Interac Certifies VF’s Vx 510 and Vx 610

Interac Association has certified VeriFone’s “Vx 510” countertop and “Vx 610” wireless payment solution as meeting new chip card device requirements for Canada. The VeriFone systems are the first card acceptance devices to achieve Interac chip card certification. The Interac Association has established a goal of initiating the first chip card transaction in 2007 and will impose financial sanctions beginning in 2010 on member banks who do not meet minimum required levels of chip conversion.

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VIRGIN CARD

Virgin Money has formed a joint venture with Absa to issue the
“Virgin Money” credit card in South Africa. The new MasterCard is the first in the country to offer a combination of no fees and an interest rate of 0% for the first three months with an ongoing APR of 15.75% thereafter. Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson said the card would shake-up the South African credit card market which he claims is ripping-off consumers to the tune of 1.5 billion rand or US$201 million per year. Branson introduced the card after making a 25-story zip-line slide from an adjacent hotel into the parking lot of his company in Johannesburg. The “Virgin Money VIP” loyalty program connected to the new card is free. It offers automatic discounts to “Virgin Active,” “Virgin Atlantic,” “Virgin Cosmetics,” “Virgin Limited Edition” and “Virgin Mobile” based on card usage. Virgin Money also issues credit cards in the UK and Australia. The Company currently has about two million cardholders worldwide.

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Most Small Businesses Beef-Up Data Security

A new survey has found that 64% of small businesses have taken action within the last 12 months to better protect customer financial information and 29% have done so in the last 3 months. The research from VISA USA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also found that 34% of small retailers spend more resources preventing the theft of products and cash from their store compared to 20% who spend more to secure customer data. Additionally, about 53% of retailers think their customers, rarely, if at all, worry about their personal information. VISA and the Chamber of Commerce began a 12-city nationwide town hall tour today titled, “Securing Our Businesses, Protecting Our Customers.” It is the second year that VISA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have teamed to educate small businesses about new fraud threats and how to protect themselves.

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Retriever Certifies 4Access’ Orion Terminal

Houston-based Retriever Payment Systems has agreed to “Class A” certify and launch the “Orion” all-in-one check reader, imager and card solution from 4Access Communications Company. Orion is a comprehensive, stand-alone solution for reading and processing checks, credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, EBT cards and gift cards. Retriever is one of the fastest growing U.S. merchant acquirers and transaction processors, providing payment processing and other related services to small- and medium-sized merchants for credit card, debit card and other payment transactions. 4Access Communications produces point-of-transaction software and hardware.

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Dynamic Card Solutions & Datacard Partner

Dynamic Card Solutions and Datacard Group have inked a deal wherein DCS’ “CardWizard” technology will become a Datacard preferred software solution and Datacard will become a preferred card personalization system and services provider for DCS. The agreement will expand joint marketing efforts in the instant issuance market segment by designating DCS’ CardWizard technology as a Datacard Group preferred software solution and Datacard Group as a preferred card personalization system and services provider for DCS.

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Virgin Money Credit Card Hits South Africa

UK-based Virgin Money has formed a joint venture with South Africa’s Absa to issue the “Virgin Money” credit card. The new MasterCard is the first in South Africa to offer a combination of no fees and an interest rate of 0% for the first three months with an ongoing APR of 15.75% thereafter. Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson said the card would shake-up the South African credit card market which he claims is ripping-off consumers to the tune US$201 million per year. Branson introduced the card today after making a 25-story zip-line slide from an adjacent hotel into the parking lot of his company in Johannesburg. The “Virgin Money VIP” loyalty program connected to the new card is free. It offers automatic discounts to “Virgin Active,” “Virgin Atlantic,” “Virgin Cosmetics,” “Virgin Limited Edition” and “Virgin Mobile” based on card usage. Virgin Money also issues credit cards in the UK and Australia. The Company currently has about two million cardholders worldwide.

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SCA Lands a Chase Paymentech Sales Exec

New Jersey-based Shoppers Charge Accounts, the private label credit card division of TD Banknorth, has hired Matthew Temares, formerly with Chase Paymentech as an account executive in the Financial Institution Management Group, as VP/Sale Executive for the southeastern and southwestern USA. Previously, he was an account executive for Cardholder Management Services, Plainview, N.Y., where he marketed credit card portfolio outsourcing and management services to retailers and financial institutions.

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FDC & ADP To Market the TotalPay Card

First Data’s Money Network and ADP Employer Services have teamed to offer the co-branded “TotalPay Card” to businesses of all sizes. Through the agreement, Money Network will be responsible for back office operations and program implementation for employers seeking a paycard solution. The offering is FDIC-insured and leverages the existing Money Network TRANSCHECK product, a self-issued check system that enables Money Network’s Paycard clients to provide their employees immediate and free access to their payroll funds.

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BMW and AmEx Card Targets the Middle East

The first co-branded credit card in the automobile sector for the Middle East has been launched. BMW Group and American Express have introduced the chip-enabled “BMW Credit Card” which offers “Membership Rewards” points that can be redeemed for BMW vehicles and servicing as well as hotel, retail, and leisure rewards. Cardholders are also entitled to view new BMW cars before they are launched. Other benefits include reduced prices on BMW parts and servicing at AGMC and Abu Dhabi Motors and double “Membership Rewards” points for all purchases at BMW Importers in the UAE. Additionally, cardholders earn “Membership Rewards” bonus points when financing a BMW through BMW Financial Services co-operation partners in the UAE and Bahrain. BMW Group was the first premium vehicle manufacturer to establish its own financial services division in the Middle East in 2001. BMW and AmEx recently launched a credit card in the UK.

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PSCU Signs Two Deals with a PA-Based CU

Pennsylvania-based Clearview FCU has signed a long-term agreement for PSCU Financial Services to provide processing support for the credit union’s signature, PIN and ATM debit programs and also signed a six-year contract extension for credit card processing services with PSCU. Under the terms of the agreement, Clearview FCU converted more than 76,000 signature, PIN and ATM debit card accounts to the DebitAdvantageTM platform and will continue the processing more than 26,000 credit card accounts for the $560 million, 73,000-member credit union. Clearview Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Moon Township, Pa. is a not-for-profit, member owned and operated, full-service financial institution.

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Chockstone to Support MasterCard PayPass

Portland, OR-based Chockstone announced that its technology will be enabled to support the “MasterCard PayPass” contactless payment solution. PayPass will work seamlessly with Chockstone’s payment processing and stored value programs. Chockstone provides payment and loyalty solutions that deliver promotional offers tailored for each customer at the point-of-sale. Chockstone’s technology will enable merchants to provide instantaneous rewards to PayPass users by automatically recognizing the payment method at check-out and delivering redeemable, merchant-designated promotions via their transaction receipt.

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U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Slowly Rebound

Bankruptcy filings have declined from about 35,000 per week in 2005 to approximately 10,000 per week this year. In the first five months of this year a little more than 200,000 filings have been made compared to nearly 700,000 for the same period one-year ago. The drop-off is due to the full implementation of the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005” which took effect on October 17th. Bankruptcy filings nose-dived in the first quarter, falling 73% compared to one-year ago and down six-fold sequentially. The number of filings in the first quarter is the lowest number of quarterly filings in the last 20 years. According to CA-based Lundquist Consulting 1Q/06 Chapter 7 consumer filings are 80% lower 1Q/05. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, consumer and business bankruptcy filings hit a record 667,431 petitions in the fourth quarter. (CF Library 3/27/06; 6/2/06)

MONTHLY FILINGS
May 05: 142,915
Jun 05: 145,946
Jul 05: 136,074
Aug 05: 155,836
Sep 05: 204,863
Oct 05: 613,486
Nov 05: 21,457
Dec 05: 32,488
Jan 06: 34,411
Feb 06: 39,636
Mar 06: 42,724
Apr 06: 44,989
May 06: 43,780
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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