IRS Opens Business Tax Payments via Cards

The IRS has determined that the convenience fee paid or incurred by a business making a tax payment with a credit card can be deducted as a business expense. The decision will help expand business tax payments via credit card. This year, the IRS has also expanded the tax types eligible for electronic payment. Businesses may now make federal tax payments with American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA cards for Form 940 and Form 941 payments via Official Payments Corp. OPC says the IRS now joins 20 states and the District of Columbia in accepting payments for business taxes and other related business payments.

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Fidelity National to Offer OPC STV VISAs

Jacksonville, FL-based Fidelity National Information Services, f/k/a/ Certegy, has signed a three-year exclusive agreement with Official Payments Corp. to issue VISA prepaid debit cards. Under the terms of the agreement, Certegy will provide Official Payments with Visa-branded prepaid debit products as part of an initiative to convert government disbursements to electronic prepaid card solutions. The relationship will initially focus on the conversion of child support disbursements, expanding to include additional prepaid debit programs in the future. This payment program will allow recipients to receive their child support payments faster, with no-cost access to their funds. Fidelity National Information Services is a provider of core processing for financial institutions. Official Payments provides financial transaction processing services.

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Lipman’s Q4 Revenues Rise 27% Sequentially

Terminal manufacturer Lipman Electronic Engineering reported fourth quarter revenues of $68.8 million, an increase of 5% over the prior year and a 27% increase over the prior quarter. During the quarter Lipman launched the “NURIT 8210” multi-application integrated POS terminal, developed jointly with Yapi Kredi Bank in Turkey, which placed an order for 35,000 terminals. Lipman also had follow-on orders totaling $6 million from banks in India for the “NURIT 8320” landline POS terminal. In Mexico there was an initial order valued at $2.2 million for Lipman’s “Dione Secura” PIN Entry Device from a major bank. Additionally an initial order valued at $3 million was placed for Lipman’s “Dione Secura” PIN Pads and “Xpress” card readers from retailers in Germany. For complete details on Lipman’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Shedding Debt Easier than Shedding Fat

A survey conducted for TrueCredit by Roper Public Affairs has found that 51% of Americans say that losing 10 pounds would be more difficult for them than paying off their credit card debt Respondents indicated that their number one resolution is being healthy (33%) or spending time with family (26%) than answer paying down their debt (20%). Additionally, 43% say they purchased less on credit this holiday season than the previous year and 48% report that they have the same level of credit card debt as the previous year. TrueCredit educates consumers about credit management and empowers them to improve their borrowing habits.

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bcgi Launches a Global Alliance Program

MA-based bcgi has launched a “Global Alliance Program” for resellers and systems integrators. The Program allows systems integrators and resellers to select the type and level of partnership involvement most appropriate for their business, giving them the opportunity to strengthen and broaden their product portfolios with bcgi’s proven products and solutions. bcgi offers a three-tiered independent agent program that allows systems integrators to begin to work and grow with bcgi in their market. bcgi provides prepaid and postpaid billing, payments and access management.

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STV Cards Drive Morgan Beaumont’s Q4 Results

Florida-based prepaid card specialist, Morgan Beaumont, reported revenue for the quarter ending December 31st of $1.49 million. The year over year revenue increase is primarily due to stored value products, including prepaid phone cards, and telecommunications services. The company reported a net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2006 of $2.0 million, or $0.03 loss per share, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million or $0.04 loss per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2005. Morgan Beaumont providers of stored value and prepaid card solutions.

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DUBAI MARATHON VISA

Dubai-based Standard Chartered Bank has launched another sports affinity credit card. The new “Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2006 VISA” offers cardholders free entry into the three kilometer fun race as well as fitness and health-related benefits. Special benefits accruing to cardholders include: a free HR2G06 Speed heart rate, calorie and fat burn monitor watch worth AED 500; a trial voucher for the Griffins Health Club at the JW Marriott Dubai as well as discounts at the health club and at the hotel’s Champions outlet; vouchers for complimentary classes and discounts at the Artistic Yoga Centre, great discounts at all Paris Gallery Day Spas throughout the UAE and a free “VISA Mini Supplementary Classic Credit Card.” A social benefit of the card is that for each one activated, Standard Chartered will donate AED25 to its “Seeing Is Believing” charity, which aims to restore the sight of one million blind people over the next three years. Other Standard Chartered credit cards include cards for golfers, soccer fans, the small-to-medium-business sector and the UAE’s huge cricket
following.

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American Express Cards Enter Cambodia

Cambodia Mekong Bank Public and American Express have launched the first “MekongBank American Express Gold Credit Card” for the Cambodian market. MekongBank will issue AmEx cards in US dollars. The new card will be targeted at the higher end of the market. The American Express Foundation made two recent grants totaling $115,000 to the World Monuments Fund to support preservation and planning initiatives for Phnom Bakheng at Angkor and the Banteay Chhmar Temple of Jayavarman VII. Under terms of the deal, MekongBank will be responsible for all operations in support of the new credit cards, including customer service, marketing, billing and accounting, credit management and charge authorizations. In addition, MekongBank will be responsible for providing services to local merchants accepting American Express Cards and for signing up new merchant partners.

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Life Takes VISA Ad Campaign to Launch

VISA USA this morning launched its first new brand campaign in 20 years. The “Life Takes VISA” campaign ads will premier on February 10th during the “Opening Ceremony” of the “XX Olympic Winter Games.” Beginning February 13th, six Olympic-themed television ads will be introduced during broadcast coverage of the “Games.” In the first three months of the campaign, VISA expects to generate more than 4 billion consumer impressions through national broadcast, magazines and newspapers, high-traffic Web sites, public transit media and billboards. In addition to national exposure, the campaign will be highlighted through outdoor ads in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. In allocating spending for the ads, VISA says it is shifting the media mix to include more outdoor advertising, stronger emphasis in the Hispanic market and POS reminders. The “Life Takes VISA” platform will combine VISA’s updated brand mark and new card design announced last year. Los Angeles-based TBWAChiatDay helped VISA develop the ads and will serve as VISA’s new agency partner on the campaign. VISA says the new campaign reflects its evolution from a top credit card company to the leader in electronic payments. The new website [www.lifetakesvisa.com][1] will be available this Friday.

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

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