solutions to retailers for more than 20 years. Triton is the largest provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America and has more than 95,000 installations in over 17 countries worldwide.

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PDS and TransAction Unlimited Sign Referral Agreement

TX-based Payment Data Systems has signed a multi-year referral agreement with TX-based ISO TransAction Unlimited, that is expected to open new merchant accounts that have been previously closed to TU due to not having an ACH offering. Management anticipates new volume of transactions will be added to Payment Data Systems’ growing base of processing traffic and expects additions to its growing sales and marketing force (extending the company’s national reach) without adding corporate expense overhead. Payment Data Systems, Inc., is an Integrated Payments Solution Provider delivering comprehensive, cost-effective solutions to billers and retailers for the processing and management of electronic payments via the Internet, point of sale, or payments taken by Customer Service Representatives or an Interactive Voice Response. TransAction Unlimited is a significant provider of merchant and consumer services across the nation.

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FRB & FTC Want Some Feedback on the FACT Act

The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission are requesting comment on interim final rules and proposed rules to establish effective dates for certain provisions of the “Fair and Accurate Transactions Act of 2003.” The agencies are jointly adopting interim final rules that establish December 31st, as the effective date for the preemption provisions of the “FACT Act” as well as provisions authorizing the agencies to adopt rules or take other actions to implement the “FACT Act.” The current preemption provisions of the “FCRA” expire on January 1, 2004. The Board and the FTC also are jointly proposing rules establishing a schedule of effective dates for other provisions of the “FACT Act” that do not contain effective dates. The joint proposed rules would establish March 31st as the effective date for provisions of the “FACT Act” that do not require significant changes to business procedures. Comments on the joint interim final rules and proposed rules are due by January 12, 2004.

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RED CROSS MASTERCARD

BMO Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Red Cross have introduced a new affinity credit card. The “Canadian Red Cross Mosaik MasterCard” directs a percentage of card purchases to the Canadian Red Cross. With a “Mosaik MasterCard,” cardholders can customize their card at any time by choosing the reward program (AIR MILES or CashBack), interest rate plan and special features that best meet their needs.
BMO Bank of Montreal is the largest MasterCard issuer in Canada. BMO Bank of Montreal launched the first “Mosaik MasterCard” in September 2002. The new card offered consumers 900 potential combinations of features and pricing.

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OPC Captures Tulsa Property Tax Bills

The Tulsa County Treasurer’s Office has signed an agreement with Official Payments Corporation to allow taxpayers to pay property tax bills using their MasterCard, VISA, American Express or Discover payment cards. Official Payments provides credit card payment services for the Internal Revenue Service, 22 state governments, the District of Columbia and more than 1,400 local government clients across 50 states. Tier is a provider of transaction and online payment processing and packaged software and systems implementation services primarily for federal, state and local government clients.

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Cardtronics Uses TNS Connect for ATM Connectivity

Cardtronics, owner/manager of 12,500 ATMs, has selected Transaction Network Services’ “TNS Connect” to support network connectivity of its nationwide ATM portfolio. Under the multi-year agreement, Cardtronics will use TNS Connect, a dedicated, private IP-based network, to support its nationwide ATM portfolio. TNS Connect is a dedicated, private IP-based network that transports ATM transactions to the required processor hosts, while adhering to the highest security standards. Cardtronics is the nation’s largest independent owner/operator of ATMs with a network of over 12,500 locations operating in every major U.S. market. Transaction Network Services is one of the leading providers of business-critical, cost-effective data communications services for transaction-oriented applications.

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First Data and Bank One Come to Terms

First Data Corp., a national leader in electronic commerce and payment services, today announced that it has agreed to continue providing card processing services, including output services, to Bank One beyond June 30, 2004 and up to September 30, 2005 at the parties’ discretion. The agreement resolves a pending arbitration. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About First Data

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, helps power the global economy. As a leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 3 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With 29,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit, smart card and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; money transfer services; money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States. First Data also offers a variety of payment services in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Germany. Its Western Union and Orlandi Valuta money transfer networks include approximately 169,000 Agent locations in more than 195 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at .

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Cale Systems and 8D Technologies Partner for Montreal Project

Cale Access AB, and its North American subsidiary, Cale Systems, has teamed with 8D Technologies to deploy advanced parking payment terminals in Montreal. The terminals are equipped with the 8D “ECO” transactional module, a proprietary technology, which allows for secure electronic payment in real time via wireless communication. The solar powered terminals are also totally autonomous from the power grid thanks to 8D ECO’s advanced power management capacities. As part of the 8D ECO solution, parking officers are instantly provided with the payment status of all surrounding parking spaces through a handheld computer (Palm type) accessing the system by wireless communication. Following the success of the initial testing process, the SociŽtŽ en commandite Stationnement de Montreal is now installing street units in the downtown Montreal area, as part of “Phase II” of its pilot project. Cale Systems specializes in the development, marketing, and technical support of cash-collection equipment for public and private parking spaces.

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