RBC CASH Index Points Upward in December

Consumer confidence is up for the third consecutive month, according to the December results of the RBC “CASH Index,” which now stands at 85.5 compared to 66.8 for October. More good news for retailers is that 40% of respondents report that they are more comfortable making household purchases, an increase from the 35 per cent who reported similar purchasing confidence in October 2005. However, despite the consistency of current consumer confidence, Americans’ current financial situations continue to be a source of worry. Compared to September 2005 – when nearly three in ten rated their current financial situation as strong – currently only 25 per cent rate their financial situation as such. As well, 29 per cent rate the strength of their current local economy as weak, compared to only one quarter reporting a weak rating in October 2005. RBC’s Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household Index is a monthly national survey of consumer attitudes on the current and future state of local economies, personal financial situations, savings, and confidence to make large investments.

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NCR to Take Pay By Touch Service Global

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch and Atlanta-based NCR have teamed to take biometric-enabled POS transactions worldwide. Under the deal, retailers using NCR’s “Advanced Checkout Solution” POS software and the “WinEPS” solution from MTXEPS, can implement the Pay By Touch service. The first joint implementation is being rolled out in select grocery stores throughout the Midwest. In addition, the NCR “FastLane” self-checkout solution is currently “Pay By Touch Ready” and integration with other NCR solutions is underway. Pay By Touch will also leverage an NCR self-service kiosk solution to streamline and enhance the Pay By Touch consumer enrollment process. Earlier this week, Pay By Touch inked a deal to acquire rival VA-based BioPay for $82 million in stock and cash. (CF Library 12/7/05)

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UK’s Aconite Acquires USA’s Smart Commerce

U.K.-based Aconite has acquired NY-based Smart Commerce, a smart card solutions provider focused on the Canadian and American markets. The Company says the deal will accelerate plans to actively develop new business in North and South America. Mansour Karimzadeh, President of SCI, will head up the Aconite Americas business as SVP. Aconite recently signed a deal with First Data. The partnership governs the integration of Aconite’s “EMV Script Processor” into FDC’s “VisionPLUS” one-source global solution for all credit cards, lending and processing activities with initial implementation at First Data’s EMEA processing center in Basildon.

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La Quinta Gift Card Hits the Market

Dallas-based La Quinta has launched a gift card program. Gift cards are available for purchase in $25 or $50 denominations exclusively online at LQ.com or Baymontinns.com. The cards never expire and have no service or administration fee. Gift cards pre-ordered now will be shipped free via Fedex 2nd Day Delivery on December 20th to ensure arrival in time for the holidays. Cardholders can make a reservation online and then present the gift card at the front desk during check-in. La Quinta Corporation is one of the largest owner/operators of limited-service hotels in the United States.

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Aviacsa Air Joins UATP

Aviacsa Airlines is the latest airline to accept all UATP
cards, issued by 14 airlines worldwide to their corporate customers; and
accepted by more than 220 airlines and major travel agencies. Aviacsa will
accept UATP through travel agencies worldwide. Aviacsa offers the
AviacPass, Aviacsa’s frequent flyer program that gives one free ticket for
every five purchased, and the ASI program, an all inclusive service to
select destinations offered by Aviacsa. Aviacsa offers 25 domestic and
international flights. UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment
for corporate business travel by more than 220 airlines worldwide.

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Chuck Doyle Quits the Certegy Board

Atlanta-based Certegy has confirmed the abrupt resignation of board member and long-time payment card industry veteran Chuck Doyle. Doyle has been on the Certegy board since June 2001 and was a member of the Audit Committee. Certegy says Doyle affirmed his support for the merger with Fidelity National but he is not among the Certegy directors designated to serve as a director of the new company. Certegy says he resigned for personal reasons. Doyle is Chairman of the Board of Texas First Bank and Chairman and CEO of Texas Independent Bancshares. He also serves as a director of VISA USA, VISA International, and Inovant. Certegy and Fidelity National inked a deal to merge in September in a tax-free, stock-for-stock exchange. The name of the combined company will become Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. and it will trade on the NYSE under the trading symbol “FIS.” The headquarters for the combined company will be in Jacksonville, Florida. FNF Chairman and CEO William Foley will also serve as Chairman. FNF CFO Alan Stinson will become EVP/CFO of the new FIS. (CF Library 9/16/05)

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Everyday Celebrations Opts for Ecount VISA

Everyday Celebrations, d/b/a Celebrations by Lillian Vernon, has chosen Pennsylvania-based Ecounts’ prepaid VISA cards over checks to pay independent consultants. The Ecount 100% Solution significantly reduces the cost and hassle associated with payments, while providing representative networks with several payment options. All representatives are provided with online account details, email and text message notifications, 1099 reporting and extensive customer service support. The 100% Solution works with any current accounting software. Ecount is a prepaid solutions provider. Celebrations by Lillian Vernon markets products directly to customers through independent sales consultants and hostesses in home parties.

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FreeStar Launches Rahaxi-OTI POS Middleware

FreeStar Technology announced that its Helsinki-based Rahaxi Processing
Oy. Subsidiary has launched “Rahaxi-OTI” (Open Terminal Interface), an
in-house developed and managed middleware solution for Point Of Sale
equipment vendors. The OTI software will be marketed through channel
partners, such as POS suppliers and retail system integrators. Rahaxi-OTI
uses PKI infrastructure for secure authentication and for the encryption
of messages. FreeStar Technology Corp. is a payment processing company.
Its wholly owned subsidiary Rahaxi Processing Oy., provides a Northern
European BASE24 credit card processing platform and currently processes in
excess of 1 million card payments per month.

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CA Employers Get Payroll Tax Card Option

California employers will now be able to pay payroll tax deposits by credit card. The deposits will be effective on the date of the credit card transaction. OPC announced in September a deal to process electronic employer payroll tax deposits for California. The deal covers unemployment insurance, disability insurance and withholding taxes. OPC has processed a variety of business and individual electronic tax payments in the state since 1999. The California Employment Development Department works with over one million California employers to collect payroll taxes and employment records for more than 17 million California workers. The ED handles about $27 billion in employer tax payments. OPC currently provides electronic payment services for the IRS, 25 states, the District of Columbia and more than 1,800 local government clients nationwide. (CF Library 9/6/05)

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JCB Adds Aroma to its LINDA Card Program

Tokyo-based JCB is expanding its women-oriented credit cards with the special launch of the “JCB LINDA Sweet” card according to today’s issue of CardFlash International. Only 20,000 of the aromatic cards will be issued with applications to be accepted on December 10th. More than 500,000 “JCB LINDA” women-oriented cards have been issued since the card’s launch in 2002. The “LINDA” concept is backed by the LINDA League, an alliance of product and service providers that supports women seeking a more beautiful lifestyle. In addition to the scented “JCB LINDA Sweet Card,” three new card designs will be released next spring. The new designs are being selected by “JCB LINDA” cardholders and others who visit the LINDA web site or call an automated telephone system to vote for their three favorite designs from a field of nine. JCB has 55.14 million cardholders worldwide.

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