Business Owners Feel Good About Economic Status

Small business owners’ confidence in the U.S. economy rose for the fourth straight month in November. The “Discover Small Business Watch” survey surged 10 points to 130. Nearly half, rate the U.S. economy as “Excellent” or “Good,” up from 44% in October. Twenty-two percent rate it “Poor.” About 45% say economic conditions for their business will get better over the next six months, up from 37% in October. The percentage of owners who feel economic conditions are getting worse dropped to 30%, compared to 35% last month. Approximately 36% feel that economic conditions in the U.S. are getting better, compared to 31% in October. Those who feel conditions are getting worse dropped to 48%, down from 59% in August.

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Planet Payment to Power Standard Chartered Bank Payment Solutions

Standard Chartered Bank announced an initiative to facilitate integrated payment solutions for hospitality and retail merchants located within Hong Kong, China and Macau. Planet Payment will be serving as the regional transaction switch to Standard Chartered in connection with the initiative. In addition to supporting the processing of domestic VISA and MasterCard transactions, the solution will also support Standard Chartered’s “Dynamic Currency Conversion” service.
The Planet Payment business was established in 1999. Planet Payment is
headquartered in New York and has offices in Atlanta, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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Concardis Extends Acquiring Processing Contract With FDC

First Data announced the extension of a major contract with Germany’s leading merchant acquirer for credit and debit cards. Under the recently signed ConCardis contract, First Data will continue to provide payment processing services in support of the largest acquiring portfolio in Germany. The contract extension comes a few months after First Data completed its acquisition of GZS Gesellschaft für Zahlungssysteme, the leading German processor with whom ConCardis signed the original contract.

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General Purpose Gift Cards Gain Ground in 06

A new survey by the nation’s largest processor has found that single-merchant gift cards are more heavily purchased with an average of 4.7 cards per purchaser. However, general purpose gift cards, averaging 2.6 cards per purchaser, are increasing in popularity as choice and convenience continue to drive the market. The poll, by the TNS Consumer Online Panel for First Data, also found that 78% of American adults purchased or received a gift card in the previous 12 months and 43% did both. In 2005 only 59% of Americans did both according to First Data surveys. On average, American consumers purchased five gift cards in the previous 12 months and spent an average $281 on those cards. Gift card recipients, regardless of whether it was a single- or multi-merchant card, spent an average $39 over the original value of the gift card. Nearly one in four gift card purchasers chose a gift card that could be used at a variety of stores, restaurants and other retailers. Heavy gift card purchasers, those who spend more than $200 per year on single-merchant gift cards, purchased an average of 8.4 gift cards in the previous 12 months. Additionally, purchasers under age 44 are more likely to obtain gift cards from discount stores, while those aged 65+ are more attracted to gift cards from department stores. (CF Library 10/7/04; 10/26/05) (CF Library 10/7/04; 10/26/05)

GIFT CARDS PURCHASED OR RECEIVED
2001: 36%
2002: 41%
2003: 47%
2004: 53%
2005: 59%
2006: 78%
Source: First Data Gift Card Surveys

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Giesecke & Devrient Opens Card Plant in Nitra

Giesecke & Devrient is opening a new card production facility located in the city of Nitra in the Slovak Republic. The plant, which took a year to build and covers nearly 215,000 sq. ft., is one of the largest factories in the world for producing smart cards for the fields of mobile communications, electronic payment, health care, identification, and IT security. Its production capacity currently
runs at more than 250 million card bodies per year, including chip
embedding, with enormous potential for the future. All in all, the
company has invested roughly 20 million euros in the facility, which
employs a staff of nearly 250.

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MasterCard Expands Contactless PayPass in Canada

MasterCard says Toronto’s Rabba Fine Foods will begin accepting “PayPass” at its 30 local stores. “PayPass” is now accepted at nearly 36,000 convenience-focused merchant locations including Petro-Canada and Cineplex Entertainment in Canada and 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, Subway, CVS, and Duane Reade locations in the U.S. PayPass is also accepted in many Major League Baseball and National Football League stadiums, as well as at numerous golf events. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes close to 14 billion payments each year.

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VISA CONTACTLESS

The VISA U.K. Board of Directors this week confirmed plans for the first nationwide roll-out of contactless payment cards across the country, starting in London, by the end of next year. With over 75% of all cash payments being less than GBP 10, the introduction of contactless payments will play a major role in encouraging the use of cards over cash for low value transactions. In addition, the decision to go live in less than a year supports our vision for a cashless Olympic Games in London in 2012. Further details of the precise launch plans are
expected to be available by March of next year.

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Retail Decisions Deploys GoldenGate Solutions

Retail Decisions has deployed GoldenGate solutions to increase availability of data across ReD’s International platforms. GoldenGate’s solution ensures that Retail Decisions’ Oracle databases are available and identical, sharing transaction data in real time across international platforms. Retail Decisions selected GoldenGate because of its proven solution in an active/active configuration, in addition to scalability, heterogeneous database and platform support, and dedicated professional services. GoldenGate Software Inc. is the leader in transactional data management (TDM) solutions for maximizing the performance, accessibility, and availability of enterprise data.

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Harrah’s Deploys GCA’s 3-in-1 ATM System

Harrah’s Entertainment has inked a deal with Global Cash Access to deploy GCA’s patented “3-in-1” ATM technology. The 3-in-1 enabled redemption devices are multi-function patron kiosks that incorporate the 3-in-1 ATM rollover functionality for cash access into self-service kiosks for slot ticket redemption and bill breaking services. Global Cash Access, Inc. is a leading provider of cash access products and related services to approximately 1,060 gaming properties and other clients in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean.

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MedCom Green Mails 83 Firms Over Gift Cards

AZ-based MedCom USA has sent 83 more “green mail” patent license notices for gift cards to retailers in the fields of fashion, supermarket, food services and other categories. MedCom USA, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: EMED) provides innovative healthcare and financial transaction solutions for electronically processing HIPAA compliant transactions within the healthcare industry. MedCom USA provides a terminal based service package and a compatible Web Portal add-on for physicians, clinics and hospitals and dentists that include the following services: Real-time transactions including; Patient Eligibility, Referrals, Claims Status and Service Authorizations, 100% Paperless Claims Processing, Patient Easy Pay, Credit/Debit Cards, and Check Guarantee. Visit http://www.medcomusa.com for more information.

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