Alaska Airlines Loyalty Card Earns Awards

The Alaska Airlines “Mileage Plan” loyalty card program has captured three first-place awards from the “19th Annual Freddie Awards.” Alaska received first-place honors for “Best Elite-Level Program” for the second consecutive year, “Best Member Communications” for the fifth year and “Best Web Site” for the fourth year. Alaska also netted second-place awards for “Program of the Year,” “Best Award” and “Best Award Redemption.” Alaska Airlines recently became the first major U.S. airline to offer one- way mileage awards, allowing customers to book one-way travel for half the mileage of round-trip awards. When traveling round trip, customers can combine different types of one-way tickets, including Saver and Peak Awards, coach and first-class awards, and purchased tickets. Mileage Plan members can earn and redeem mileage on more than a dozen airlines, including more major U.S. airlines than any other frequent flier program. The Freddie Awards are named after aviation pioneer Sir Freddie Laker who founded Britain’s first all-jet carrier, Laker Airways Limited, in 1966. Alaska Airlines and sister carrier, Horizon Air, serve 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and Mexico.

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U.S. Bank Invests in the InstaMed Platform

U.S. Bank has made an equity investment in “InstaMed,” a real-time gateway and processor of healthcare and payment transactions. U.S. Bank’s equity investment was part of InstaMed’s third round of funding, which included participation from InstaMed’s existing investors, including NJTC Venture Fund and a private equity group based in Newport Beach, Calif. The “InstaMed” Platform is the industry’s first integrated processing platform built with the capability to process healthcare and payment transactions in both real-time and batch modes. The platform’s capabilities include merchant acquiring, provider and patient portals, gateway services, bankcard and electronic check processing, patient financing and comprehensive healthcare clearinghouse functions. InstaMed is registered with Visa and MasterCard as an ISO/MSP/PSP of U.S. Bank and is Payment Card Industry Level One certified and fully accredited by the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission.

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TES Pay N’ Talk Offers VISA Gift Cards

American Telecom Services has launched a “VISA Gift Card” promotion for its “Pay N’ Talk” program. The VISA Gift Card will be delivered by mail following their activation of Pay N’ Talk with a purchase of a prescribed amount of service. The VISA Gift Card will be worth approximately one-half the value of the initial service purchase and consumers can utilize the card anywhere VISA is accepted, including recharging their pre-paid minutes. This program will be launched this spring in select new and current channels and packaged in a limited amount of new products. American Telecom Services offers the only home phones that are bundled with Pay N’ Talk prepaid residential long-distance services powered by IDT Telecom and is the provider of DigitalClear Internet phones.

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AirPlus Provides Transparency for GDS Fees

Recently introduced by British Airways is the levying of 1GBP surcharge to
customers booking through GDS called “GDS opt-in-fees”. AirPlus
International, for the sake keeping its customers informed, has decided
they
will be shown on the invoice if a TMC decides to charge those fees. Some
TMCs absorb the fees while some pass the charge on to the customer. Airplus
settles tickets for over 260 airlines and has more than 30,000 corporate
customers around the world. As a business travel payment solution, this new
development will keep its customers in the know.

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Discover Unveils Zip and Perks Everyday

As expected Discover unveiled its “Zip” contactless payments technology last week. The “Discover Network Zip” supports contactless payments and mobile banking functions. Supported devices include contactless cards, fobs, cell phones, and PDAs. Discover also introduced “Perks Everyday,” a new points-based rewards program that provides issuers with either a turnkey or customized capability. “Perks Everyday” provides “Discover Network” cardholders with an opportunity to earn points on card purchases and other transaction types, and redeem those points by choosing from hundreds of offers including gift cards, merchandise and services.

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LML Acquires Beanstream for $17.5MM

LML Payment Systems has announced its acquisition of Beanstream
Internet Commerce for $17.5 million. Included in the definitive
agreement, Beanstream could also receive $1.8 million in LML
common stock if certain revenue milestones are reached by the first
anniversary of the closing. This will add to LML offerings, enabling
an advantageous position in credit card processing, electronic funds
transfer, automated clearinghouse payment processing, credit store and
authentication services for both e-commerce and traditional businesses.
Beanstream serves over 5,500 businesses throughout North America.
LML is a payment processor providing check processing solutions
including electronic check authorization, electronic check conversion
(ECC)and primary and secondary check collection.

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MasterCard 1Q/07 Profits Soar by 70% Y/Y

MasterCard posted record net income of nearly $215 million for the first quarter compared to $127 million one-year ago, as net revenues climbed 24% to $915 million. In the prior quarter MasterCard earned $41 million on revenues of $839 million. Gross dollar volume climbed 16% for 1Q/07 to $509 billion and worldwide purchase volume increased 18% to $375 billion. As of March 31st, the Company’s customers had issued 835 million MasterCard cards, an increase of 11% over the same period in 2006. General & Administrative Expenses rose 15% to $398.5 million. However, Advertising & Market Development Expenses declined about 2% to $178 million. Total operating expenses increased 8% to $601 million during the first quarter compared to 1Q/06, primarily driven by an increase in personnel costs related to the hiring of additional staff to strengthen the company’s capability to add value to its customers’ businesses, and higher professional fees primarily related to legal costs to defend outstanding litigation. Currency fluctuation contributed approximately 1.9% of the increase in expenses for the quarter. For complete details on MasterCard’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

MASTERCARD HISTORICAL ($ millions)
1Q/06 2Q/06 3Q/06 4Q/06 1Q/07
G&A: $347.8 $365.2 $392.1 $399.3 $398.5
A&M: $182.7 $307.1 $290.2 $352.9 $178.5
Net Income: $126.7 ($310.5) $193.0 $ 40.9 $214.9
Note: G&A: General & Administrative Expenses;
A&M: Advertising & Market Development Expenses.
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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GCA Provides Cash Access In Belgian Casinos

Global Cash Access has signed agreements to provide cash access
services to patrons in 4 Belgian and 2 British casinos. These casinos
include Casino De Namur in Namur, Belgium, Casino Middelkerke in
Middelkerke, Belgium, Casino Blankenberge in Blankenberge, Belgium
Casino de Spa in Spa, Belgium, Stanley Circus in Nottingham, UK and
Casino at the Empire in West End, London, UK. Among the services
GCA will provide are credit card cash advance and debit card
withdrawals from GCA’s QuikCash kiosks and terminals, as well as
from cashiers. Currently, the Global Cash Access Subsidiary provides
such services to over 1,000 casinos worldwide.

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JCRYPTO GP CARD

SERMEPA has introduced the “Advantis JCrypto GP Card,” the first EMV smart card in Europe utilizing GlobalPlatform specifications. A unique feature of the new card is that the EMV payment applet is
integrated with the GlobalPlatform-based OS in the ROM of the chip, rather than being stored in the external memory. Another key feature which is enabled due to the card’s GlobalPlatform and Java functionality is its post-issuance download capability. Issuers from the financial and banking community will be able to load new applications, such as electronic signature or identification applications, onto cards once they have been issued to cardholders. The “JCrypto GP Card” is part of the SERMEPA family of “Advantis” products.

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VPS ID System Appoints New Executive

vps ID Systeme GmbH IT solutions has appointed Karl-Heinz Huber
as Partner Manager to work with business partners for the development
of synergies and business opportunities. Huber has a degree in computer
science from the University of Karlsruhe and began his career at Siemens
as Software Architect and Project Manager. He later moved on to R&D
management, consulting and customer management in sectors such as
retail automation and financial services. vps has been providing card
personalization and management software solutions since 1992.

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e-Wallet Payment SystemOffers VBV and MSC

AlertPay, an electronic wallet payment system enabling the sending and
receiving of Internet payments securely, has announced the deployment
of recurring billing services and credit card payment solutions using
“Verified by Visa” (VBV) and “MasterCard SecureCode” (MSC). This
development is of particular importance to merchants that offer subscription
services. “Verified by Visa” and “MasterCard SecureCode” applies a
personal password to be used in conjunction with a credit card
for online transactions. AlertPay has more than 1.1 million members
located in 148 countries around the world.

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