Expedia to Power Citi’s ThankYou Network

Expedia.com and Citigroup have inked a deal to expand the “ThankYou Network”. Founded by Citigroup, the 10 million-member ThankYou Network is a free rewards program that lets members get points for doing what they already do — from using eligible Citi credit cards, banking at Citibank with an eligible checking account, and now, booking eligible travel on Expedia.com – and combine these points all in one ThankYou Member Account. ThankYou Network takes rewards programs to the next level by allowing members to pool points from multiple activities so they earn points and redeem for rewards faster. Expedia.com is the world’s leading online travel provider, helping more than 25 million travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Citigroup (NYSE: C), the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management.

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Hypercom’s Optimum M4100 Blade Goes Global

Hypercom has taken its “Optimum M4100 Blade” global. The new mobile credit/debit terminal is designed to comply with current global security standards and the smallest product of its kind. It is equipped with both Wi-Fi and GPRS wireless communication technology, is PCI PED and EMV Level 1 & 2-certified. Hypercom says its product, for the first time, enables credit cards to be used to pay for at-home restaurant deliveries, goods purchased at art festivals and craft shows, concessions at sports stadiums, in-flight purchases, and in other settings without wired connections including areas where the cost of wired communications is prohibitive.

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Major PayPass Pilots Set for France

MasterCard has launched two major new “PayPass” pilots in France and extended an existing pilot with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group in the UK. The French projects, in Strasbourg and Toulouse, will be the first trials of contactless EMV1 chip-based MasterCard credit payments in Europe, while the flagship project with RBS is the first trial of contactless debit payments in the region. In Strasbourg, MasterCard will support a seven company-strong consortium, including Groupe Credit Mutuel, CIC and NRJ Mobile, to enable 200 residents to make contactless payments via mobile phones at 50 retailers in the city. In the first EMV-enabled mobile commerce trial of its kind, the specially designed phones from Sagem will contain EMV-compatible SIM cards from Gemalto, contactless readers from Sagem Monetel and Near Field Communication electronic chips designed by Inside Contactless. In Toulouse, MasterCard will work with LaSer Cofinoga, the consumer finance arm of Groupe Galeries Lafayette, to enable a thousand of the latter’s customers to test a contactless payment card at participating Galeries Lafayette and Monoprix stores throughout the city. It will be the first contactless EMV-enabled multi-application card in Europe, for use in retailers and for public transport in the city.

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VISA Kicks-Off a Major Holiday Promotion

VISA USA has kicked-off a national holiday promotion that gives 10 lucky consumers the chance to win $100,000. The new “$100K Holiday from VISA” will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign consisting of a national commercial, point-of-sale and statement inserts. Also, a micro-site has been included with an instant-win game giving consumers a chance to win over $25,000 in additional prizes, including a “$1,000 VISA Simon Giftcard.” More than 685 member financial institutions and 355 merchant partners, representing more than 1,437 merchant locations that share VISA’s interest in rewarding cardholders over the holidays will be participating in the national promotion through statement inserts and marketing collateral. More than 12 million statement inserts and 2.7 million pieces of Simon Malls marketing collateral have been ordered.

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Wincor Nixdorf & Cybera Target QSRs

TX-based Wincor Nixdorf has formed a strategic partnership with Cybera to deliver store solutions for North American QSRs and fast casual restaurants. Wincor Nixdorf offers proven POS software and hardware solutions that are used by leading QSR operators from coast to coast. Wincor Nixdorf’s iBistro software, designed by QSR operators, is an easy-to-use, flexible solution with extensive enterprise and store-level management features designed to help control costs, increase sales and streamline operations. Cybera Inc. (www.cybera.net) delivers high-speed, private networking solutions for business needs. Wincor Nixdorf is one of the world’s leading suppliers of IT solutions to the retail and banking industries.

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Chase Fuels-Up Rewards on the New BP Card

Chase and BP have launched a private label card with rewards. The new “BP Card” offers cardholders two percent in rebates on “Amoco Ultimate” fuel purchases, BP’s premium grade gasoline. The new BP Card is the only private-label oil card to offer ongoing rebates for card purchases. The card can be used for fuel and convenience store purchases, car washes and more at over 11,000 BP locations nationwide. Once cardholders earn $25 in rebates, they can redeem them for their choice of a “$25 BP Gift Card,” a $25 check payable to themselves or use their rebates to make a donation to The Conservation Fund. Additionally, when customers apply now, they will receive a “$25 BP Gift Card” after the first use of the card.

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VIVOPAY 4500

ViVOtech has introduced an EMV-compatible version of its popular
“ViVOpay 4000” contactless reader. The new “ViVOpay 4500” is designed
for the European, Middle Eastern, Asian, Canadian, and Latin American
markets. The new reader features ARM processor-based hardware with large
application memory to support multiple branded EMV and magnetic stripe
contactless applications in addition to retailer loyalty, prepaid and
NFC mobile phone payment programs. The device can be mounted on
countertops, windows and a variety of other surfaces supporting such
diverse merchant locations such as movie theaters, QSRs, casual dining
establishments, gas stations, convenience stores, and drug and grocery
retailers as well as buses, taxicabs and vending machines.

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ViVOtech Gears Up for NFC-Enabled Phones

ViVOtech has introduced “ViVOnfc Suite 2.0,” the first production ready and field tested platform for over-the-air provisioning of NFC enabled mobile phones. ViVOnfc Suite 2.0’s unique dual server architecture insures that issuers will maintain security of their card data and leverage the widest possible reach over the mobile carrier network. Card issuers are able to extend their brand image and online services onto their customers’ mobile devices and simultaneously mobile carriers are able to deploy highly scalable and reliable infrastructure to support payment, promotion, and ticketing applications for their subscriber base. ViVOtech (www.vivotech.com) is the market leader in contactless/NFC payment software, transaction management systems, and readers.

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20% of Consumers to Purchase GP Gift Cards

One in five consumers plans to purchase general purpose gift cards this holiday season. The poll was commissioned by the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association, a non-profit, inter-industry trade association created last year to advance the success of network branded prepaid cards. The NBPCA says 63% of consumers prefer a gift card they can use anywhere. This is driving rapid growth in the branded gift card market with $5 billion worth of network branded gift cards purchased in 2004, expected to rise to $26 billion in 2007.

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Gemalto Launches a Online Card Personalizer

Gemalto has launched an end-to-end solution for secure Internet design of personalized EMV payment cards. The new “CardLikeMe” system enables users to upload a picture of their choice on a bank Web site and transfer it to a card. Once the picture is loaded on the bank Web site, users can visualize the card appearance in real time and adjust the photograph as they wish. The image is approved by the bank before the order is placed. Users may also choose a picture from a wide range of attractive background visuals offered on the bank’s online gallery. “CardLikeMe” has already gone live with several European financial institutions.

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AmEx Opens a Cardholder Lounge for Shoppers

American Express has opened a “Members Lounge” for cardholders at the prestigious Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. At the Members Lounge, Cardmembers will be transported from shopping exhaustion to a refreshing space of tranquility. It will feature snacks and refreshments, coat check, a private restroom, couches and seating areas, free gift-wrap services, iPod and cell phone charging stations, and an email station, all complimentary to American Express Cardmembers. American Express Company is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850. For more information, visit http://www.americanexpress.com.

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Wells Fargo Renews & Expands FDC Contract

Wells Fargo has renewed and expanded its agreement for consumer credit and small business card processing services with First Data to include 7 million cardholders. The addition of new portfolios represents a significant expansion in the relationship between First Data and Wells Fargo. First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses worldwide. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $483 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,100 stores and the Internet (wellsfargo.com), across North American and internationally.

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