CheckFree Completes $100MM PhoneCharge Acquisition

CheckFree has completed its acquisition of PhoneCharge for approximately $100 million cash. The acquisition will give billers the ability to provide a comprehensive suite of payment options to their customers from a single provider, including online, walk-in, telephone, and lockbox through accounts receivable conversion processing. CheckFree Corporation provides financial electronic commerce services and products.

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Asta Funding Lands Major Credit Card Debt

NJ-based Asta Funding has made portfolio purchases of $2.1 billion in face value for a purchase price of approximately $102 million. The portfolio acquisitions included credit card paper with judgments in excess of $150 million, telecom paper of approximately $265 million, and other typical credit card portfolios. The sales were driven by the fall bankruptcy surge. Asta Funding previously reported third calendar quarter net income of $9 million. Finance income for the quarter was $20 million, a 35% increase compared to one-year ago. For complete details on Asta’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Metavante and AdminiSource Complete Their Deal

Metavante Corporation has completed its acquisition of Texas-based AdminiSource Corp. AdminiSource is a leading provider of healthcare payment distribution services and is Metavante’s third acquisition to expand its solutions focused on the consumer-directed healthcare payments area. Metavante provides a comprehensive FSA/HSA services that include account processing, checks and debit cards, online and phone access to account information, investment options, and regulatory reporting.

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GE Releases New Manual Authorization Feature

GE’s Corporate Payment Services unit has added a new manual authorization feature to “NetService.” The new feature leverages GE’s patented pre-authorization technology and will significantly reduce phone calls that cardholders and PAs make when dealing with transaction declines at the point of sale. With the click of a mouse by the PA, the merchant obtains authorization by simply rerunning the charge. There is no need for a PA to call for an override request nor does the merchant have to call to input an authorization code.

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New VISA Logo and Card Design Hits the U.S.

VISA has launched its new logo and card design in the USA. Beginning this week, the updated brand mark will start appearing on all new materials, including VISA payment cards, merchant decals, marketing materials and stadium signage. The new VISA debuted in regions outside the U.S. in September. It features prominent use of the iconic VISA brand name, the blue, white and gold colors, and italicized type style while incorporating new graphic enhancements to make it stand out even more. The new cards will have the dove hologram moved to the back of the card and be integrated into the magnetic stripe. The “CVV2” code will be printed on a separate panel next to the signature panel. The new logo will also be featured in upcoming print and television advertising.

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RoboServer Systems Offers a New QSR Line Buster

RoboServer Systems has unveiled a new version of its “Line Buster” self-serve machine for QSRs. “Line Buster” allows fast-food customers to skip long lines and place their own orders by selecting a few buttons on a touch-screen kiosk and has been unveiled with a new software platform, a new user-interface, and a choice of three kiosk models. Industry estimates show that self-serve technologies can cut customer waiting time by as much as 33%. RoboServer Systems provides Point of Sale and Self-Serve software technology for the restaurant industry.

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Citigroup Settles Call Processing Patent Dispute

Citigroup has agreed to settle patent litigation with Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing over its call-processing systems. Citigroup has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for a nonexclusive license under a comprehensive portfolio of patents that RAK owns relating to interactive voice applications. The license covers Citigroup’s services in the “Financial Services Call Processing” and the “Automated Securities Transactions” Fields of Use. Ronald A. Katz is a developer of interactive services.

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INTERAC Sets Holiday Transaction Record

INTERAC Direct Payment set a new record for transactions
on December 23rd with 15.5 million transactions processed on a
single day, an 18% increase over the previous record set in
2004. There are more than 35 million debit cards in circulation in Canada, accounting for more than four billion IDP transactions in 2005. Interac is a not-for-profit organization composed of 95 members which include: banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, technology and payment related companies and is responsible for the development of the national network for two shared electronic financial services: INTERAC Direct Payment, Canada’s national debit card service and INTERAC Shared Cash Dispensing Service for cash withdrawals at ATMs.

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GZS & FDC

Gesellschaft fur Zahlungssysteme has agreed to be acquired by US-based First Data Corporation. GZS processes 982 million transactions annually and provides outsourced processing services for 8.5 million German and Swiss credit cards. GZS also provides merchant processing services for its clients who serve more than 300,000 merchants. The acquisition complements First Data’s expansion during 2004 into
Greece, and during this year into Austria, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia,
Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro, Russia, Hungary and the Nordic
region. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but it is expected to close in the second quarter.

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JWARE Technologies and Abbrevia Partner

JWARE Technologies and Abbrevia have signed a partnership agreement.
This agreement will strengthen JWARE’s commercial and support presence
in Saudi Arabia and Iran. JWARE Technologies develops payment and secure
transaction processing software. Abbrevia is an innovative provider of
leading-edge mobile commerce, e-commerce and EFT payments solutions that
targets the Middle East, North Africa & South Asia.

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Regulation E Now Covers Payroll Cards

The Federal Reserve Board has amended “Regulation E” so that it covers payroll card accounts. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act clarifies the responsibilities of parties involved in electronic check conversion transactions and require that consumers receive written notification in advance of these transactions. Additional revisions to the regulation’s official staff commentary provide guidance on preauthorized transfers from consumers’ accounts, error resolution, and disclosures at automated teller machines (ATMs). The mandatory compliance date is January 1, 2007.

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