Stage Stores to Unload $34 MM Store Card Portfolio

Stage Stores has completed its acquisition of Peebles and will now sell-off Peebles’ $33.8 million private label credit card portfolio. The total cost of the acquisition, including certain transaction related costs, net of tax benefits, is estimated to be approximately $167 million. The Company also assumed the outstanding balance under Peebles’ revolving credit facility of approximately $54.9 million. Stage Stores Inc. brings nationally recognized brand name apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear for the entire family to small and mid-size towns and communities through 514 stores located in 27 states.

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Gift Card and CD-ROM POS Package Introduced

Los Gatos, CA-based Acquire has come up with a novel way to combine the delivery of retail product information with a prepaid card. The new “Entertainment Everywhere GiftCard” has been integrated in a POS package with a full size or mini CD-ROM. Each “EE GiftCard” also offers a sweepstakes, featuring vacations and exciting merchandise give-a-ways. The sweepstakes registration captures valuable consumer profile and demographic information. Acquire’s “EE Data” software application measures the consumer’s interaction with the CD, capturing insertion rates, viewing metrics and in-depth consumer analysis. The full size or mini CD-ROM can be used by retailers to showcase their latest products, services and corporate branding in an interactive format.

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FreeStar Technology Adds VP/European Operations and Operations Manager

Helsinki-based FreeStar Technology has hired two executives. Carl Hessel has been named VP/European Operations and Sandor Hantosi has been named Operations Manager. Hessel founded a Geneva-based firm that focuses on brokerage advisory and proprietary management services to international high-net-worth investors and their intermediaries. Hantosi has worked as project evaluation consultant to international banks and headed large scale power infrastructure projects world wide in the capacity of International Project Director. FreeStar currently processes approximately 1,000,000 card payments per month for an established client base that comprises companies such as Finnair, Ikea and Stockman.

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Zebra Teams with Acsis for RFID Solutions

Zebra Technologies has teamed with Acsis, a provider of data collection and integration solutions for companies running SAP ERP systems, to help companies implement RFID technology in their supply chains by January 1, 2005. Acsis Inc. is a worldwide leader in delivering supply chain optimization solutions for companies deploying SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning software solutions. Zebra Technologies Corp. delivers innovative and reliable on-demand printing solutions for business improvement and security applications in 100 countries around the world.

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Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Migrates ATM Network from OS2 to Windows

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has selected NCR’s “APTRA Edge” open multivendor software application to run on its network of more than 13,000 ATMs. This is the first migration of an ATM network from the “OS/2” platform to “Microsoft Windows” in China. Under terms of the deal, “APTRA Edge” will run on different brands of “CEN/XFS”-compliant machines in the bank’s installed base of ATMs. In conjunction with the “APTRA Edge” multivendor software contract, ICBC has also signed a separate agreement to buy more ATMs from NCR as it continues to expand and modernize its ATM network.

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FTC DNC Complaints Top 50,000 in 3 Weeks

The Federal Trade Commission reported Monday that more than 51,000 complaints against telemarketers have been filed since the “National Do Not Call Registry” was implemented on October 10th. More than 33,000 telemarketing organizations have accessed the Registry, with over 650 downloading all of the area codes in the Registry. On average, telemarketers downloaded 45 area codes out of a possible 317.

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Elan Introduces Fastbank Free for SFA

U.S. Bancorp’s Elan Financial Services announced that its “Fastbank ATM Network” will now offer a surcharge free option and will be available nationwide. The new, nationwide “Fastbank” network is a combination of the former “Fastbank” network in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin and the “Minibank” network in Colorado and Wyoming, as well as the addition of numerous other ATMs across the nation. “Fastbank Free” is the name of surcharge free option of the network. “Fastbank” has more than 7,000 ATMs in 47 states, plus the District of Columbia, while “Fastbank Free” offers 3,200 ATMs in 24 states. Elan provides full ATM processing and support as well as a full set of marketing tools, including prominent signage and Web ATM locators to create and maintain awareness of the “Fastbank” network. Elan Financial Services supports more than 6,500 ATMs, 15 million ATM/POS cards, and two million credit cardholders and provides full-service support and management tools to more than 2,500 financial institutions nationwide.

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Jware Technologies Launches Two Totally Portable EFT Software Products

Caen-based Jware Technologies has launched two totally portable EFT software products that can be used in any business environment in nearly any country. “Jware Flow” is a secure transaction platform that is “J2EE” compliant, has native OS portability, and is open to all market leading databases. “Jware Flow” is interoperable with third party applications and it can be bundled with one or all of Jware’s nine different software packages. Each software package addresses a different aspect of secure transaction processing and they can be used separately or together depending on what solution the client requires. The first package available is “Jware Payment POS” which includes all of the business applications needed to make card payments in a retail, Internet or automated teller environment. Other packages that feature different aspects of secure transaction processing will be released over the coming months. All Jware Technologies solutions are international. Each package respects all major languages, performs automatic currency conversion and respects different national regulatory environments. In addition Jware products are EMV compliant, work with smart cards and natively support multi applications.

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Fair Isaac 3Q Revenues Up Nearly 25%

Fair Isaac reported that revenues for the quarter ending September 30th increased 24.5% to $161 million compared to the same year-ago period. Net income for the quarter totaled $31.7 million, compared with a net loss of $24.2 million in 3Q/02. The Company’s Scoring Solutions business posted a small gain in revenues from $33.5 million in 3Q/02 to $34.5 million for the current third calendar quarter. Strategy Machine Solutions revenues were up 37.5% to $96.6 million. The Professional Services segment was flat at $21.6 million, compared to one-year ago. Revenues for Fair Isaac’s Analytic Software Tools business more than doubled to $8.2 million. During the quarter, Fair Isaac released “Decision Optimizer 5.0” and recently launched “ID Fraud Intercept,” a new online consumer service. Also during the quarter, Fair Isaac acquired CO-based NAREX, a specialist in analytic solutions for collections and recovery, for $10 million cash. In early October, the Company announced it has also acquired CO-based Seurat Company, a precision marketing outsourcing firm. For complete details on Fair Isaac’s third calendar quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 7/29/03; 9/3/03; 10/7/03; 10/9/03)

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

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Citigroup Closes Sears Card Acquisition

Citigroup confirmed Monday the closing of its acquisition of the Sears Credit Card and Financial Products business. The purchase price of $31.8 billion, at closing, included a 10% premium on Sears private label and bankcard credit card receivables of $28.6 billion or $2.9 billion, and $300 million for other assets, business facilities and employees. Included in the purchase price was the assumption of $10.4 billion in securitized debt and other liabilities. Additionally, Citigroup and Sears have entered into a multi-year marketing and servicing agreement across a range of each company’s businesses, products and services. Citi said that there would be no immediate changes to the Sears card programs or operations. The acquisition will expand Citigroup’s portfolio to 161 million accounts and $146 billion card receivables in North America.

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FCC Goes After AT&T for Call Violations

The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday it is seeking a $780,000 fine against AT&T for calling consumers who previously requested to be placed on AT&T’s in-house do-not-call list. The Commission found that AT&T apparently made telephone solicitation calls to 29 consumers on 78 separate occasions after those consumers had requested that AT&T not call them again. The Commission proposed a forfeiture of $10,000 for each of the 78 apparent violations.

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