Intuit Expands OPC Option in TurboTax

Official Payments has signed a deal to provide a new integrated payment option within Intuit’s “TurboTax Online” and “TurboTax” desktop products, as well as Intuit’s “ProSeries” product for tax professionals, allowing customers to pay their federal tax balance due with all four major U.S. cards. Official Payments charges citizens a convenience fee for the service, however, taxpayers 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 and fees. Tier is a leading provider of transaction processing and packaged software and systems integration services for public sector clients.

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EPN UPIC Payments Top $1 Billion

EPN, the ACH business of The Clearing House Payments Company, reports that more than $1 billion in “UPIC” payments have been received by public and private entities across the USA. “UPIC” is a unique bank account identifier issued by financial institutions that allows organizations to receive electronic payments without divulging confidential banking information. UPICs are for credit payments only. In October, The Electronic Payments Association-NACHA began using a “UPIC” to facilitate electronic business-to-business payments from its members. This year, more than 20 companies were issued an “UPIC” by their financial institutions. The Electronic Payments Network consists of more than 1,600 commercial banks, credit unions and savings banks. It has processed more than 3.4 billion payments in 2004.

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Online Holiday Spending Around $1.9 billion

A recent survey released by TNS indicates that 39% of adult Canadian
Internet users plan to do some of their holiday shopping online this year,
spending $327 on average and will ring up $1.9 billion in holiday
purchases online this year, up from last year’s total planned
holiday-related online spending of $1.5 billion. However, 61% do not plan
to do
any holiday-related shopping online, with 42% of the respondents citing a
preference for in-store shopping. Those who buy online are motivated
mainly by convenience. Books remain the most popular holiday gifts
purchased over the Internet. The “Holiday Shopping Online” study is
conducted annually by TNS Canadian Facts. TNS is a market information
group.

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Yecies to Lead Pay By Touch Health Payments

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has hired Steven Yecies as SVP and GM of the company’s new health care business division. Yecies was the founder and general manager of Scient’s global health and wellness business, where he implemented innovative e-business solutions for the world’s leading payer, provider, and life sciences companies and institutions. Yecies earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Pay By Touch’s patented biometric payment products are free to consumers and enable shoppers to quickly and securely pay for purchases or cash checks using a finger scan linked to their personal identification information.

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Retail Banks Must Grow Organically

A new report suggests that retail banks must grow organically to survive. The Boston Consulting Group says many institutions are nearing a point where further cost cutting may weaken frontline sales capabilities and therefore hurt market share. As a result, BCG believes that the key future differentiator between market leaders and poor performers will be growth. According to the report, heavy consolidation has increased the number of strong competitors in many markets. These large players are driving fierce competition for customers in high-value segments such as private banking, mass affluent, and small-and-medium-sized enterprises. The report notes that the retail sector is among the most efficient users of capital within the global banking industry.

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China UnionPay Inks More ATM/POS Deals

China’s only national payment network China UnionPay has signed three more deals to expand international acceptance. On Friday, JCB signed an ATM gateway agreement after inking deals earlier in the week with Europe’s EUFISERV and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui credit card unit. The JCB deal will give CUP cardholders access to ATM networks in Japan. According to CardFlash International, the acceptance will begin with the UFJ Bank ATM network of more than 6,000 ATMs in March 2006 and then it will be expanded to Japan Post which will open its network of 26,000 ATMs to CUP cards starting in May 2006. The EUFISERV deal will give CUP cardholders access to ATMs in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and Luxemburg. Sumitomo Mitsui also inked a deal to migrate its 3 million POS terminals in Japan to CUP acceptance. In September, China UnionPay formally signed an agreement with Citibank for global ATM acceptance. In May, China UnionPay sealed a deal with Discover Financial Services to facilitate POS and ATM acceptance of CUP cards in the USA. (CF International Library 5/26/05; 9/16/05)

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ZAMBONI MC ADS

MasterCard Canada has launched the first TV ad in a series
of new “Priceless” television focusing on professional hockey. The new
“Zamboni” series follows a boy named Drew and his career with the NHL. The
first ad aired last weekend and the fourth ad will air at the beginning
of the playoffs. The new ads were directed by Bennett Miller of Capote
fame and stars Tim Dorsch as adult Drew, with creative done by McCann
Erickson and French adaptation by Marketel. The ads also feature a
re-recording of the song “I Wanna Drive a Zamboni” by the Gear Daddies.
MasterCard says it will support the new ads with print advertising, an
online component and a marketing promotion. To date, 372 MasterCard
“Priceless” commercials have been produced with ads now seen in 106
countries and 49 languages.

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