Viad Signs Long’s

Longs Drug Stores Corporation has signed an agreement with Travelers Express Company, Inc., a Viad Corp subsidiary, to bring both Travelers Express money orders and MoneyGram money transfer services into their stores. Longs, a California-based drug store chain, expects to introduce Travelers Express/MoneyGram services in approximately 350 locations by early next year. Longs stores in California, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and Washington will be offering these new services.

“Longs is committed to quality and high customer service standards, so we are very pleased our services will be available in their stores,” said Michael Berry, vice president and general manager of Travelers Express/MoneyGram’s retail domestic business. “The addition of these locations will also significantly expand our network in a number of key states, giving more people easy access to our MoneyGram wire transfer service.”

Terry Burnside, Longs senior vice president – marketing, commented, “A commitment to providing Longs’ customers with convenience, professional assistance and value is fundamental to the way we conduct business. Since initiating in-store mailing centers in nearly 80 locations this year, one of our customers’ most frequent requests has been for money order and money transfer services. Travelers has demonstrated an intense desire to do business with Longs and possesses attitudes similar to ours in terms of the high priority placed on integrity and service.”

Longs Drug Stores is one of the most successful drug store chains in North America. Founded in 1938 by brothers Joe and Tom Long as a small neighborhood drug store, the company currently operates 414 stores in California, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon. Annual sales average more than $8.7 million per store. Longs’ unique strategy includes competencies in the key categories of pharmacy, over-the-counter medications, photo and cosmetics, and numerous other offerings. Longs’ Web site, [www.longs.com][1], includes community health screening schedules, on-line prescription refills, pharmacist access, coupons, a monthly health topic and the latest company news and investor information.

Travelers Express, which serves more than 5,000 financial institutions and 65,000 retail locations, annually processes more than one billion payment transactions, valued at more that $120 billion. In addition to money orders and MoneyGram wire transfers, the company processes official checks, electronic bill payments, rebate checks, WIC payments and gift certificates.

Viad Corp is a $1.6 billion company based in Phoenix.

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

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Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Barnes & Noble, Inc., the nation’s largest bookseller, introduced the Barnes & Noble Electronic Gift Card. Designed and developed with American Express for Barnes & Noble, the Electronic Gift Card can be purchased and used in any one of more than 1,000 Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton retail stores.

“We are excited about joining forces with American Express to bring this innovative program into our stores,” said Alan Kahn, chief operating officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “It brings together two organizations which are well known for their dedication to providing quality and technology to our customer.”

“The Barnes & Noble Electronic Gift Card program demonstrates our continuing commitment to offer new and exciting programs and to enhance customer service,” said Tom Tolworthy, president of Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

The Barnes & Noble Electronic Gift Card is a magnetic-striped stored-value card that functions like a gift certificate, but with greater convenience, flexibility and ease. It can be purchased with any payment method and in any amount between $5 and $100, or $25 and $50 pre-denominated cards. In addition, customers can add value to the card in amounts between $5 to $100. There is no fee or charge for the card.

When the customer brings his or her purchases to a Barnes & Noble cash register, the cashier simply swipes the Barnes & Noble Electronic Gift Card like a credit card. The amount spent is deducted from the total value of the card. If there are funds remaining, the Electronic Gift Card maintains a running balance, eliminating the need for change. The balance is printed on the receipt each time the card is used.

“The partnership with Barnes & Noble represents a major step forward for our electronic gift card program,” said Larry Sharnak, senior vice president of Fee Services and Stored Value. “It represents our largest rollout to date and is evidence of our strong relationship with a quality industry leader.”

The Barnes & Noble Electronic Gift Card operates on a sophisticated stored-value program and is backed by American Express’ superior customer service, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. In addition, American Express will provide marketing, operations and technical services to support the Barnes & Noble Electronic Gift Card program.

“The gift card business leverages American Express’ key strengths in both the card and stored value businesses,” said Mr. Sharnak. “Our history in the Travelers Checques business and our experience in customer service put us in a unique position to deliver superior stored-value solutions to our key partners.”

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) operates 521 Barnes & Noble and 448 B. Dalton bookstores. Barnes & Noble stores stock an authoritative selection of book titles and provide access to more than one million titles. They offer books from more than 50,000 publisher imprints with an emphasis on small, independent publishers and university presses. Barnes & Noble is one of the world’s largest booksellers on the World Wide Web ([http://www.bn.com][1]), and the exclusive bookseller on America Online (Keyword: bn). Barnesandnoble.com has the largest standing inventory of any online bookseller. Barnes & Noble also publishes books under its own imprint for exclusive sale through its retail stores, mail order catalogs and Web site.

General financial information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s investor relations Web site: . About American Express

American Express is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Checques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information, visit [www.americanexpress.com][2].

[1]: http://www.bn.com/
[2]: http://www.americanexpress.com/

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Traffic Zooms Up

CardWeb.com attracted nearly 100,000 unique visitors last week, a net gain of 60% over average traffic levels three months ago. The only major portal devoted to payment cards, CardWeb.com, continues to provide the highest response rate to its exclusive roster of credit card issuing ad clients. Last week the site generated an average response rate of 4.92% for its ad clients. According to the latest Nielsen/NetRatings weekly report, ad response rates on the Internet average 0.54%. The site delivers in excess of one million paid ad impressions per month, more than six million “hits” and does not accept performance-based ads. Robert McKinley, CEO of CardWeb.com, said this morning from London, the increased traffic is the direct result of the firm’s recently upgraded and technically advanced Web site design which enables visitors to more easily navigate CardWeb’s extensive online services. Associates recently joined the roster of card-issuing clients replacing a slot vacated by Chase Manhattan, who is re-formulating Web strategy. Other card-issuing CardWeb clients include: Bank of America, Capital One, First USA/WingSpan, Wachovia, NextCard, People’s Bank, AFBA, and Commerce Bank.

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Pathways Orders Proton

Bull, a world leader in smart card technology and secure smart card-based financial transactions, announced Monday that The Pathways Group, a leading developer of smart card-based technologies offering smart card and transaction processing solutions, has placed an order with Bull for approximately 200,000 CC Proton smart cards.

Pathways will provide the smart cards and point-of-sale terminals for use in a merchant program focusing on loyalty applications in conjunction with a statewide agreement signed with the Hawaii Millennium Commission in July 1999. Pathways’ integrated smart card system, the first of its kind anywhere, will allow smart card holders to use their cards in both real and virtual e-commerce activities. Pathways is a certified licensee of Proton.

Bull is providing their CC Card using electronic purse software from Proton, the most widely-used smart card technology in the world. Bull is also a certified licensee of Proton, and is the leading worldwide supplier of Proton-based cards with over 50 million Proton cards deployed.

“In the past, merchants have used paper certificates to promote their loyalty programs and reward shoppers for their patronage,” said Carey Daly, president and CEO of Pathways. “Using smart cards, local business and retailers will now be able to provide their customers unique offers and discounts as well as enjoy a more flexible and cost-effective way of managing their loyalty programs. We are pleased to work with Bull on this project.”

“The Pathways Group has emerged as one of America’s fastest-growing providers of smart card systems, electronic banking and transaction processing,” said Rod Donnelly, director of sales for Bull’s Smart Cards & Terminals division in North America. “They have a strong track record of innovation and technical competency. This is another example of their leadership in providing solutions to market requirements.”

Smart Card Solutions in Action

Pathways’ smart card system provides a variety of accumulation options that allow a merchant to tailor loyalty programs to suit marketing strategies. “The consumer’s accumulation in each loyalty program is stored on the card as well as on a central processing point,” Daley said. “The terminal can use the information stored on the card to determine if the appropriate point levels have been reached, and offer any rewards that may be applicable to the accumulated points.

“The point collection and redemption processing is performed in the terminal at a very high speed,” Daley said, “and the results are immediately and automatically applied to the current transaction. This ability alleviates the necessity to send statements and process written applications.”

About Bull Smart Cards & Terminals

Bull Smart Cards & Terminals is the industry leader in the field of secured transactions. Bull designs, develops and markets global smart card solutions primarily to three vertical markets: Banking and loyalty, telecommunications (GSM) and network security. Bull is a leader in the development of operating systems for microprocessor cards and has succeeded in achieving the highest certification for security mechanisms.

Bull differentiates itself from the competition through its dual role as supplier of microprocessor cards and a leader in information systems. Backed by one of the world’s leading IT integration groups, Integris, Bull is able to provide its customers with comprehensive solutions that include system integration, network management and security software and open system servers. Since inventing the microprocessor smart card in 1976, Bull has obtained more than 1,200 patents in the field. More information is available online at [http://www.smartcard.bull.com][1].

About Bull

Bull is an international IT group based in Europe with operations in nearly 100 countries, and combined revenues of $4.3 billion in 1998. Bull offers a wide range of systems, infrastructure software and IT services, through focused innovation, alliances with the best partners and its own integration expertise.

In its industry, besides GCOS mainframes, Bull is recognized for innovative products: the Escala family of UNIX servers, the NT EXPRESS5800 range, smart cards and software such as OpenMaster and AccessMaster for secure management of systems and networks. Bull’s North/South American operations are headquartered in Billerica, Mass. The company’s web addresses are [http://www.bull.com][2] and for the United States, [http://www.us.bull.com][3].

About Pathways Group

The Pathways Group, Inc., provides clients with innovative and unique solutions for securely creating, capturing and processing data and electronic transactions using custom application software and hardware systems. The company, established in 1987 by Carey Daly, has evolved into a leader in the development of custom software and hardware for electronic banking, data and transaction processing, and smart card applications. Pathways’ creation of proprietary “back office” systems allows for the capture and processing of data and transfer of funds via “ACH” protocol, the standard used in the banking industry for transfer of funds in retail, medical and institutional environments.

[1]: http://www.smartcard.bull.com/
[2]: http://www.bull.com/
[3]: http://www.us.bull.com/

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Windows Gets Smart

Microsoft released the ‘Microsoft Windows Smart Card Toolkit’ yesterday at Comdex. Windows-powered smart cards have a crypto-capable microprocessor and can perform a number of applications including: secure corporate logons for Windows 2000; Web and phone authentication; medical data storage; and debit, credit or cash transactions. Microsoft also announced a pilot program with British Telecom that will provide BT’s 35,000 mobile workers with one-touch remote network access from any device through ‘Windows for Smart Cards’ technology. Microsoft says its ‘Smart Card Associates Program’ now has 50 members who will begin releasing ‘Windows for Smart Card’ products this month. MN-based DataCard announced Monday the implementation of the first smart card campus using Windows-powered smart cards. Other Windows smart card announcements are expected this morning.

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Euronet Croatia Deal

Euronet Services Inc. announced that it has sold its network of 80 ATMs in Croatia to Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. of Zagreb, Croatia, and entered into a 15-year services agreement to operate the ATMs for RBA.

Under the agreement, the ATMs will be rebranded under RBA’s name, and Euronet will provide comprehensive operating services for the ATMs, including monitoring, transaction processing, and maintenance services.

The services agreement also establishes a cooperative arrangement under which Euronet and RBA will develop new, value-added services for RBA customers and other cardholders who have access to the network. As a result of this cooperation, Euronet ATMs in Croatia will be able to accept nearly all bank and credit cards issued on the market.

Michael Brown, Chairman and CEO of Euronet, commented, “This is an excellent agreement for both our company and RBA, because it creates an incentive to develop the Croatian ATM network into a vehicle for the delivery of new financial services and products.”

Zdenko Adrovic, President and CEO of RBA, said, “Through this ATM purchase RBA has acquired the second largest ATM network in Croatia. The ATM purchase allows us to immediately expand our presence throughout Croatia and will be an important building block in developing RBA’s retail banking business. RBA is currently a member of Visa International and has recently begun issuing Visa cards to our customers. In the near future we plan to become a member of Europay International which will allow us to also provide Europay products to our account holders. By partnering with Euronet, we are able to focus on providing our customers with quality retail banking services while minimizing the costs and management resources associated with operating an ATM network. We look forward to working with Euronet as a strategic partner supporting our current retail banking expansion and to bringing added convenience and functionality to our customers throughout Croatia.”

Daniel Stevens, Euronet’s Chief Financial Officer, added, “This agreement allows Euronet to improve its financial situation by taking ATMs off its balance sheet while generating long-term service fee revenues. This relationship is an excellent model that shows how we can fully leverage our ATM switching, management and operations infrastructure for added growth while at the same time expanding our service offerings without actually owning the ATMs.”

Euronet Services Inc. is a leading provider of electronic financial solutions and transaction processing services. Euronet operates a network of over 2,000 ATMs in Europe and the U.S. and offers ARKSYS(TM) software, an integrated software suite for electronic payment and transaction delivery systems compatible with the IBM AS/400 computer. With offices in eight countries on two continents, Euronet Services offers ATM network development and participation, outsourced management solutions, comprehensive software solutions, and professional and consulting services to retail banks and companies in more than 70 countries around the world.

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eCard Signs New Merchant

E-commerce pioneer, FurnitureFind.com announced a marketing agreement with First USA and WingspanBank.com. As part of this agreement, the online home furnishings retailer receives promotional consideration with links within the First USA website and becomes a participating online merchant in the online shopping program with both the eCard Platinum Visa credit card from First USA and the Wingspan Bank.com Platinum Visa credit card.

“Three years of building an e-commerce business has been a real learning experience,” explains Stephen Antisdel, President of FurnitureFind.com. “One thing we’ve learned is that customized marketing programs are a win-win situation. A well-designed program rewards our partner’s customers, while helping their visitors find terrific home furnishings values.” The success of FurnitureFind.com’s marketing efforts is underlined by their having the largest online network of affiliated sites in the online furniture and home furnishings industry, with over 5,000 participating online partner Web sites.

In talking with thousands of its visitors every month, FurnitureFind.com knows that security sometimes is a concern. Both credit card programs offer cardholders protection from unauthorized online transactions.

About FurnitureFind.com

With 47 years of real-world furniture experience, FurnitureFind.com has created an information-rich, service-oriented online environment showcasing over 100 name brand manufacturers with some 79,000 home furnishings products available.

Since 1996 FurnitureFind.com has pioneered furniture e-commerce with innovations that include free, nationwide Kid Glove Home Delivery, Kid Glove Assured Service, exclusive 24/7 live customer assistance by Certified Home Furnishings Advisors, and a comprehensive Best Value Guarantee program. FurnitureFind.com is a sponsor of the Better Homes and Gardens(R) Millennium Home Project, a Looksmart “Best of the Web” site, a member of online consumer organizations Netcheck, PrivateEye, Webwatchdog, BBBOnline and VeriSign, the exclusive furniture content provider for Microsoft’s HomeAdvisor and Furniture Anchor Merchant at MSN Shopping.

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VISA & Galileo

Visa International, Visa USA and Galileo International, a worldwide leader of electronic global distribution services for the travel industry, announced Friday a multi-faceted marketing alliance designed to deliver valuable benefits to travel agencies through the Visa payment card and Galileo’s travel booking software, Viewpoint. Under the new marketing agreement, Visa becomes the preferred payment system on Viewpoint and travel agents booking through Viewpoint will receive merchandise incentives.

Earlier this year, Galileo launched Viewpoint to help increase travel agents’ productivity for its approximately 40,000 travel agency locations. Viewpoint’s point-and-click environment, with drop-down menus, is easier to learn and use, creating the potential for reduced training costs and increased productivity. Traditional formats and screen displays required extensive training before an agent could become proficient.

“Travel agents can now book airlines, hotels and cars with just a few mouse clicks,” said Terry Rolecek, vice president, Marketing and Sales Programs for Galileo. “Agents are freed from memorizing cryptic codes. They can get information quickly for the traveling public and provide better customer service while achieving benefits themselves.”

“Agents who are members of the Visa Preferred Program can immediately recognize the added benefits they can accrue from this partnership,” said Rob Robins, executive vice president of Merchant Sales and Integrated Solutions for Visa USA “The automatic prompt on Viewpoint asking for the client’s Visa card will help them earn additional points toward valuable rewards.”

First introduced in the fall of 1996, the Visa Preferred Program was established to help travel agencies build business by offering incentives to front-line agents. Participating agents using the Galileo(R) and Apollo(R) systems can earn valuable points redeemable for awards such as mileage certificates for free flights and car rentals and gift certificates for major retailers, entertainment centers and hotel accommodations.

Apollo serves subscribers in North America, Mexico and Japan, while Galileo is marketed in all other areas. Although the Galileo and Apollo systems are marketed separately, they share a number of products and databases such as Viewpoint.

The companies announced this joint initiative here at a press conference at the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) annual conference. Future plans for the Visa-Galileo partnership include developing incentive-based marketing programs for travel agents and their customers.

For more information about the 1999 Visa Preferred Program, including information on how to join, travel agents may call the Visa Preferred Service Center at 1-800-511-VISA.

About Galileo

Galileo International is one of the world’s leading providers of electronic global distribution services for the travel industry. The company provides travel agencies at approximately 40,000 locations, as well as other subscribers, with the ability to access schedule and fare information, book reservations and issue tickets for more than 500 airlines. Galileo International also provides subscribers with information and booking capabilities covering all major hotel chains, car rental companies, cruise lines and numerous tour operators throughout the world. Further information about the company is available on Galileo’s web site: [http://www.galileo.com][1].

About Visa

As the “World’s Best Way to Pay,” Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest payment system in the world with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are over 850 million Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate more than US $1.4 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at over 17 million worldwide locations, including at more than 500,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [http://www.visa.com][2].

[1]: http://www.galileo.com/
[2]: http://www.visa.com/

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UVM Switches Partners

MBNA America Bank, N.A., has been selected as the new credit card provider for the University of Vermont. The new program offers no-annual fee, low annual percentage rate MasterCard or Visa credit cards to alumni, parents, and friends of the University of Vermont.

“We selected MBNA because we are convinced they will provide our members with the very best customer service and card benefits available,” said Thomas J. Amidon, ’61, president of the University of Vermont Alumni Association. “Our relationship with MBNA is truly exciting. This program will provide alumni and friends with a great way to support UVM while receiving excellent benefits.”

“We look forward to our new relationship with MBNA, an organization with a strong presence in New England and one of the leading credit card providers in the nation. They have an outstanding reputation for customer service,” said Chrysanne O’Neill, director of Alumni Relations.

MBNA will offer several card choices, including the Platinum Plus MasterCard and Visa credit cards, featuring a credit line of up to $100,000, a low introductory annual percentage rate for cash advance checks and balance transfers, $1 million in common carrier travel accident insurance, and the Platinum Plus Registry, which offers card and document registry, emergency cash, and replacement airline tickets. Preferred MasterCard and Visa cards will also be available.

Alumni, parents, and friends who currently have a UVM affinity credit card will receive more information on how to apply for a new MBNA card in November. Only the UVM card issued by MBNA will generate royalties for the University.

“We are pleased that the University of Vermont has chosen MBNA,” said John Cochran, Chief Marketing Officer of MBNA, “and we look forward to providing them with the highest level of financial products and customer service.”

MBNA Corporation (NYSE: KRB), a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America, N.A., a national bank, has $67.4 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, and insurance services.

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Home Depot Gift Card

The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, Friday announced the availability of Home Depot Gift Cards at its Web site.

“Extending the sale of Home Depot Gift Cards to the Internet provides customers the convenience of purchasing these popular gift items from their own computer,” said Ellen Dracos, Home Depot’s director of homedepot.com. “Today’s product launch online is an important next step as we prepare to launch sales of products on the Internet next year.”

Purchase Home Depot Gift Cards Online

The credit card-sized gift cards – which can be purchased in amounts of $10, $25, $50 or $100 – can be redeemed at any Home Depot, EXPO Design Center(R) or Villager’s Hardware stores(SM) in the United States.

homedepot.com provides customers with an easy step-by-step process to order multiple Home Depot Gift Cards in a single transaction. Customers simply enter the number of gift cards and dollar amount for each recipient, as well as shipping information and a personalized message for each package. To complete each order, customers are required to enter their credit card number on Home Depot’s secure servers, which use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software to receive the information by encryption.

Customers have the option to have the gift card package shipped to the recipient’s home or business address via US Postal Service, United Parcel Service (UPS) ground, UPS 2-day or UPS next day service. The recipient will receive the gift card(s) and a personalized message in an 8-1/2″ by 11″ carrier.

“Home Depot Gift Cards make perfect holiday gifts, particularly for the do-it-yourselfer who might prefer to select the merchandise at the store,” said Dracos. “We anticipate the availability of gift cards online will greatly expand the popularity of this item during the upcoming holiday season.”

Coinciding with the gift card launch is the introduction of 24/7 customer service, including the new I-Help feature at homedepot.com. I-Help provides gift card buyers with a 24-hour, real-time forum to receive instant help from a Home Depot associate regarding gift card ordering. Gift card buyers who access the I-Help function submit a question; within seconds an associate will provide the visitor with the necessary information to complete his or her gift card purchase.

“Home Depot takes personalized customer service to new levels through the I-Help feature,” said Dracos. “Now gift card buyers can ask Home Depot associates specific questions around-the-clock, any day of the week to make their gift card purchase quick, secure and easy.”

Home Depot also expanded its e-mail and phone service hours to 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Nov. 5. I-Help will be available throughout the site in early 2000.

About homedepot.com

Home Depot’s Web site at [http://www.homedepot.com][1] extends the company’s quality customer service from the stores to the Internet by providing customers with more than 150 Project How-To’s, a personalized Home Team home page and various project calculators.

Founded in 1978, in Atlanta, Ga., The Home Depot currently operates more than 888 stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Chile. The company reported net sales for fiscal 1998 of $30.2 billion and employs more than 190,000 people. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (HD) and is listed in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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

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Flame Continues

VISA International has nailed down its Olympic sponsorship well into the next decade. VISA announced Friday the renewal of its Olympic partnership as a ‘TOP V Worldwide Partner’ of the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002, and the XXVIII Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004. The partnership agreement makes VISA the exclusive payment card and the official payment system of the 2002 and 2004 Olympic events. As a worldwide ‘TOP’ sponsor, VISA contributes significantly to the host country market by developing business alliances with destination marketing partners. Since 1986, more than 20 million VISA cards bearing the Olympic rings have been issued by VISA’s members. More than 500 key VISA member financial institutions worldwide are involved in leveraging the Olympic Games to benefit their cardholders and merchants.

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Payroll Cash Card

First Data’s IPS Card Solutions has signed agreements for Texas Capital Bank to offer the ‘Western Union Cash Card’ service to Texas businesses. The IPS system provides a means for paying work forces dispersed across wide geographical areas, or unbanked employees. It can also serve as a platform for employee incentive and recognition programs. The card provides access to an employee’s pay via more than 200,000 ATMs and 425,000 POS retailers located throughout the U.S. Texas Capital will promote the card to Texas businesses through co-branded marketing efforts featuring both the bank’s logo and the Western Union logo.

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