ACG to Distribute a Low Cost New ATM

Atlanta-based ACG ATM-Remarketers has inked a deal to become a national distributor of a walk-up, through-the-wall ATM that sells for about $20,000. South Korea-based Nautilus Hyosung manufactures the ATM that ACG says is comparable in quality to that of NCR and Diebold ATM machines but costs 25% less. The “Ubitus 7040” has an Intel “Pentium III” processor and runs on a “Windows XP” operating system. It has a motorized card reader, 12-inch LCD color monitor, depository and up to four 3,000-note cash cassettes. Specifically, comparable to NCR’s “Persona 86” ATM, “Ubitus 7040” is manufactured to be Triple DES compliant and configured for TCP/IP communications. An additional feature offered with the Korean machine is a digital camera that records images on the hard-drive, used as a surveillance device. ACG says the approximate $20,000 sales tag includes delivery and installation and a one-year warranty on all components in the machine.

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Payment Processor MUZO now Owned 98% by Global Payments

Global Payments now owns 98% of the largest payment processor in the country. In February, Global announced it had acquired from Komercni banka, a 52.6% interest in MUZO for $34.7 million in cash. Global then commenced a public tender offer to acquire the remaining outstanding shares of MUZO. The public tender offer concluded on May 14th . Global paid $30 million in cash for 46,576 additional shares of MUZO. Global intends to further pursue ownership of the remaining 2% of MUZO, and expects it will own 100% of the company by the end of fiscal year 2005. Based in Prague, MUZO offers a comprehensive package of payment services including credit and debit card transaction processing, installation and servicing of ATM and POS terminals, as well as card issuing services.

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Euronet Buys into Electronic Prepaid Voucher Solution Provider ATX Software

Euronet Worldwide has acquired 10% of the shares of ATX Software Ltd., a provider of electronic prepaid voucher solutions headquartered in the U.K. that processes more than 2 million transactions a month. ATX offers software or outsourcing solutions for prepaid processing to existing scratch card distributors willing to switch to electronic top-up
solutions. ATX’s network and transaction processing centers in London and Paris support approximately 14,500 devices using state-of-the-art secure protocols. In the transaction, Euronet was granted an option to purchase an additional 41% of the shares of ATX at any time prior to April 1, 2005. Euronet operates the largest independent pan-European ATM network and is the largest provider of prepaid processing, or top-up services, for prepaid mobile airtime.

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INSIDE Makes its First Deployment of the CAMPUS System in Singapore

The successful integration of a cashless campus payment application into identity cards has taken place at the Australian International School Singapore with the help of Aix-en-Provence-based INSIDE Contactless. The “CAMPUS” system includes INSIDE’s “Accesso” desktop USB reader, “Hand’IT-2G” compact flash module, and “PicoPass” contactless cards. The system allows students and staff to conveniently purchase food at the canteen, uniform and stationary, pay for excursions, photocopies, prints, track attendance, and work with existing libraries infrastructures. The AISS smart card is a contactless card with a smart chip which stores the cardholder’s personal information and provides access to a cash value that can be topped up using the eNETS “Virtual Account,” an online payment service that is powered by NETS account. “Virtual Account VCard” account holders can use the Internet to access their accounts and make secure payments via the Internet, mobile phones and smart cards. Should a card be lost, staff, students and parents can access their eNETS “VCard” account online and disable the card. The smart card also allows parents to monitor students’ dietary habits via the Internet and rewards students for making healthy food choices in the school canteen. The card also has a unique feature that alerts canteen vendors to food allergies or restrictions for individual
students, thus preventing the purchase of potentially dangerous items.

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Telstra Levies a Credit Card Surcharge for the First Time

Telecommunications giant Telstra has for the first time, begun charging its customers a fee for using a credit card for payment. The Advertiser reports that the new fees range from 1.69% for American Express card holders down to 0.63% for bank VISA cards. The number of people who pay by card to Telstra are about 20% and 18% pay by phone by card.
In 2002, the Reserve Bank of Australia issued new reforms on the credit card business permitting merchants to recover from cardholders the costs of accepting credit cards. The new standard went into effect January 1st, 2003. Qantas became the first major merchant to implement the surcharge last year.

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MC & Oracle Integrate Transaction Data

MasterCard has teamed with Oracle to develop and promote comprehensive transaction data integration programs. The new partnership connects MasterCard’s Oracle-based global data repository with the world-class functionality of the Oracle “E-Business Suite.” Delivery of enhanced transaction data — both travel and expense and purchasing card data, from MasterCard’s central hub into select applications within Oracle’s “E-Business Suite” standardizes the capture and integration of MasterCard transaction data and harnesses functionality and capabilities inherent in Oracle applications. The integration of MasterCard “Purchasing Card” data with Oracle “Payables” and MasterCard T&E data with Oracle “Internet Expenses” will simplify transaction data reconciliation and automates processes. The integration will also give users the ability to review, approve and share both purchase order-based and non-PO-based purchase transactions, across different cost centers.

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OCBC Bank Adds NCR APTRA Relate CRM to Personas 77

OCBC Bank has become the first bank in Asia to provide targeted marketing at its ATMs by using NCR’s “APTRA Relate” software to integrate its self-service network with its customer relationship management system. OCBC is initially providing the CRM capability on its NCR “Personas 77” ATMs at all its branches, with plans to extend the functionality to its entire self-service network. Currently, on-screen messages range from “Your fixed deposit is maturing soon. Would you like to find out how to earn more interest?” to “Thanks for taking up the OCBC Home Loan package. Would you like to find out more about the OCBC Reno Loan, too?” Customer responses are then channeled to the bank’s personal financial consultants, branches or call center for follow-up. OCBC Bank customers also have the option to customize and pre-set their usual ATM transaction choices such as the dollar amount and receipt option. During the pilot, more than 60 percent of OCBC Bank’s customers took up this “usual transaction” feature.

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Wells’ I-Volume Continues its Hyper Growth

Wells Fargo this morning reported that its Internet payments business was up 50% in the first quarter to $3.8 billion in processing volume. Last year, Wells processed nearly $12 billion in Internet payment volume compared to $5 billion in 2002. The growth was primarily driven by eBay’s PayPal. eBay reported $4.3 billion of PayPal gross payment volume during the first quarter, a 65% increase over 1Q/03. Wells also handles PayPal’s multi-currency processing. PayPal reaches 38 countries and offers five currencies — the Euro, Pounds Sterling, Japanese Yen, USD and Canadian Dollar. Wells noted its international merchant payments reached nearly one billion in sales last year. Wells processes payments for more than 61,000 online merchants. According to figures published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Wells Fargo’s e-commerce processing accounts for 15% of the nation’s total online shopping volume.

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Three Large Grocery Chains May Offer the Ultima Card

MaxxZone says it is in negotiations with three of the largest grocery chains in the U.S. to offers its “Ultima Card Twin-Access Debit Card Pack.” The Company’s sales strategy is to sign up as many independent retail merchants as quickly as possible, as well as focus on a few “marquis” named chains to achieve its 2004 sales objective. The two-card product also means funds can be shared with family and friends worldwide using the Cirrus and Maestro networks. ACS is a Delaware Corporation formed in August 2002, with its operational center in Orlando, Fla. MaxxZone purchased all the assets of ACS on April 27th.

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Gemplus Consolidates German Operations

After carving out a slight profit in the first quarter, Gemplus is closing its German manufacturing facility in Herne, according to last week’s issue of CardFlash International. The smart card provider also announced a new CFO/EVP to replace Yves Guillaumot. Gemplus posted a 300,000 euro profit in the first quarter after racking up net losses of 477.2 million euros over the past two years. Gemplus plans to transfer of all Herne’s PVC activities to Havant; and its local activities, including the personalization of German bank and Healthcare cards, to Filderstadt. The action will give Gemplus one specialist PVC site in Europe, at Havant, England, and enable the Company to concentrate its personalization activities for Germany on one site, in Filderstadt. The proposed plan for Herne could result in the loss of 180 jobs. Gemplus currently employs some 350 employees in Germany. A plan for the transfer of some employees within the group will be offered and supported. The Company noted that the salesforce, technical consultants and the R&D team at Ismaning, Germany, are unaffected by the plans. Meanwhile, Gemplus named Frans Spaargaren as the new Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, effective June 1st, replacing Guillaumot. Frans Spaargaren, of Dutch nationality, was formerly Executive Vice President of Philips International, with responsibility for it’s joint venture operations.

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CREDIT CARDS MAR04

Consumer purchase volume on credit cards surged by 20.7% during March, as balances grew 13.3%, and credit lines edged up 12.1% per annum. During March, Australians charged A$12.4 billion in purchases on credit cards compared to A$10.3 billion one-year ago. At the end of the first quarter, consumers owed A$26.7 billion on credit cards versus $23.6 billion for March 2003. The ratio of credit card balances to card credit limits increased slightly during March, from 36.9% to 37.3%, compared to one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. One-year ago, consumers owed A$23.6 billion with total credit lines of A$63.9 billion. Card credit limits reached A$71.6 billion at the end of March.

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