BioPay Cuts BI-LO’s Bad Checks by 60%+

BioPay reports that BI-LO has signed up about 20,000 customers, and cut check cashing fraud by more than 60% using its biometric “Paycheck Secure” solution. The company has used Paycheck Secure to successfully complete nearly 100,000 check cashing transactions worth more than $21 million dollars. Nearly 40,000 BI-LO customers are now enrolled in Paycheck Secure. BI-LO, with headquarters in Mauldin, SC, operates nearly 300 supermarkets in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee, and employs 22,000 associates. BioPay(R) has been providing smart, secure methods for processing financial transactions.

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Advanta Launches the WITI Platinum Business Card

Advanta has teamed with Women in Technology International to launch the “WITI Platinum Business Card”. In connection with the alliance, the organizations announced the introduction of the WITI Platinum Business Card that offers the convenience, access and savings that appeal to women business owners. The organizations also introduced the “Building Business for Women” program designed to increase revenues and brand awareness for women-owned businesses. WITI is the premiere organization empowering women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities, transformations, and a global culture of inclusiveness through leadership and economic prosperity. Advanta is a highly focused financial services company serving the small business market.

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U.S. Wireless Data Files for Bankruptcy; Sells Assets

NY-based U.S. Wireless Data has filed for bankruptcy and is selling off its two major business units. USWD is selling its “Synapse” POS gateway business to Brascan/NBS for $2.85 million in cash, plus up to $2.15 million credit for free payment processing services to be rendered to USWD for its vending operations. The company simultaneously announced that it had reached agreement with SANI Operating Co. to sell its vending operations to Sani, including the $2.15 million credit for free payment processing services from NBS, for $1.6 million in cash plus the assumption of certain liabilities. NBS will also assume certain liabilities. The two deals are expected to be consummated by May 21st, however other parties will have an opportunity to submit bids for the “Synapse” and vending businesses through a court-supervised competitive bidding process. USWD says it was unable to increase revenues sufficiently to bring the company to profitability or to secure additional financing to maintain its viability. Last month the Company reported fourth quarter revenues of $1.3 million. For complete details on USWD’s fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Penncro Associates Closes Hawaii Call Center

PA-based debt collector Penncro Associates announced it is shutting down its Hilo, Hawaii call center in May. The move will result in lay-offs to 175 employees starting this week. The Company opened the Hilo center in 1999 to take advantage of the time differential with the mainland. The Hawaii Island Economic Development Board says Penncro had problems renegotiating its lease as well as employee probems. Penncro was founded in 1982 and opened its first satellite office in Philadelphia in 1997. In 2001, Penncro opened an office in Taos, New Mexico and in 2002 opened another call center in McAllen, Texas. The firm has had as many as 1,600 employees.

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AXALTO IPO

Paris-based Schlumberger announced last week it has filed the necessary documents to take its wholly-owned smart card subsidiary, Axalto, public, and will do so when market conditions permit. Axalto generated a net profit of $30 million in 2003 on gross revenues of $933 million. During the fourth quarter, Axalto reported revenue of $206 million, a 6% increase over the same period last year and 2% sequentially. For the year, cards revenue was $717 million versus $658 million in 2002. Pretax operating income of $27 million increased 21% sequentially and 36% year-on-year. Reportedly, Schlumberger will list the stock only on the Paris stock exchange. For complete details on Schlumberger and Axalto fourth quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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

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Bronze and Silver Cards Hit the Market in March

Citibank recently introduced the “Citi Bronze AAdvantage MasterCard” for frequent travelers, and Household Bank/Orchard Bank is currently promoting its “Silver MasterCard” to consumers with lower credit scores. CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]) also reports this month that American flag cards are also spreading among the card industry. Capital One is now marketing its “American Flag Platinum MasterCard.” Discover pioneered the “Flag” card in early 2001, and Providian followed with a “Flag” card after 9/11.

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

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Corporate Customers Want More Details on Their Payments

A new poll shows that nearly two thirds of corporate customers would pay additional fees to banks for improved, more detailed information about their payments, while a third could consider switching banks for such information. The poll of both banks and their corporate customers, conducted on behalf of LogicaCMG by gtnews, highlights that while banks have suffered heavy criticism from the media over recent profit announcements, 85% of banks felt they offered value for money for their payment services and half of their corporate customers agreed. Currently, in Europe alone, corporate customers annually spend EUR90
billion handling paper invoices and remittances. LogicaCMG says if companies had access to information such as reference data for remittance matching, they could save up to 80% of this by switching to paperless mechanisms and automatically matching payments to payables and receivables.

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Commercial Card Volume Growing 25% Per Annum

While the consumer credit card charge volume grew at 9.8% from 1998 to 2002, commercial card market grew at a 20-30%. During this period, the commercial card volume growth rates for American Express, and MasterCard/VISA combined were 20% and 26%, respectively. A new research report by Mercator Advisory Group says that although there have been very significant developments in the way companies conduct business today, we have yet to realize the end-to-end e-business vision. Companies still print out invoices, handle purchasing manually and use cash and checks for payment, especially for large ticket items. Solutions such as “VISA Commerce” and “MasterCard e-P3” are designed to tackle these hurdles and get companies closer to this streamlined vision of the future. The Mercator report focuses on business cards, corporate cards and purchasing cards. It provides definitions, value propositions, market size, and example solutions for each category and highlights recent initiatives in the commercial card arena.

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Akamai Technologies Names Kight to the Board

Akamai Technologies has elected Pete Kight, founder, chairman and CEO of CheckFree, to its Board of Directors. Since 1997, when Kight unveiled the industry’s first Internet bill, CheckFree has been working with businesses to transform the monthly bill into an interactive communications tool. Akamai(R) is the global leader in distributed computing solutions and services, making the Internet predictable, scalable, and secure for conducting profitable e-business. The Akamai on demand platform enables customers to easily extend their Web operations – with full control – anywhere, anytime, without the cost of building out infrastructure.

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U.S. PLUS Volume Rises 9% Last Year

Transactions at “PLUS” ATMs rose 8.7% in the fourth quarter as VISA added 7,000 new “PLUS” ATMs in the USA during 2003. During 2003, VISA handled 434,222 “PLUS” transactions, with 115,397 in the final three months. The figure does not include gateway transactions. The “PLUS” network has more than 800,000 ATMs in 144 countries, with 364,000 in the USA. About six months ago VISA USA announced the creation of an optional service that will help financial institutions expand no surcharge ATM access for their cardholders. Under the new “PLUS No Surcharge Alliance” specially designed decals will be added to participating ATMs, and cardholders will be notified by their financial institution if it is a participant. VISA’s “PLUS” also offers “PLUS Shared Deposits,” which allows consumers to make deposits at ATMs not operated by their own financial institutions. (CF Library 8/8/03)

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VeriFone EMEA Hires a Business Development Manager

VeriFone has hired Giles Cooper as UK Business Development Manager for VeriFone EMEA. Giles joins VeriFone from property and facilities management solution provider, Electus Services, part of Profectus Group, where he was Business Development Director. Prior to his role at Electus, Cooper was Senior Communications Consultant for Alcatel Telecom, providing voice and data infrastructure solution sales and associated consultancy to corporates and multi-nationals in the UK. VeriFone says the new position was created due to the increased interest and demand for the “SC 5000” and “Omni” product range in the UK for “Chip and PIN” and Apacs-related payment solutions.

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