OPAY in CT

Official Payments Corp. has signed seven Connecticut towns to enable residents to make credit card payments for various taxes and fees such as real estate taxes, personal property taxes, motor vehicle taxes, and utility payments. These seven towns are located within three of the state’s most populous counties: Fairfield, Hartford, and New Haven. Combined, these seven towns collect more than $600 million in the aforementioned tax types.

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UATP Promotes Carter

Universal Air Travel Plan has promoted Emily Carter to VP of Marketing and Industry Relations. Ms. Carter began her career with UATP in January 2001, as the Manager of Member Programs Development and has served as acting Director of Marketing since December 2001. Ms. Carter was previously employed with Ansett Australia, serving in various managerial roles. While at Ansett, Ms. Carter was responsible for the development and launch of its UATP program.

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Recurring Payments

Nearly 42% of young people ages 18-24 would enroll in a recurring payment service to help pay monthly expenses according to a new survey released this morning. In addition, the findings revealed 33% of those under the age of 44 embraced the idea of recurring payments with 24% of those Americans late in paying bills indicating they would be willing to take part in a recurring plan. The Paymentech survey says 29% of Americans admit to being late paying bills and 15% said the reason was some aspect of `human error’ (10% forgot the bill, 4% misplaced the bill and 1% said they didn’t have enough checks). More than a quarter of the population is currently enrolled in a recurring payment plan. About 46% used the service to satisfy utility bills, cable television and home security system payments with an additional 22% using it for insurance payments. Highest participation rates are among New Englanders (39%), those with household incomes over $50K a year (36%), 35-44 year olds (33%).

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Metris Hires Witham

Metris Companies has hired John Witham, formerly of Bracknell Corp and PHH Corp, as SVP of finance. Witham comes to Metris from Bracknell Corp. in Minneapolis, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to that, he held the same position at Arcadia Financial Ltd. in Bloomington, Minn. He has also worked at PHH Corp. in Hunt Valley, Md.; Gelco Corp. in Eden Prairie, Minn.; Donaldson Company, Inc. in Bloomington; and Arthur Young & Co. in Minneapolis.

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Lipman MSI Deal

NJ-based Merchant Services Inc. has signed an agreement with Lipman for the purchase of 10,000 POS terminals. The agreement enables MSI to supply its customers with NURIT wired and wireless point-of-sale solutions using the Lipman ImagePak. This is a complete desktop solution comprised of the NURIT 3020 Countertop Payment Terminal combined with a check image reader, which is powered by the Web based NURIT-Capture check imaging solution.

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PayPal Processor

Atlanta-based InterCept confirmed Wednesday that its contract with PayPal will most likely terminate in August. PayPal is switching its U.S. credit card processing services from Electronic Payment Exchange, a wholly-owned subsidiary of InterCept, to Wells Fargo. On May 1, PayPal entered into an agreement with Wells Fargo for processing services that requires the transition to be completed no later than November. Although PayPal’s contract with EPX runs through November 14, PayPal has verbally informed EPX that it intends to complete the transition in August. PayPal also indicated to EPX that it will not transfer its international credit card processing services from EPX, but a new agreement has not been reached. InterCept says its does not believe the transition of the PayPal business will have a material effect on its earnings and has reaffirmed its earnings per share guidance.

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PVN Flag Card

Nine months after 9/11, card issuers are still hopping on the patriotic bandwagon, wrapping their credit cards in the American flag. This month, Providian launched a series of cards featuring symbols of America, including its U.S. flag VISA Platinum card. In solicitations hitting mailboxes this week, Providian is offering its Platinum flag card with a 0% APR on purchases through January and a credit line up to $3,000, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). Other designs in the symbols of America series include an eagle card, liberty card, and the Mount Rushmore card. In 1999, Discover was the first issuer to launch a card carrying the American flag graphic. One year ago Discover aggressively marketed the card and increased its efforts following 9/11. 5Star Bank, formerly known AFBA Bank, launched two “United We Stand” bank credit cards last October. (CF Library 9/28/01; 10/15/01)

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

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EDMONTON TRANSIT CARDS

Alberta-based Edmonton Transit System is creating a proof-of-payment fare collection system that will be smart card-ready for light rail services. As a result, Cubic Transportation Systems was awarded a $3.5 million contract to develop the system. Under terms of the deal, Cubic will deliver light rail ticket vending machines and a data acquisition system to Edmonton Transit’s 10 light rail stations in the third quarter of 2003. Metro Transit is the Canada’s 11th largest bus system with 73.3 million customer boardings last year. In January, Cubic won a $15.2 million contract from the Metro Council of Minneapolis/St. Paul which, when completed in two years, will represent the first smart regional ticketing system for the mid-size market in the USA

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Conference Card

Tradeshow leader IDG World Expo has teamed with MBNA to offer a co-branded conference credit card targeted at Mac enthusiasts. MBNA, the king of affinity programs, has been exploring new smaller segments in the USA as its new partner business slows. During the first quarter MBNA signed up 93 new affinity programs compared to 121 in the first quarter of 2001. The new Macworld Conference & Expo Platinum Plus MasterCard credit card is being offered in conjunction with the Macworld Conference & Expo which will take place in New York City next month. The no annual fee card offers a 10% discount on purchases of official Macworld merchandise. The card also offers an intro 0% APR on cash advances for six months. The ongoing APR is 12.99%. Applications for the card are available online and at next month’s conference.

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CEO & SCTN

Toronto-based Consumer Economic Opportunities Inc. and Salt Lake City-based Smart Chip Technologies have inked a deal under which CEO will customize SCTN’s loyalty application, e-llegiance, so that it will run on the Ingenico Elite 510 dual magnetic stripe and smart card capable POS terminal. The application will run as both a stand-alone loyalty application and as a payment-integrated application, including all other necessary interfaces, such as uploading transactions to LoyaltyCentral via modem, payment switch, or the Internet. CEO’s CREDITZ Digital Currency system is currently being deployed on the Ingenico Elite 510 POS terminals with both national and regional Canadian merchants. In a prior agreement, CEO and SCTN agreed to cross product licensing, thereby enabling CEO’s magnetic stripe-based CREDITZ customers to take advantage of SCTN’s end-to-end smart loyalty solution in future deployments. The CREDITZ system will be integrated with SCTN’s e-llegiance loyalty system for smart cards, devices, and POS terminals; and offer the LoyaltyCentral software and back office operation, providing complete loyalty program management, transaction processing, and accounting services to clients as well. CEO will enhance the CREDITZ system by adding e-llegiance and LoyaltyCentral to its mix of product offerings.

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