Vesta & Axalto Offer M-Payments Solution

Vesta and Axalto are partnering to offer prepaid wireless customers new payment capability embedded in the SIM card. This solution enables any North American GSM carrier to offer customers the ability to make payments via credit card, debit card or direct withdrawal from a checking account through a feature directly on the phone. Payment capability is embedded in the SIM card through simple and intuitive drop down menus, creating a mobile transaction environment that is highly secure, can be remotely managed and is tightly integrated with other features on the handset. Payment transaction security is ensured through end-to-end encryption running over non-public wireless networks. This reduces the likelihood that consumers’ passwords or payment information can be intercepted. Vesta provides proprietary authentication and fraud screening measures and a secure, privacy-assured payment alternative to end users. Axalto is a provider of microprocessor cards.

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RBS Lynk Cited for Data Accuracy

Atlanta-based RBS Lynk has received MasterCard’s “Data Integrity for Processing Accuracy” recognition. The MasterCard Data Integrity Performance Award Program recognizes performance of customers that provide accurate authorization messages. Decisions to approve or decline cardholder transactions are based on authorization messages, and accuracy is critical to ensuring that appropriate decisions are made so that cardholders and merchants enjoy the convenience of MasterCard payment cards. RBS Lynk is a leading, single-source provider of electronic payment processing services.

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Starbucks STV Card Sales Rise 53%

Seattle-based Starbucks yesterday reported it sold $293 million worth of stored value cards during the last three months of 2005, a 53% year-on-year gain. During January, Starbucks card were used for 22% of all sales in its U.S. and Canadian stores. The Company says the record number of Starbucks cards activated during the holiday season are driving existing and incremental sales. Starbucks launched its stored value card in November 2001 and signed up 2.3 million cardholders within the first two months. In October 2003, Starbucks and Bank One issued the “Starbucks Card Duetto VISA”, a card that combines a re-loadable stored value card with a general purpose credit card. Starbucks has more than 10,500 retail locations worldwide. The Company plans to open 700 Company-operated locations and 600 licensed locations in the U.S. this year.

PREPAID CARDS ACTIVATED
2001: 2.3 million
2002: 10.8 million
2003: 24.7 million
2004: 48.1 million
2005: 73.4 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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MC/VISA Extend & Expand Tax Fee Offers

MasterCard and VISA have extended and expanded special offers on tax preparation and service fees. MasterCard is offering a “Zero Percent Convenience Fee for Debit” and a “Convenience Fee Rebate for Credit and Debit” via H&R Block and Metavante’s Link2Gov. MasterCard is also offering a specially reduced 1.99% convenience fee via Official Payments. VISA users receive 15% off federal and state tax preparation fees at via TurboTax Online and Official Payments. Consumers can also reduce or eliminate their service fees by using a VISA credit or check card when paying federal taxes at H&R Block offices or online before April 19th. In 2005, taxpayers paid over $260 million in federal tax obligations with MasterCard cards.

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GCA Signs Card Deal with Carnival

Carnival Cruise Lines has signed a multi-year contract to use the credit card and debit card products and services of Global Cash Access. GCA offers cashless gaming; QuikCash cash advance kiosks; GCA’s QCP Web, a proprietary browser-based, full service cash access transaction processing system for casino cashier operations; the Central Credit check warranty service and Central Credit, a source for gaming credit information with a proprietary database of gaming patron credit history and transaction data on millions of gaming patrons worldwide. Global Cash Access, Inc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Cash Access Holdings, Inc, a provider of cash access products and related services to approximately 960 gaming properties and other clients in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada and the Caribbean.

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Acxiom Introduces Insight Suite

Arkansas-based Acxiom has launched “Insight Suite,” featuring 12 services for risk mitigation and fraud prevention. The new Acxiom Insight suite of 12 services is a result of Acxiomâ™s recent acquisition of/ Insight/America, which has offered risk mitigation and fraud prevention services to thousands of clients for more than ten years. The suite offers enhanced data in an easy-to-use format that provides online or offline access to hundreds of national and state-specific databases on a transactional or batch basis. Acxiom provides customer data integration (CDI) technology, data, database services, IT outsourcing, consulting and analytics, and privacy leadership.

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Alliance Data Profits Double in 4Q/05

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems posted record fourth quarter revenue of $421.2 million, a 21% increase over the year-ago quarter. Net income rose 96% to $31.3 million driven by strong performance in its “AIR MILES Reward Program,” Epsilon and utility services businesses. ADS also noted solid growth in its private label credit sales and portfolio. During the quarter ADS signed agreements to launch co-branded credit card programs for Spiegel and Newport News, which marked an expansion of its current relationships as well as the addition of Blair Corporation’s private label credit card program. Additionally, ADS extended its existing program with Limited Brands, helping to drive growth in its card business. Transaction Services revenue increased 8% in the quarter to $184.6 million compared to the prior year. Credit Services revenue increased 10% in the fourth quarter to $142.2 million compared to 4Q/04. Marketing Services revenue increased 39% in the quarter to $175.6 million compared to the prior year. For complete details on ADS’ fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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VISA Tops 20K Contactless Locations

VISA USA reports it has surpassed 20,000 “VISA Contactless” acceptance locations in the U.S. To date, 4 million VISA-branded contactless payment cards have been issued worldwide. In Malaysia more than 500,000 contactless smart cards are being issued – the world’s first commercial implementation of contactless based on EMV smart card standards. In addition to “VISA Contactless,” VISA is helping to drive acceptance and usage of its payment cards for small ticket transactions by eliminating the signature requirement for purchases of less than $25 in 17 merchant segments.

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GreenZap to Close More Funding

San Diego-based online payment specialist GreenZap has received $2 million in commitments for its second-round of financing. The plan for 2006 includes full-scope credit card processing, a 24 hour customer service call center and a customized transaction switch to deliver rapid transactions. GreenZap reported has retained a financial auditing company and expects to commence reporting obligations by the end of first quarter 2006. Once complete, the company hopes to commence quotation on the OTCBB. GreenZap Inc enables any business or individual with an email address to send and receive money securely and cost-effectively online.

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eProcessing to Offer MobileScape Wireless

Houston-based Commerciant and eProcessing Network have inked a distribution deal under which Commerciant’s “MobileScape Wireless” solution will be marketed to eProcessing’s ISOs and agents The offering will help businesses speed collections and reduce payment processing risks in the field, and gives ISOs and agents the ability to create new revenue streams. The MobileScape solution offers ISOs an affordable turn-key wireless solution via Sprint Nextel’s CDMA network. MobileScape includes user-friendly touch screen technology, signature capture capabilities and real-time online reporting for merchants. Commerciant provides authorization, settlement, wireless access, software application development and integration. eProcessing Network is a software development company specializing in secure real-time transaction processing services and support.

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NCR Signs ATM Deal with Bank of China

The Bank of China will install NCR’s new
“Personas M Series 76” automated teller machines with “Intelligent
Deposit” capability. The order also includes a maintenance services
agreement to maximize performance and availability of Bank of China’s
ATM channel. According to research
conducted by Retail Banking Research, China may offer the world’s
largest market for automated deposit terminals.

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