USA ePay Certifies ExaDigm XD2000 Terminal

ExaDigm’s “XD2000” point-of-sale terminal has received certification from the USA ePay payment gateway. As a retail certified gateway, USA ePay will enable merchants using the XD2000 to process IP transactions through the First Data Nashville, Paymentech and Vital platforms; with USA ePay is currently working on certification on the Global East platform. These merchants will now have access to the most advanced point-of-sale terminal on the market today, as well as to USA ePay’s wide range of value added services, including online reporting, order processing, terminal provisioning and customer management. ExaDigm is a provider of IP wireless, wired and modular point-of-sale (POS) terminal solutions.

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DEC 05 DEBT

Credit card debt passed the A$34 billion milestone in December while
charge volume took off again as energy prices settled down. During the
past twelve months, credit card debt has increased 14% while credit card
volume has been flat. One-year ago credit card debt stood at A$30.2
billion. Gross dollar volume on credit card and charge cards in December
was A$16.2 billion the same as December 2004. Card credit limits reached
A$91.6 billion at the end of December, compared to A$81.6 billion for
December 2004. There are currently 12.5 million credit card and charge
card accounts in Australia, compared to 11.6 million one-year ago.

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Active Account Growth Slows in 2005

The number of active accounts remained sluggish last year. The top three issuers posted a lackluster 2% gain in the number of accounts with posted activity in the fourth quarter. The top three issuers reported nearly 145 million active accounts among a total database of 290 million active accounts according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

2005 ACTIVE ACCOUNTS
BofA: 42 million
Chase: 44 million
Citi: 59 million
TOTAL: 145 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Hyatt Hotels Offers Clear Membership

Hyatt Hotels announced a partnership with Verified Identity Pass to become the first hotel chain to make a substantial purchase for select customers of complimentary memberships in Verified ID’s much heralded “Clear” service. Hyatt will extend to its “Gold Passport Diamond” tier members the opportunity to receive a “Clear” membership on a complimentary basis. In addition, Hyatt plans to make the “Clear” membership available to other Hyatt guests through exclusive promotional offers later this year. “Clear” has been operational since July 2005 and currently has over 15,000 members in Orlando. “Clear” members currently pay an annual fee of $79.95 to enroll.

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comScore Networks Says Online Sales Up 23%

VA-based comScore Networks says it reported fourth quarter online growth of 23.2% growth and this was virtually identical to the Department of Commerce’s estimate of 23.4% overall growth for the same period. In 2005, Apparel & Accessories ranked as the fastest growing category, with a 41% increase versus the previous year. Other rapidly growing categories included Computer Software (up 37%), Toys & Hobbies (up 35%), Home & Garden (up 33%) and Jewelry & Watches (up 31%). comScore Networks taps into a global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing.

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CardSystems Solutions Settles FTC Charges

Atlanta-based CardSystems Solutions and its successor, Pay By Touch Solutions, have agreed to settle FTC charges that CardSystems’ failure to take appropriate security measures to protect the sensitive information of tens of millions of consumers was an unfair practice that violated federal law. The settlement will require CardSystems and Pay By Touch to implement a comprehensive information security program and obtain audits by an independent third-party security professional every other year for 20 years. The FTC charged that CardSystems engaged in a number of practices that, taken together, failed to provide reasonable and appropriate security for sensitive consumer information. According to the FTC, CardSystems processed about 210 million card purchases totaling more than $15 billion for more than 119,000 small and mid-size merchants.

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Cardtronics Revenues Up 13% in 4Q/05

Houston-based Cardtronics reported revenues for the fourth quarter of $69.8 million, a 12.6% increase over revenues recorded during the fourth quarter of 2004. The Company incurred a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2005 of approximately $0.9 million, compared to net income of approximately $1.5 million for the same period in 2004. The year-over-year increase in revenues was primarily due to a number of acquisitions consummated during 2005, including the BAS Communications, Inc. ATM portfolio in March 2005, the Neo Concepts, Inc. ATM portfolio in April 2005 and Bank Machine Limited in the United Kingdom in May 2005. The decrease in net income was primarily due to the additional interest, depreciation and amortization expense amounts associated with the aforementioned acquisitions, higher selling, general and administrative costs resulting from the Company’s growth, higher vault cash rental costs due to rising interest rates and the impact of replacing lower-cost bank debt with higher-cost senior subordinated notes as a more permanent capital structure was put into place. The accelerated roll out of ATMs in Walgreens and CVS locations throughout the United States during 2005 also continued to negatively impact the Company’s current period results, as such machines are still in the process of ramping to profitable transaction levels. For complete details on Cardtronics’ 4Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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GECF Agrees to Buy 20K VeriFone Terminals

VeriFone has been awarded a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to supply as many as 20,000 units annually of its Vx Solutions payment systems to GE Consumer Finance’s Retail Sales Finance unit. The contract encompasses an initial five-year period. Retail Sales Finance will utilize VeriFone’s Vx Solutions products for private label credit application entry and authorization at the point of sale as well as payment transactions and other applications running in VeriFone’s multiapplication environment.

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GZS Group Reports Profits for FY 2005

GZS Gesellschaft fur Zahlungssysteme reported a consolidated result of
around DM11.4 million before tax for FY 2005. In
doing so, the company has attained its goal of returning to profit after
effective completion of its restructuring program. The result was made on sales of DM172.9 million (2004: DM191.8 million) and total costs of DM161.2 million (2004: DM197.7 million). GZS’s shareholders concluded a contract of sale with First Data Corporation in December 2005. GZS is guarantor for the professional processing of cashless and card-based payments handling approximately 1 billion card transactions with a face value of DM35 billion in 2005.

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Catuity and Nick-N-Willy’s Offer a Card

Denver-based Nick-N-Willy’s World Famous Take-N-Bake Pizza has inked a deal with Catuity to launch a new loyalty and gift card. The Denver-based, 70-store franchise is launching the Lift Card, Catuity’s newest product provides a turnkey, all-in-one solution to retailers, including foodservice and quick casual restaurants and other franchises. The product is targeted toward both acquiring new customers and converting existing customers to come in more often and to spend more.

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Keycorp & Datawire Announce Strategic Alliance

Secure electronic transaction solutions provider Keycorp Limited
Datawire Communication Networks announced a strategic
alliance to offer secure Internet payment transactions as part of
Keycorp’s managed payments service. The Datawire VXN is an internet
overlay service that will allow retailers to take advantage of the
proliferation of high speed broadband Internet to process payments
reliably, securely and quickly over public and private IP networks.
Keycorp will offer the service to its customers and partners in New
Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, China and
Canada. Keycorp Limited is a provider of secure electronic
transactions: with solutions from smartcards and point-of-service
transaction systems to payment engines and managed services.

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Island Air Links Up with NCR’s Kinetics

Hawaii’s Island Air has launched a Web check-in solution and self-check-in kiosks from NCR’s Kinetics, designed to provide a quick and convenient travel experience to its passengers. Beginning this month, Island Air will install Kinetics TouchPort II C self-check-in kiosks initially at its Honolulu International Airport curbside and check-in counter, and then at its Kahului Airport and Kona International Airport terminals. With the TouchPort II C kiosks, passengers can access their itinerary, check-in, check luggage and print their boarding pass by using a credit card.

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