The Hartford Offers FSA Card Access

The Hartford Financial Services Group and Medical Group Insurance Services have teamed up to offer debit card access to the “Flex Convenience” flexible spending account. This service features debit card technology that helps employees manage the high costs of medical and dependent day care. Funds deposited into a flexible spending account can be used to pay for qualified medical and dependent care expenses and are not subject to federal income tax. Qualified expenses include co-payments, orthodontia, eyeglasses, and over-the-counter medicines. The percentage of employers offering FSA’s is predicted to increase 37% by 2010. With 2003 revenues of $18.7 billion, The Hartford is one of the nation’s largest financial services and insurance companies.

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MSC Wins the AIR and SEA Card Contract

The U.S. Defense Energy Support Center has awarded Multi Service Corp the “Aviation Into-Plane Reimbursement” and “Ships’ bunkers’ Easy Acquisition Card” programs contract. The AIR and SEA Card Programs provide Department of Defense and federal civilian agencies with a way to obtain fuel and similar services at commercial airports and seaports worldwide. Multi Service Corp will partner with BP Group to fulfill its contract. It will be responsible for developing software, implementing a transaction authorization and settlement system, and reporting specialized data. Mulit Service is now managing two proprietary card programs along with more than a dozen bankcard processing and private label charge card programs.

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NBS Acquires a French Smart Card Firm

Toronto-based NBS Technologies has agreed to purchase the assets and assume certain liabilities of Cybernetix Microelectronique for $9.4 million in cash, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. Marseille, France-based Microelectronique, a subsidiary of Cybernetix, designs and manufactures automated equipment systems for the production, testing, and personalization of, smart cards (contact, contactless and dual interface), smart objects, electronic labels and micromodules, as well as RFID products for applications in telecommunications, ID, security, banking, and transportation. In addition, Microelectronique designs and manufacturers equipment for handling, sorting, packing, unpacking, inspection, wet processing, personalization, and testing of semiconductor wafers.

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preCharge Launches an ID Protection Package

NY-based preCharge Risk Management Solutions has introduced an identity protection program offering up to $2,500 in coverage and protecting up to 10 debit or credit cards for $4.95 per month. The preCharge solution offers an early warning system to consumers if their credit or debit card number, name, or other personal information is used with the preCharge network of merchants. The service is free, so no consumer should be without preCharge. preCharge Risk Management Solutions provides an online scoring system meeting the needs of all businesses from small Internet startups to advanced e-commerce sites.

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Plug & Pay Tech Meets MasterCard RAMP

Plug & Pay Technologies has completed the MasterCard “Risk Assessment Management Program.” With the mandated security audit, Plug’n Pay continues to ensure the security of eCommerce sales and cardholder information. The completion of the program shows that Plug’n Pay is in compliance with operating guidelines and standards mandated by MasterCard for eCommerce security and the Loss Control Program for merchant acquiring. Plug & Pay Technologies, Inc. is a chief provider of payment and digital fulfillment solutions.

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Wells Fargo Launches Another Dual-Line VISA

Wells Fargo Financial Retail Services has teamed with window manufacturer, Pella Corporation, to launch a dual-line VISA credit card for Pella’s distributors in the USA and Canada. Under the program, cardholders have one credit line dedicated for purchases at participating Pella locations, while the other line is dedicated for VISA card purchases and cash advance transactions. Pella customers receive one billing statement with an itemized list of charges under each credit limit, while only being required to make one payment. The additional credit line enables Pella distributors to offer special terms such as “no interest” and “no payment” promotions. In April, WFFRS inked a deal with Mattress Firm to offer a dual-line VISA credit card program for the medium-end bedding retailer’s more than 200 corporately-owned locations nationwide. (CF Library 4/26/04)

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La Petite Academy to Use FDC’s PayIt

La Petite Academy has rolled out First Data’s TeleCheck “PayIt” service for its 600 locations. The PayIt service enables La Petite Academy locations to convert checks for payment received in the mail or through a drop-box into electronic transactions, accelerating the processing and settlement of payments. The service provides a way to process one-time payments through the Automated Clearing House, reducing costs associated with paper movement through the payments system. As a result of the TeleCheck service, La Petite Academy has quicker access to funds, an easier settlement of funds, and a reduced risk of accepting invalid checks. First Data serves about 3.5 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers, and millions of consumers by making the purchase of goods and services using any form of payment easy, fast, and secure. La Petite Academy, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest privately-held educational childcare companies. It has over 600 schools in 36 states as well as the District of Columbia.

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Zions Joins MoneyPass Surcharge-Free Net

Zions has agreed to participate in the “MoneyPass Surcharge-Free” ATM network, adding 500,000 cardholders to the current 4 million cardholders accessing the network. Ron Ostler, senior vice president of Card Products at Zions estimates that MoneyPass will save their cardholders more than $1.5 million per year in front-end surcharges. Zions Bank manages 133 branches and over 200 ATMs throughout Utah and Idaho. Genpass, Inc., manages the MoneyPass, EFT network and is listed as one of the largest transaction processors in the U.S. according to the 2003 edition of EFT Data Book. Genpass is owned and operated by GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC, a leading private equity investment firm.

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Expedia and VISA Team for the First Time

Expedia has partnered with VISA for the first time, launching the “Expedia Fall Cruise Spectacular” promotion. The promotion will offer customers amazing deals on all types of cruises that are booked from now until October 29, 2004 for sail dates from November 2004 to March 2005. The Expedia Fall Cruise Spectacular will also offer customers an opportunity to receive a Visa(R) Gift Card reward. The reward can range from $25-$300 depending on the length of the cruise and the type of cabin used. Customers will receive their gift card about 4-6 weeks after their cruise. Expedia, Inc. is the fourth largest travel agency in the U.S. and the world’s leading online travel service.

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Advanta Offers Fax-to-Email Service Promo

Advanta has launched a promotion with j2 Global Communications, offering its business credit cardholders a special six-month promotion on j2 Global’s premium fax-to-email service. Dennis Alter, chairman and CEO of Advanta says that the alliance will help small business owners access competitive technology and manage resources at the same time. The alliance with j2 Global provides Advanta’s customers with discounts on messaging services to help their young companies become successful. Benefits of the promotion include six months of discounted pricing for eFax Plus service, a local eFax Plus number, and a more convenient and less expensive method of faxing. j2 Global Communications, Inc. offers various solutions including faxing, voicemail, and document management solutions, Web-initiated conference calling, and unified-messaging and communications services. Advanta provides funding and support through innovative products and services to small businesses nationwide. It is one of the nation’s largest issuer of MasterCard business credit cards.

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AmEx Leads in Annual Credit Card Volume

The top five card issuers have racked up $1.1 trillion in annual volume as of mid-year, or about 69% of total credit card volume in the USA. American Express leads the short list in both gross dollar volume and annual rate of growth. As a group, the top five grew 11% in volume during the twelve months ending June 30th. Discover slipped 3% during the same period for total volume of $96.4 billion. At the network level, VISA’s credit card volume was $689 billion, up 11%, while MasterCard’s credit card volume grew 6% to $532 billion, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

ANNUAL GROSS VOLUME
(12 mos. ending 6/30/04)
1. AmEx $284.4 billion +16%
2. Citi $276.8 billion +13%
3. Chase$270.4 billion +9%
4. MBNA $197.1 billion +15%
5. Disc $ 96.4 billion -3%
TOTAL: $1125.1 billion +11%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Harvey Golub Becomes Campbell’s Chairman

Harvey Golub, former Chairman and CEO of American Express, has been named Chairman of Campbell’s board. Mr. Golub has been a director of Campbell since 1996 and was Chairman and CEO of American Expressway Company from 1993-2001. He was also a former senior partner at McKinsey & Co. He is currently serving as a director of Dow Jones & Co and chair of TH Lee Putnam Ventures. Campbell Company also announced the nomination of John F. Brock for election to the Board of Directors. Brock spent 20 years at Cadbury Schweppes PLC where he served as COO of the company. He was named CEO of Interbrew in 2003. Campbell Soup Company manufactures and markets high quality soup, sauce, beverage, biscuit, confectionery, and prepared food products. It is 135 years old and has over $7 billion in annual sales.

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