Eight Firms Team for the PASS Consortium

IP Commerce, BankServ, SWIFT, Chase Paymentech, CIT Group, Internet Commerce Corporation, PayPal and Pay By Touch have teamed to create and deploy a software infrastructure which will enable small businesses to complete financial transactions as secure services from a desktop PC. The “PASS” (Payments as a Secure Service) consortium will enable small businesses using “Windows Vista” to perform secure financial transactions over the Internet, creating new revenue models and payment abilities for thousands of small businesses throughout the U.S. Currently, small businesses interface with credit card companies and financial services firms in the financial ecosystem through highly proprietary relationships based on one-to-one technology connections. “PASS” redefines this relationship by enabling Independent Software Vendors, System Integrators and Value-Added Resellers to create service-oriented financial management solutions in software applications fulfilled by best-in-class providers through a single service provisioning system.

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Discover Launches a Big Fall Promotion

Discover has launched a new fall promotion that offers cardholders an opportunity to earn a 5% “Cashback Bonus” on certain purchases in 15 different categories. The “Get Set for Fall” program offers the extra rebate on apparel and home purchases from the Gap, Kohl’s, Famous Footwear, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Linens ‘n Things, and Pier 1 Imports; Office supplies and computers from Dell, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples and tuition payments, from preschool to college. The Get More program is free to Discover cardholders.

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Amp’d Mobile to Offer the Obopay Service

Redwood City, CA-based Obopay has teamed with Amp’d Mobile to offer a new mobile payment service to all Amp’d subscribers. Amp’d Mobile will promote the service to all Amp’d subscribers, and in addition, the two companies agreed to an aggressive joint promotion on university campuses across the country this fall. Obopay will bring to market the first complete mobile payment service in the U.S. Amp’d Mobile is the first integrated mobile entertainment company for youth, young professionals and early adopters, and the only 3G carrier in the US specifically targeting that demographic.

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Asta Funding Gets a New Round of Funding

NJ-based Asta Funding has obtained a new three-year credit facility of $175 million with an expandable feature which allows the Company the ability to increase the line to $225 million. Asta Funding, Inc., is a leading consumer receivable asset management company that specializes in the purchase, management and liquidation of performing and non-performing consumer receivables.

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Elvis Presley Prepaid VISA is Launched

Elvis Presley Enterprises and EDP Licensing have teamed to launch the first “Elvis Presley Prepaid VISA” card. Prepaid debit cards are fast becoming the card of choice among American consumers. Last year, more purchases and bills were paid with debit cards than with checks. For the past two years, debit cards have outgrown their big brother – the credit card. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. is based in Memphis, with additional offices in Los Angeles. In addition to Graceland and its related attractions in Memphis. CKX, Inc. is engaged in the ownership, development and commercial utilization of entertainment content.

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TSYS Acquires UK-Based Card Tech Ltd

TSYS this morning acquired London-based Card Tech in an all-cash transaction. The new company will be known as TSYS Card Tech. Card Tech has been providing payment association certified solutions to the bankcard sector since 1989. More than 190 banking clients from 70 countries use CTL systems. CTL solutions include card issuance, merchant acquiring, authorization, message switching, encryption key and PIN management, e-commerce and fraud management. The firm has offices in London, Nicosia, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

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DEBIT REFORMS

VISA has refused to voluntarily comply or respond to a new
package of debit card reforms proposed by Australia’s central bank. While MasterCard met the July 1st deadline, VISA did not and thus the
Reserve Bank will basically force its reforms on VISA including cutting the interchange fee in the “VISA Debit” system from 40 cents to 15 cents effective November 1st. The Reserve Bank Board will also force VISA to remove the restrictions on merchants that require them to accept “VISA Debit” cards if they accept “VISA Credit” cards, and that prohibit merchants from imposing a surcharge on “VISA Debit” transactions, effective January 1st. The Payments System Board also wants to push interchange fees in the EFTPOS system from 20 cents to 4.5 cents per transaction.

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Pay By Touch Beefs-Up PayCheck Secure

Solidus Networks’ Pay By Touch has beefed-up its “Paycheck Secure” product which enables retailers to electronically deposit all checks at once. Customers provide a photo ID, two finger scans, and a digital photo at the reatiler’s location to enroll in “Paycheck Secure.” The Company says the new version 8.0 offers significant time savings, more secure transactions and faster access to funds. Pay By Touch says more than $8 billion in checks have been cashed using “Paycheck Secure.” Salt Lake City-based Zions First National Bank recently introduced Pay By Touch biometric check-cashing in 12 locations throughout Utah and Idaho. Pay By Touch acquired BioPay earlier this year for $82 million in stock and cash. BioPay is the developer of the biometric check cashing system. To date, more than 2.5 million consumers have used the system to cash checks. (CF Library 1/17/06; 7/5/06)

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QiWAVE Cashless Vending System Introed

Dallas-based QI Systems has launched the “QiWAVE” cashless vending system, which incorporates HID’s “iCLASS” contactless smart card technology, and is targeted for use in university and corporate campus vending, laundry, parking and photocopying applications. QiWAVE’s contactless iCLASS solution increases transaction speed and convenience for the user, reduces or eliminates cash handling, reduces machine maintenance and extends card life by eliminating mechanical contact between the card and the reader. QI Systems Inc. develops and markets innovative contact and contactless chip-based card payment and tracking solutions for a number of industries as well as national, state and local government agencies.

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Fitch Upgrades its CC-Based ABS Coverage

Fitch Ratings announced it is changing its rating methodology for U.S. credit card asset-backed securities due to consumer confidence coupled with recent regulatory and industry developments. Refinements include new USD LIBOR scenarios, and compensation for basis risk between the prime rate used to price most variable credit card lending and USD LIBOR. The firm will also place more focus on purchase rate and servicing fee levels. Although Fitch has always evaluated the seller/servicer associated with credit card ABS, the process has been formalized and will augment its credit card collateral analysis and cash flow modeling when determining credit enhancement.

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