First Data Joins Canada’s Interac Association

First Data International has become a member of the Interac Association and will begin offering its services to the Canadian marketplace in the second quarter of next year. As an INTERAC member, FDC will have the ability to capture and process debit transactions in Canada enabling FDC merchant clients to accept the INTERAC branded card at the point of sale. Interac Association is a not-for-profit organization composed of 95 members which include: banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, technology and payment-related companies. Interac runs two shared electronic financial services: “INTERAC Direct Payment,” Canada’s national debit card service, and “INTERAC Shared Cash Dispensing Service” for cash withdrawals at “Automated Banking Machines.” Last year Interac had C$137.4 billion in direct payment gross dollar volume compared to C$124.4 billion in 2004. There were more than 51,000 ABMs in the network last year.

INTERAC DIRECT PAYMENT VOLUME
2000: C$85.2 billion
2001: C$94.9 billion
2002: C$104.9 billion
2003: C$116.0 billion
2004: C$124.4 billion
2005: C$137.4 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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IDT Introduces TuYo Mobile in Los Angeles

NJ-based IDT Telecom has launched “TuYo Mobile” reloadable cards in Los Angeles. TuYo Mobile provides many features and services that are important to Hispanic consumers, including direct international dialing, low rates to Latin America, state-of-the-art handsets, a fully bilingual customer experience, and country specific alerts featuring breaking regional news, Hispanic celebrity gossip, sports, politics and horoscopes. Additionally, TuYo Mobile includes a unique calling card feature allowing international calling from any phone using a TuYo Mobile account balance. TuYo Mobile is a prepaid cellular service that does not require a contract or a credit check and has no hidden charges. IDT Corporation is an innovative and opportunistic multinational holding company with operations that span various industries.

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63% of Finance Execs to Expand Card Usage

A new survey shows that 63% of the financial executives and cash managers surveyed plan to increase their use of corporate payment cards. The VISA USA survey also shows that 44% said they utilize cards for receiving commercial payments, up from 27% last year. About 53% of respondents report using corporate payment cards to make payments, up from 41% in 2005. VISA noted that 92% of respondents said reduction of back office payment processing costs is influential in encouraging their company to make greater use of corporate payment cards. Other findings include: 93% have integrated corporate payment cards with their e-procurement and ERP processes, with 71% using cards for at least 25% of their total transactions. The top three reasons for integrating corporate payment cards with e-procurement and ERP processes were: process streamlining leading to cost reduction; automating expense reconciliation processes; and availability of transaction data for spend analysis.

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TransFirst Promotes Palmquist to ISS

Dallas-based TransFirst has promoted Dan Palmquist to western region vice president of business development for its Independent Sales Services division. Prior to joining the ISS Division of TransFirst, Palmquist successfully led the company’s Government Services Division (GSD) of TransFirst. In 2004, Palmquist joined the company as a direct sales account executive for GSD, where he built a successful direct sales portfolio. TransFirst offers a first-rate suite of products and services and customized processing programs uniquely tailored for the special business needs of financial institutions, independent sales organizations and agents and its referral and reseller partners.

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Online Bill Payments Share to Double by 2010

A new report predicts that the share of payments made online at banks’ or billers’ Web sites will rise from 14% in 2006 to 28% by 2010. The research suggests that banks should embrace alternative channels such as e-mail and mobile phones instead of letting billers lead the charge. The Aite Group report also says that the largest growth opportunities for online bill payment processors that are beyond their core consumer bill payment service, including walk-in bill payment, expedited bill payment, small-business bill payment, and bill presentment.

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GE Drops Retail from its Sales Finance Division

GE Consumer Finance’s Retail Sales Finance unit is changing its name to GE Money – Sales Finance. The division covers extended financing, installment lending, revolving credit, private label credit cards, bank card programs and other financing solutions to independent and regional retailers, dealers, manufacturers, service providers, health care professionals and consumers. The business unit has achieved double-digit growth over the last four years and has doubled its assets in just the past two, reaching $16 billion. GE says its has evolved beyond the retail space. For example, in June GE Money launched the “Luxury Card, the first private label credit card issued under the GE Money brand in the USA. The card carries credit limits up to $100,000, has significant merchant benefits such as 100% funding within approximately 48 hours, no set-up fee, free in-store promotional materials and low transaction fees. Sales Finance plans to launch a GE Money-branded finance program for sporting goods later this month.

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Cash Systems Pilots cashclub in Delaware

Las Vegas-based Cash Systems has started beta testing of its “cashclub” product at Dover Downs and Delaware Park in Delaware. Through the use of cashclub(TM), casinos will continue to see a decrease in the cost of handling cash. They will also see reduced lines at the cage and customers returning to the gaming floor with cash more quickly and easily. Cash Systems, Inc., located in Las Vegas, with additional offices in San Diego and Minneapolis, is a provider of cash-access and related services to the retail and gaming industries.

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TNS Smart Network to Top 10K ATMs by Year-End

Canada’s largest privately owned processor is set to hit 10,000 ATMs by the end of this year. Toronto-based TNS Smart Network has grown, on average, by 1,000 ATMs per year since 1997. At the end of October the Company had 9,000 ATMs deployed, compared to about 7,500 two years ago. Currently, TNS represents close to 20% of the Canadian ATM marketplace and maintains a volume of ATMs equivalent to 50% of all the ATMs deployed by Financial Institutions in Canada combined. TNS says most of its growth has come from partnering with “white label” ATM companies.

TNS ATM HISTORICAL
2000: 3,000
2001: 3,700
2002: 4,800
2003: 6,000
2004: 7,500
2005: 8,800
2006: 10,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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First Command Launches a Platinum Biz Card

TX-based First Command Financial Planning this week is introducing its first “Platinum” business credit card at the American Dental Association’s Exhibition in Las Vegas. The new business Platinum credit card is the latest charge card offering from First Command Bank, an affiliate of First Command Financial Planning, which already markets Platinum and Classic Visa cards for personal use. The card is part of a rollout of new business banking products, including a business checking account and business online banking services with ACH processing and remote merchant capture. First Command Financial Services, Inc. is the parent company of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC) and First Command Bank.

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SHAZAM Deploys Falcon Fraud Manager

Fair Isaac announced that EFT network, SHAZAM, will deploy the latest release of “Falcon Fraud Manager” in its payment processing data centers. Fair Isaac’s Falcon Fraud Manager uses a combination of sophisticated neural network models, patented account profiling technologies, case management and flexible, user-definable intelligent rules to analyze payment card transactions for the most subtle signs of fraud. The solution will enable SHAZAM to quickly and accurately identify and prevent fraud in its signature and PIN-based debit transactions through a single system. The SHAZAM network was founded in 1976 and is one of the last member-owned and -controlled EFT networks and processors in the industry. Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE:FIC) makes decisions smarter. The company’s solutions and technologies for Enterprise Decision Management give businesses the power to automate more processes, and apply more intelligence to every customer interaction.

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UPIC Volume Soars by 700% This Year

The Electronic Payments Network reported that the number of “UPIC” payments increased tenfold to 47,700 through the first three quarters of 2006, compared to one-year ago. The dollar value of those payments grew to $2.9 billion through the first nine months of the year, compared to $367.4 million for the same period in 2005. One hundred new “UPICs” were added during the same period, compared to 24 a year ago. Thirteen banks are now offering “UPICs,” and a total of 215 “UPICS” have been issued to-date. A “UPIC” is a unique account identifier issued by financial institutions that allows organizations to receive electronic payments without divulging confidential banking information. Institutions issuing “UPICs” include Citibank, Commerce Bank, HSBC Bank, JPMorgan Chase, M&T Bank, Mellon, PNC, State Bank of Long Island, Sterling National Bank, Union Bank of California, USBank and Wachovia Bank.

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