iGift Print on Demand Kiosk Debuts

Gift card and customer loyalty program provider Smart Transaction Systems has partnered with MA-based Cruz Bay Solutions to offer the “iGift Print on Demand Kiosk”. The Kiosk enables customers in malls, sports venues, special events, and general retail locations to design, load, and print their own gift cards and choose from a large selection of stock photos, card designs, and colorful fonts stored in the machine. Customers can also import their own photos and edit them with options similar to a photo editing kiosk. Merchants may choose to place it within a store, or outside in high foot-traffic locations such as a mall. “The iGift Kiosk” also allows customers to make balance inquiries and to reload existing cards. Cruz Bay Solutions specializes in self-service gift card technology. Smart Transaction Systems provides card-based payment systems, customer loyalty and customer relationship management (CRM) programs to a wide variety of companies throughout the United States.

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FDC & ZKA

First Data International will be providing debit card processing for
German cross-border and domestic payments. With the approval from
Germany’s ZKA (Central Credit Committee – owner of the national
electronic cash system), First Data will be the country’s debit card
processing gateway, permitted to provide routing and switching to banks.
This development adds First Data to the list as the 5th gateway,
benefiting retail and savings banks with the increased competition.
First Data
serves 5 million merchant locations, 1,900 card issuers and offers
PIN-secured debit acceptance at 2 million ATM and retail locations
through its STAR Network.

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Small Business Owners Cautiously Optimistic

During the second quarter 44% of small business owners surveyed expected an increase in revenues over the next six months and 40% expected an increase in profits over the same period. However, only 19% expect to borrow money to enhance cash flow over the next six months. The new VISA “Small Business Spend Insights” report found that the optimism is somewhat tempered by concerns about rising energy and rent costs, with 72% anticipating an increase in energy spending over the next six months. Meanwhile, 23% of small business owners surveyed expressed concern about attracting new customers over the next six months. The average spend per transaction on “VISA Business” cards for advertising, management consultants/public relations, publishing and related expenses increased by 8% for the 12 months ending June 2007.

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Pershing Continues its Ceridian Proxy Fight

Hedge fund Pershing Square, which recently announced its support of the $5.2 billion cash merger between Ceridian, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Fidelity National Financial, is still carrying on its proxy fight to replace the Ceridian Board. Pershing Square also says that it now supports Ceridian’s management and desires to retain them through the closing of the merger. However, Pershing claims that it is continuing its proxy fight only so that its nominees can act as a “backstop” and take over the company in case the merger does not close. However, Ceridian is committing that in the event the merger does not close, it will hold a new election of directors within 90 days of termination of the merger agreement. Pershing Square owns about 15% of Ceridian.

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GE Money Takes-Over the ANA Affinity Card

The largest national nursing association has teamed with GE Money to launch a new affinity card. The American Nurses Association credit card program was formerly run by National City as a VISA program. GE Money and ANA will now offer the “ANA Rewards Platinum MasterCard.” Points may be redeemed for merchandise, travel, cash and gift cards, as well as ANA customized rewards including credit towards association membership fees, gift certificates for “National Nurses Week” merchandise and credit towards “American Nurses Credentialing Center” certification. The card will be made available to ANA members via its association and industry Web sites, association newsletters, industry events and direct mail. The ANA represents the interests of the nation’s 2.9 million registered nurses through its 54 constituent member nurses associations. (CF Library 9/15/05)

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RBS Lynk Names a New CFO

RBS Lynk has appointed Nicholas J. Sommerio, previously VP of corporate development and strategy at Global Payments, as CFO. Sommerio held leadership positions with Global Payments, including vice president, Corporate Development and Strategy, and vice president, Financial Planning and Analysis. Previously, he spent several years with First Data Corporation as vice president, Finance, and as chief financial officer of Chase Merchant Services. He holds an MBA from George State University.

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American Greetings to Debut Gift Card Malls

Gift card malls continue to gain popularity. Starting mid-month American Greetings and Carlton Cards stores in the U.S. will sell gift cards for other retailers. These are the first mall-based stores to offer a “gift card mall” through Atlanta-based InComm. The initial displays will offer gift cards from 16 retailers. The displays will be positioned alongside birthday-themed greeting cards, bags and tissue. Among cards offered: American Express; Borders; Circuit City; iTunes; Linens ‘n Things; Lowe’s; Starbucks; and Vanilla VISA. Similar gift card malls are planned for the company’s Canadian card and gift shops in late fall.

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CAPITAL Card Services Goes IP-Based

SD-based CAPITAL Card Services has selected IP-based business communications software from Interactive Intelligence. CAPITAL plans to use the Interactive Intelligence software, called Customer Interaction Center (CIC), to support both its business users and contact center agents located at its headquarters in Sioux Falls and a remote office in nearby Brookings, South Dakota. In addition to using the software for session initiation protocol-based IP switching, interactive voice response, and automatic call distribution, CAPITAL plans to deploy modules for outbound dialing, call and screen recording, network-based pre- and post-call routing, and workforce management. Interactive Intelligence is a global provider of business communications solutions for contact center automation, enterprise IP telephony, and enterprise messaging. CAPITAL Card Services Inc. is a leading servicer of MasterCard and Visa accounts for financial and non-financial institutions nationwide with more than 500,000 accounts and manages more than $145 million in outstanding card receivables for its clients.

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LexisNexis to Integrate PPI PayMover

Payment Processing Incorporated has announced an alliance with LexisNexis to integrate PPI PayMover, PPI’s payment gateway into Lexis Back Office powered by PCLaw. The solution provides law firms with integrated credit card processing capabilities for time billing, accounting and practice management. The benefits include improved cash flow, lower administrative costs, better operating efficiencies and improved client service. Payment Processing provides integrated payment processing solutions. In 2006, PPI processed in excess of $3 billion in VISA and MasterCard payments.

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Tina Fey Joins AmEx’s New Campaign

American Express announced that writer and performer Tina Fey will join the “Are you a Cardmember?” communications campaign designed to showcase the value of membership and its array of special benefits and services. Tapping into her real life roles as actress, comedian, writer, producer and mother, Fey’s comedic broadcast spot demonstrates how American Express’ Fraud Protection benefit can bring a bit of convenience, ease and relief to an otherwise chaotic day. Juggling pressures from work and home life, from snake wranglers to putting out fires, Fey seeks a moment of refuge through the American Express customer care representative who frees her of liability for a fraudulent charge made on her American Express Card. Launched in April this year, the “Are you a Cardmember?” campaign features extraordinary Cardmembers, telling their stories, while illustrating the benefits and services of being an American Express Cardmember. The campaign to date has featured tennis great John McEnroe, professional snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White and comedian Larry David.

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APACS STATISTICS

APACS has revealed that 10 million credit and debit cards are now
registered with MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa. These
services are designed to protect online shoppers from unauthorized use
through password implementation with no need for additional software.
It is increasingly common that these services are provided to users through
the website of the bank or card company that issues their card. APACS
has also released a “consumer advice guide” explaining the process of
registering for these services and the security benefits. For 2006,
over 26 million people made online purchases and it is estimated that the
online shopping market is now worth around GBP 21.4billion a year.

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