ING Bank Slaski Expands ATM Access to More than 1,000 Machines Nationwide

ING Bank Slaski has signed a multi-year ATM Network agreement with Euronet Worldwide. The bank will now offer expanded ATM services to its 1.4 million cardholders via Euronet’s 450 ATMs in Poland.
When combining Euronet’s ATM count and the bank’s 553 ATMs, Bank Slaski customers will have access to more than 1,000 ATMs. The ING Bank Slaski transactions initiated at Euronet’s ATMs will be switched directly to the bank for authorization and settlement. The bank has agreed to minimum monthly transaction amounts within the Euronet network and will pay a fixed fee per transaction to Euronet. Euronet has ATM network participation agreements with six of Poland’s 10 largest retail banks.

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NexTran Introduces New ATM Camera

NJ-based NexTran Industries introduced its “ComNet ATM” security camera this week. The camera takes a 240 x 200 pixel digital photo when the consumer enters his PIN code. The image file is then attached to the journal record of each ATM transaction. The camera, can be added to any of the company’s “ComNet 1000” or “4000” ATM models. The Company may add the new camera option to its “ComNet 2000” and “3000” ATM models. NextTran says the system provides additional data to handle chargeback claims. The ComNet security camera is offered to owners of ComNet ATMs for $250. NexTran Industries is a subsidiary of Chungho ComNet Co., Ltd., based in South Korea. NexTran provides end-to-end ATM solutions, including hardware, software, installation, training, ATM maintenance and monitoring, processing and customer service.

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Chips are Up for Atmel and OTI in PayPass

The upcoming expansion of “MasterCard PayPass” deployments in the USA has created a windfall opportunity for San Jose-based Atmel and the Israeli firm On Track Innovations. Atmel and OTI provide the chip in both a contactless module form and in an inlay form, providing easy card embedding for card suppliers. The contactless chip used is an 8-bit secure microcontroller from Atmel’s “AT05SC” highly secure product family, currently used for a variety of banking applications. The chip features 40KB ROM, 2KB EEPROM, hardware DES and hosts Atmel’s high security mechanisms. The contactless chip is compliant with “lSO-14443B” and “ISO-7816” industry standards. Last month, MasterCard declared its “PayPass” system a success, following trials in Orlando and Dallas. More than 16,000 cardholders and more than 60 retail locations participated in the nine month Orlando trial. MasterCard says its biggest success was in the QSR environment where “PayPass” shaved between 12-18 seconds off the purchase time as compared to cash. Earlier this year, MasterCard began working with Nokia to incorporate “PayPass” into mobile phones for a trial in Dallas. MasterCard says the Dallas trial showed that the average “PayPass” payment made using a mobile phone was six seconds faster than using a card. OTI has worked with MasterCard on its “PayPass” program since its inception.

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Retail Holiday Card Volume Tops $47 Billion To-Date

Retail spending on credit and debit cards for the first three weeks of the current holiday season has topped $47.0 billion. Americans pulled out major credit cards to charge more than $38 billion in retail purchases, and used off-line or signature debit cards to charge nearly $10.0 billion in holiday purchases. VISA reports that overall retail spending on its payment cards for last week was up more than 7%. For the first three weeks of the shopping season, VISA logged $15.9 billion in credit card retail activity, and $8.5 billion in signature debit card retail activity. VISA currently has a 42.5% share of the U.S. general purpose credit card market, and a 78.1% share of the U.S. off-line debit card market.

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Smart Card Integrators and Rapidtron to Integrate Technologies

Los Angeles-based Smart Card Integrators, which provides its “s-Choice” OS and electronic purse for “Navy Cash” and “Marine Cash” cards, has partnered with Rapidtron to integrate their contact and contactless technologies, software and smart card products. Rapidtron intends to become the leading provider of Radio Frequency (RF) smart card access control and ticketing/membership systems by providing the premier technology for operator-free entry and exit turnstiles. SCI is a leading North American smart card technology company that designs, develops and markets end-to-end systems, provides project management and software integration services for the smart card and cashless payment markets and offers the s-Choice family of Products and Services which include its operating system, electronic purse, application design and development and customer support.

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Last Minute Surge in Retail Sales Expected

More Americans than last year report say they are waiting until this month to start their holiday shopping, and one in five don’t expect to complete their purchases until the last week before the holiday. Overall, 80% of Americans plan to complete their shopping sometime between mid-December and the eve of Chanukah or Christmas. About 16% will finish just one day before the holiday. More online purchasers than overall holiday shoppers plan to complete shopping during the last week, according to the “American Express Retail Index” on holiday shopping. Among the most popular gifts on the purchasing lists of shoppers who complete their shopping the week before the holiday are gift cards, gift certificates or gift cheques (69%). Those who complete their shopping during the last week are slightly more likely to charge their purchases than other shoppers: 67% will charge all, most or some gifts, compared to 62% of all shoppers. All but a very few (94%) say they prefer charging because it’s convenient compared to 89% of shoppers generally.

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Century Bankcard Services Renews GPN

Chatsworth, CA-based Century Bankcard Services has renewed its multi-year agreement for end-to-end payment processing services with Global Payments that includes front-end and back-end processing services and technical support for credit card, debit card, EBT and check processing services. Century Bankcard Services is located in Chatsworth, CA and was formed in 1999 by the management team of American Heritage Bankcard. Century Bankcard practices a hands-on, customer-focused approach to the market, providing a level of service that is among the best in the industry. CBS has over 60 years collective experience in the merchant acquiring business and manages over four thousand active merchants, generating nearly $750 million in annual credit card sales. Global Payments Inc. is a leading provider of electronic transaction processing services to consumers, merchants, Independent Sales Organizations, financial institutions, government agencies and multi- national corporations located throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.

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AAdvantage Marketing Programs Gets New President

American Airlines has promoted Dennis Cary, to president of its AAdvantage Marketing Programs, which services 45 million loyalty cardholders. Cary originally joined American in 1991. He has held management positions within the airline’s Alliance Planning, Cargo and Distribution Planning departments. Before being selected to lead sales efforts in Europe, Cary served as managing director-Revenue Management. American Airlines is the world’s largest carrier. American, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection regional carriers serve more than 250 cities in over 40 countries with more than 3,900 daily flights.

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0% APR Card Offers Stay the Course, for Now

While some analysts predicted the decline of 0% interest rate credit card offers, competitive pressures continue to drive the U.S. market. Some issuers are already offering the low ball APRs through next December. FleetBoston is offering a “Platinum VISA” with a balance transfer APR of 0% through next year, and Citibank is offering a 12-month 0% APR on its “Platinum Select MasterCard,” according to CardWatch’s December monitoring (www.cardwatch.com). Chase is currently offering a 12-month 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers on its “Platinum VISA” for applicants who qualify at the “Elite” or “Premium” level. Meanwhile, Bank One is offering a 5-month 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for its new “Free Cash Rewards Platinum VISA Business.” Advanta is also offering a 0% interest rate through May, on purchases and balance transfers, for its new MasterCard Platinum Business Card With Cash Back.” Mintel’s Comperemedia reported last week that purchase introductory periods got longer in September with more offers for 12 months or more. These periods have been increasing since April, when they hit a low point. Comperemedia says balance transfer periods got slightly longer in September, but not as long as in the beginning of 2003. There were still offers where the rate was good for the life of the balance, but fewer than previously seen.

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IDT Phone Card Revenues Up 66%

NJ-based phone card provider, IDT Telecom, reported third quarter revenues increased 66.1% over the comparative prior year period, and 11.4% from the previous quarter. Revenues benefited from increased sales of cards outside IDT’s core northeastern U.S. markets. Prepaid calling cards revenue were $292.0 million for the quarter and the gross profit margin was 22.6% for the quarter. The parent company, IDT Corporation reported record revenues of $513.1 million for the quarter. Overall revenues for the quarter increased 5.6% from the prior quarter, and 15.8% over the revenues recorded during the year-ago quarter. The Company also reported a net loss for the quarter of $14.0 million, compared to a net loss of $4.1 million in the prior quarter, and net income of $8.3 million for the comparable period one year ago. For complete details on IDT’s third quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Certegy Signs Belk for Check Warranty Services

Atlanta-based Certegy has signed a multi-year agreement to provide check warranty services to NC-based Belk, the largest privately-owned department store company in the USA with 221 stores in 13 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. With fraud increasing, more retailers are choosing to outsource their check risk management decisions to Certegy. Certegy’s highly sophisticated risk management platform, which incorporates artificial intelligence and proprietary risk modeling capabilities, allows retailers to accept checks with confidence, resulting in more sales, less exposure to fraudulent transactions and a better overall point-of-sale experience for their customers. Belk, Inc. is the largest privately owned department store company in the nation. Certegy provides credit and debit processing, check risk management and check cashing services, merchant processing and e-banking services to over 6,000 financial institutions, 117,000 retailers and 100 million consumers worldwide.

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Cap One’s National Mascot of the Year Draws to a Close

Capital One reported Thursday that its “National Mascot of the Year” competition has received more than 3.5 million votes to-date as it approaches its end on December 22nd. While the BCS can’t seem to offer one undisputed national football champion this year, Capital One is at least offering one true BMOC (Big Mascot On Campus) on Jan. 1, 2004. The Capital One National Mascot of the Year will be selected based on a combination of the online popular vote (50 percent) and an expert panel of judges’ previous rankings (50 percent), which were used to select the 12 members of the Capital One All-America Mascot Team. Capital One Financial Corporation is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products and Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., which offers auto loan products.

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