Real-Time Electronic PIN Delivery System Patent Awarded

Miami-based Blackstone has been awarded a patent for a real-time electronic PIN delivery system that covers prepaid products, top-up, loyalty, gift card and POSA . The truly innovative multi-function transaction processing system successfully integrates payment processing and prepaid products and services. Using a POS terminal or touch-screen, menu-driven system, merchants can print or activate prepaid cards (calling cards, gift cards, Internet service, wireless recharge cards, etc.) Electronic PINs are delivered via an integrated thermal card printer, accept checks, smart cards and ATM/debit/EBT (electronic benefit transfers) cards, process Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card & Diner’s Club transactions and view real-time reports. lackstone is currently one of the country’s largest providers of prepaid products and services through over 300,000 retail locations nationwide.

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TNB Card Services Adds 9,000 Cards to its Portfolio

Dallas-based TNB Card Services reports it has added 9,000 new credit card accounts from five credit unions including GENCO FCU, MariSol FCU, Bashas’ Associates FCU, Kern Central CU, and Group Services Employees FCU. Bashas’ Associates Federal Credit Union is located in Tempe, Arizona. This $18 million credit union serves 7,200 members and family members of the Bashas’ family of companies. Bakersfield, California is the home of Kern Central Credit Union. The $28 million credit union serves 10,500 members. GENCO Federal Credit Union converted 2,300 credit card accounts to TNB. This $116 million credit union will also begin issuing platinum card to its 25,500 members. MariSol Federal Credit Union originally opened in 1954 to serve the employees of Maricopa County. TNB Card Services, located in Dallas, provides full-service credit and debit card processing, as well as, an agent issuing solution.

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MBNA Pushes Late & Over-Limit Fees to Sub-Prime Level

Late-payment fees and over-limit fees are being taken to a new level this month as MBNA raises its late fee and over-limit fee to $39 for accounts with balances over $1,000. Over the past twelve months, average late-payment fees have risen 4% to $31.24, while average over-limit fee have increased 5% to $29.05. Among the nation’s top VISA and MasterCard issuers, only sub-prime specialist Metris/Direct Merchants, assess late fees and over-limit fees at such a high level. Most of the top issuers charge a $35 late-payment and over-limit fee. However, Capital One and Household have kept both fees at $29 ea ch. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), late-payment fees currently average $31.24, a 45% increase over 1998, and a 176% boost over 1993 levels. Over-limit fees currently average $29.05, a 42% gain over 1998, and a 141% increase over 1993 levels. CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][2]), which first published the MBNA story on December 1st, says over the past three years MBNA has emerged as a market leader in boosting cardholder fees, after being a fee laggard for most of the 90s. Under MBNA’s new policy, late-payment fees are based on the balance on the business day after the payment due date. Late fees are $15 if the balance is $100 or less; $29 if between $100.01 and $1000; $39 if over $1000. Over-the-credit-limit fees are also based on the balance as of each statement closing date. Over-limit fees are $15 if the balance is $500 or less; $29 if between $500.01 and $1000; $39 if over $1000.

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

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Tidel Technologies Raises Cash, But Losses Mount

Houston-based ATM manufacturer Tidel Technologies has closed a $7 million financing deal with NY-based Laurus Funds and reports that continues to sustain substantial losses since the second quarter. The notes may be converted, at Laurus Funds’ option, into Tidel common stock at a conversion price of $0.40 per share. Tidel also issued seven-year warrants to Laurus Funds to purchase 4.25 million shares of Tidel common stock at an exercise price of $0.40 per share. Tidel Technologies, Inc. is a manufacturer of automated teller machines and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers.

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Park-by-Phone Solution Launched at CSU

Denver-based Clancy Systems International has launched a parking payment solution called “Park-by-Phone” at California State University at Fresno. This new program will allow drivers to pay for parking in lots and meters owned by participating agencies with a mere phone call. Their parking will fees will be instantly validated and there will no longer be a need to search for correct coins, cash, cards, or other means of payment.

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InterCept Suspends Guidance While Talks Underway

Atlanta-based InterCept announced yesterday it will not provide earnings guidance for next year while it considers a proposal to take the Company private. Last month, InterCept announced that a special committee of its board of directors had been formed in response to a possible offer for the company by its CEO. The firm has also engaged Morgan Keegan and Raymond James as financial advisors, and Alston & Bird, as outside legal counsel, to assist its special committee. InterCept reported third quarter revenues of $64.1 million, a 3.4% decrease compared with 3Q/02. Net Income for the quarter totaled $18,000, compared with net income of $2.8 million, for the three months ended September 30, 2002. (CF Library 11/12/03; 11/14/03)

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Half of Americans Go Online to Holiday Shop

A new report found that more than one-half of Americans are planning to log on to compare prices, browse, purchase or send electronic cards, compared to 46% last year. The American Express Retail Index on Internet shopping also shows that 31% of holiday shoppers will purchase gifts on the Internet versus 18% in 2002. Holiday Internet users, who plan to buy for more people than their offline counterparts (15 vs. 13 recipients), will spend $1082 on average for gifts this year. On average, they will spend about a quarter of their overall holiday shopping budget online. Men will spend more of their budget online than women (27% compared to 24%). This year, more online shoppers will use the Internet to compare prices (62%, up from 56% of Internet users last year). A majority of Internet gift-purchasers (78%) say deep discounts will motivate them, followed by special storewide sales (69%) and free delivery or gift-wrapping (53%).

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HSBC Bank Brasil Installs Fair Isaac’s Falcon Fraud Manager for Debit Cards

The “Falcon” has landed on debit cards in Brazil. HSBC Bank Brasil S.A.-Banco Multiplo is deploying Fair Isaac’s “Falcon Fraud Manager for Debit Cards” to cut losses related to debit card transactions. This represents the first installation of the debit card fraud management system in Brazil. HSBC Bank Brasil has 3.9 million customers. Brazil accounts for the majority of general-purpose cards issued in Latin America, generating more than half of the region’s purchase transactions in 2002. HSBC Bank Brasil also has 5,000 ATMs nationwide. Fair Isaac says that 20 of the top 25 financial institutions worldwide use its fraud detection solutions.

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Consumers Still Have Online Fraud Concerns

A new survey shows that Americans will conduct 25% of their holiday shopping online this year even though more than 50% have increased concerns about online fraud. The survey, conducted via Opinion Place, for Chicago-based SPSS, says the number of consumers shopping online this year is up 6% from 2002. However, the research revealed that 52% are at least somewhat more concerned about using their credit card online this year than last. Identity theft is considered to be the greatest concern for 54% of consumers, with credit card theft second at 26%. While 84% feel their passwords are at least somewhat secure, only 44% of respondents never change their passwords. The longer a consumer has been shopping online, the more likely they are to change their passwords. SPSS says that Internet merchants lost nearly $500 million due to fraudulent orders during the 2002 holiday shopping season.

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SouthTrust Bank and NetBank Opt for a NCR/Corillian Solution

SouthTrust Bank and NetBank have upgraded their Internet banking services using a solution provided jointly by NCR and Corillian. The solution combines enhanced features and functionality developed and integrated by NCR on the industry-leading Corillian Voyager Internet banking platform, which is hosted and managed by NCR in its eCommerce operations centers. Corillian is the top provider of online banking solutions to leading financial institutions. Empowered with Corillian solutions, some of the world’s most visionary financial institutions provide their customers with the tools to manage their finances more effectively. NCR Corporation is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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