Card Activation Technologies Hires a COO

MedCom USA has named William Bednarski as COO of its new division Card Activation Technologies. Mr. Bednarski joins MedCom from Minrad International Inc., a medical device and acute care company, where he had originally been hired as the COO in February 2005 and was then promoted to President and CFO in January 2006. Mr. Bednarski graduated Cum Laude from Harvard University and has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. MedCom USA, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: EMED – News) provides innovative healthcare and financial transaction solutions for electronically processing HIPAA compliant transactions within the healthcare industry.

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Credit Manager’s Index Slips in September

The “Credit Manager’s Index” slipped in September from 57.3 to 57.1. Six of the 10 components for the combined sectors fell. The National Association of Credit Management says the figures show good momentum, but one which is slowly trending downward, probably due to the combination of a plummeting housing market and tightened monetary conditions. However, sales dropped sharply in both sectors: manufacturing sales fell 7.7% and service sector sales fell 4.8%. The NACM says this is a somewhat worrisome development as sales can lead other business conditions.

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Shell Extends Merchant Fee Reduction

Shell has again elected to extend the temporary reduction to merchant service transaction fees. The extended temporary reduction will remain in effect until October 31st. This temporary fee reduction will be extended on all electronic transactions for VISA, MasterCard, and AmEx credit card transactions. The Company previously announced permanent reduction in MasterCard fees from 2.10% +.10 to 2.00% + .10. In addition to the extended temporary reductions in transaction fees, Shell Wholesalers and Retailers receive no fees on Shell-branded consumer card transactions such as the “Shell Gasoline Card,” “Shell Gift Card,” “Shell Gold MasterCard” and “Shell Platinum MasterCard.” Last week, Shell and Citibank launched a promotion for new “Shell Platinum MasterCard” holders offering triple rebates on all Shell gasoline purchases; the first $100 of daily Jiffy Lube purchases; and, all other purchases. (CF Library 9/29/06)

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No Envelope ATM Deposits Come to Maine

Kennebec Savings Bank of Augusta, ME has become the first savings bank in New England to offer image-based “No Envelope Deposit” technology on NCR ATMs. Using NCR’s ImageMark Passport technology, Kennebec Savings is quickly capturing check images both at the ATM and at the branch back counter using tabletop scanners. These transactions are sent to NCR’s ImageMark NCompass platform where they are processed using sophisticated balancing and error detection tools designed to reduce back-office time, eliminate processing errors and flag questionable transactions for investigation. Kennebec Savings Bank is a $607 million state-chartered mutual savings bank with a team of 77 employees and branches in Augusta, Waterville, and Winthrop, as well as KSB Anytime, the Savings Bank’s new 24-Hour Electronic Banking Center in Manchester, Maine. NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR) is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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Chase Tops 8,300 ATMs After the BONY Deal

Chase has completed the acquisition of more than 400 Bank of New York ATMs in a deal that includes BONY’s consumer, small-business and middle-market banking businesses. The former Bank of New York customers now can withdraw cash and check account balances without a usage fee at more than 2,200 ATMs, including Duane Reade locations, in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The Bank of New York branches will be converted to the Chase brand and computer system in the spring of 2007, creating an unparalleled Tri-State network of more than 750 Chase branches and more than 2,200 Chase ATMs. Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking brand of JPMorgan Chase & Co..

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TSYS Signs First Card Issuer Agreement

TSYS has landed its first processing relationship with a card-issuer in
Japan. TSYS will support a new co-branded VISA to be offered by Toyota
Finance and Nikko Cordial Securities. Next month, Toyota Finance will
issue the “VISA Platinum” cards for customers of Nikko Cordial
Securities. The card will be linked to the customer’s brokerage account
facilitating the cash access via domestic ATMs and purchase transactions
in Japan and overseas. Given the fact that many Nikko Cordial customers
hold accounts in more than two currencies, cardholders can settle with
yen-based account for domestic transactions and with U.S.-dollar-based
account for overseas transactions. TSYS is the only third-party payments
processor in Japan that currently offers multi-currency and
multi-function support.

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Binge Spenders Split Between Men & Women

A new survey has found that nearly as many men as women experience “compulsive buying disorder.” The research by the Stanford University School of Medicine also found that more than one in 20 adults in the U.S. suffers from the condition. Prior to the study, researchers estimated that compulsive buying disorder affected between 2% and 16% of the U.S. population and that 90% of sufferers were women. “Compulsive buying disorder” is not the same as occasional “impulse buying,” which many people engage in. Sufferers go on frequent shopping binges and accumulate large quantities of unnecessary, unwanted items. They also often rack up thousands of dollars in debt and lie to their loved ones about their purchases. The researchers found that 6% of women and 5.5% of men had symptoms consistent with “compulsive buying disorder.” The gender-adjusted prevalence rate was 5.8%.

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Western Union Begins Trading Today

The Western Union Company completed its spin-off from First Data on Friday with shares of its common stock trading on the NYSE under the symbol “WU” this morning. The stock is trading around $19 per share. The newly independent company will be a member of the S&P 500. Western Union President and CEO Christina Gold will ring the opening bell at the NYSE on Wednesday. Western Union also announced that the company’s Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program that authorizes the purchase of up to $1.0 billion of Western Union common stock prior to December 31, 2008. In connection with the spin-off, the company secured $3.5 billion of debt financing. First Data’s new primary segments include Financial Institution Services, Commercial Services and First Data International with annual revenues of $7 billion.

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VeriFone and Lipman Gear-Up to Close Merger

VeriFone and Lipman announced the anticipated timetable for
remaining key events leading up to the completion of VeriFone’s pending
acquisition of Lipman. As previously announced, each company’s
shareholders approved the transaction and the parties expect to complete
the merger on November 1 following expiration of a mandatory waiting
period under Israeli law. The final trading day for Lipman stock will be Wednesday, October 25th.

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BofA and VISA Sign a Deal Through 2011

Bank of America and VISA USA have signed a six-year partnership agreement that runs through 2011. Bank of America is currently the largest issuer of VISA-branded payment cards. The agreement will be retroactive to January 1st, 2006. BofA has had a 30-year card issuance relationship with VISA. BofA has about 116 million cardholders and 90 million credit card accounts. Debit card purchase volume topped a record $42 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 22% from the second quarter of last year. For complete details on Bank of America’s 2Q/06 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 7/19/06)

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

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