Wells Fargo Mobile for Business is Launched

Wells Fargo & Company has introduced Wells Fargo Mobile for small businesses that gives small business owners nationwide access to their business and personal financial information. Once enrolled in the Wells Fargo Mobile service, small business customers can check balances of their small business and personal deposit and credit accounts, view transaction history, and transfer money between eligible Wells Fargo accounts on any Web-enabled mobile device by accessing the mobile banking URL wf.com. All Wells Fargo Mobile service transactions are covered by the Wells Fargo 100% Online Security Guarantee. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $540 billion in assets.

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Radiant Systems Selects BIO-key for Terminals

NJ-based Biometric ID provider BIO-key International and Radiant Systems announced that Radiant has selected BIO-key’s fingerprint identification technology for integration into its biometrically enabled POS terminals. With the BIO-key fingerprint biometric solution integrated into the POS terminal, identification cards and passwords are replaced with the touch of an employee’s or customer’s finger to positively establish their identity to the POS system. In addition to being more convenient, the BIO-key solution eliminates the possibility of sharing passwords or identity cards, and assures that manager overrides are properly authenticated. Atlanta based Radiant Systems is a global provider in providing technology to the hospitality and retail industries.

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Payday Lenders Being Forced Out in D.C.

Despite a huge media blitz to protect its turf, payday lenders will most likely be shutting down in the lucrative Washington, DC market. The District of Columbia Council yesterday removed an exemption from the District’s 24% cap on annual interest for consumer loans. The Council vote reversed an exemption passed in 1998, which allowed payday lenders to charge effective interest rates of 350% to 550%, according to the Center for Responsible Lending. District payday borrowers have been paying about $3 million per year in fees for such payday loans. “The Payday Loan Consumer Protection Act” was introduced by council member Marion Barry. Barry said 60,000 DC residents use payday lending, making 700,000 transactions per year.

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Mobile Payment Ecosystems Present Challenges

A new report suggests that U.S. mobile operators may face real challenges in deciding how they will generate new revenue in a mobile payments ecosystem that could soon be dominated by financial services firms. The study says non-voice services make up a growing share of operators’ average revenue per user. The possibilities are expanding quickly to enable consumers to use a mobile phone to make purchases at retail stores in place of cash, credit or debit cards, and checks. In the case of remote transactions, consumers use mobile phones to purchase mobile content and applications and complete peer-to-peer and international fund transfers. Chicago-based Diamond Management & Technology Consultants says m-payments’ associated fees to mobile operators will help them fill the gap in $40 billion non-voice revenues they need to generate by 2010 to sustain overall average revenue per user. Diamond believes the largest potential for adoption of m-payments is in in-store micro-payments and remote macro-transactions, and micro-transactions.

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MobiClear Announces Beefs-Up Mobile Account

MobiClear has announced the application of their proprietary personal identification verification (PIV) technology to their “Mobile Account” solution as well as their 3G Video Bank solution. MobiClear’s proprietary technology Mobile Account works as follows: The user accesses Mobile Account by placing a call from a 3G mobile phone; MobiClear secures that the call is placed from the mobile phone number that is registered for the particular user; the user confirms his identity with his MobiClear PIN code, the user enters the Mobile Account and selects option to either transfer money to another mobile account user or to withdraw or deposit funds to their banking institution. The user receives information as an interactive video presented by a host, accompanied by voice messages as well as short written information. MobiClear specializes in electronic Personal Identification Verification (PIV) solutions in connection with credit/debit card transactions.

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MUNICARD MASTERCARD

The City of Vaughan has teamed with GE Money and Civic Strategies to
launch a credit card that produces savings on municipal property tax
bills. The “MuniCard MasterCard” offers no annual fee and rewards on all
purchases good towards the cardholder’s residential property tax
account. Reward points never go unused because they are deposited in the
property owner’s municipal tax account. Also, Civic Strategies’
“MuniCard Program” includes a merchant discount program and residents
benefit from POS discounts offered by local merchants enrolled in the
program. GE Money is the first in Canada to market this co-brand
municipal credit card. Toronto-based Civic Strategies will provide
everything from a controlled audit system between the city and GE Money,
to complete customer and marketing support.

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Holiday Gift Cards May Approach $35B This Year

A new research study has predicted that gift card purchases may hit $35 billion this holiday season, a 28% increase over last year. CT-based Archstone Consulting says more than 56% of gift cards are redeemed within the first month of purchase; 85% of all cards are redeemed within three months; and almost 50% of the respondents spend more than the value of the card upon redemption. Also, luxury, auto and music were generally the first cards to be redeemed within the first month; entertainment, food and beverage, and mass stores gift cards were among the higher redemption rates within three months; and after three months, consumers tend to have the most cards outstanding in the travel, luxury, and home improvement categories. The survey was conducted by in collaboration with The Hazelton Group.

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Phoenix ATMs to Dispense Prepaid VISA Cards

AZ-based Better ATM Services has unveiled its patented prepaid card technology at five Phoenix area ATMs. The new technology enables existing ATM machines to dispense prepaid cards through ATM cash trays without a “sidecar.” Better ATM Services’ cards are contained on a single plastic card sheet consisting of three panels. The card sheet has approximately the same dimensions of larger foreign currencies like the Danish Kroner. ATM cassettes can be adjusted to accommodate larger currencies and the specified size of Better ATM card sheets. Early testing with three industry leading ATM manufacturers? equipment has proven that the card sheets can be easily retrieved and dispensed with minor modifications. Better ATM’s business model is focused on licensing and certificating participants with its technology in both the ATM and prepaid card industries and not competing with them.

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SCHUFA & FAIR ISAAC

SCHUFA & Fair Isaac have signed collaborative agreements to
provide German financial institutions with credit risk assessment and
fraud management solutions. With this agreement, both companies
will market Fair Isaac’s Enterprise Decision Management (EDM)
solutions and will integrate initiatives. SCHUFA’s credit data will
provide analysis for Fair Isaac’s risk and decision management,
first-level local implementation and language support. This agreement
will also allow lenders to implement Fair Isaac’s applications such as
the “Debt Manager” recovery solution and “TRIAD” adaptive control
system. SCHUFA had a 2006 revenue gain of EUR 80.5 million and
employed about 760 workers. Fair Isaac and technologies for EDM
provide organizations with the ability to automate decisions with
applications in 80 countries.

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AT&T Gets Nailed Over Calling Card Patents

Dallas-based McKool Smith has won a federal court jury verdict of $156 million against AT&T for infringement over two patents covering POS activation of telephone calling cards. The verdict was announced last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division. Co-defendant MCI/Verizon reached a confidential settlement with TGIP on the second day of trial. Other defendants reached similar confidential settlements prior to trial. The patents involved enabled customers to purchase calling time and to “recharge” previously-used calling cards at retail outlets. The jury award was based on a 4% royalty rate multiplied against AT&T’s infringing sales of approximately $3.5 billion.

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DIEBOLD & SINOPEC

Diebold has signed agreements with Sinopec Oil to install ATMs at the oil
company’s gas stations throughout China. This is part of an industry-wide
effort to provide banking customers with convenient services with more
satellite ATM locations and delivery channels. Banks such as China
Merchants
Bank have partaken in the development by installing an Opteva(R) 562
ATM at a busy Beijing gas station. The Sinopec ATM installation will be
complete with a number of the 260 stations that the company is remodeling.
Sinopec owns nearly 30,000 fuel stations throughout China, making for a
large
network for banks to provide ATM access. Diebold employs more than
15,000 with partnerships in 90 countries worldwide and had a 2006 revenue
of $2.9 billion in 2006.

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