Rewards Network Sales Slip 10%

Chicago-based Rewards Network posted a 10% decline in total sales for the first quarter to $68 million. Net income for the quarter was $1.8 million compared with a net loss of $3.7 million for 1Q/05 and net income of $2.1 million in the prior quarter. The Company says its Marketing Credits Program sales declined 9.7% to $62.6 million, driven by a 16.2% decrease in merchant count. The number of restaurants has declined from 9,957 at year end 2005 to 9,522. However, the number of active accounts increased from 3.43 million to 3.47 million over the same period. The Company provides airline miles, loyalty/reward program points and “Cashback Rewards” savings to its members. For complete details on Rewards Network’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Chase Intros Fan Reward Programs

Chase has teamed with Sports Loyalty Systems to become the official credit card of the fan reward programs of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent on the credit card which can be redeemed for exclusive sporting event experiences, memorabilia and other merchandise. Rewards start at 500 points. The Los Angeles Dodgers “Think Blue Rewards” was launched March 4th. The Arizona Diamondbacks “MVP Rewards” program was introduced on April 11th.

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AmEx Launches a FSA Benefits Card

American Express has introduced a new card that links to flexible spending accounts. PayFlex and WageWorks, FSA administrators, have agreed to market the new “Benefits Plus Card” to corporations and their employees. As part of these agreements, PayFlex and WageWorks will manage the payments and claims process. AmEx also recently introduced the “HealthPay Plus Card” that provides access to the “Health Savings Account” funds. The new “HealthPay Plus Card” is issued in partnership with WellChoice, the parent company of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield.

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ADS Renews Abercrombie & Fitch

Alliance Data Systems has signed a multi-year renewal agreement to continue providing private label credit card services for Abercrombie & Fitch which has 361 store locations nationwide. Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will continue providing Abercrombie & Fitch with private label credit card services including account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; customer service functions; and marketing services. Abercrombie & Fitch is a multi-channel retailer with 2005 sales of $2.7 billion.

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OPC Powers California EZPAY

The California Employment Development Department has launched “EZPAY” via Official Payments Corp. to enable California businesses to make payroll tax deposits with all major payment cards. Employers are eligible to participate in a variety of unique special offers highlighted on the “Special Offers” tab at www.officialpayments.com. Citizens and businesses using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn reward points, airline frequent flyer miles or cash back for paying their taxes. Official Payments charges a convenience fee of 2.5% of the payment amount for this service (minimum fee of $1.00).

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New World Restaurant Goes VPN

New World Restaurant Group is deploying the Netifice “Retail Connect VPN” service to link its 430 Einstein Bros and Noah’s Bagel sites around the country and cut payment card transaction times from 30 to 35 seconds to approximately 5 seconds NWRG is standardizing on Netifice to increase the reliability of restaurant data communications and deliver capabilities that help drive customer satisfaction. The company is also using Netifice to provide HotSpot services to customers at select restaurant locations. Netifice Communications is a global provider of flexible IP VPN solutions.

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Fujitsu & Accelitec Team for Contactless

Fujitsu Transaction Solutions and Accelitec have formed a strategic alliance to offer contactless transaction systems to retailers. Under terms of the agreement, Fujitsu will resell and integrate Accelitec’s PayPilot suite of transaction solutions into its GlobalSTORE point-of-sale (POS) application and Pervasive Retailing Framework. Fujitsu’s PRF is a unified set of software, services and tools that enables real-time retailing interoperability that integrates with retailers’ store systems, Web operations and loyalty and marketing programs. Accelitec, Inc. is a provider of RFID-based transaction management systems.

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GEMPLUS Exec New Eurosmart Chair

Jacques Seneca, President EMEA of Gemplus has been unanimously elected
Chairman of Eurosmart during the General Assembly. Seneca’s first
action as chairman of Eurosmart was to broaden the current steering
committee to make sure all segments of the industry are properly
represented: smart cards, semiconductors, terminals and equipment
manufacturers as well as system integrators will bring their
contribution to the strategic and administrative management of the
Association. EUROSMART is an international association located in
Brussels representing the Voice of the Smart Card industry for
multi-sector applications. It aims at developing standards and improving
quality and security application.

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Canadian CU Deploys POSH ATM Switch

British Colombia-based Columbia Valley CU has implemented Open Solutions Canada’s “POSH” switch for ATMs. The latest version of the POSH switch provides full-function ATM support, enhancing Open Solutions’ existing POSH application to include both issuer and acquirer services while streamlining the provision of operational support for switching by centralizing payment services in the Oakville, Ontario office. The POSH switch provides full-function transaction services to major financial institutions worldwide. Open Solutions Inc. offers a fully featured strategic product platform that integrates core data processing applications.

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MasterCard Sues Over the VISA/FIFA Deal

MasterCard has filed a complaint seeking an injunction against the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of the “FIFA World Cup” to prevent FIFA from moving forward with an agreement with VISA International to sponsor the 2010 and 2014 “FIFA World Cups.” MasterCard’s complaint states that after a period of negotiation in which FIFA assured MasterCard that it was not going to enter into an agreement with a third party, it proceeded in doing so. FIFA did this despite the fact that it had already provided MasterCard with a written contract – including all terms – which MasterCard signed and returned to FIFA, which then advised MasterCard that a deal with VISA was completed. VISA announced earlier this month that it inked a partnership with FIFA.

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Oberthur Smart Card Shipments Up 29%

Oberthur Card Systems reported that during the first quarter the company delivered more than 56 million smart cards, a 29.4% increase compared to the year-ago quarter. However, in the payment cards market the number of card delivered declined 18% due to the end of the “chip & PIN” program in the UK. Sales of payment cards amounted to $30.8 million, a 23.4% decrease. Oberthur also notes that the contactless payment card segment continues to develop favorably in the first quarter with deliveries of several million units, driven by large-scale deployments in North America. Sales of magnetic stripe cards, scratch cards and memory cards slipped 5% year-on-year to $25.7 million. Overall, Oberthur posted record first quarter revenue of $152.3 million, topping records set in the first and second quarter of last year. For complete details on Oberthur’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Fortis Bank Orders More Sagem Orga Smart Cards

Fortis Bank has placed a further order for several million EMV Lite Y
smart cards with Sagem Orga. As part of the order, Sagem Orga has
completed the system customization to provide smart card personalization
and customer loyalty features based on “Sagem Orga CPS,” the global card
personalization standard. The smart cards to be supplied by Sagem Orga
will be used in seven different customer segments at Fortis. Each card
product will be given a customized design and profile, with up to four
loyalty applications. Fortis is an international financial services
provider active in the fields of banking and insurance with total assets
of EUR 718 billion.

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