Q Comm International Gets a New CEO

UT-based Q Comm International has hired Michael Keough, formerly with ClearOne Communications, as CEO and President. Previous to joining Q Comm, Mr. Keough served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chief Strategy Officer of ClearOne Communications, a $60M publicly traded company with 265 employees specializing in audio, video, and web- based conferencing products and services. Q Comm International provides proprietary prepaid transaction processing and information management systems that facilitate electronic recharge or distribution of prepaid products from service providers or their distributors to retail points of sale.

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NexTran Group Opens an Atlanta Office

NJ-based NexTran Group has opened a regional office in suburban Atlanta to provide sales and service for the company’s existing ATM and transaction-processing businesses. The NexTran facility will provide sales and service for the company’s existing ATM and transaction-processing businesses, according to Park. The office will provide a beachhead for introducing the company’s iNextNet public Internet service into the metro Atlanta region. The NexTran Group LLC is a diversified portfolio of affiliate companies covering the financial services, security, and Internet market segments.

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Peppercoin Promotes Friedman to President

MA-based Peppercoin has promoted Mark Friedman to president from VP of Sales and Market Development. Prior to joining Peppercoin, Friedman was Vice President of Global Marketing at Lucent’s Software Products Group. In 1996 he joined Kenan Systems, a billing and customer care company that Lucent acquired for $1.5B in 1999. During his six-year tenure at Kenan/Lucent, he helped grow revenues from $25M to $1.1B. Peppercoin enables profitable new business models for low-priced digital content and physical goods.

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Credit Card Mail Dips Below 300MM In Sept

After peaking in June with nearly 375 million new direct mail credit card offers, mail volume has declined each month since, settling at a year-to-date low of 297 million acquisition pieces in September 2004. Overall, credit card response rates remain steady at 0.8% to 1.0% despite the mail volume fluctuations of the past year. According to Mintel’s Comperemedia, 50% of consumers report that they ignore all new credit card mailings. According to Comperemedia, the percentage of offers that promoted interest rates of 8% or higher increased from 58% in July to over 75% in September. The percentage of offers that promoted interest rates of 8% or higher increased from 58% in July to over 75% in September.

2004 MAIL VOLUME
Feb 04: 347 million
Mar 04: 473 million
Apr 04: 325 million
May 04: 354 million
Jun 04: 375 million
Jul 04: 312 million
Aug 04: 302 million
Sep 04: 297 million
Source: Mintel Comperemedia

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Indala Hires & Promotes Sales Staff

San Jose-based Indala has named Paul Kluttz as VP of sales for North America, and Duncan Cooke, previously sales director for MR Access, has been promoted to director of sales for Indala Ltd. Indala Corporation is a leading security technology company that develops and manufactures 125 kHz proximity; 13.56 MHz contactless and contact smart cards; and associated readers for physical and network access-control applications. Indala manufactures the highest quality RFID product lines including FlexPass(R) Series, CX Series CASI(R)-compatible cards, Cotag(R) long range RFID, and MIFARE(R)/DESFire(R) high frequency products.

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JCB Pilots Infrared Payments This Week

JCB is launching a three-month pilot today for its mobile infrared credit payment system using NTT DoCoMo phones at 30 merchant locations near its Tokyo headquarters. The “JCBeam Trial” will involve about 100 participants, primarily employees of JCB, who will download a credit card payment application and their own credit card information to their “MOVA 505i” or “FOMA 900” phones. JCB participated in KDDI’s Kei-Credit trial and in NTT DoCoMo’s “i-mode FeliCa Service” preview, both in 2003, and is currently running a trial of the “QUICPay” contactless payment system using NTT DoCoMo’s mobile wallet service. JCB cards are issued in 18 countries and territories, with 51.6 million cardholders.

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Lasercard Corp Shuffles Top Executives

LaserCard Corporation announced that Richard Haddock will now serve as CEO, Christopher Dyball will assume the newly created position of President and function as COO, and Stephen Price-Francis has been elected as VP of Business Development. Dr. Dyball and Mr. Haddock have served as the company’s Co-CEOs since September, 2003, when Dr. Drexler stepped down as CEO. They will continue working together as they have for more than ten years on the company’s day-to-day operations and will share responsibility for the company’s strategic planning. LaserCard Corporation (www.lasercard.com) manufactures and markets LaserCard(R) optical memory cards, chip-ready Smart/Optical(TM) cards and other advanced-technology secure identification cards.

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Tesco Clubcard Gets New Keyfobs

UK-based Tesco is issuing a pack containing a newly redesigned “Clubcard,” which incorporates a magnetic stripe and barcode, but it will also carry two unique and durable keyfobs. ID Data spent 18 months researching and developing the keyfob to ensure it would be the best product of its kind in the marketplace. Keyfobs are manufactured from the advanced material Teslin and utilize a sub-surface bar code which gives the fob an extended life. In addition ID Data has installed a custom-built, three-way matching system for application which adds security and also maximizes the visual impact of the delivered pack. ID Data, who already supplies Tesco’s “Clubcard,” the leading UK retail loyalty scheme, has won in addition a deal worth approximately GBP1 million a year.

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Hip-e Prepaid VISAs Introduced

TX-based Digital Lifestyles Group has teamed with Ecount to provide prepaid VISA cards via “hip-e” nodes and nodebooks. The “hip-e” card will be embossed with the teen’s name and serve as their personal payment plastic for spending anywhere. The “hip-e” cards will also give teens the independence to interact with the e-commerce components inside of the hip-e hangout interactive desktop. Digital Lifestyles Group designs, manufactures and markets digital lifestyle products, including software, personal computers, accessories and entertainment and communication solutions.

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British Holiday Card Volume to be Up 20%

Britons are expected to spend GBP27 billion on plastic over the holidays this year, with approximately GBP15 billion on debit cards and GBP 12.3 billion on credit cards. Overall spending on plastic cards reached GBP23.8 billion in October, with GBP10.5 billion on credit cards and GBP13.3 billion on debit cards. October’s figures on plastic cards was the second highest figure recorded, after June 2004, and credit card monthly average expenditure topped GBP10 billion for the first time. The December period has historically been an active period as Britons charged GBP18.6 billion in 2001 and GBP5.3 billion in 1993 on both credit and debit cards, according to APACS.

DECEMBER CARD ACTIVITY
(GBP Billions)
Debit Credit
1993: 2.1 3.2
1995: 3.3 4.3
1997: 5.2 5.5
1999: 7.4 7.3
2001: 9.8 8.8
2003: 12.2 10.5
Source: APACS

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Global Links Inks a Major Prepaid MC Deal

NV-based Global Links has received a 100,000 card order from AZ-based Sharing Way for its prepaid MasterCard program. Sharing Way (www.sharingway.com) provides churches and charities a prepaid MasterCard to their members that when used will create contributions to these charities. Global Links Corp. is a diversified company now having operations in Nevada and Arizona, where it holds approximately 1,000 residential lots located in Kingman, Ariz., where it plans to build energy-efficient, affordable senior housing, and is developing affordable housing for the international community.

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HOLIDAY VOLUME

Britons are expected to spend GBP27 billion on plastic over the holidays this year, with approximately GBP15 billion on debit cards and GBP 12.3 billion on credit cards. Overall spending on plastic cards reached GBP23.8 billion in October, with GBP10.5 billion on credit cards and GBP13.3 billion on debit cards. October’s figures on plastic cards
was the second highest figure recorded, after June 2004, and credit card
monthly average expenditure topped GBP10 billion for the first time. The December period has historically been an active period as Britons charged GBP18.6 billion in 2001 and GBP5.3 billion in 1993 on both credit and debit cards, according to APACS.

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