Paymentech Opens Up Low Dollar Gas Transactions

Dallas-based Paymentech has come up with a debit card solution to enable consumers to tap into the dollar amount available in their accounts, rather than be blocked by the fixed authorization amounts set by many gas station operators. The new “Partial Debit Authorization,” being pioneered by Paymentech, is designed to capture lost sales due to low checking account balances. When a customer swipes a debit card to make a transaction to purchase gas, most station operators authorize a $30-$50 transaction to cover the potential cost of a fill-up. Therefore, some consumers, with low checking account balances, may not be approved for the purchase. The new Paymentech solution will enable gas station operators to get a lower authorization for the customer’s available checking account balance. Paymentech has already deployed the new solution at more than 500 gas stations in the USA. This month, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America renewed its endorsement of Paymentech as the processor of choice for its 8,000-strong membership base of independent petroleum marketers.The PMAA expects the new Paymentech feature to be well received among its members.

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MasterCard’s Latin America Region Posts Strong GDV as Asia-Pacific Declines Nearly 9% in 3Q

MasterCard logged $449.2 billion in international gross dollar volume and $467.7 gross dollar volume in the USA through the third quarter. While the bulk of the non-USA volume was produced in Europe, the largest increase was generated in Latin America followed by the South Asia/Middle East/Africa region. MasterCard’s 3Q/03 YTD GDV in Latin America was $27.0 billion, a 25.4% increase over last year, and 3Q/03 YTD GDV for South Asia/Middle East/Africa was $7.9 billion, a 17.1% gain over 3Q/02. Europe posted a 13.5% gain in YTD GDV to $227.0 billion. Canada generated $29.5 billion in YTD GDV for a 14.4% increase over 3Q/02. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific remained challenged as YTD GDV dropped nearly 9% to $157.9 billion. Volume in the USA was up 6.40% for the YTD third quarter as worldwide volume was up 5.76%.

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Gift Card Sales Double Over Past Year

The gift card market is hotter than many experts projected. So far this year, Americans are snapping up gift cards at twice the rate of 2002. According to a new research study, 45% of the adult population purchased a gift card in the previous 12 months versus just 23% in a similar survey conducted in August 2002. The study, commissioned by First Data’s ValueLink unit, also found that 59% of consumers reported purchasing and/or receiving a gift card in the past year, a 22% increase over 2002 findings. Only 8% of consumers reported that they purchased a card for their own use during the previous year versus 12% in 2002. Other interesting findings: 68% of women give gift cards as a primary gift versus 57% of men; purchasers and receivers rate their overall satisfaction with gift cards as 9 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being “extremely satisfied”; 79% of consumers purchased gift cards in person at a store location; compared to the average $197 spent on gift cards in the previous year, middle age purchasers, age 45-54, average $235 per year; and purchasers in the age range of 55-64 average $241 per year. ValueLink also found 54% of consumers spend the initial value of their gift card within one month; 61% of consumers spend the initial value of their gift card in their first visit; and 56% of consumers spend more than the initial value of their card.

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LML Payments Systems 3Q Revenues Decline 5%, Loss Widens

LML Payments Systems reported third quarter revenue of $1.8 million, a 5% decrease over the year-ago period. There was a net loss from continuing operations of approximately $1.1 million for the third quarter, compared to a net loss of approximately $752,000 for 3Q/02. Revenue from the electronic check verification business was approximately $283,000 for the quarter, a 16% increase. Revenue from the primary check collection business was approximately $840,000, a decrease of 23.6%. Revenue from the secondary check collection business was approximately $492,000, an increase of about 18.6%. LML Payment Systems is a financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including electronic check authorization, electronic check conversion and primary and secondary check collection including electronic check re-presentment to national, regional and local retailers.

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VISA/MC Extend Off-Line Debit Interchange into 2004

VISA announced Friday that it will not change its off-line debit card interchange fees on January 1st as previously expected. As a result of the “Retailers’ Settlement,” VISA agreed to a temporary reduction in VISA off-line debit interchange through the end of 2003. VISA says it has since been in discussions with acquirers and their merchants, deciding to maintain the temporary rate. MasterCard also confirmed it will maintain the lower debit card fees after January first. Both VISA and MasterCard cut off-line debit card interchange by 33% to 35% on August 1st in response to the “Retailers’ Settlement.”

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Encore Helps Banks Migrate ATMs from Legacy to IP

VA-based Encore Networks will introduce this week its “IBR-10 IP+Legacy Converter,” a low-cost solution that enables banks and 3rd party EFT processors to migrate their remote terminals, ATMs, and cluster controllers to IP networks. The Encore Networks IBR-10 IP+Legacy Converter is designed to meet the requirements of seamless evolution from legacy applications to broadband IP infrastructure. With its flexible architecture, the IBR-10 product is the ideal low-cost platform that provides banks, financial institutions and 3rd party EFT processors with the ability to migrate their remote terminals, ATM cash machines, and cluster controllers to IP networks. The advantages are tremendous: higher speeds, lower network costs, virtually error free transmissions, faster response time and remote management capability.

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MasterCard Seeks Patent for New Debit Card Hologram

MasterCard has filed to patent the new “Debit MasterCard Hologram,” which it is producing through American Bank Note Holographics. The patent application relates to the use of holograms to visually identify a type of payment device. The design includes the word “Debit” in approximately 14 point italic type, contrasted against a hologram background including two interlocking three-dimensional spheres. The design does not affect Maestro, MasterCard International’s PIN-based debit brand, or debit MasterCard BusinessCard programs. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs.

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New ATM Check Deposit Solution Unveiled

Memphis-based Software Earnings and CA-based Infonox have teamed to produce a solution that facilitates check cashing and depositing at the ATM while eliminating empty envelope fraud, reducing deposit sweeps and lowering servicing costs. The resulting deposit automation and imaging solution enhances cash and check deposit processing at ATMs, heightens customer convenience, and dramatically lowers the traditional operating costs associated with ATM deposit processing. Infonox provides infrastructure software for businesses to deploy, aggregate and manage transaction services. Software Earnings, Inc., founded in 1988, provides image-based and conventional check processing solutions to the financial industry.

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Software for Credit Counseling Firms Introduced

San Diego-based Integrant has released its “DebtLogic” software that is designed to reduce both the operating cost and processing complications associated with credit counseling and also assists in improving agency performance, thereby increasing fair share percentages. The beta version of DebtLogic was developed with and now installed at Springboard in Riverside, California. Springboard is a non-profit agency formed in 1974 by business leaders and credit grantors. DebtLogic automates all processing associated with credit counseling, including call scripting, appointment scheduling, counseling, activity tracking, DMP setup and management as well as proposal and creditor management. Integrant, Inc. is a business technology consulting and software engineering firm, established in Southern California since 1992.

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