Terra Payments Receives Canadian Information Productivity Award

Terra Payments has been awarded a “Canadian Information Productivity Award” for the development of its proprietary, automated risk management system, utilized in the screening and processing of credit card and electronic cheque payments on behalf of its customers worldwide. Terra Payments, formerly SureFire Commerce, offers highly specialized credit card and cheque processing services for businesses around the world, via Internet and mail order-telephone order. The company has processed more than 50 million transactions since introducing proprietary, platform technology three years ago. Terra Payments is one of only 13 Canadian companies to receive a “2003 CIPA Award,” chosen from a field of 140 entrants.

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Edgar Dunn Acquires CoBrandDynamics

San Francisco-based Edgar, Dunn & Company has acquired CoBrandDynamics. Under terms of the deal, the owners and developers of CBD, Alan Schultheis and Ronald Mazursky, have joined EDC as directors. CoBrandDynamics, created in 1999, completed its first research study in early 2000, establishing competitive benchmarks among a national probability sample of over 3,200 credit card decision-makers. “CoBrandDynamics 2000” includes data on demographics, psychographics, recent acquisitions and activation, card ownership details, behavioral information, preferred benefits and enhancements, and communication preferences. Market segments studied include cobrand cards as well as loyalty, affinity, and traditional or standard credit and charge cards. The current “CoBrandDynamics 2003” was fielded in late 2003 with over 6,000 payment card customers and incorporates additional segments such as debit card, smart card and other co-brand segments as well as an extensive look at loyalty and branding impact on consumers. EDC will release the 2003 study in January.

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Four Large Banks and China UnionPay Endorse Hypercom

The four largest banks in China and the nation’s largest unified domestic payment network have all officially selected Hypercom as preferred card payment technology provider. Hypercom says the designation marks the first time in electronic payment industry history that the top four banks in the world’s largest nation have officially named the same payment technology company
as the preferred card payment provider for software, hardware and related technology. The designation was made jointly by the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, China Construction Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China and domestic payment network China UnionPay.

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Chase Email Hoax Hits the Internet

Internet hoaxes continue to plague the credit card industry. Last week, a widely distributed email titled “Chase Billing error” asked recipients to update their credit card or billing address for Chase online banking services. The email, appearing to be from the “Chase Billing Department,” linked to a fraudulent Web site that mimicked the actual Chase home page. MA-based Sophos says hackers are becoming more determined to steal confidential information. The top hoaxes for November included an offer for “A virtual card for you.” Sophos says that viruses can capture confidential information too. The current “Mimail” worms attempt to steal credit card information from Paypal users. Sophos says the bilingual “Sober” worm has caused the most problems for computer users over the past few weeks. “Sober-A” cunningly disguises itself using a multitude of subject titles and messages,making it difficult to spot. ![][1]

[1]: /images/c/chasemanhattan/bademail.jpg

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Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group Deploys Retek POS Solutions

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has deployed the Retek “Point-of-Sale” solution at its 280 stores. The new Retek POS solution replaced a complex legacy point-of-sale system. Edinburgh says the Java-based Retek POS solution, running on Linux, has delivered reduced cost of ownership, increased system life and flexibility in the deployment of customer preferred currency. The Company says the direct financial benefits of customer preferred currency, credit card costs, suggested sell features and maintenance costs, is expected to fund the entire software stack, online credit authorization and Retek POS, in approximately four years. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group offers natural fibre products to the 50+ market and traditional products in the tourist market in the UK.
Retek clients include: Tesco, Best Buy, Gap Inc., Sainsbury’s, Eckerd Corp. and Selfridges.

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Holiday VISA Retail Volume Still Up 9%

VISA USA reported this morning that retail spending on VISA cards last week continued to run about 9% above last year. For Thanksgiving week, VISA data show spending in discount stores was up nearly 10%, while department store spending was up 4.8%. Total VISA volume for the week ending November 30th was up 13.3%, to more than $19.7 billion. Overall retail spending volume on VISA cards was $8.3 billion for the Thanksgiving week. Debit card retail spending was $3.0 billion for the week, a 16% jump over the same year-ago period. Credit card retail spending was up 5% to $5.2 billion. VISA noted that the peak shopping day was Friday, November 28th with VISA volume topping $3.6 billion, compared to $3.1 billion for the pre-Thanksgiving week. VISA reports that spending in the e-commerce channel was up 47% to about $1.5 billion. VISA also noted that the average ticket price for retail credit card transactions was up 3% to $86.18.

VISA VOLUME
(Week Ending 11/30/03)
Personal T&E $1.2 billion +14%
Home & Garden $1.4 billion +12%
Speciality Stores $1.3 billion +11%
Discount Stores $1.3 billion +10%
Department Stores $3.2 billion +5%
Source: VISA SpendTrak

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On Track Innovations Sees Flattening of Revenues in Q3

On Track Innovations reported that revenues for the third quarter were $4.1 million, compared to $4.4 million for the third quarter of 2002. The decline was primarily due to the delayed execution of several projects. Gross profit for the third quarter was $1.5 million versus $2.3 million in the third quarter last year. The third quarter net loss was $1.72 million which included $1.15 million non-cash charges.
During the third quarter, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District chose OTI to provide “ISO 14443” compliant contactless solutions for use in BART’s SFO Airline Employee Discount Program. OTI also formed a strategic alliance with Scheidt & Bachmann to provide contactless payment solutions. More recently, OTI announced the entry of its “EasyFuel” petroleum payment solution into both Mexico and the European market, starting with Spain.

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Napster Card Snags Another Major Distributor

Roxio’s new Napster prepaid music card has picked up another major distribution channel putting it well on its way to hit 20,000 locations by year’s end. TX-based RadioShack will now distribute the “Napster Music Card” in its 7,000 outlets nationwide. At its launch in late October, Roxio has signed up Best Buy, CompUSA, Kroger, Safeway, RiteAid, ExxonMobil, Duane Reade, Diamond Shamrock and Speedway/SuperAmerica as distributors. The card was developed in partnership with InComm and offers 15 downloads for $14.85. A scratch-off surface conceals a PIN that recipients use to activate the credits for permanent downloads from the Napster service. The Company also announced yesterday it is offering a free trial of its premium service and has launched the “Napster Burnpak” which allows music fans to produce their own CDs, complete with custom labels, and add music to their photos and videos. Napster offers access to the largest catalog of online music with more than 500,000 tracks spanning all genres and artists. (CF Library 10/27/03)

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FDC Renews NEBA for Five More Years

The New England Bankcard Association has renewed the processing contract for its 500,000 cards with First Data for five more years. First Data will provide card processing and other portfolio management services for NEBA’s nearly one-half million credit, debit and commercial card accounts on file, as well as merchant processing services for its merchant acquiring members. First Data has provided credit card processing services to NEBA since 1981. New England Bankcard Association was founded in 1969 and provides a wide range of payment system products and services to financial institutions throughout the eastern United States. 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.

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EZIPIN & KEYCORP

Electronic recharge solutions provider Ezipin has entered the Canadian market using Keycorp “K23” terminals to deliver prepaid communications products at the POS. Ezipin retail customers around Australia have installed approximately 3,400 Keycorp “K23” terminals. Ezipin has launched its service in Canada and has licensed its IP and business processes for the electronic distribution service in China. In Canada, Ezipin has initially ordered 500 “K23” terminals to enable retailers to sell prepaid mobile phone top-ups, long distance telephone PINs and other prepaid services across the counter. Ezipin customers can use the “K23” as a dedicated recharge terminal or combined with a debit/credit application for electronic payments, including cash back, surcharging and tipping.

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Best Western Travel Card Offers Holiday Incentives

Best Western has launched a holiday promotion for its “Best Western Travel Card,” offering 250 miles for every $50 purchased on the card, 250 bonus miles for spending $500 or more, and, a double mile bonus if the purchase is made with a MasterCard card. The card can be personalized and given as a gift to cover hotel charges at more than 4,100 Best Western hotels worldwide and the sender can earn frequent flyer miles for the purchase of the card. The card is available for purchase or reloading online at travelcard.bestwestern.com , at Best Western hotels, through participating travel agents or by calling 877-CARD-2TVL in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Best Western is THE WORLD’S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN(R) and has operating hotels in over 80 countries and territories.

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