Marriott and VISA Launch a New Promotion

Marriott has rolled out the new “MegaBonus” promotion when member use VISA to book rooms, they can earn up to 10,000 bonus Marriott Rewards points. Members earn 2,500 bonus Marriott Rewards points with every Visa-paid stay, beginning with their second stay, up to 10,000 points. To become eligible for this popular offer, members must register for the MegaBonus promotion at MarriottRewards.com or by calling 1-888-MARRIOTT (627-7468). Members may register at any point during promotion. Once registered, members can log onto MarriottRewards.com/PromoProgress to view their bonus progress. Points may be redeemed for hotel stays, frequent flyer miles, cruises, car rentals, brand-name merchandise and more. Marriott Rewards has been named “Best Hotel Rewards Program” by the readers of Business Traveler, Global Traveler, Travel Savvy, Executive Travel and BusinessWeek magazines.

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Payment Card Acceptance at Utilities Soars

A new study has found that card acceptance at utilities has nearly doubled over the last two years, from 41% in 1999 to 81% in 2006. The Chartwell Report on “Credit Card Acceptance in the Utility Industry” examines two case studies, including a detailed account of Kansas City Power & Light’s launch of a multi-tiered no-fee card acceptance program with costs incorporated into the rate structure, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s billing and payment program streamlining project. The report also includes 11 vendor profiles.

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Payment Data Systems Seeks Acquisitions

Payment Data Systems has engaged the services of management consulting company The Strawhecker Group. TSG is focused exclusively on the merchant acquiring sector of the payments industry. TSG specializes in providing financial institutions, acquirers, card associations, ISOs, processing companies and the investment community with advisory services to maximize their growth and profitability. TSG is also a resource of merchant acquiring industry research, benchmark studies and developing trends. Payment Data Systems, Inc. is an integrated provider of electronic payment solutions to merchants, billers, banks, service bureaus, and credit and stored-value card issuers.

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AmEx Expands Folio Reports to 9,000 Hotels

American Express has signed a hotel folio agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts. AmEx will now provide “Corporate Card” customers with reports that breakdown total hotel spend at more than 400 Starwood properties. AmEx also receives folio data from Carlson Hotels, Choice Hotels, Marriott and Omni Hotels, among other lodging companies. The agreements cover more than 40% of AmEx’s clients’ global “Commercial Card” spend for more than 9,000 hotel properties in the U.S. and overseas. AmEx has also added flexible new tools to “Hotel Folio Reports” housed online at its e-servicing site, “American Express @ Work.” AmEx’s new “Room Rate Analysis Report” provides data on actual room rates, as well as average, minimum, maximum, and “most popular” information for properties and cities. Companies can use the information for supplier and cardholder compliance management.

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Cardtronics Tries Again to File an IPO

Houston-based Cardtronics has filed a registration for an IPO to raise up to $300 million. The ATM specialist previously filed for an IPO in March 2004, but quit the offering citing market conditions. Cardtronics plans to use the IPO net proceeds to repay indebtedness under its credit facility, for working capital and for other general corporate purposes. Cardtronics reported second quarter revenues of $77.2 million, a 5.3% increase over 2Q/06. However, the Company posted a net loss for the second quarter of $5.6 million, compared to net income of $0.8 million for the same period last year. Cardtronics is the world’s largest operator of ATMs with approximately 31,000 locations. Cardtronics has a nationwide U.S. network of more than 29,500 locations operating in every major market and all 50 states, as well as over 1,700 locations throughout the U.K. and over 700 locations in Mexico. (CF Library 8/13/07)

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NATCCO

The National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) has launched
a national card-based payment system to access financial services over
a mobile communication network. Members of NATCCO will be alerted by
cellphone of loan approvals and allowed to send text messages for remittance
payments. The solution has received praise from government officials citing
its low cost (US$1 per transaction) in comparison to other remittance
services.
In light of the average remittance transaction costing customers 13.5%, the
lower cost of the NATCCO system is projected to generate US$1.6 billion
in local revenue, according to experts. Furthermore, the average remittance
fee is $27, compared to the flat NATCCO fee.

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BofA Adds SafePass for Mobile Banking

Bank of America has introduced “SafePass”, a new security feature that provides customers with an extra layer of protection against unauthorized transactions. The free service delivers a one-time-use six digit code as a text message to consumers’ mobile devices that they can use to authorize online transactions. The code expires as soon as it is used or within 10 minutes after it is issued. The bank is also piloting a wallet-sized card that will generate a one-time code when the customer presses on a button embedded in the card. The bank plans to make the card available next year to consumer and small business customers as an optional feature that can be used in place of or in addition to the mobile phone option.

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VAUGHAN MUNICARD

The City of Vaughan has launched a municipal credit card called
the “MuniCard”. The “MuniCard” will reward cardholders with
savings on municipal property taxes when purchases are made
using the card. The credit card points are channeled to the customer’s
property tax balance for commercial and residential real estate. The
card was designed to make the necessary expense less of a burden
for the residents of Vaughan.

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MasterCard & Orbiscom Launch MC inControl

MasterCard and Orbiscom have inked a deal to create “MasterCard inControl,” a platform that offers an array of advanced authorization, transaction routing and alert controls designed to enable issuers to more quickly and cost- efficiently introduce new and enhanced products. The first application to be launched later this year from the “MasterCard inControl” platform is a solution which provides enhanced purchase controls for the “MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Card.” Among the new features: enhanced authorization controls that direct how, when and where cards may be used to a greater level of specificity than previously supported; intelligent routing capability that enables a transaction to be routed through to the appropriate funding source at authorization time, depending on the transaction characteristics; robust alert functionality that provides personalized real-time communication on transaction activities; and a one-time use number feature that allows authorization, spending limits and usability controls to be set on a transaction-by-transaction basis, providing enhanced levels of security, control, data capture and traceability on every purchase.

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