Affluent Consumers Feel Extremely Positive

The British love to travel, and intend to do even more of it over the next year, as well as eating out. A new survey by American Express finds that affluent consumers feel extremely positive about their near-term future financial conditions and spending plans. The survey also found that Australians love the outdoors, traveling, sports, eating out. However, they are quite conservative on financial matters. Canadians say they like to spend on property and home improvements. The Italians were the least optimistic, and do not consider themselves indulgent. The Mexicans were by far the most optimistic of those surveyed. They enjoyed traveling the most, and indulge in buying clothes.

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CIBC AVENTURA VISA

CIBC has launched a card offering amazing lifestyle experiences and unforgettable travel rewards. The new “CIBC Aventura Gold VISA” is targeted at “Generation X” and “Baby Boomers” offering everything from flying a “MIG 25 Supersonic Interceptor” to a run on Canada’s only Olympic bobsled track. Customers earn one “Aventura Point” for every $1 spent on the card. They also earn “Double Aventura Points” when they use their card to dine, golf, or stay at one of the participating “Advantex Benefit” establishments throughout North America. Points can be redeemed in four categories: “Aventura Lifestyle Rewards,” “Aventura Airline Travel Rewards,” “Aventura Flexible Travel” and the option to convert to “Aeroplan Miles.” The card carries an annual fee of $120 and an annual percentage rate of 19.5%. The “CIBC Aventura Gold VISA” card will be supported with an extensive national marketing campaign, including special events, direct mail and media.

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E-PAY SERVICE

Euronet Worldwide’s e-pay subsidiary has entered the Polish market launching e-top-up with agreements with all three of Poland’s mobile operators. PTK Centertel and Polkomtel S.A. have already launched the e-top-up service, and Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, the Era network operator, is expected to launch in fourth quarter. e-pay Poland has installed over 200 POS terminals to support e-top-up in a mobile operator’s stores, and plans to continue increasing the e-top-up distribution through small- and large-scale merchants. Euronet already has signed a distribution agreement with Geant Polska, one of the country’s largest retailers, with 15 hypermarkets throughout Poland.

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MUZO & CYOTA

MUZO has signed a deal to offer Cyota’s “MasterCard SecureCode” and “Verified by VISA” systems to its issuing banks. The first bank to be launched is Komercni banka. MUZO’s new service, the first “3D Secure” system offered in the Czech Republic, will be launched next quarter. MUZO services multiple clients in Central Europe with systems currently available to over 3 million cardholders. Founded in 1990, MUZO is headquartered in Prague with several service centers in the Czech Republic.

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SENIAT to Use Oasis IST/Switch for Tax Payments

Servicio Nacional Integrado de Administracion Aduanera y Tributaria has selected Oasis “IST/Switch” to drive a new real-time tax collection system
Once implemented, the system will connect directly to Venezuelan banks acting as tax collection agents, enabling on-line, real-time transfer of tax payments. Wincor-Nixdorf Venezuela, an Oasis partner, will act as system integrator for the project. In the current environment, Venezuelan citizens make tax payments through local banks in the country using standard payment instruments such as debit and credit cards. The banks, acting as collection agents, accept tax payments on behalf of SENIAT and later remit these funds to the central bank through a manual reconciliation process. With the planned “IST/Switch” solution, SENIAT will have its own switch directly connected to the banks, providing real-time notification of transferred funds, as well as daily settlement and reconciliation processing.

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Global Payments Adds Two Board Members

Atlanta-based Global Payments has named Alan Silberstein, president and COO of Debt Resolve, and Raymond Killian, chairman of Investment Technology Group, as new board members. Silberstein is currently the president and COO of Debt Resolve, an online, electronic collection and recovery service for banks and other lenders. Silberstein is also a member of the board of Capital Access Network, Inc. and of the advisory board of Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, Inc. In addition, he serves as treasurer of Yeshiva University’s business school, is a member of the Advisory Council of Columbia University’s engineering school, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Global Payments Inc. is a leading provider of electronic transaction processing services to merchants, Independent Sales Organizations, financial institutions, government agencies and multi-national corporations located throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

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Welcome Real-time to Power Smart Loyalty Card in Czech Republic

Aix-en-Provence-based Welcome Real-time announced that Komercn’ Banka has selected WelcomeÕs “XLS” technology for the launch of the country’s first EMV loyalty smart card. Komercn’ Banka has already begun converting all of their credit and debit cards to EMV and will use “XLS” to enhance their cards with numerous added-value services, such as gifts, loyalty points and surprise bonuses, designed to appeal to a wide range of customers and merchant segments. Welcome provides smart card software that enhances payment transactions with real-time point of sale features such as welcome gifts, surprise bonuses, personal reminders, targeted samples, loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, cash back and more, all in a single convenient payment process.

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NPC Gets Starbucks Canadian Contract

Starbucks has expanded its processing contract with National Processing Company to include a multi-year agreement to process Canadian credit card transactions. Starbucks opened its first location in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971, and since has established itself as one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world. The company primarily sells whole bean coffees through a specialty sales group, a direct response business, supermarkets, and online at Starbucks.com. National Processing, Inc. through its wholly owned operating subsidiary, National Processing Company, LLC is a leading provider of merchant credit and debit card processing. National Processing is 85 percent owned by National City Corporation ( ), one of the nation’s largest financial holding companies.

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Encore Expands to Online Debit

Encore Merchant Services has expanded its services to offer ATM and online debit cards acceptance nationwide for credit union member businesses. The customerÕs Personal Identification Number (PIN) is required for each transaction therefore minimizing fraudulent transactions. Check out time is reduced because there is no signature required on ATM and online debit transactions. Encore¨ Merchant Services is a division of Primax Payment Systems, which is headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Primax Payment Systems currently has over 5,000 merchants located in 48 states.

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HN Financial Migrates to Keycorp’s K23 Platform

HN Financial, a division of Hospitality Network and subsidiary of Saskatchewan Crown communications company SaskTel, has committed to Keycorp’s “K23” platform for deployment with merchants across Canada. HN Financial has already ordered 200 K23s and is actively promoting the Keycorp platform as its flagship POS terminal solution. HN Financial offers merchants the opportunity to use the POS terminals to generate revenue by charging their customers a service fee or a surcharge per debit transaction. Keycorp Canada, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of Keycorp Limited based in Chatswood, Australia.

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Smart Card Revenues to Top $1.6B by 2009

A new study by Frost & Sullivan entitled “World Card Reader Markets” shows that the smart card industry generated revenues totaling $1.17 billion in 2002, and is projected to reach $1.66 billion in 2009. The advantages of smart cards over magnetic stripe have caused a visible migration to chip cards but this process is not likely to be complete for at least seven to eight years. Although unit shipment of magnetic stripe, smart card and hybrid readers will receive a boost by the falling prices of components, profit margins will take a beating. To maintain high margins, vendors have to simultaneously expand into several markets such as low-end swipe, high-end ATM and the insertion reader segments. Frost & Sullivan is a global leader in strategic growth consulting. This ongoing growth opportunity analysis is part of the AutoID Subscription, which also includes market insights on Biometrics, RFID and POS terminals.

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