BannerDirect Signs a New Regional Director

NYC-based direct marketing agency, BannerDirect, has hired Brian Connelly, formerly of Venture Direct Worldwide and McCann Erickson, as Regional Director. Mr. Connelly will be reporting to Patricia Kelly, Executive Vice President of Account Management and Strategic Planning. With his ten years of marketing experience, Brian will be a vital asset in helping BannerDriect continue the firm s expansion and development, says Ms. Kelly. BannerDirect is a full-service direct marketing agency recognized for the development and execution of direct response marketing programs for clients in the financial, entertainment, telecommunications, associations, retail, medical and publishing industries.

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ATM Mandates May Cost CUs $200 Million

A new white paper predicts that during the next 18 months credit unions could be facing $200 million in potential ATM capital investments due to mandates set to take effect. The mandates include “Triple DES”, “EPP,” and the ADA. The CO-OP Network says credit unions currently own more than 20,000 ATMs, and the mandated changes/product upgrades confronting every ATM owner range from $1,000 up to $35,000 per machine. Yesterday, the network issued a white paper titled “Managing ATM Capital Investments: Strategies for Credit Unions,” which provides a guide for navigating regulatory requirements and ATM upgrade options now and in the future. The CO-OP Network has nearly 1,500 member credit unions, more than 18,000 surcharge-free ATMs, 77 million monthly transactions and 18.5 million cardholders.

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Yahoo! PayDirect Adds a MoneyGram Transfer Service

Viad/Travelers Express Company’s MoneyGram Payment Systems subsidiary has teamed with Yahoo! to launch “MoneyGram e-Money Transfer” on Yahoo!’s “PayDirect” Web site. Recipients can pick up the funds the same day at any of MoneyGram’s over 60,000 agent locations world-wide. As the result of a recent agreement between MoneyGram and Yahoo!, a leading provider of comprehensive online products and services to consumers and businesses worldwide, the MoneyGram service on the Internet is now also available through Yahoo! PayDirect’s Web site.

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Mashreqbank Holds 33% of the UAE Card Market

The partnership between Mashreqbank and Samsung to issue a co-branded MasterCard is bearing fruit as one in every three new credit cards issued in the UAE today is a Mashreqbank card. The “Mashreqbank Samsung MasterCard,” launched five months ago, is expanding and now offers a 0% interest rate, double points, and an incentive gift when transferring balances from a non Mashreqbank credit card.

This the first time Samsung has partnered with a bank to offer a co-branded credit card. Points from the card can be exchanged for Samsung products and free tickets on Lufthansa, Delta, Emirates Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, and Qatar Airways. Mashreqbank also recently introduced the “WOW! MasterCard” and “WOW! VISA.” The “WOW!” is a smart card with 1,000 participating merchants using smart card readers to rebate between 5% and 35% back to the cardholder. Mashreqbank was the first bank to introduce credit cards in the UAE in 1982 and offers the popular “MashreqMillionnaire” credit card program. It is the largest private bank in the UAE with 34 branches.

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GPN Names Acquiring Head and HR SVP

Atlanta-based Global Payments has named Carl Williams to the position of EVP of World-Wide Merchant Acquiring. Williams has an extensive career in financial services, most notably as President of the Merchant Services Division of National Processing Company. He also served as President and CEO of JBS Associates and spent seven years at Trans Union Credit in various sales and marketing positions. GPN also announced Monday that Tony Wright has been hired as SVP of Human Resources. Most recently, Wright served as Human Resources Director of The Coca-Cola Company and prior to that, served for nearly 20 years in progressive executive capacities in human resources for Owens Corning.

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BofA/Fleet Merger Gets the Blessing of the FRB

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has approved the merger of Bank of America and FleetBoston. On March 17, both Bank of America and Fleet will hold special meetings of shareholders to vote on the proposed transaction. With the approval of both companies shareholders, the merger would close in early April. Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions.

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Upromise Signs Dixie to College Savings Program

Georgia-Pacific’s Dixie division has joined the Upromise college savings account program. Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of tissue, paper, packaging, building products and related chemicals. With 2003 annual sales of approximately $20 billion, the company employs more than 61,000 people at 400 locations in North America and Europe. Upromise is a service that helps families save for college. Members can automatically earn money for college while making everyday purchases at more than 18,000 grocery and drug stores, 200 online shopping sites, and 9,000 restaurants nationwide, as well as tens of thousands of retail locations.

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Merseyrail Signs $4 Million Fare System Contract with Cubic

Liverpool-based Merseyrail has inked a GBP 2 million deal with Cubic Transportation Systems Limited to build a modularly constructed access control and fare management system. The gates will be installed at the busiest of the 66 stations on the Merseyrail network. The gates support the magnetic strip farecards that Merseyrail initially plans to use, and include Cubic’s “Tri-Reader,” which can process any type of contactless smart card that meets international standards. The gates will be ready to accept smart cards when Merseytravel, the Passenger Transport Executive in Merseyside, upgrades to a smart card scheme in the future. Including the Merseyrail project, which will be completed later this year, Cubic will have delivered more than 1,000 gates to the UK train operating companies that have been running the former British Rail network since it was privatized in the mid-1990s. Merseyrail has an annual ridership of over 27 million passengers.

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Capital One and Consumer Action Launch a Web Site

Capital One and Consumer Action have launched the “MoneyWi$e” Web site. MoneyWi$e is the first program of its kind to combine free, multilingual financial education materials with community training and seminars for consumers at all income levels. MoneyWi$e topics include understanding and building good credit, basic money management, banking basics, talking to teens about money, and understanding the pros and cons of bankruptcy. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Consumer Action is a non-profit, membership-based organization founded in San Francisco in 1971.

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PayPal Settles Chargeback Issues with NY

eBay’s PayPal reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General yesterday to better disclose the rights of account holders when an affiliated merchant fails to deliver merchandise. The online payment service also agreed to pay $150,000 in penalties and costs of investigation. PayPal continues to be investigated by the FTC and other states for related complaints. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said PayPal’s “User Agreement” misrepresented to account holders certain terms and conditions, including a statement that it afforded to its account holders “the rights and privileges expected of a credit card transaction.” In practice, consumers were often denied these rights ­ both by PayPal and by the credit issuers American Express and Discover, Spitzer says. This is the third agreement obtained by Spitzer’s office to address complaints that consumers were denied chargebacks when goods ordered through PayPal, and funded with American Express or Discover cards, were not received as promised. Late last year, Spitzer’s office obtained agreements with American Express and Discover, both of which are issuing chargeback credits to consumers who did not receive goods ordered through a PayPal merchant. Spitzer says the agreements, taken together, close a loophole that, if left uncorrected, would have effectively exempted credit card purchases made through e-payment systems from the rigorous protections of the federal Fair Credit Billing Act and similar state laws. PayPal has more than 25 million account holders including 2.5 million New Yorkers.

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TRM ATM Sales Up 38% in the Fourth Quarter

Portland, OR-based TRM Corporation reported net income for the fourth quarter of $2.0 million compared to a net loss of $3.4 million for the same period in 2002. Net sales for the quarter grew to $20.5 million, representing an increase of 15.6% when compared to 4Q/02. The increase in net sales for the quarter is attributable to ATM unit expansion and higher pricing throughout the Company’s ATM and photocopy networks. ATM operations produced net sales of $9.0 million, including $430,000 in ATM machine sales, during the fourth quarter, representing an increase of 38% as compared to the same period in the prior year. At the end of December, the Company’s ATM network consisted of 3,416 revenue-generating machines deployed throughout the UK and USA, which represents an increase of 359 ATM machines when compared to the same date in 2002. For complete details on TRM’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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AEROPLAN BIZ CARD

Amex Bank of Canada and Aeroplan launched the country’s first corporate rewards card. The new
“American Express AeroplanPlus Corporate Card” offers an annual “Air Canada Cash Rebate” between 2% to 4% when their employees use the card for Air Canada
travel purchases. The card also offers an up to 5% cash back each year on other travel and everyday business expenses. Companies are also able to give their employees the opportunity to earn
“Aeroplan Rewards.” Employees can receive one “Aeroplan Mile” for every $2
of purchases charged to the corporate card. They also have the option to earn “Aeroplan Miles” twice as fast by enrolling in
an upgrade program for an additional $75 per year which means cardholders can
earn one “Aeroplan Mile” for every $1 of purchases charged to the card. In January, American Express rolled-out three co-branded charge cards with Air Canada. The new “AeroplanPlus Card,” “AeroplanPlus Gold Card,” and, “AeroplanPlus Platinum Card” reward users with 1.0 mile to 1.5 miles for each dollar charged. AmEx won the right to team up with Aeroplan after the court overseeing Air Canada’s restructuring opened up the airline’s card partnership contracts in April, 2003.

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