University Affinity Gift Card Launched in Texas

The first-ever university affinity gift card is being launched by the largest “VISA Gift Card” program in the country. Simon Property Group and the University of Texas-Austin have teamed to launch the new “Longhorn Simon VISA Giftcard.” The card, available in denominations ranging from $20 to $500, has a $2.50 handling fee, a portion of which will support activities at UT-Austin. The “Simon Giftcard” was piloted in August 2001 and was rolled out to nearly 160 Simon Malls this year. The company says sales are running about 30% higher than comparable gift certificate sales last year. Simon currently operates 16 malls in the Texas area that sell “Simon Giftcards” and will test market the “Longhorn Giftcard” at Barton Creek Square in Austin next month. The “Longhorn Giftcards” will also be available for purchase online by October.

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CyberSource to Offer First Data’s Internet Check Solution

CyberSource has signed a deal to offer the “TeleCheck Internet Check Acceptance” service from First Data as a preferred Internet check solution for its merchants. The TeleCheck Internet Check Acceptance service from First Data is now a preferred Internet check solution for CyberSource merchants. This service provides Internet merchants access to the underserved market of customers who prefer to pay by check, and is designed to be flexible and easy to implement. Merchants can accept customer checks, using the ICA service’s proprietary fraud prevention tools and databases, which reduce merchant risk through real-time authentication, account number screens and identity-based check writer files.

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ProPay Gets More Funding

UT-based ProPay, a firm specializing in electronic transactions for small business owners including dealers of Mary Kay and Nu Skin, has picked up a second investment from UT-based UTFC Financing Solutions. The Orem, Utah-based firm is a popular choice among the 12 million Americans engaged in the direct selling industry, already partnering with, among others, $1.6-billion Mary Kay and nearly-$1 billion Nu Skin Enterprises for retail payment needs. Since UTFC’s first $250,000 investment in ProPay in May 2002, the company has achieved cash-flow profitability.

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NPC Signs Processing Deal with Luxottica Retail

National Processing Company has signed a multi-year credit card processing agreement with Luxottica Retail and its 2,500 U.S.-based LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Watch Station and Watch World stores. Under the terms of the agreement, NPC will provide authorization and settlement services via NPC’s MultiLink platform for all MasterCard and VISA transactions accepted at all U.S.-based LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Watch Station and Watch World stores. Luxottica Group is the world leader in the design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of prescription frames and sunglasses in mid and premium-priced categories.

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Relo VISA Card has Potential

Prudential Relocation services released a survey this week showing that most corporations believe that “Lump Sum” relocation programs should be blended into the overall mobility strategy as a cost containment element. Prudential and U.S. Bank have teamed to issue the “Relo VISA Card,” a pre-funded card for relocating employees. Survey respondents were asked how they track “Lump Sum” spending: 53% said they don’t track how the money is spent and only 6% are using a summary report or “Relo Card” to track spending.

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Biometrics Credit Card Fraud Tool Coming

NY-based Eye-d-Signature will tomorrow launch its “CFD TOO” biometrics technology for credit card fraud. It is designed for retail, and restaurant industries as well as leisure and transportation industries. CFD TOO is the only security system on the market that can be used to detect any type of credit card purchase; and, that guarantees 100% fraud-free transactions and information. The system takes individual hand signatures and face profiles to create a personal profile that is stored in CFD TOO(TM) data base. The personal, individual profile confirms the identity of the card owner or the person authorized to use the credit card.

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Alliance Payment Solutions, Inc. Formed

Lansing, MI-based Alliance Payment Solutions, Inc. announced its formation yesterday to provide remittance processing services to financial and commercial businesses. Alliance’s services will include the physical collection of bill payments, image-based processing and deposits made to the customers’ banks. Daily reports, statement rendering, ACH payment conversion, image archive and online account access will also be available. With opportunities in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio under consideration, the company anticipates processing volumes to exceed 10,000 payments daily by the end of December.

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Bellarmine University and U.S. Bank Launch Campus Card

KY-based Bellarmine University has teamed with U.S. Bank to issue a multi-use school identification card. The new “Bellarmine OneCard” will enable users to check out library resources, purchase meals, access the campus fitness facilities as well as obtain cash as an U.S. Bank ATM card on and off campus and make purchases as a VISA card off-campus. The new card will be used by Bellarmine’s 2,400 students and more than 200 faculty and staff members. U.S. Bank is one of the top student banking institutions and is a leader in the issuance of the prepaid “VISA Bixx Card.” In July, U.S. Bank signed a deal with Spokane-based Gonzaga University for a multi-use identification card for its 5,400 students and 800 faculty and staff members. (CF Library 7/21/03)

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National Do Not Call Registry Tops 41 Million

The Federal Trade Commission reported yesterday that 41.7 million telephone numbers have been registered on the “National Do Not Call Registry.” Nine million additional consumer telephone numbers were transferred recently from state do-not-call lists to the Registry. Telemarketers will be permitted to purchase the registry as of September 1st and compliance with the list is required as of October 1st. The majority, 85% of the registrations occurred on-line. The FTC projects that 60 million phone numbers may be registered in the “Registry” within the first twelve months.

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Australian Card Debt Up 13% in June

At mid-year 2003, Australians owe a record $24.24 billion in credit card debt, a 13.1% increase over June 2002, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. During June 2003, Australians charged $11.3 billion, a slight decline over May, but 16.7% more than the previous year. Of the $11.3 billion in card transactions, $10.9 billion were purchase transactions. The strong increase in card volume may point to a pick-up in the overall economy, or could be an indication that Aussies are beginning to adjust to paying surcharges for credit card transactions. Based on the figures released by the Reserve Bank of Australia, credit limits total $64.9 billion. Australia has a total of 10,705,000 total credit card accounts as of June 30th.

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USTT Signs VendingMiser Contract in Texas

Austin Energy of Texas has inked a contract to deploy USA Technologies’ “VendingMiser” on 4,400 of the city’s soft drink machines. Deployment of the VendingMisers will enable Austin Energy to achieve significant conservation gains. Using this technology will help eliminate the emission of 10 million pounds of CO2 gases into the atmosphere annually — or the equivalent 930 cars from area highways. Austin Energy officials are so pleased with the technology that they plan to offer rebates or discounts to customers who purchase the VendingMisers.

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ViVOpay Dine Enables RF and IR Payments

ViVOtech has launch the first product that enables restaurants to accept RF-enabled contactless credit and debit cards and RF as well as Infra-Red enabled mobile phone payments directly at the customer’s table. The new “ViVOpay Dine” also makes it possible to validate e-coupons, and offer loyalty programs. The “ViVOpay Dine” base unit is compatible with all major POS terminals and uses plug and play technology. The product is available immediately throughout North America and will be rolled out globally in early 2004. The company is partnering with MasterCard International in contactless payment trials for its “PayPass” program in Orlando and Dallas.

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