Egg France Continues to Break Up

UK-based Egg has received an offer for its savings and online brokerage business, which includes approximately 45,000 savings and investment accounts, from ING Direct France. If the deal goes through, up to 40 of Egg France’s 450 workforce would be re-deployed, according to CardFlash International. Last week, Egg received an offer for the consumer credit part of the French business from Banque Accord. In July, Prudential, majority owner of Egg, announced it was exiting the credit card business in France after racking up nearly GBP100 million on losses for its “la Carte Egg VISA” in the last five quarters. The partial disposal with Banque Accord will result in the re-deployment of approximately 100 of Egg France’s 450 workforce.

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VISA Desjardins Ignites a Canadian Rate War

Montreal-based VISA Desjardins declared war on rates after rolling-out a new credit card with the lowest go-to interest rate in Canada. The new “Desjardins VISA GOLD Modulo” offers a four-month 0% interest rate on all purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers, followed by an 8.4% on-going APR on unpaid balances. The card, which carries an annual fee of $50, also offers access to the Desjardins “BONUSDOLLARS” rewards program. The 8.4% rate is also being offered to holders of the new “VISA Desjardins Platinum” card, which also offers the Desjardins “BONUSDOLLAR” rewards program along with an annual cash-back program. The “Platinum” card carries an annual fee of $130, according to CardFlash International. VISA Desjardins has 2.6 million cardholders.

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TransOne’s Instant-Issue Prepaid VISA Takes Off

Las Vegas-based TransOne says it has shipped 100,000 instant-issue, prepaid VISA debit cards and expects to ship three million over the next three years. TransOne uses an electronic instant issue Visa ® debit card, a state-of –the art processing platform, and a web-based funds transfer system. Pre-paid stored value cards can be purchased, activated, loaded, and used over merchant POS terminal networks as well as ATM’s and the Internet worldwide. TransOne offers pre-paid payment solutions using a global pre-paid transaction management platform. This includes pre-paid phone, Internet, gas, music, games, and web subscriptions for non-credit market segments. TransOne customers are major players in the fast food, travel, software, and computer manufacturing industries. TransOne is affiliated with 21st Century Technologies, Inc. whose investments in TransOne hit $29,000,000 in June, 2004.

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AmEx Expands Private Jet Incentives & Options

To bolster its perks for the super affluent, American Express has added new discounts and options for the private jet set. “Platinum” and “Centurion” cardholders now can book private jet services via their cards plus receive service credits toward limousine and catering services, extra flight time, or frequent flyer bonus miles or points. AmEx has teamed with six new partners to expand its “Private Jet Services Program” including Bombardier Skyjet, CitationShares, Delta AirElite Business Jets, Le Bas International, Sentient Jet, and TAG Aviation. Bombardier Skyjet is offering “Platinum” cardholders a service credit ranging from $100-$400, and “Centurion” cardholders receive a service credit ranging from $150-$600. Le Bas International is offering double “Membership Rewards” points up to 20,000 points, and service credits ranging from $50 to $200. TAG Aviation is offering “Platinum” cardholders a service credit ranging from $50-$400, and “Centurion” cardholders receive a service credit ranging from $100-$500. CitationShares is offering “Platinum” cardholders one complimentary additional hour of occupied flight time for each 25 hour “Vector JetCard” purchased, and “Centurion” cardholders receive two complimentary additional hours. Delta AirElite Business Jets is offering “Platinum” cardholders 90,000 “Delta SkyMiles” for each “Fleet Membership” purchased, and “Centurion” cardholders receive 180,000 “SkyMiles.” Sentient Jet is offering a service credit for each “Sentient GiftCard” purchased, plus “Platinum” cardholders receive an additional 2.5% of the value of each “GiftCard” purchased and “Centurion” members receive a service credit of 5%. AmEx also announced that it is now offering its “Automatic Bill Payment Platform” to private jet users.

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Hypercom Q3 Revenue Under Forecasts; Q4 Strong

This week, Hypercom announced that third quarter revenues would approximate $63 million, falling short of both its internal forecast and the consensus street estimate of $69.5 million. However, the company reaffirmed its full year revenue guidance of $254 – $260 million. Chris Alexander, chairman and CEO of Hypercom, says that the results of the third quarter revenues are due to rescheduled orders and deferred shipments. An agreement with a financial processor customer that took place in the third quarter also adversely effected the company, due to the shift in product mix and lower unit pricing. Benefits of higher unit volumes should be witnessed in the fourth quarter. Hypercom reaffirmed their earnings guidance and narrowed the range for full year income from continuing operations. The company adjusted EBITA to $8.1-$9.5 million and $16.6-$18.0 million, respectively. Hypercom is a chief provider of electronic payment solutions.

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United Bank Card Relocates its NJ Headquarters

NJ-based United Bank Card has relocated its headquarters to Hampton, with a new facility three times as large. United Bank Card (UBC) has enjoyed an unprecedented period of growth and needed more workspace. The new headquarters measures 17,000 square feet, enabling up to 75 more jobs to be added to help expand customer service and technical support coverage. United Bank Card, Inc. is a payment and transaction processor serving businesses across the nation.

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The British are Easy Play for Phishers

A new survey by London-based APACS has found that nearly half a million Brits indicated they would automatically respond to an e-mail, supposedly from their bank, asking them to click on a link and re-enter their security details. The likely 4% response rate to a phishing and Trojan attack is about twice the rate of the USA. APACS also found that only 28% would check the veracity of such an e-mail with their bank first, while 65% would just ignore it. To educate consumers, APACS launched a one-stop consumer and SME advice site, www.banksafeonline.org.uk, to help Internet users protect themselves from online scams and threats. There are 14 million people banking online in the UK today, according to CardFlash International.

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GPN Rolls-Out VIP LightSpeed for Gaming

Global Payments has introduced its advanced software platform, “VIP LightSpeed,” for the gaming industry which includes: “Global’s VIP Preferred @dvantage,” “PlayerCash @dvantage,” “PlayerNet @dvantage,” and “ATM Cash @dvantage.” Global Payments’ gaming network has over 150 casino participants. VIP LightSpeed provides services for traditional and electronic check cashing, credit and debit card cash advances, player history and credit reports, and ATM cash availability. Edward J. Myers, president of Global Payments’ Gaming Services, says that with VIP LightSpeed, gaming operators will improve cash access processes, increase operating efficiencies, and build customer loyalty. Global Payments Inc. is a leading electronic transaction processing company that offers cash access gaming products and services.

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Australian Cardholders Hit the Brakes in July

Consumer purchase volume on credit cards tapered off during July in Australia to an annual growth rate of 7%, compared to a 16% year-on-year spurt in June. Balances also slowed to a 12% annual growth rate during July, compared to 14% in the previous month, according to CardFlash International. During July, Australians charged A$12.2 billion in purchases on credit cards compared to A$11.4 billion one-year ago. At the end of July, consumers owed A$27.7 billion on credit cards versus A$24.6 billion for July 2003. The ratio of credit card balances to card credit limits was flat compared to one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. One-year ago, consumers had total credit lines of A$65.7 billion. Card credit limits reached A$74.2 billion at the end of July.

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Tidel Produces its First Through-the-Wall ATM

MS-based Tidel Technologies has begun production on its new model “3700” through-the-wall ATM featuring a Dash ATM enclosure. Designed for financial institutions and retailers, the new model is able to provide customers with 24 hour access to ATM banking and can be placed in walk-up or drive-up locations. The model 3700 is weather- proof and comes with a variety of standard features including a high capacity rear load dispenser and metal keypad. The model runs on the Microsoft® Windows CE operating system using an Intel Xscale 32 bit processor. To provide the model 3700 with enclosures, Tidel recently formed an alliance with Dash ATM, a company manufacturer of ATM enclosures. Tidel Technologies, Inc. manufactures ATM and cash security equipment intended for retail marketers.

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Prepaid Card Kiosk to be Unveiled Next Week

St. Clair Interactive and Kiosk Information Systems have teamed up to produce a new self service gift card solution for retail kiosks that enables shoppers to purchase gift cards and check values of existing cards that have xml capability. Shoppers no longer have to wait in line when purchasing and checking values of existing cards. Kiosk’s dispenses and updates values on cards and databases. Kiosk Information Systems designs and manufactures touch screen, self-serve kiosk solutions for self-service applications. With over 28 kiosk models, KIS has the largest self-services product and services line to choose from. St. Clair Interactive Communications is a pioneer in designing, developing, and producing interactive touch screen self-service transaction applications.

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