Albertsons Signs for TeleCheck Services

First Data has signed a deal to provide all 2,300 Albertsons store locations with TeleCheck check verification and recovery services. TeleCheck Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of First Data Corp. and 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. Albertsons is one of the world’s largest food and drug retailers with annual revenues of approximately $36 billion and employs more than 200,000 associates and operates approximately 2,300 retail stores across the United States.

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Banque Chabrieres to Install 250 NCR ATMs

Banque Chabrieres selected NCR to replace half of its existing ATMs located in INTERMARCHE retail outlets and to deploy new ATMs in INTERMARCHE stores located in rural areas. The deal involves 250 “Personas 70” machines. Banque Chabrieres is a member of the Mousquetaires Group. It uses “ARAMIS” as a brand name for financial services products, including the “ARAMIS VISA” card.

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Ascom Deploys Ticketing System for the Leon SIT

Ascom Monetel has inaugurated a ticketing system for Mexico’s first exclusive bus lane route in the city of Leon. The “Sistema Integrado de Transporte” runs buses on dedicated lanes, offering performances that match those of a subway system. The system’s contactless ticketing enhances traffic fluidity and allows travelers to change buses as often as they like on the same ticket. Journey time across the city by the “SIT” is 35 minutes. Ascom Monetel has equipped its 54 stations with access control gates and ticket validators compatible with the fare collection system installed three years ago on the city’s first 73 bus routes.

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Krungthai Card Outsources Processing to Certegy

Krungthai Card Public Company Limited has signed an eight-year agreement for Certegy to handle all the processing of its VISA and MasterCard credit cards and unsecured personal loans. KTC has approximately 750,000 credit card accounts including its Krungthai “VISA Credit Card,” Krungthai “MasterCard Credit Card,” and Krungthai “VISA Electron Debit Card.” Certegy will service KTC’s credit card and consumer loan accounts from its Asia Pacific processing center located in Melbourne, Australia, using its “BASE2000” payment processing platform. Certegy will also enable Krungthai to offer a personal loan program using the latest “Certegy EasyLoan” feature.

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Optimal Robotics Acquires RBA

Optimal Robotics has acquired the services business of RBA Inc., a privately held company based in Montreal. RBA is the largest independent Canadian provider of multi-vendor hardware maintenance outsourcing services, with over 350,000 sites being serviced and annual revenues of approximately CN$41 million. RBA delivers its maintenance services through various business segments, including Interac/Credit Card POS systems, Video Lottery and Bring-In Centers. RBA provides its services through a network of approximately 35 branches and 550 employees. The net cost of the RBA transaction is approximately CN$10 million.

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China Southern Airlines Inks a Deal with VISA

China Southern Airlines has signed a new agreement with China Union Pay and VISA to provide its international credit card payment service to the airline’s e-ticket customers. China Southern launched its initial e-ticket services on February 1st, 1999 with domestic Internet reservations and door to door ticket service in major metropolitan markets throughout China. The largest airline in The People’s Republic of China for the past 23 years, China Southern Airlines ([www.cs-air.com/en][1]) connects more than 80 cities around the globe.

[1]: http://www.cs-air.com/en

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Online Banking Report Releases Special Report

Seattle-based Financial Insite has released a new report about online banking entitled “2004/2005 Planning: Premium Channels Promise Improved ROI”. The 40-page report detailing more than 500 potential online tactics is an indispensable aid to business planning at financial services companies of all sizes. The Financial Insite is the independent publisher of “Online Banking Report: Internet Strategies for Financial Institutions.” Their widely read financial industry newsletter features independent research, statistics, and profit-making tactics for Web banking, electronic payments, and Internet lending.

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New Report Shows the Internet Can Fight ID Theft

San Francisco-based Javelin Strategy & Research released “Online Banking and Bill Paying: New Protection from Identity Theft” which shows the Internet can help protect consumers and businesses from fraudulent opening of a new accounts and unauthorized use of existing accounts. The most significant benefits come from online banking and viewing and paying bills, which can help prevent more than one million cases of identity theft and save consumers and businesses $4.8 billion annually. Javelin Strategy & Research provides advisory services to companies in the financial services, payments, and commerce sectors, to increase the profitability of customer-related technology investments.

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Government Relaxes Restrictions on Card Issuers

Finance ministry officials have relaxed restrictions on credit card issuers to permit them to extend the maturity of loans while putting off the 2004 deadline to bring their cash advances into line with assets. Last year, increased domestic spending drove South Korea’s economic growth, fueled by easy credit. This year, credit-tightening measures have produced a credit crunch that helped nudge the economy into recession. The National Statistical Office reports that industrial output rose 1.5% in August, a sign that the economy might be improving.

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Toyota Offers a Promotion with AmEx Gift Cards

Toyota Motor Sales USA this week launched a promotion which offers American Express gift cards as prizes. The “Get This Feeling” promotion offers consumers the opportunity to win one of 12 $10,000 AmEx-branded gift cards, or one of 1,000 AmEx-branded gift cards worth $100. The promotion is to drive parts and service sales. The promotion will run till October 31st. Toyota is running a multi-million dollar national radio campaign as well as local traffic sponsorships in metro markets nationwide. Regional and dealer service offers will also be advertised in six million direct mail pieces and online. Long Beach, California, based Creative Productions is handling all creative, online and program management, while Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles is handling the media buy.

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UK’s Smart Card and PIN Migration Goes Nationwide

The UK’s “Chip and PIN Programme” is going nationwide this month. The roll-out plans announced so far by card companies mean that an estimated one in five cardholders are expected to have “Chip and PIN” enabled cards by the end of this year. By spring 2004 half of all UK cardholders will have “chip and PIN” cards and they will be asked to verify one in three transactions by the new system. By 2005, the majority of UK cardholders will enter a four digit PIN instead of signing to verify credit and debit card transactions. The roll-out involves more than 850,000 shop terminals, 122 million cards, 40,000 cash machines, and 2.7 million retail employees. The “Chip and PIN Programme” was tested in Northampton during the summer. “Chip and PIN” says it is the biggest change in the way Britain shops since decimalization.

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