VISA/MC Extend Off-Line Debit Interchange into 2004

VISA announced Friday that it will not change its off-line debit card interchange fees on January 1st as previously expected. As a result of the “Retailers’ Settlement,” VISA agreed to a temporary reduction in VISA off-line debit interchange through the end of 2003. VISA says it has since been in discussions with acquirers and their merchants, deciding to maintain the temporary rate. MasterCard also confirmed it will maintain the lower debit card fees after January first. Both VISA and MasterCard cut off-line debit card interchange by 33% to 35% on August 1st in response to the “Retailers’ Settlement.”

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Encore Helps Banks Migrate ATMs from Legacy to IP

VA-based Encore Networks will introduce this week its “IBR-10 IP+Legacy Converter,” a low-cost solution that enables banks and 3rd party EFT processors to migrate their remote terminals, ATMs, and cluster controllers to IP networks. The Encore Networks IBR-10 IP+Legacy Converter is designed to meet the requirements of seamless evolution from legacy applications to broadband IP infrastructure. With its flexible architecture, the IBR-10 product is the ideal low-cost platform that provides banks, financial institutions and 3rd party EFT processors with the ability to migrate their remote terminals, ATM cash machines, and cluster controllers to IP networks. The advantages are tremendous: higher speeds, lower network costs, virtually error free transmissions, faster response time and remote management capability.

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MasterCard Seeks Patent for New Debit Card Hologram

MasterCard has filed to patent the new “Debit MasterCard Hologram,” which it is producing through American Bank Note Holographics. The patent application relates to the use of holograms to visually identify a type of payment device. The design includes the word “Debit” in approximately 14 point italic type, contrasted against a hologram background including two interlocking three-dimensional spheres. The design does not affect Maestro, MasterCard International’s PIN-based debit brand, or debit MasterCard BusinessCard programs. 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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New ATM Check Deposit Solution Unveiled

Memphis-based Software Earnings and CA-based Infonox have teamed to produce a solution that facilitates check cashing and depositing at the ATM while eliminating empty envelope fraud, reducing deposit sweeps and lowering servicing costs. The resulting deposit automation and imaging solution enhances cash and check deposit processing at ATMs, heightens customer convenience, and dramatically lowers the traditional operating costs associated with ATM deposit processing. Infonox provides infrastructure software for businesses to deploy, aggregate and manage transaction services. Software Earnings, Inc., founded in 1988, provides image-based and conventional check processing solutions to the financial industry.

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Software for Credit Counseling Firms Introduced

San Diego-based Integrant has released its “DebtLogic” software that is designed to reduce both the operating cost and processing complications associated with credit counseling and also assists in improving agency performance, thereby increasing fair share percentages. The beta version of DebtLogic was developed with and now installed at Springboard in Riverside, California. Springboard is a non-profit agency formed in 1974 by business leaders and credit grantors. DebtLogic automates all processing associated with credit counseling, including call scripting, appointment scheduling, counseling, activity tracking, DMP setup and management as well as proposal and creditor management. Integrant, Inc. is a business technology consulting and software engineering firm, established in Southern California since 1992.

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Metris Delays 3Q/03 10Q After Securitization Problem

Metris Companies announced this morning it will delay the filing of its 10-Q for the third quarter after its outside auditors, KPMG, issued a letter to the Audit Committee noting a material weakness involving internal control relating to the Company’s policies and procedures for valuing its retained interests in loans securitized by the Company. The Company will complete its analysis for this and prior periods and file its report for the quarter ended September 30, 2003, as soon as possible. Results for the quarter ended September 30, 2003, were previously reported on October 23, 2003. Metris Companies Inc., based in Minnetonka, Minn., is one of the largest bankcard issuers in the United States.

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JCB SMART CARDS

Tokyo-based JCB has selected Gemplus International to supply multi-application smart cards equipped with JCB’s “J/Smart” EMV application. Gemplus is to design a special microprocessor native “Dynamic Data Authentication/ Combined DDA” card. This solution is equipped with multiple applications developed by Gemplus which will enable JCB to offer EMV compliant applications with “DDA/CDA” functions and loyalty applications. Toppan Printing, a strategic alliance partner of Gemplus in Japan, will take the order from JCB. Gemplus will supply the microprocessor modules to Toppan and Toppan will provide the personalization services associated with the issuance of the card. The new “EMV 2000” compliant cards, equipped with “J/Smart,” are expected to reach the market next year.

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DRFS Adds New Benefits to its STV Cards

Los Angeles-based Direct Response Financial Services has added customized Web support services, legal estate planning benefits, accountant-assisted tax services, and a credit repair program to its “Business Advantage Card Program” and its “Personal Advantage Card Program.” Direct Response Financial Services, Inc. (OTCBB: DRFL; Berlin: DFS) makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card, electronic check at the point-of-sale, or over the Internet.

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Dione and NCR Team Up for MasterCard’s M-TIP Program

The new Dione” Xtreme Integrated terminal” and NCR have developed a turnkey solution for MasterCard’s “Maestro Terminal Implementation Program.” MasterCard International is currently rolling-out its “M-TIP” worldwide. Dione’s entire “Xtreme” terminal range has been developed and proven in the UK retail market and has recently been released for worldwide distribution. The “Xtreme Integrated,” chosen by Mastercard, is a new compact countertop EMV level 1 and 2 payment terminal, that allows either the cardholder or the cashier to insert the card. It can read magstripe and chip cards and is fully PIN enabled. India, where the use of payment cards is increasing fast, is the first market for Dione and NCR who will offer their solution to the banks and third-party processors.

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Canadian Tire’s Options MasterCard Tops 3MM Accounts

Canadian Tire Financial Services reported a significant expansion of its “Options MasterCard” portfolio during the third quarter. Card receivables were up 27.5% to $2.15 billion. During the quarter, Canadian Tire Bank converted 247,000 retail card accounts to “Options MasterCard” accounts, bringing the year-to-date total of conversions to more than 293,000. An additional 151,000 new accounts were secured and Financial Services now has more than 3.1 million “Options MasterCard” accounts, an increase of 49% year-over-year. Earnings before income taxes for the third quarter were up 3.8% to $26.6 million compared to last year. For complete details on Canadian Tire Financial Services’ third quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Hitachi and Diebold Tackle Advanced Cash Recycling

Tokyo-based Hitachi and Diebold have partnered to develop new and advanced cash recycling technology for the financial industry to conform to global disability standards. The effort will incorporate a level of sophistication that integrates deposit automation, automatic sorting and banknote recycling tasks. Diebold plans to incorporate the technology into its new “Opteva” ATMs.
The companies said the alliance will result in a sophisticated combination of integrated, advanced technology from Diebold and Hitachi designed to handle a wide range of self-service functions other than dispensing cash.

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