SOS Children’s Villages Implements sQuid Smart Card

SOS Children’s Villages Kenya implemented sQuid’s smartcard payments service to help villagers obtain food directly from local shops. The pilot program has been launched in the northern Kenyan town of Marsabit, and is being operated by sQuid and its local partner Paystream, a specialist in merchant payment terminal installation and management. The SOS Children’s Villages Kenya scheme is the result of collaboration with SOS Kenya, community elders, Government authorities and shop owners. The sQuid system delivers the electronic value to each card, which can then be used in the local store – collecting the unique top-up and allowing the cardholder to make contactless purchases of food directly at the participating merchant.

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Dynamics Wins 2011 CARTES Best in Show

Dynamics next-generation payment cards has won the Sesames Award for “Best of Show in Hardware” at the 2011 Cartes and Identification show in France. Dynamics’ “Chip And Choice” technology took the show’s highest award, marking the first time a company has been recognized with the payments industry honor three times (Dynamics won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2011, BAI Retail Delivery 2011 and CARTES 2011). Dynamics’ “Chip And Choice” technology was designed to remedy EMV software fragmentation problems. Utilizing a secure, embedded chip and an exposed chip, a user can select different payment options by pressing different buttons on the card.

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PowerCard Loyalty Cards Goes Mobile

PowerCard loyalty card processor that assists restaurants in building business growth through cutting-edge customer retention technologies, has launched a mobile version of its thriving customer loyalty program. PowerCard’s traditional software has helped more than 1,600 merchants throughout the United States and Canada to increase consumer profitability and overall growth since 2002. PowerCard’s mobile program eliminates the need for the customer to carry a plastic card. Instead, a customer can register for the loyalty program using their cellular phone’s texting service; smart phone users can also scan a unique QR code or visit a website to register. PowerCard is fully integrated with 35 point-of-sale systems including MICROS, Squirrel and Aloha by Radiant.

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Debit Card Law Forces BofA & Citigroup Casualties

US banks of all sizes are backing off the new monthly fees. Banks began instituting monthly fees in response to last year’s Dodd-Frank legislation that limited the amount of money banks could charge merchants for individual transactions. Banks skirted the legislation by charging a flat monthly fee to use debit cards in order to recoup some of the losses. The move to drop monthly debit card transaction fees will certainly help the public image of regional banks. Bank of America abandoned plans to charge $5 a month for debit cards after a nationwide backlash from consumers and lawmakers. With this, Citigroup is considering plans to cut 3,000 or more workers as part of an ongoing effort to control expenses. About 900 of the cuts would be in the company’s securities and banking division, which serves institutional clients.

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Citi Renews Sunoco Private Label Card Deal

Citi and Sunoco forged a multi-year renewal of their long-standing U.S. private label credit card relationship. Having offered branded payment products to leading petroleum product provider Sunoco since 2004, Citi provides quick and efficient fuel purchase processing while ensuring that customers have convenient and flexible payment options for their fuel purchases. Citi Retail Partner Cards nearly 90 million accounts and consists of managed assets of approximately $44 billion.

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Google Deploys Wallet With New Partners

Google Checkout will be incorporated into the new Google Wallet mPayment service. Now available on the mobile websites for movie ticketing companies Fandango and MovieTickets.com. Also Gap retailer announced it would be testing Google Wallet in more than 65 of its Bay Area stores in California. Shoppers at select Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Stores and Gap Outlet locations will be able to pay via Google Wallet with a single tap of their phone.

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Premier from Fiserv Demos Quick Scalability

Fiserv financial services technology solutions concluded its benchmark test demonstrating the scalability and performance of its “Premier” from Fiserv. Run on IBM Power Systems with Solid State Drives (SSDs), show the ability of Premier to manage the Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) and account processing requirements of current and prospective clients while cost-effectively accommodating the future growth of financial institutions of almost any size. Tests showed “Premier” achieved an OLTP benchmark of 5.1 million transactions per hour, surpassing prior benchmark tests utilizing IBM hardware, which demonstrated 1.2 million online transactions per hour.

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GCA Acquires MCA Processing Assets

Global Cash Access Holdings announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of substantially all of the assets of MCA Processing LLC. GCA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Cash Access Holdings and a provider of cash access products and related services to over 1,100 casinos and other gaming properties in the United States, Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and Asia. It provides cash access with ATM cash withdrawals, point-of-sale debit card transactions, credit card cash advances, check verification and warranty services, and Western Union money transfers.

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Chicago Open Standards Fare System Inks Cubic Contract

Cubic Transportation Systems has been selected for contract award by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to integrate, deliver, operate and maintain the agency’s next-generation open payments system that will accept bank cards and, ultimately, mobile phone payments. The contract has an estimated value of $454 million, making it the largest automated fare collection contract ever placed in North America. Cubic will operate and maintain the entire system, resulting in an overall 12-year partnership between Cubic and the CTA. Riders without credit or debit cards will be issued reloadable prepaid debit cards that can be used for everyday purchases and CTA rides.

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MoneyGram Announces Pricing of Secondary Offering

MoneyGram International global payment services announced an underwritten secondary public offering of an aggregate of 9,250,000 shares of MoneyGram’s common stock by affiliates and co-investors of Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and affiliates of Goldman, Sachs & Co. has been priced at $16.25 per share. The selling stockholders have also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,387,500 shares of common stock. MoneyGram will not receive any proceeds from the proposed offering. The offering is expected to close on November 23, 2011, subject to the satisfaction of applicable closing conditions.

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80% to Give Gift Cards This Season

Thanks to e-gifting, instant delivery through Facebook, personalized video and even mobile options, gift cards have become unique gift ideas in their own right. Holiday shoppers are expected to spend an average of $155.43 on gift cards, the highest amount since 2007 and up from $145.61 last year. With this, gift cards remain the most requested holiday gift, marking the fifth year in a row gift cards have topped consumers’ wish lists. This compares to in 2010 while gift givers will also spend more on each card they buy. Shoppers will spend an average of $43.23 per card, up from $41.48 last year.

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