Camden National Bank Joins PULSE

Summary ME-based Camden National Bank has joined the PULSE ATM/debit network. PULSE is one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,500 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country. PULSE is owned by Discover Financial Services. The network links cardholders with more than 265,000 ATMs, as well as POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. PULSE has experienced continued growth in network participation in 2008. For the fiscal year to date (December 2007 through May 2008), the network has added more than 100 new financial institution participants.

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CARD VOLUME

The total value of plastic card payments received by British merchants, retailers and service providers increased slightly more than 10% last year to GBP 345 billion. Debit cards accounted for 62% or GBP 221 billion of total spend. Credit card spend reached GBP 133 billion during 2007. According to UK payments association APACS, debit card spending was up 13% in 2007 while credit card spending rose 6%. This is the second year in a row that plastic spending topped cash spending. APACS noted that credit card spending up until the end of May increased by only 1.2% – below the rate of inflation, and the average value of a credit card purchase in a supermarket has actually fallen by GBP 1 to GBP 34.33. Last year total cash spending was GBP 265 billion. The trade group also noted that check payments last year totaled GBP 194 billion.

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UMB Goes Green with the Eco Rewards Visa

Another U.S. credit card issuer is going “green.” Kansas City-based UMB Financial has introduced the “Eco Rewards Visa.” The new card offers one point for every dollar in purchases; two points for every dollar of interest billed; and additional points for “green” purchases. Cardholders who apply before August 31st earn double points on every purchase for the first 90 days the account is open. Qualified “green” purchases include everything from energy-efficient light bulbs to ENERGY STAR appliances. Cardholders need to complete a basic online redemption process to claim these double points. Points may be redeemed for cash, merchandise, gift cards or travel; however, points may now also be allocated as a donation to a variety of local and national environmental organizations. ENERGY STAR, Green Seal and the Forest Stewardship Council have officially endorsed the “Eco Rewards Visa. UMB also notes that all applications and statements will be produced electronically, plus any required print materials will be produced with recycled paper. Other issuers offering “green” cards include: GE Money’s “Earth Rewards Platinum MasterCard”; Bank of America’s “Brighter Planet VISA”; MetaBank’s “GreenPay MasterCard”; and MBNA Canada Bank’s “Eco-Logique MasterCard.”

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GPN and HSBC Joint Venture Begins Ops

E-payment platform provider Global Payments has created a joint venture with HSBC Bank to provide payment processing services and merchant acquiring services to over 135,000 merchant outlets.Global Payments paid HSBC $439 million in cash to acquire a 51% ownership in the joint venture with HSBC to control the remaining 49% and contributed its existing merchant acquiring business in the United Kingdom to the joint venture. In addition, HSBC and Global Payments have entered into a ten-year marketing alliance in which the bank will refer its customers to the joint venture for merchant payment processing services. In 2007 HSBC’s merchant acquiring business in the United Kingdom generated revenue of approximately $229 million (114 million pounds Sterling). Global Payments expects this transaction will be accretive to diluted earnings per share in the first year.

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KeyBank to Migrate to Opteva ATMs

Diebold has signed agreements with KeyBank to modernize its self-service channel by maximizing functionality, streamlining operation and reducing cost through expanded marketing reach and enhanced fleet administration. In doing so, the agreements stipulate Diebold will be replacing KeyBank’s old ATMs with its “Opteva” ATMs, complete with “Agilis” software. The “Agilis” software offers the bank advanced services such as personalized screen content and messages, allows KeyBank to troubleshoot and access specific ATMs from a central location and provides faster resolution of specific ATM transaction inquiries. Among the new ATMs provided of KeyBank are the “Opteva 500-series” stand-alone and the 700-series advanced-function interior/exterior model.

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CardWizard Powers the RamCard Plus Visa

CO-based Dynamic Card Solutions and First National Bank have partnered to implement DCS’ “CardWizard” software to launch the “RamCard Plus” campus ID/Visa Debit for Colorado State University students and faculty. “CardWizard” instant issue and PIN selection software allows for complete customization. Traditional capabilities of the “RamCard” student ID include campus access, dining hall/meal card, library card, admission to the campus recreation center, keyless access capabilities, and the ability to be linked to the campus RamCash Convenience Account. With these developments, students are now allowed to connect the card to deduct funds from their First National Bank checking account.

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Most Consumers Not Opposed to ATM Ads

Based on its survey of 500 consumers, MA-based Aite Group has released a report demonstrating 60% are open to receiving offers from four or less common marketing channels. As a predictor for marketing firms of consumer behavior, the Aite report shows a majority of people are not fully against receiving marketing offers through e-mail, online, at the ATM and on their cell phones. Moreover, nearly 40% of participants are interested in receiving special offers and coupons by e-mail, 53% of the Gen X population surveyed would prefer e-mail marketing, 47% of Gen Yers, followed by baby boomers and senior citizens, who were least interested.

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Wawa C-Stores to Expand Radiant POS

Atlanta-based Radiant Systems Selected has been chosen as the POS provider for NJ-based Wawa convenience stores and will deploy its “Radiant” POS technology to more than 570 of the retailer’s locations. The two organizations have had this partnership since 2001 with as many as five customer-activated terminals per site and, with these new agreements, Wawa extends Radiant technology to the traditional POS. Radiant Systems provides its technology to over 100,000 restaurants, retail stores, stadiums, parks, arenas, cinemas, convenience stores and fuel centers.

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Discover and Citi Complete Diners Deal

Discover Financial Services has completed the acquisition of Diners Club International from Citi. Discover acquired the Diners Club International network for $165 million in a deal that brings more than $30 billion per year in spend volume outside of North America; the Diners Club brand and trademarks; its employees; and agreements with 44 network licensees who issue Diners Club cards and maintain an acceptance network in 185 countries and territories worldwide.

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