USAT Targets ePort in the Coffee Business

USA Technologies and its cashless “ePort” technologies is making inroads
into the coffee vending industry. The company is launching the “ePort”
terminal and “ePort Connect” Service
in the office coffee market, targeting innovative self-serve coffee
brewers that allow office workers to purchase freshly brewed coffee with
credit and debit cards. Earlier this year two major global companies,
Merit Industries and AIR-serv, began installing “ePort” in their
locations in order to add
greater consumer convenience by offering cashless payment, and in
addition, to gain real time web-based access to operational data via the
ePort Connect Service. Merit Industries over the next three years
intends to install ePort in
thousands of its new Megatouch Touchscreen Entertainment Systems. Over
the next two years, AIR-serv plans to install thousands of “ePort”
cashless transaction terminals in its coin-operated tire inflation and
vacuuming machines at gas stations and convenience stores. The “ePort
Connect” service has been adapted to POS terminals in the
vending, kiosks, laundry, transportation, parking, toll booth, photo and
video kiosks, hotel business centers and a variety of other commercial
markets, in the US, Canada, and abroad.

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Fiserv Introduces a New Brand Identity

Banking technology expert Fiserv has introduced a new brand identity.
The full integration of CheckFree’s electronic commerce operations
within Fiserv has been a catalyst to drive increased innovation and
focus the power of Fiserv’s cumulative expertise on helping clients grow
their business and increase profitability. All of the company’s
businesses have been unified under the new brand and report through two
primary operating divisions led by Steve Olsen, former CheckFree Chief
Operating Officer and now Fiserv Group President, and Tom Warsop, Fiserv
Group President. Fiserv includes: Source Capture Solutions; Corillian
Online; Mobile Money; MyMoney; Business Analytics for Premier; and Bank
Intelligence Solutions. Fiserv celebrates its 25th year in 2009.

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U.K. Payment Card Volume Rises 7% in 08

Payment card volume in the U.K. totaled 7.4 billion purchases for GBP 371.7 billion last year compared to 6.9 billion purchases totaling GBP 347.9 billion in 2007. The number of purchases was 7.4% higher than in 2007, and spending was 6.8% higher. Debit cards accounted for 73.5% of all plastic card purchases in 2008 compared with 71.7% in 2007. The latest figures from APACS also reveals that Bacs volumes and values grew by 2.0% and 6.8% respectively during 2008. Over the same period, CHAPS sterling volumes fell by 2.8% whilst values rose by 6.2%. The U.K. “Faster Payments Service” was launched in May and by the end of the year had processed 82.8 million payments for a value of GBP 32.9 billion. Check and credit clearing volumes declined by 10.4% in 2008, with total values declining by 7.1%.

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Card Personalization Comes to CUs

Dallas-based TNB Card Services is launching credit and debit card
personalization services to all of its client credit unions. The new
service is a product of its deal with Serverside Group. TNB’s card
personalization tool will be available in the second quarter. The new
online feature allows credit union member cardholders to completely
personalize their plastic, using digital photographs or graphic elements
of their choosing. They can also select from a number of pre-selected
card images. TNB serves more than 550 financial institutions of all
sizes and managing more than 2 million cards nationwide.

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Clearent Acquiring Platform Takes Shape

Payment processor Clearent has developed a
proprietary acquiring platform that facilitates a more efficient
merchant settlement with easy-to-understand
reporting, improvements in vital payments processes
like chargebacks, retrievals and is compatible with
multiple front ends. The technology allows Clearent’s partners and
merchants access to “Compass”, an online management tool. With
“Compass”, merchants get complete transparency into all program-related
fees so they can actively manage their expenses and even reduce their
program costs. A clear, easy-to-understand merchant statement further
reinforces this insight. By using this data, they can easily
understand their profitability and identify how to quickly improve their
bottom line – which also supports the development of a more loyal
customer relationship. Clearent’s partners and merchants
have better control over settlement funding, receive access to foreign
language and currency support and get improved security since Clearent’s
platform was built around the needs of PCI, rather than needing to be
retrofitted.

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Small Business Watch Index Edges Upward

More than half of small business owners plan to decrease spending on
business development in the next six months. Also, the number of owners
who say they have experienced temporary cash flow issues in the past 90
days rose to 42% in February, up from 38% in January. The latest
“Discover Small Business Watch Index” rose to 71.9 in February from 71.4
in January. Discover also found that 19% of owners see conditions for
their businesses improving, up from 17% who felt the same in January;
while 54% see conditions getting worse, also an increase from January;
22% say conditions are the same; and 6% aren’t sure. Most small business
owners also expressed doubts that Congress could create any stimulus
package that would pull the country out of recession: 58% were not very
or not at all confident of such an outcome; 40% were somewhat or very
confident; and 2% weren’t sure. Sixty percent of small business owners
say it is not at all or not very likely they will have to close their
businesses because of the nation’s current economic problems; 22% said
it was somewhat likely and 14% said it was very likely they would have
to close their doors because of the economy. Four percent weren’t sure.

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CardPartner Unveils The Blue Card

A new credit card has been released that provides personal
emergency response systems for Holocaust survivors living alone. The new
affinity “Blue Card” is a joint product of CardPartner and a New
York-based national nonprofit whose mission is to provide direct
financial assistance to needy Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution who
are living in the USA. “The Blue Card” was established by the Jewish
community in Germany in the early 1930s and was re-established in the
USA in 1939 to continue aiding those resettling in America. The Blue
Card organization earns $50 for each activated card. Then once each
quarter for the life of the card, the organization earns a share of the
monthly charge volume. CardPartner is a unit of the privately held
Serverside Group.

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ViVOtech Closes Another Funding Round

NFC provider ViVOtech has closed an $8.6 million extension to its Series
C round of funding from its existing investors, bringing the total
investment in its series C
round to more than $40 million. ViVOtech’s
investors include Alloy Ventures, Citi, Draper Fischer Jurvetson, DFJ
Gotham, First Data, Miven Ventures, Motorola Ventures, NCR, and Nokia
Growth Partners. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology broadens the
use of mobile devices by enabling interactivity with contactless payment
systems at the point-of-sale, ATMs and kiosks. A variety of innovative,
consumer friendly, profitable new applications beyond payment will
follow through the power of NFC and contactless, including: in-store
real time personalized loyalty, coupon and promotion programs, user
authentication for self service check-in at airlines and hotels, and
more secure ATM transactions.

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CARD VOLUME 2008

Payment card volume in the U.K. totalled 7.4 billion purchases for GBP 371.7 billion last year compared to 6.9 billion purchases totalling GBP 347.9 billion in 2007. The number of purchases was 7.4% higher than in 2007, and spending was 6.8% higher. Debit cards accounted for 73.5% of all plastic card purchases in 2008 compared with 71.7% in 2007. The latest figures from APACS also reveals that Bacs volumes and values grew by 2.0% and 6.8% respectively during 2008. Over the same period, CHAPS sterling volumes fell by 2.8% whilst values rose by 6.2%. The U.K. “Faster Payments Service” was launched in May and by the end of the year had processed 82.8 million payments for a value of GBP 32.9 billion. Cheque and credit clearing volumes declined by 10.4% in 2008, with total values declining by 7.1%.

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Young Professionals Hit Radar Screen

According to results from a SYNERGISTICS survey, “Financial Insights:
Emerging Professionals” which interviewed 600 doctors/dentists,
CPAs/accountants, lawyers, and engineers/architects ages 18 to 49, many
of these
lucrative potential customers are turning to Internet-based financial
institutions for some of their financial needs. More than half of
emerging professionals indicate
using an Internet-based organization where they conduct all business
with the institution online, by e-mail or regular mail, or by telephone
and more than four in ten of the users say this Internet-based
organization is their household’s primary financial institution.

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MasterCard Names a New Controller

MasterCard has appointed Melissa Ballenger as
Controller and Principal Accounting Officer. Ballenger previously served
as Senior Vice President, Controller and
Principal Accounting Officer of Washington Mutual, Inc., until its
recent acquisition by JPMorgan Chase and was responsible for the
company’s accounting and financial reporting functions. Prior to that,
she held other accounting positions of increasing responsibility at
organizations including Freddie Mac and Arthur Andersen.

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Florida Power CU Promos a Staples Card

FL-based Power Financial Credit Union has teamed with office supply
retailer Staples to review the business plans of small businesses and
reward one winner with a $100 “Staples Gift Card”.
Businesses with less than 250 employees located in Broward, Miami-Dade
and Palm Beach counties are eligible. In addition to the Gift Card, the
winning business owner will receive private
financial consultations provided by Power Investments, marketing
consultation with Power Financial Credit Union’s Marketing Department, a
public relations audit from brainstorm2go, inc., financial literacy
employee seminars. Power Financial Credit Union has more than 55,000
members and assets totaling $480 million.

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