VISA & Ask Jeeves

VISA has contracted Ask Jeeves, Inc. for its corporate “Visa Card Advisor” Web site to direct consumers to requested information about VISA consumer credit cards. Through a question and answer interaction, the “Visa Card Advisor” will lead customers to relevant products by asking them questions such as “What special features are you interested in?” or “How would you rate your credit history?” By connecting customers to the answers they seek, Visa expects to enhance customer satisfaction and increase conversion rates.

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VBV EUROPE

Bibit Global Payment Services and euroConex have signed an agreement to adopt Verified by VISA which uses 3-D Secure technology. The partnership will target merchants in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Bibit’s announcement with euroConex follows a similar agreement between Bibit and Citibank to support the German and Swiss markets. VISA is offering protection for online retailers who adopt Verified by VISA, eliminating liability for card-not-present charge-backs. Being implemented in Europe immediately, the service will be available on a global basis by April 2003. Among the first Bibit clients to benefit from this technology will be Psion, a leading technology company and a major online seller of handheld computers. euroConex is a joint venture between Bank of Ireland and U.S.-based NOVA.

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En-point Direct

Payment Partners is announcing today the launch of En-point Direct which enables companies to bypass traditional foreign wire transfers. The solution can be implemented into any Web environment, back-end system, or proprietary client, to allow companies to send electronic payment requests with payment instructions specific to each country/currency embedded in the request and receive payment from international payors through their web, intranet, or extranet with the currency conversion handled in the background. En-point Direct also offers single sign-on/user identification and the option to deposit funds in the US via ACH directly into the customer bank account. The service also incorporates transaction-screening guidelines in the recently passed Patriot Act of 2001.

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BANAMEX C2IT

Banamex has launched an online money transfer service to enable customers to instantly transfer money from the U.S. Using Citibank’s c2it service, customers now have the option to directly deposit the money into a Banamex bank account or have the recipient pick up cash at any one of the more than 1,400 Banamex branches. Customers enroll in c2it and fund their c2it account from a U.S-based bank account or VISA/MasterCard bank credit card from any financial institution. Once the funds are available, they have the option to instantly send money directly to the recipient’s Banamex bank account. c2it also offers a guaranteed rate of exchange, so customers will know the exact amount of Mexican pesos being sent. Citibank, which owns Banamex, launched its c2it service in October 2000 and its international service in May 2001.

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Payment .NET Technology

British Columbia-based Paradata Systems has released a payment solution supporting .NET technology. The main component of the release is a .NET class library that supports all of Paradata’s offerings and sample applications written in languages such as C#, VB.NET, J#, and ASP.NET. The .NET program interface allows merchants and their developers to choose from a wide variety of integration options, each suited to different needs. This creates an easy integration process and allows them to take advantage of important features of .NET such as stability and error handling.

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Payless Lodging

FL-based Payless Lodging has launched a new member benefit to lower credit card processing costs by an average of 10% to 18%. Under a partnership with First Credit Card Corporation, Payless Processing analyzes the statements by hotel operators and provides a detailed breakout of what is being charged and the savings that can be achieved through minor adjustments. There are 47 different classifications for credit card transactions. Processing fees can vary greatly based on how the transaction is entered into the system and the way it is processed. Payless Lodging is a partnership of mid-priced independent motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, condominiums and vacation homes that provides travelers online Internet access to reserve accommodations worldwide.

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MasterCard Restaurant Forums

MasterCard International and Zagat Survey host a series of Restaurant Industry Forums in six cities beginning tomorrow in Boston which will focus on the state of the restaurant industry and how to maximize profitability. Panelists will include nationally renowned restaurateurs, chefs, designers, journalists, and academics. In addition, Tim and Nina Zagat will discuss the results of the most recent Zagat Surveys covering each city. Other cities on the tour include: Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

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GASPER ATMS

National Australia Group has completed its installation of Gasper ATM Manager in Clydesdale Bank (Scotland), National Irish Bank (Ireland), Northern Bank (Northern Ireland), and Yorkshire Bank (England). The deployment across four of NAG’s banking subsidiaries provide real-time monitoring of over 1,000 ATMs from a central location. NAG also deployed Gasper’s Automated Services Manager, which streamlines the servicing and notification process of the ATMs. Gasper Manager is the leading ATM management solution, used by over 170 ATM deployers to manage approximately 170,000 ATMs worldwide. Gasper is owned by NCR.

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TSYS & IBM

TSYS has signed a comprehensive service agreement with IBM, valued at $194 million over the next five years, which includes hardware, software, maintenance, and other services from IBM, including IBM Global Services and Global Financing. Through the deal, TSYS will globally deploy the new systems, which will allow the company to control operating expenses while significantly increasing transaction volumes, as well as to develop and deploy new capabilities to its clients.

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Aeroplan

Air Canada and MBNA will launch a co-branded credit card program in the USA this summer. The long-term agreement will allow U.S. residents who hold Aeroplan Platinum Plus, Preferred and Quantum credit cards to accumulate Aeroplan Miles that can be redeemed for reward travel. Cardholders will earn one Aeroplan Mile for every one dollar spent on eligible purchases. Air Canada currently has more than 80 partners in its Aeroplan loyalty program. More than six million members, including approximately 400,000 in the United States, earn Aeroplan Miles toward reward travel to destinations served by Air Canada, its regional airline, Air Canada Jazz, and worldwide partner airlines comprising the Star Alliance network.

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Home Depot

Citi Commerce Solutions has signed a multi-year agreement to take over payment cards for Home Depot in mid-year 2003. The deal covers consumer credit card, commercial revolving charge and commercial accounts. GE Capital Financial currently owns and manages the Home Depot payment card portfolio. Citi Commerce Solutions is the private label credit card unit of Citigroup. The Home Depot is the second largest retailer in the USA, with annual sales of about $50 billion. The company has 1,397 stores in 49 states, Puerto Rico, seven Canadian provinces, and Mexico.

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Best Western

MasterCard has inked a deal with Best Western to be the preferred payments brand at all locations in North America. The partnership, which begins this week, is also awarding free nights to its Gold Crown Club International members when they pay with their MasterCard card. To qualify for a free night, GCCI members pay for three hotel stays on their MasterCard card between now and Aug 4th. Best Western International is the world’s largest hotel chain with more than 4,000 hotels in 80 countries and territories.

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