Q Comm Lands a ME and NH Terminal Order

UT-based Q Comm International has signed a contract with The Big Apple Food Stores to install the “q xpress 200” POS terminal in all 90 Big Apple convenience store and gas stations throughout Maine and New Hampshire. Big Apple Food Stores is owned by C.N. Brown Company headquartered in South Paris, Maine. Big Apple Food Stores are convenience stores with gas stations. Q Comm International is a prepaid transaction processor that electronically distributes prepaid products from service providers to the point of sale. Q Comm offers proprietary prepaid transaction processing platforms, support of various point-of-sale (POS) terminals, product management, merchandising, customer support and engineering.

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Europe’s Self-Service Industry to Grow 35%

Self-checkout and other self-service systems generated almost $128 billion in sales last year, up about 80% over the year before.
According to a recent study by IHL Consulting Group, Europe’s self-service industry is expected to grow by 35% in 2005, and
self-checkout systems are expected to account for a key portion of
that. IHL says one way that European retailers can help ensure the success of their self-checkout systems is by making sure they accept all forms of payment reliably and consistently, including both cash and credit. This trend closely follows the rise of the self-checkout market in the U.S., which began in 2000. According to The Food Marketing Institute, approximately 50% of American supermarket retailers had deployed self-checkout systems by 2004.

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Providian Awards Top Execs $4.9MM in 04 Bonuses

Providian’s recovery has paid off handsomely for its top executives. This week a committee of the Providian Board awarded a 2004 performance bonus of $2.2 million to Joseph Saunders, President and CEO. Other top executive officers received awards ranging from $525,000 to $575,000. Totally, $4.9 million was awarded for 2004. Providian, which nearly collapsed in 2001, posted profits of $419 million last year, more than double its 2003 profit. Saunders was hired as Providian president and CEO in November 2001, succeeding Shailesh Mehta. (CF Library 11/26/01; 1/21/05)

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AirPlus Wins Business Travel Award

AirPlus International beat out Citibank and American Express for the “Best Expense Management Process” award. The award was presented at the annual “Business Travel World 2005 Awards” in London. AirPlus won the award for its ‘commercial and technical solutions’ that allow
companies to book low-cost carriers in the same way that they book
full-service carriers, while enjoying the same superior data quality they receive from full-service carriers.

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White Paper Released to Guide CUs on Card Portfolios

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has produced a 17-page white paper for credit unions to use in evaluating whether or not to sell their credit card portfolios. Titled “Selling or Holding: A Best Practices Approach to Deciding the Future of a Credit Union Credit Card Portfolio,” the guide is available in paper and electronic versions to help credit unions make the important decisions regarding their card programs. TNB Card Services, owned and directed by credit unions since 1976, provides full-service credit and debit card processing, as well as an agent issuing solution for credit unions nationwide.

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BLACK MASTERCARD

Hyundai Card has launched a new super MasterCard that carries an annual fee of more than one million won, or about US$1,000, and offers a credit line of 100 million won per month, or nearly US$100,000. “the Black” card will be limited to 9,999 cardholders with each VIP cardholder being reviewed and approved by top management. Card benefits include free first class seats on Asiana Airlines, if available, and a 25% discount on some five-star hotels. Hyundai Card has targeted the upper middle class of consumers in the country. It offers MasterCard and Diners Club products.

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AmEx to Offer Health Care Benefits via OPEN Cards

UnitedHealthcare and American Express have inked a joint marketing agreement to offer some health care products at discounted prices to AmEx business cardholders. Business cardholders in more than 30 states will also have access to preferred pricing on small group health insurance. Additionally, business cardholders will be able to pay for their health care products using their AmEx cards – the first time employers have been able to use any credit card to pay for UnitedHealthcare products. UnitedHealth Group serves approximately 55 million people in the USA.

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Tipping Point for Paper Checks is Near

A new report suggests that the tipping point for paper checks is fast approaching and that a combination of electronic payment types are poised to replace the check as the primary vehicle for transferring funds between two commercial parties. The new TowerGroup report says that traditional cash management services offered by banks, with the check as the core component, no longer meets the needs of today’s corporate customers. With growing volumes of electronic payments being initiated, TowerGroup believes major corporations can no longer afford to handle non-check payments as exceptions to their internal payments and receipts processes. The report, titled “Checks in Decline: The Tipping Point in Electronic Payments and Its Impact on US Cash Management,” also suggests that industry watchers who debate whether check imaging exchange will supplant with check conversions are missing the point that, over time, fewer corporate checks will be written in the first place.

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MARATHON VISA

The country’s leader in sports affinity credit cards has added a new card in conjunction with the “Mumbai Marathon” to promote physical fitness. Standard Chartered Bank India has launched the “Marathon VISA” which offers a free pair of running shoes to new cardholders and a chance to win a treadmill. The new card offers a free pair of Reebok “3D Runner Shoes” worth Rs2290. Cardholders spending at least Rs900 per month, for eight months on the card, can win a Reebok treadmill worth Rs 245,000. Standard Chartered is also offering an introductory rate of 0.99% per month, for the first six months, on balance transfers. The new card carries a one-time enrollment fee of Rs1599. However, supplementary cards are free for life. The card is available to residents of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin,
Coimbatore, Cuttack, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kolkata,
Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Mysore, New Delhi, Pune, Trivandrum, Vadodara
and Vizag.

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Concur Board Adds a Former AmEx Executive

WA-based Concur Technologies has named Jeff McCabe, a former American Express executive, to its Board of Directors. Jeff McCabe joined the Concur Board of Directors on January 21, 2005. Since March 2004, he has been involved in a wide range of entrepreneurial activities, including strategic consulting for businesses developing new products and services. Concur Technologies, Inc. is the world’s leading provider of business services that automate Corporate Expense Management.

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AmEx GNS Volume Rises 30% in 2004

Card dollar volume on American Express cards outside the U.S. rose nearly 23% in the fourth quarter, compared to a 15% gain for U.S. cards during the same period. The number of non-U.S. cards-in-force at year-end 2004 was 21 million, a 5% gain over the previous year. Card volume outside the U.S. was $32.1 billion for the fourth quarter, and $111.3 billion for the full year. AmEx says Global Network Services volumes rose in excess of 40% in the fourth quarter due to continued strong growth in non-U.S. partner volume and the addition of MBNA-related volumes in the U.S. For the year, GNS volume was up about 30%. During the fourth quarter, AmEx launched its first American Express-branded credit card in China, denominated in both local Chinese currency and U.S. dollars, through its network relationship with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. AmEx also supported the entry of Credomatic into the Mexican marketplace during 4Q/04 with the launch of American Express-branded credit cards in Guadalajara, Mexico, which included a co-branded card with Farmacias Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s largest drug and supermarket retailers. For complete details on American Express fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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DRFS Becomes an ISO/MSP of First PREMIER

Los Angeles-based Direct Response Financial Services has been approved as an ISO/MSP by First PREMIER Bank to issue stored value debit cards through the MasterCard and Maestro network. Concur Technologies, Inc. is the world’s leading provider of business services that automate Corporate Expense Management. First PREMIER Bank, together with its sister organization PREMIER Bankcard, is headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Optimum Pay, Inc. was founded on the principle of offering a simpler, less-expensive alternative to traditional payment process methods such as paper invoices, credit cards, checks and cash.

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