New Battery Invented for Smart Payment Cards

Florida-based Solicore has been awarded a patent for the invention of a battery using a polymer matrix electrolyte separator that can withstand the high temperature lamination process used in the manufacture of most credit cards. Solicore develops, manufactures, and markets ultra-thin flexible lithium polymer batteries under its Flexion brand that serve the smart card, RFID and medical device markets.

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Allied Irish Banks Renews TSYS Contract

TSYS has renewed its multi-year relationship with Allied Irish Banks to
provide processing services for its portfolio of consumer, retail and
commercial credit-card accounts. AIB is one of the first clients of TSYS
in Europe to provide processing services for its portfolio of consumer,
retail and commercial credit-card accounts. AIB converted from its
in-house processing system to the industry-leading “TS2” payments engine
in 2001. Allied Irish Banks total assets are 102 billion euros.

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First Data Closes APSS Acquisition

First Data has completed the acquisition of Austrian Payment
Systems Services, a processor of cashless, card-based payment
transactions. APSS provides Austria’s banking industry with debit and
credit card issuing and acquiring processing, as well as card network
operations and terminals and ATM processing. In addition to
processing about 372 million transactions per year, APSS is responsible
for the terminal network of 7,900 ATMs and 79,000 EFT-POS terminals. The acquisition by First Data will enable the company to broaden its service offering and support the growth strategies of Austrian banks expanding across the fast-growing markets of Central and Eastern Europe. The acquisition of APSS also extends First Data’s capabilities and service
offering in the areas of smart card development, ATM management and
debit card processing.

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VISA Championships-Torino Online Game Begins

The national competition has begun for VISA International’s “Visa
Championships-Torino 2006” online game and international competition.
Players from 23 countries compete in three virtual Olympic Winter Sports
to win a trip for two to the “Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games” and a
chance to be crowned global champion. The “Visa Championships-Torino 2006” online game is a first from VISA as part of its Olympic marketing
program. It is a challenging, free international competition in which
players from 23 countries compete in three virtual Olympic Winter Sports
to win a trip to the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games where they will
take part in the global finals of the game.

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Renesas Offers USB Card Reader Platform w/PIN Pad

Tokyo-based Renesas Technology has unveiled a compact-size trusted reader platform for FINREAD card readers. Renesas is the first semiconductor company to pass the “D10” functional tests for the specifications. The new USB-based card reader platform can easily be connected to PCs and provides a highly secure environment for e-Commerce and home-banking applications. The Renesas platform is ideal for add-on electronic cash register readers, PC-connected readers, vending machines, gasoline pumps, medical equipment, access control boxes, and authorization validation devices. Renesas Technology is a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

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FreeStar Partners with ePocket

FreeStar Technology has signed a strategic partnership agreement with
e-Pocket to integrate the ePocket Payment System into FreeStar subsidiary
Rahaxi’s payment processing systems. The ePocket payment system offers
customers the option of transactions using cash by depositing cash or an
amount charged to a credit or debit card in a receiving institution.
For ePocket payments, the merchant will benefit from real-time settlement,
lower transaction fees and guaranteed funds. Under the agreement’s terms,
ePocket will work with existing Rahaxi Processing clients to integrate
ePocket into their existing account management systems. Rahaxi currently
processes in excess of 1 million card payments per month.

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Rentcash Elects New Member to Board

Rentcash has named Edward McClelland as the newest member of the Board
of Directors. McClelland has an extensive background in building and
managing financial services companies. McClelland has previously held
positions as Vice President of CIBC Finance and prior to that as the
President of Transamerica/Borg Warner Group of Companies, Canada,
Australia, and Europe. Rentcash operates The Cash Store, Instaloans
and Insta-rent. The Cash Store and Instaloans act as brokers to facilitate
payday advance services and provide two private label debit cards, the
“Cash Store Cash Card” and “InstaWorld Debit Card,” for those who may not be
able to obtain them from banks. Insta-rent rents brand name furniture,
appliances, electronics and computers, with or without an option to
purchase.

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Keycorp Intros Printer Module for Internet EFTPOS

Sydney-based Keycorp Limited has launched the “K76 Printer Communications Module”, a printer communications module that allows merchants to make secure EFTPOS transactions over the Internet via broadband networks. The “K76” can be combined with the “Keycorp K23 Intelligent PIN Pad” to create a complete stand-alone payment solution that does not require a dial-up EFTPOS connection, eliminating the cost and inconvenience of maintaining a separate EFTPOS dial-up line. The “K76” can connect to the Internet via ADSL, cable or wireless modems. as well as its 10/100 Base-T fast Ethernet interface to connect to the merchant’s local area network.

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Yapi Kredi Bank Orders Lipman Nurit 8210

Yapi Kredi Bank has placed
an initial 35,000 terminal order for Lipman’s new “NURIT 8210” POS terminal. Yapi Kredi worked closely with Lipman throughout the
development process and made substantial contributions to both the final
design and end-user interface of the terminal and was actively involved
in the extensive testing and field trials that have been conducted in
advance of the launch. The “NURIT 8210” simplifies cardholder Personal
Identification Number entry and merchant operation for easy EMV
migration. The NURIT Operating System ensures compatibility with all
existing NURIT terminal applications. The Yapi Kredi order is expected
to be supplied in full during the first quarter of 2006. Lipman’s corporate headquarters and R&D facilities are located in
Israel.

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Eracom Technologies Sold to SafeNet for $25MM

Maryland-based SafeNet has signed a definitive agreement to
acquire all equity interests of Eracom Technologies AG for approximately
$25 million in cash. Eracom is a global provider of cryptographic and
transaction security solutions that protect credit cards, EFT and
ATM transactions for financial institutions, governments and
telecommunications providers. Eracom also markets a PC disk encryption
system. SafeNet provides complete security utilizing its
encryption technologies to protect communications, intellectual property
and digital identities and offers a full spectrum of products including
hardware, software, and chips. ARM, Bank of America, NetGear, the
Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, Adobe, Samsung, Texas
Instruments, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service are among its clients.

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PIN Debit Carries Lower Cost and Lower Fraud

A new research study has concluded that signature debit transactions cost financial institutions twice as much as PIN transactions. Also, average net fraud losses are more than four times greater for signature debit programs than for PIN debit programs. Nevertheless, the First Annapolis Consulting study for First Data suggests that consumers prefer both payment options and that financial institutions should encourage activation and usage of both PIN and signature debit products to help support consumer preferences and maximize revenue. The report indicates that the average cost-per-transaction for signature debit is 22 cents while PIN debit is 11.6 cents. Surveyed financial institutions average 12.8 debit transactions per active card per month, generated from an average of 7.9 signature and 4.9 PIN transactions. According to the study, the average ticket amount for signature debit is $38.34 compared to $40.32 for PIN debit. And depending on the size of the institution, fraud losses range from 2.5 to almost five times higher for signature debit than PIN debit. The “2005 POS Debit Issuer Cost Study” was based on data from 11 financial institutions of various size.

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Three out of Four Worry About Card Fraud

A new poll has found that 73% of Americans worry about the fraudulent use of their credit cards and nearly 40% are at least somewhat willing to pay fees for additional protection. Last year, about 51% were concerned and only 27% of Americans were willing to pay for additional protection. The study by Unisys Corporation says that 64% of consumers prefer biometrics to fight fraud and identity theft, followed by smart cards (36%), tokens (23%), and more passwords (17%). Unisys also found that 50% would consider switching banks for more protection compared to 45% last year. Unisys noted that the U.S. leads the world in ID fraud instances with 17% of consumers citing they have been victims.

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