Iraq’s Central Bank Approves Basra Card Deal

Iraq’s Central Bank has announced the founding of the National Company for Limited Financial Services. The new privately-owned company will operate from Basra. The firm will specialize in issuing the “Al-Fayhaa” credit card. The company has partnered with Middle East Bank to issue credit cards. The cards will first be used in Basra and then expand to other Iraqi cities.

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TSYS Completes its Vital Transaction

TSYS has completed its acquisition of Vital Processing Services, LLC, by purchasing the 50-percent equity stake that Visa U.S.A. formerly held. The transaction closed on March 1, and Vital Processing Services now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS. Vital Processing Services is the second-largest processor of merchant accounts in the United States, serving more than 1 million merchant locations. TSYS began in 1959 as a small division of Columbus Bank and Trust Company (CB&T), a bank owned by Synovus, which was one of the first institutions in the United States that offered its customers a revolving credit card. In 1974, CB&T started moving electronic transactions for other banks that issued credit cards – across states and continents, first by telephone, then by satellite and now by fiber optic cables.

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TUI Northern Europe Selects Trintech’s ReconNET

TUI Northern Europe has selected Trintech’s “ReconNET” to
automate the verification and reconciliation of cash banking and credit
card transactions, including foreign currency deposits from Forex
Bureaus distributed throughout its 1,100 agencies. Additionally, the
solution automates the verification and reconciliation of the company’s
principal disbursement account. The “ReconNET” solution replaces a heavily-customized third-party system that required time-consuming and labor-intensive reconciliation and research processes. “ReconNET” streamlines cash management processes, increases internal controls, and provides effective risk management and reporting across the company’s UK, Ireland, and Nordic agencies.

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Futurex Excrypt Certified by Mosaic Software

Futurex, a leading provider of data security solutions for financial, banking and retail industries, announced the certification of compatibility of its Excrypt product line with Mosaic Software’s Postilion payments and transaction authorization software. Mosaic Software, an S1 Company, is a global EFT software company. Their flagship Postilion software supports the Excrypt family of Host Security Modules (HSMs), including the RMC9000 (Rack Mounted Chassis) and KMS7000 (Key Management System). Postilion drives payments and other financial transactions through ATMs, POS terminals, phones and the Internet.

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LASA and ITAU Form a New Company

Sao Paulo-based Lojas Americanas and Banco ITAU Holding Financiera announced the creation of a new financial institution which will broaden and improve the range of financial products and services currently available to customers of LASA such as private label cards, co-branded credit cards, consumer credit, personal loans, insurance, extended product warranties for customers of Lojas Americanas, Americanas Express and Americanas.com. The equity of the new company will be R$80 million, owned 50% by ITAU and 50% by LASA.

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New Banking Code Requires Summary Box

The revised “Banking Code” went into force this week. Changes to the “Code” include making basic bank accounts more readily available to
people who want one, and the inclusion of a summary box on credit card
agreements. The changes to the “Banking Code” stem from recommendations made by professor Kempson following her widespread consultation with regulators, consumer groups and the industry to encapsulate their views. The “Business Banking Code” has also been updated as part of this review process.

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TSB Reviews Co-Branding Programs

Lloyds TSB has notified its credit card partners that it is making a review of all co-brand programs. TSB also says it will suspend spending on marketing for co-branded credit cards. The issuer expects to complete the review by the end of March. TSB says it is prepared to pay penalties if it terminates some or all of its partner programs. Lloyd’s has 200,000 co-branded credit cards-in-force out of a total card base of seven million.

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MasterCard Activates the MATCH Fraud Database

MasterCard Europe is activating its “MATCH” global database to monitor merchants that have been involved in irregular business practices. “MATCH” (“Member Alert To Control High Risk”) operates as a global system holding the details of any merchant that has been involved in irregular practices for a maximum period of five years, after which they are automatically removed. This information will assist banks in making informed decisions when entering into contracts with new merchants. The new database is expected to save banks 200 million euros a year.

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ZiLOG & USTT Launch the eZ-APN Module

California-based ZiLOG and Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies have launched the “eZ-Authorization, Payment and Networking Module” for non-PC embedded, everyday devices. The eZ-APN module can be attached to any non-PC embedded device, which allows the device to be wirelessly network enabled with the capability to authorize use or access and process cashless payments via debit, credit or any other designated payment card. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries. USAT is an IBM Business Partner and has marketing agreements with AT&T, Honeywell and MEI. ZiLOG, Inc. is a leading global supplier of 8-bit micro-logic devices and designs, manufactures and markets a broad portfolio of devices for embedded control and communication applications used in consumer electronics, home appliances, security systems, point of sales terminals, personal computer peripherals, as well as industrial and automotive applications.

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Barclaycard and BSkyB to Launch SkyCard

Barclaycard has teamed with the British Sky Broadcasting Group to launch a general purpose credit card that will be fully integrated with interactive television. The new “SkyCard” will enable subscribers to earn “SkyPoints” for their purchases and make purchases through the television using a remote control. The card is inserted into a new interactive card slot provided on the “SkyBox.”SkyCard” is expected to roll-out in April. BSkyB has more than seven million direct-to-home customers across the UK. Barclaycard has 11.2 million U.K. cardholders, 2.9 million international cardholders, 550,000 corporate cardholders and 90,000 retailer/merchant relationships.

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Chamber of Commerce Endorses Citi’s Biz Cards

CitiBusiness credit cards have received the exclusive endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Specifically, the COC endorses the “CitiBusiness Card” and the “CitiBusiness Card with the ThankYou Network.” This is the first time the COC has endorsed a credit card. Members of the Chamber receive special incentives including a reduced purchase annual percentage rate and an introductory rate on balance transfers.

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VISA Adds Return Protection to its Arsenal

VISA USA has taken purchase protection coverage to a new level with the introduction of “Return Protection.” The new optional enhancement for issuers will reimburse cardholders who are dissatisfied with items paid for with their VISA card within 90 days of purchase and the retailer will not accept the return. This benefit is applicable except when a retailer clearly states “No returns” or “As is.” Coverage is limited to $250 per eligible item and $1,000 per year per account. Under the “Return Protection” program cardholders file their own claims.

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