E-Bills Hit Critical Mass in 2005

A new study has found that 69% of U.S. online households say they are paying at least one bill online, up from 56% in March 2005. The “Consumer Billing and Payment Trends” survey from CheckFree Research Services and The Marketing Workshop also found that online payments are steadily replacing check writing as the way to pay bills among those surveyed with paper checks used for 37.5% of all bill payments and online payments used for 35%. More than 60% of consolidated users with e-bill rated themselves as very satisfied with online banking, versus 54% of consolidated users without e-bill and 51% of consumers who use online banking but do not pay bills online.

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PPI and USTI Team for Utilities

Payment Processing has formed a partnership with United System S Technology to offer an integrated payment processing solution for utility billing. By integrating the PPI PayMover gateway with USTI’s ePay solution, USTI and PPI provide one resource for bill presentation and payment needs, enabling municipalities to operate more efficiently and more profitably by eliminating paper bills, manual envelope stuffing and postage costs.

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Card Issuers Face Many Roadblocks

A new report suggests that inflation, rising interest rates, higher minimum payments and the debit card shift is hitting traditional credit card issuers between the eyes. The research says that credit card issuers need to look more closely at consumer behavior to survive in the new market. TowerGroup says credit card issuing banks have traditionally done a solid job of dealing with environmental and regulatory challenges but may not be ready to navigate the uncharted waters ahead. TowerGroup believes the increase in minimum card payment is likely to dampen credit card use and increase delinquencies. Also, the rise in interest rates will revert the positive movement in write-off that issuers have experienced in early 2006. Additionally, TowerGroup expects that the continued consumer shift to debit cards as well as rising prepaid card adoption will reduce the overall transaction volume of base credit card receivables and therefore reduce transaction-based economies of scale.

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Schwab & Partner Group to be Acquired by ITG

ASSA ABLOY Identification Technology has acquired Schwab & Partner
Group. Through this acquisition, SSA ABLOY ITG will strengthen its
contactless card manufacturing and customization capacity, shorten
delivery times as well as enable the global sales forces to offer
greater variety of technology cards. Schwab & Partner Group is a
producer of contactless cards for the ski, public transportation and
access control markets. ASSA ABLOY is a manufacturer and supplier of
locking solutions.

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AmEx Intros PowerStop at LaGuardia

American Express unveiled the “PowerStop” business center at LaGuardia for business travelers using the Delta Shuttle service. Services include wireless high-speed internet access throughout the terminal, connection to 10 workstations equipped with power outlets for easy workspace access, four Apple iMac personal computers for quick and secure Internet access, as well as copy and fax machines and a VIP lounge and conference room for last minute meetings and calls.

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Giesecke & Devrient Unveils Contactless Product Suite

Giesecke & Devrient has developed the “Contactless Product Suite” which
makes small-scale antennas available for radio frequency
transmission on the basis of new antenna technology. The smaller
MasterCard “PayPass” form factor will be issued first to customers
in North America. Despite their reduced size, the devices meet the
“PayPass-ISO/IEC 14443” specifications and achieve excellent radio
frequency performance. Giesecke & Devrient provides smart
card technology.

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Cardtronics’ Q1 Revenues Rise 18.5%

Houston-based Cardtronics posted an 18.5% increase in first quarter revenues to $58.3 million. Average transacting ATMs for the first quarter totaled 26,207, representing an increase of 6.3%. Cash withdrawal transactions increased 14.5% to 30.0 million during the first quarter compared to the same period in 2005. Cardtronics says the strong performance was driven by acquisitions of BAS Communications, Neo Concepts and the UK’s Bank Machine Limited. Average revenues per ATM per month in the first quarter increased 11% to $844. The Company continues to expect revenues of $270-290 million for 2006. For complete details on Cardtronics’ latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Aegean Airlines Joins UATP Network

Aegean Airlines has joined the UATP network as a new merchant airline.
Aegean Airlines now accepts all UATP corporate cards as part of the UATP
global corporate travel payment network. Aegean Airlines has had an
average annual growth rate of 20% during the past five years. It is the
first Greek airline to introduce e-tickets and e-check-in services, and
with an average of 120 flights per day. UATP accounts are accepted as a
form of payment for corporate business travel by airlines and travel
agencies worldwide.

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VCT Hits 20 Years and 1.4B Cards

Illinois-based Versatile Card Technology is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and is now manufacturing more than 1.4 billion cards per year in three plants located in the USA and India. About Versatile Card Technology, Inc. VCT is a certified manufacturer of Visa and MasterCard and produces a wide variety of products including, loyalty, membership, gift cards, SmartCards, access control and contactless cards.

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TSYS Opens Madrid Office

TSYS Europe has opened a new office in Madrid, TSYS Europe
SL. Under the leadership of Jose-Luis Rojas, who has served as director
of business expansion in southern Europe since 2003, TSYS Europe SL will
support project management and client relationships in Spain and the
surrounding region. TSYS provides outsourced payment services,
offering a broad range of issuer and acquirer processing technologies
that support consumer finance, credit, debit and prepaid services.

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Global Axcess’ Q1 Revenues Up 11%

FL-based Global Axcess reported first quarter revenues of $5.2 million, compared to $4.7 million for the same period of 2005. Gross profit was up to $2.3 million for the quarter, compared to $2.0 million for the same period of 2005. The Company says it operating expenses increased due mainly from increased ATM, software and acquisition costs, plus an increase in selling and general and administrative costs. Global Axcess says it is pleased with its rapid revenue growth, but continues to seek ways to improve its financial performance. The Company recently hired Raymond James to review strategic alternatives. For complete details on Global Axcess’ first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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M&T Moves to Windows ATM Platform

OH-based M&T Bank has purchased 390 NCR “Personas 77” ATMs. M This investment, which includes NCR’s APTRA Edge software, represents a step forward in M&T Bank’s transition to an open architecture software platform to drive its ATM channel. NCR’s Personas 77 is a free-standing ATM, designed for medium- to high-volume interior locations. This unit offers a full range of security options, including remote key management and dual-safe variations, greater reliability and serviceability.

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