Bankrate Acquires FastFind & Interest.com

Florida-based Bankrate has completed the acquisition of FastFind for $10 million in cash and MMIS/Interest.com for $30 million in cash. MMIS/Interest.com publishes mortgage guides in over 300 newspapers and operates Interest.com, a Web site which publishes financial rates and information connecting consumers with lenders. FastFind is a fast, free and easy online service that matches consumers looking for a financial or education product with businesses that want to sell their goods or services. Bankrate owns and operates Bankrate.com, a leading Internet consumer banking marketplace. Bankrate.com reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states and 2004 had over 38 million unique visitors.

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Heaviest Online Buyers Produce 50% of Sales

A new study has found that the heaviest online buyers represent 18% of buyers but drive 46% of online spending. The Nielsen/NetRatings research also found that those spending the fewest dollars online and making the fewest purchases made up the majority, or 55% of online buyers, accounted for 21% of online purchases. Nielsen/NetRatings also noted that the “Most Valuable Purchasers” are also inordinately loyal to the retailers that they purchase from.

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AmEx Launches a Nectar Holiday Promotion

American Express and Nectar have teamed up for a holiday promotion.
One lucky winner will win GBP 10,000 with the “Nectar Credit Card from
American Express.” Members can collect points shopping with 16
retailers and service companies in the Nectar program. After the New
Year, the points can be redeemed for rewards that include films,
flights and cash. A first purchase on the “Nectar Credit Card” earns
1,000 bonus “Nectar” points.

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Points of Payment Access Up 11%

The number of ATM terminals in the country has grown 82% over the past
five years to more than 24,000. During the same period, the number of
EFT/POS terminals in Australia has grown 38%, from 375,883 in 2001 to
518,532 at mid-year 2005. The latest figures from the Reserve Bank of
Australia also shows that the number of “giroPost” terminals has
remained steady, growing from 2,821 in 2001 to 3,078 as of June 30,
2005. During September, Australians used debit cards for A$5.7 billion
in purchases with 88.4 million transactions. Total EFT/POS transactions
were 103.1 million for September according to the RBA. There were 25.3
million debit card accounts in the country at the end of September,
compared to 25.0 million one-year ago.

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AmEx Business Travel Signs TRX for 5 Years

Atlanta-based TRX, an independent provider of transaction processing and data integration solutions to the global travel industry, has signed a five-year global services agreement with American Express Business Travel. The contract represents a renewal of the CORREX and RESX technologies in use at American Express Business Travel as well as the addition of two new TRX technologies, TRANXACT and SELEX Workflow Manager. TRX is a provider of transaction processing and data integration services to the global travel industry.

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GECF Signs Virginia for MC Cards & vPayment

The State of Virginia has signed a deal to issue MasterCard purchasing and travel cards to employees, agencies and other participants, and to use “vPayment” via GE Consumer Finance . COV will also be implementing vPayment, the CPS electronic settlement tool that provides additional controls and data capture compared to traditional purchasing cards. Corporate Payment Services, the commercial card unit of GE Consumer Finance, develops and markets corporate bank cards and e-settlement tools designed for small-, medium-, and large-sized companies and organizations.

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Pay By Touch Acquires Capture Resource

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has acquired Capture Resource, a supplier of integrated reward programs and business process outsourcing solutions Under the terms of the deal, Pay By Touch will assume responsibility for all of Capture Resource, Inc. assets and will manage the company’s 120 million-plus consumer loyalty enrollment profiles, including more than 12,000 supermarkets and retail institutions. The acquisition brings integrated rewards solutions and business processing solutions to Pay By Touch customers, especially in its core growth areas: grocery store chains, credit card issuers, healthcare providers, and financial transaction processing companies. Pay By Touch’s loyalty offerings are intended to help retail companies maximize customer lifetime value by elevating shopping frequency, increase amount of sale and improving customer retention.

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Circuit City Survey – 80%+ Want Gift Cards

A recent survey by Circuit City has found that 82% of consumers would like to receive gift cards. More than 4,200 men and women responded to the survey. Women like to receive gift cards even more than men; 87 percent of women versus 76 percent of men. Twenty-six percent said they complete their holiday shopping a month or more in advance. Forty-four percent acknowledged they are still shopping within one week of the holiday. Circuit City is a leading specialty retailer of consumer electronics.

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AmEx Launches its First Russian Credit Cards

American Express and Russian Standard Bank have launched the first AmEx cards issued in Russia. RSB has issued more than 2.4 million credit cards and has a presence in more than 2000 cities in Russia. The “American Express Green,” “Gold,” “Platinum” and “Centurion” Cards are ruble and dollar denominated. RSB is responsible for issuing the cards, extending credit, managing accounts, marketing and customer service support. AmEx will provide its technical, operational and marketing experience in managing a global card business and access to its global network of millions of merchants. AmEx will also continue to manage relationships with merchants in Russia, including signing new merchants to accept the card. American Express currently has more than 90-partnerships in more than 100 countries around the world.

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