NYCE Cross-Border Debit Tops $57 Million

Metavante’s NYCE reports that cross-border debit with Canada has topped one million transactions since its inception more than one-year ago, totaling $57.6 million. With NYCE Cross-Border Debit, consumers are able to use debit cards issued by Canadian financial institutions at NYCE retailers in the U.S. Supermarkets accounted for nearly half of Cross-Border Debit transactions. Nearly 14.5 million debit cards issued by Canadian financial institutions can be used at the more than one million U.S. retailer locations that accept NYCE. While NYCE Network transactions initiated by U.S. cardholders averaged about $46 USD during the first 12 months of the service, Canadian cardholders topped the U.S. figure every month, posting a per-transaction average of $62 USD. Florida proved the favorite destination for Canadian shoppers using Cross-Border Debit, with New York, Washington, California and Michigan rounding out the top five. The NYCE Network provides 2,200 financial institutions, retailers and independent ATM deployers with shared network services for ATMs, POS, A2A transfers and direct bill payment.

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Diners Club Launches Tailored Travel

Citigroup’s Diners Club is now enabling cardholders to book free travel through any online travel service, any travel agent or even directly with the travel provider under the “Tailored Travel” program which values “Club Rewards” points at 1.25 cents per mile. Once Cardmembers have made their travel arrangements and charges are posted to their personal Diners Club account, Diners Club will issue a credit upon the Cardmember’s request for the number of points needed or available for redemption. To calculate the number of points needed for Tailored Travel, Diners Club values 100 Club Rewards points at $1.25, which means that a $250 airline ticket requires 20,000 points. The Diners Club Card is currently issued in more than 65 local currencies around the world.

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ADS Lands Spiegel and Newport News Cobrands

Alliance Data Systems Corporation has signed long-term agreements with Spiegel Catalog and Newport News for a co-branded credit card program. The deal, which runs through 2013, adds a co-branded credit card to the existing private label credit card programs that ADS is providing for each brand’s catalog and online channels. ADS will provide account acquisition and activation, receivables funding, credit authorization, card issuance, statement generation, loyalty marketing services, remittance processing, and customer service functions. The new co-brand credit card programs will offer a points-based rewards program where account holders earn points for every dollar spent when shopping through Spiegel and Newport News, as well as for purchases made outside the brands. Those points can be redeemed for merchandise.

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GEMALTO

The boards of smart card specialists Axalto and Gemplus have unanimously approved a merger of equals to create Gemalto. The $1.1 billion transaction will create a company with annual revenues of $2.1 billion and 11,000 employees. Management of the companies expect to realize joint annualized net operational synergies of approximately $100 million by the third year after closing on a fully phased basis. Alex Mandl, the President & CEO of Gemplus, will assume the position of Executive Chairman and Olivier Piou, CEO of Axalto, will be the CEO of Gemalto. Mr. Mandl and Mr. Piou will jointly constitute the Office of Chairman. Frans Spaargaren will assume the position of Chief Administrative Officer with responsibility for integration, procurement, supply chain and IT and Charles Desmartis will be the CFO of Gemalto. The Board of Directors of the combined entity will be comprised of 11 members, 5 proposed from the current Axalto Board, 5 proposed from the current Board of Gemplus and 1 other independent member will be jointly nominated. Deutsche Bank acted as financial advisor to Axalto and Morgan Stanley as financial advisor to Gemplus.

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Small Ticket Transactions Rise 29% Since 04

Nearly 20 million Americans have purchased something online for less than $2 in the past year, up nearly 29% from 2004 and 350% since 2003. Also, an estimated 45 million Americans are willing to use credit or debit cards for purchases of $5 or less, up 23% from September 2004. The findings from Peppercoin and Ipsos Insight found that only seven percent of respondents who would not use credit or debit cards for small payments indicated they find it easier or prefer to use cash rather than a credit card. When asked about purchases for which they would be willing to use their cards, more than half of the respondents indicated they would use credit and debit cards at convenience stores if they could. The other top markets included fast-food (or quick-serve) restaurants/corporate cafeterias (47%), transportation (38%), coffee/beverages (35%) and parking (32%).

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Checkgateway Expands ACH and Card Processing

Phoenix-based Checkgateway’s ACH and credit card processing is now available to businesses and retailers at physical locations. Merchants that sign up for ACH and credit card processing will also be able to take advantage of FraudChek and new ChekNow, which allows merchants to easily and instantaneously convert a paper check to an e-check at the point of sale. Checkgatewayis a provider of Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment processing and uses Experian’s eSeries Authentication Solution to verify the identity of electronic check holders and StarChek, a network of First Data Corp, that enables both physical and virtual retailers to route check verifications.

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NAB Inks a Three-Year Deal with Edentify

North American Bancard has signed a three-year deal to incorporate Edentify’s complete suite of identity management solutions into its full complement of merchant services offerings. North American Bancard is combating this trend by integrating Edentify’s suite of identity management solutions into its merchant payment processing services: Edentify’s IDBenchmark proprietary technology organizes, analyzes, and finds inconsistencies in customer databases that indicate fraud, and then flags identities that are at-risk, creating the Identity Quotient Index, a score that reports the degree of risk faced by a financial institution. Monetary losses associated with credit card theft reached $788 million in the U.S. in 2004 and identity theft and fraud plagues some 10 million Americans annually. Edentify provides technology solutions utilized in preventing identity theft and fraud. North American Bancard processes well over 2 billion dollars in transactions annually.

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ECHO Revenues Climb 22% in the Third Quarter

Electronic Clearing House reported that third calendar quarter revenue grew 21.5% to $15.2 million. Revenue from bankcard processing and transactions grew 23.3% to $11.5 million in the quarter, as the result of growth within the Company’s current customer base as well as from new merchants acquired through enhanced marketing programs. Bankcard processing and transaction revenues accounted for 75.5% of total Company revenues in the quarter. Check-related revenues increased 16.3% to $3.7 million, as the result of an increase in ACH processing during the quarter. ACH processing grew 12.3% to 7.8 million transactions in the quarter. Check-related revenues accounted for 24.5% of the total revenues. For complete details on ECHO’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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51% of Consumers Prefer Cards for Xmas Buying

A new survey shows that consumers will spend an average of $655 on holiday gifts and an additional $316 for parties, decorations and other seasonal purchases — an increase of 6.3% from 2004. The latest Macerich “Shopping in America Holiday” report also shows cash or check is the preferred payment method for many shoppers (43.4%), followed by debit cards (26.1%) and credit cards (25.3%). About 5% of consumers were unsure of their primary payment method. Ranking as the top last-minute gift in the survey, consumers plan to purchase an average 2.8 gift cards for the holiday season. Gift cards are most popular with shoppers in $75,000+ household income level, who will purchase an average of 3.7 cards.

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FirstMerit Launches a VISA Gift Card

Ohio-based FirstMerit has launched a VISA gift card and is waiving the purchase fee through the end of this year for up to 25 cards. The FirstMerit Gift Card is available in denominations ranging from $25 to $500. This marks FirstMerit’s entry into the fast growing prepaid card product line. In the past year, Visa estimates the market has experienced triple-digit growth in prepaid cards purchased. FirstMerit Corporation is a diversified financial services company with assets of $10.3 billion as of September 30, 2005.

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