Quicken 2004 for Windows Released

Intuit has released “Quicken 2004 for Windows” offering “Express Setup”. Continuing a tradition of innovation that began with the birth of Quicken 20 years ago, Quicken 2004 redefines financial management for today’s connected world. Users can now receive the insight that software can provide with the ease of logging into a bank Web site. A completely redesigned investments area provides a place where every investor can easily answer the key questions about their portfolio.

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Asia/Pacific Retail Sales Poised to Recover

Retail sales growth in most Asia/Pacific markets is poised to recover from the devastating impact of SARS. According to the inaugural “MasterIndex of Retail” forecast released last week by MasterCard International, China is poised to lead in year-on-year percentage growth, with healthy growth expected from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. Marginal growth is anticipated in the remaining markets with the exception of Korea and Singapore, which can expect to see retail sales shrinking over the next six months. The forecast for the second half of the year revealed that China tops the region for retail sales growth with forecasted 6.8% year-on-year growth.

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Fiserv’s CUIG Renews Five CU Agreements

Fiserv’s Credit Union Industry Group has added a new, integrated cross-selling capability for its “CUBE” and “CUBEOL” core-processing products, and also has renewed agreements with five longtime credit union clients. The five credit unions – Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union, MIDFLORIDA Federal Credit Union, Tech Credit Union, Animas Credit Union and Colorado Springs Credit Union (CSCU) – have been CUIG clients for an average of almost 18 years each. The renewal agreements include other related information technology services, including ATM and POS debit and credit card services, audio response services, Virtual Branch(R) electronic banking, and Open Loan Interface, which enables clients to use any third-party loan origination system or Web-based application.

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Welcome Real-time Nails Another Smart Loyalty Patent

Welcome Real-time has been granted a European patent for processing multiple merchant-specific rewards programs on a single card. As of today, Welcome has filed 98 patents in 37 countries and has been granted ten times as many patents as other smart loyalty vendors. The new patent provides new claims that extend and reinforce Welcome’s original 1996 patent covering fundamental features required by all smart loyalty systems on the market today. Welcome’s loyalty technology supports low cost native EMV cards as well as higher cost multi-application “Java” and “Multos” cards. As little as 1K of card memory is required to store 60 different programs.

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Debit Settlement Spawns White Paper for CUs

The CO-OP Network and Savage Consulting Group have issued a white paper titled “The Changing Debit Landscape” for its 1,500 member credit unions. The report says that predicting precisely how the national card associations will behave as a consequence of the May settlements is an inexact science. However, credit unions should plan to continue promoting PIN- and signature-based debit and ready themselves for any new forms of electronic payment that may arise. CO-OP says it wants to assure its membership that credit unions are still in control and possess the capacity to affect the payment option selected by consumers.

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Aurum Technology Launches Card Production

Plano, TX-based Aurum Technology has launched its “Card Production” suite offering end-to-end process for embossing, encoding and distributing a full range of card programs, including ATM cards, debit cards and stored value cards. Aurum can now help customers bring new, highly-competitive card-based products and services to market quickly. This ensures secure, reliable production and delivery of cards that give banking customers and credit union members the convenient account access they demand. To optimize the customer’s experience, Aurum Card Production solutions are fully integrated with the company’s core and switch processing technologies.

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Alliance Data Systems Raises $600 Million

Alliance Data Systems has completed the issuance of $600 million of asset-backed notes as part of the securitization program for its private label credit card banking subsidiary, World Financial Network National Bank. The notes are rated AAA through BBB, or its equivalent, by each of Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch, and are secured by a beneficial interest in a pool of receivables that arise under WFNNB’s private label revolving credit card accounts. The proceeds of the notes were used to reduce outstanding indebtedness for one or more series of investor certificates and notes.

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Chipotle Mexican Grill Beefs-Up Transaction Times

Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants is deploying Netopia’s “Cayman” series gateways to access Netifice’s “Retail Connect” IP VPN service to enable faster credit card transactions at its 250 restaurants nationwide. As one of the fastest growing restaurant companies in the United States, Chipotle is depending on Netifice to enable customer support applications, including credit card transactions for its entire network of restaurants. Netifice is deploying Netopia’s Cayman series gateways at Chipotle sites that use ADSL connections.

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VeriFone Lands Major PINpad Deal in the UK

Independent U.K. supermarket chain SPAR is deploying “VeriFone SC 5000” PINpads across 1,200 of its convenience retail stores in the UK. Approximately 2,800 units will be deployed beginning in September, transitioning “SPAR” payment systems in readiness to meet the January 2005 deadline set for EMV migration. In addition, later this month SPAR will be installing units at selected retailers in Northampton, as part of the UK town trial of Chip and PIN.

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Debit Settlement Generates Conference

The Electronic Funds Transfer Association announced Monday it will host a one-day conference focusing on the effect of the VISA and MasterCard debit card settlements. The conference will offer six sessions that will include “The New Debit Reality,” “What the Settlement Means to Merchants,” “Issuers and Acquirers Sound Off: The Challenge of the New Debit Model,” and “The Three Billion Dollar Question: Is the Consumer Better Off?” The event is scheduled for October 1st at The Plaza hotel in New York City.

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NWH’s ENS Joins NPC’s HealthePay Platform

NWH’s Electronic Network Systems has signed a multi-year agreement with NPC to utilize NPC’s “HealthePay” payment platform to expand their payer services offering to include ACH payment capabilities, payment consolidation, and electronic remittance advice reporting for healthcare payers and providers. Recognizing the demand for e-commerce from healthcare payer organizations and physician offices, ENS’ state-of-the-art services not only eliminate paper and labor-intensive processes in the administration of healthcare, but increase productivity by automating and streamlining the workflow between healthcare payers and providers. Health-e Exchange(TM) also offers hosting services for all transactions allowing ENS and NPC to offer a complete solution to healthcare payers to meet all of their HIPAA outsourcing needs.

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