Retriever to Promote All VeriFone Products

Houston-based ISO Retriever Payment Systems has selected VeriFone as the preferred provider of payment solutions for its nearly 100,000 merchant sites. Retriever will offer its customers the full line of VeriFone payment solutions, including countertop, wireless and stand-alone solutions that support a variety of payment options and value-added applications for merchant environments. Retriever processes transactions for nearly 100,000 merchant sites serviced by over 600 affiliated sales groups and 400 agent banks. VeriFone Holdings, Inc. provides secure electronic payment technologies, provides expertise, solutions and services.

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Abruzzio Heads to GPN from VeriFone

Tony Abruzzio, former SVP and GM for VeriFone, has been hired by Atlanta-based Global Payments as VP/U.S. Merchant Product Solutions. Abruzzio will be responsible for the oversight and direction of Global Payments’ terminal-based, Certified Application Provider and related merchant product initiatives. While at VeriFone, Abruzzio was credited with the integration of GO Software into their product line. Abruzzio holds an MBA from Auburn University. Global Payments Inc. is a high volume payment processor of electronic transactions.

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RBS Lynk Targets Small Banks for Gift Cards

RBS Lynk is targeting community financial institutions and credit unions for its turn-key, instant-issue, signature-based VISA prepaid card solution. The “GiftVantage VISA Gift Card” is issued by SD-based BankFirst. It can be loaded for up to $500 and offers six card designs. RBS Lynk has signed several community banks including the WI-based Banker’s Bank and TX-based FirstBank Southwest. Atlanta-based Citizens Trust Bank, with $340 million in assets, has recently launched a suite of “GiftVantage” VISA gift cards. (CF Library 8/19/05).

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CardWeb Passes its 10th Online Anniversary

CardWeb.com, Inc. celebrated its tenth year online this past weekend. The firm began tracking the payment card industry on a daily basis in 1986. In September 1995, CardWeb.com was launched in conjunction with the American Bankers Association’s “Bank Card Conference” at the New York City Hilton. When launched, CardWeb.com introduced the first daily news service for the payment card industry, namely, “CardFlash.” Today, “CardFlash” serves more than 35,000 executives in more than 40 countries. The “CardFlash” archives currently contain more than 28,000 news items. Shortly after the launch of “CardFlash” in 1995, CardWeb.com introduced “CardData” and “CardWatch.” “CardData” is a financial surveillance service, and “CardWatch” is a marketing intelligence service. Last year, CardWeb.com launched “CardExecs” and “CardPixes.” “CardExecs” tracks the movers and shakers of the payment industry while “CardPixes” captures the form and function of payment cards worldwide. This year, the Company launched a “Platinum” all inclusive service for larger companies. Besides the fee-based services for executives, CardWeb.com offers an array of free consumer channels, mostly notably, CardTrak.

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MoneyGram Cuts Fees; Intros an Economy Service

As competition continues to ramp up in the money transfer business, Minneapolis-based MoneyGram Payment Systems has cut fees for its standard same-day “eMoney Transfer” service. The payment services firm has also introduced a new online economy service. MoneyGram reduced fees by as much as $10 on its same-day online service. The new economy service generally takes up to three business days for the money to be available for the receiver, but fees run as low as $10 to $25. For this economy option, customers must send the money from their bank accounts; credit cards are not accepted for this service. MoneyGram has 81,000 agent locations around the world.

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COBRANDED CHAMPIONS

Fifteen European cobranded credit card programs have been nominated for
the second “MasterCard Europe CoBrand Champion of the Year Awards.” The
winners, to be announced this week, have been chosen for their
demonstration of excellence and innovation in cobranding with an
emphasis on criteria such as program attributes, innovative marketing
strategies and overall card program results. “Best Program Launch,”
“Best Usage/Expansion,” and “Long-term Achievement” are the three
winning categories. The nominees are the “AKBank – Axess MasterCard”;
“AKBank – Platinum MasterCard”; “Allied Irish Bank – Brown Thomas
MasterCard”; “Barclaycard – SkyCard”; “Citibank – Eurotel MasterCard”;
“Citibank – Megafon MasterCard”; “Garanti Bank – &Club MasterCard”; “JSC
Latvia Savings Bank – Latvian Youth Song and Dance Festival Maestro”;
“Kazkommerts Bank – Go!Card”; “Marks and Spencer – M&S Money”; “MBNA –
Virgin Money”; “OP-Kotipankki – Bilia Oy MasterCard”; “Piraeus bank –
Champions MasterCard”; “SPRON – EKort MasterCard”; and “Statoil –
MasterCard.” The winners will be announced at the “6th MasterCard Europe
Affinity and CoBranding Conference,” September 15 and 16 in Budapest,
Hungary.

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RBC CASH Index Goes Negative in September

The September “RBC CASH Index” (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) fell from 32.2 in August to -13.5 in September due to rising gas prices and Katrina’s aftermath. The RBC CASH Index of 61.5 for September continued a year-long slide from a high of 104.8 in August of 2004. The CASH 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. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is Canada’s largest bank as measured by assets, and is one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies.

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Providian/WAMU Merger Set for October 1st

Providian’s Board has determined October 1st as the effective date of its merger with Washington Mutual. Holders of the Company’s common stock immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will receive for each share of the Company’s common stock, 0.4005 shares of Washington Mutual’s common stock and cash equal to the value of 0.0495 shares of Washington Mutual’s common stock. San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation is a provider of credit cards to mainstream American consumers throughout the United States.

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Houston Astrodome Gets Cardtronics ATMs

Houston-based Cardtronics along with Ventus Networks have installed ATMs on the Houston Astrodome campus to provide surcharge-free access to cash for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Ventus Networks, a full service-global telecommunications company, will provide the wireless communications and equipment for the ATMs free of charge. Cardtronics is the owner/operator of ATMs with a nationwide U.S. network of more than 25,000 locations. Ventus Networks is a full-service end-to-end global communications provider that specializes in designing, implementing and managing private networks.

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FEMA/Chase Debit Card Payout Tops $17MM

FEMA this weekend reported that $17,532,000 was distributed via its debit card pilot program in large shelters in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. The Chase-issued card was developed for FEMA in less than a week. FEMA expects to wrap up the debit card pilot today. More than $350 million was distributed through electronic funds transfer and more than $315 million was distributed through Treasury checks. These $2,000 expedited payments are just an initial emergency payment drawn down by those eligible for FEMA assistance. The maximum assistance per household through FEMA is $26,200. The Red Cross is also distributing between $850 and $1,600 via its card program to hurricane victims, depending on family size.

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VT Congressman Takes on Card Issuers

Vermont’s only congressional representative last week introduced legislation requiring credit card companies to provide notice to consumers before raising interest rates or charging fees. The bill would also prohibit credit card issuers from raising interest rates on pre-existing balances for fixed rate cards. The “Consumer Credit Card Protection Act of 2005” was unveiled by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders said his bill would clean up some of the most egregious anti-consumer practices by credit card issuers and prohibit “bait and switch” scams used by some banks.

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Aliant Financial Chooses Morgan Beaumont

Sarasota, Florida-based Aliant Financial Services, an ISO of Chase, has named Morgan Beaumont as its exclusive provider of stored value/debit card retail merchant prospects. This partnership represents a component in Morgan Beaumont’s nationwide SIRE Network deployment strategy, to build out a standardized, national platform of cash loading locations for the stored value card industry. Morgan Beaumont, Inc. is a technology solutions company located providers of stored value and debit card solutions in the US.

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