WinCo Stores Deploy Precidia Technologies’ EtherDial

Ottawa-based Precidia Technologies has deployed its unique “EtherDial” product in 35 WinCo stores, connecting ATMs to the store’s Ethernet LAN. The “EtherDial” allowed WinCo to eliminate its dependence on dial lines for ATM transaction processing. The “EtherDial,” like the other products in Precidia’s line, features value-added management capabilities such as an SNMP agent, an embedded Web server for log and status pages, and remote configurability. WinCo has stores in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California and Oregon.

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VISA EU to Deploy BT’s Niku 6 Across its IT Department

VISA EU has awarded BT a contract to help it manage its portfolio of IT projects, internal services and resources. The BT solution is based on the “Enterprise Portfolio Management” system “Niku 6.” BT will deploy “Niku 6” across VISA’s entire European IT department, which is headquartered in the UK. VISA said it will be able to apply a high-degree of governance to its IT function, including risk management and cost control.

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Optimal Robotics is Buying All of the Assets of Montreal’s RBA

Optimal Robotics has signed an agreement for the purchase of substantially all of the assets of Canada’s largest independent service company. Headquartered in Montreal, RBA is the largest independent Canadian provider of multi-vendor hardware maintenance outsourcing services, with over 350,000 sites being serviced and annual revenues of approximately CDN$41.0 million. RBA delivers its maintenance services through various business segments, including Interac/Credit Card POS systems, Video Lottery and Bring-In Centers. RBA provides its services through a network of approximately 35 branches and 550 employees.

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Allpoint Network Adds Another 1,000 ATMs

After only four months online, the nation’s largest surcharge-free ATM network continues to gather steam with the addition of 1,000 off-premise ATMs. The additional ATMs to the Allpoint network are the result of the recent acquisition of ATMs from American Express by Cardtronics, one of ATM National’s partners. MD-based ATM National also recently signed payroll and prepaid debit customers for its Allpoint network, including Citicorp EFS, Money Network, iWire, Inc. and NetSpend Corporation. The network, launched in April, currently has 25,000 participating ATMs nationwide. Unlike other shared surcharge-free networks, Allpoint members join as card issuers only. E*Trade and Cardtronics have contributed their ATMs to the network. Fiserv EFT/CNS is also an Allpoint partner. (CF Library 9/4/03; 9/8/03)

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Points International and American Airlines Expand Deal

Toronto-based Points International announced a comprehensive agreement with American Airlines. The agreement builds upon an existing relationship through which Points has developed a growing suite of solutions to enhance the “AAdvantage” program and extends a number of existing short-term agreements through December 31, 2007, including those for “pointsxchange,” “pointspurchase,” and “pointstransfer.” In addition, Points and American Airlines will jointly commit to co-market loyalty offerings to millions of “AAdvantage” members over the next
five years.

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VISA Smart Breakthrough Signs Second Vendor

UbiQ, a specialist in high-volume smart card personalization, has joined the “VISA Smart Breakthrough Turnkey Personalization Program.” UbiQ is the second vendor to join the program. The solution is being offered primarily in geographic markets outside the USA and to banks that are migrating to “Visa Smart Debit/Credit.” The new solution is designed for member banks seeking to control the personalization process in-house. It is targeted for low and medium volume issuance launches and is scalable to large volume smart card issuance. In addition to their complete turnkey personalization package, UbiQ also offers a pilot solution and a software-only offering, enabling VISA member banks to use a personalization equipment of their choice ranging from low volume to high volume capacity. The “Visa Smart Breakthrough” global initiative was launched three years ago.

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MasterCard Offers Canadians a Free Equifax Credit Report

MasterCard Canada this week launched “Credit Report Week” and is offering Canadians an Equifax credit report at no charge. The special offer will end Sunday, September 14th at 11:59 p.m. Under Canadian law, Canadians are entitled to see the information that Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada has about them. Basic credit reports are always available free by mail or in-person from both credit agencies. Online credit reports, however, are available for a fee. For example, Equifax Canada’s online report costs $14.50. MasterCard is limiting the fee offer to the first 10,000 consumers through the Be Credit Wise credit education center at www.mastercard.ca/creditwise.

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Hypercom Terminals Become PayPass Ready

Hypercom is joining the MasterCard’s “PayPass” contactless payment program. Orlando-based Fazoli’s Italian restaurants will deploy Hypercom’s solution. Going forward, Hypercom’s “ICE 5500Plus” and “ICE 6000Plus” terminals will incorporate a special antenna and reader to offer merchants a seamless, fully integrated solution for MasterCard “PayPass.” In addition, retailers like Fazoli’s with existing Hypercom terminals can add an auxiliary RF reader with virtually no changes necessary. MasterCard “PayPass” is currently being trialed with three of MasterCard’s key member financial institutions in a pilot that involves more than 16,000 cardholders and approximately 60 merchant locations in Orlando.

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CIBC Extends E-mail Money Transfer to Charitable Donations

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and CIBC are extending E-mail money transfer to include charitable donations. CIBC will donate $1.50 to CBCF for every Email Money Transfer donated by a CIBC customer. Last year, four of Canada’s Big Five banks launched Email Money Transfers as a way for Canadians to send money to each other directly out of their bank accounts and using only an email address. The annual Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation “CIBC Run for the Cure” is the largest single-day fundraising event in Canada dedicated to breast cancer and will be held this year on October 5, in 36 communities across the country.

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EXTORTIONATE CARD RATES

Private label store card giant GE Consumer Finance, and other retail credit card issues in the UK, are coming under fire for continuing to charge interest rates as high as 32.5%, even though the Bank of England base rate has dropped to 3.5%. The Office of Fair Trading this week called the rates “extortionate” and has launched an informal inquiry into retail credit cards following complaints from Members of Parliament.

The OFT suggested that stiff fines could be imposed on the issuers. The OFT will grill bank industry leaders in a hearing next month. Several weeks ago, the Treasury Select Committee held a hearing over retail credit cards and accused the industry of “highway robbery” given that the Bank of England base rate has fallen from 7.0% in 1999 to 3.5% currently. The Commons Treasury Select Committee found that the average rate of interest for retail cards is about 29%, and is relatively unchanged since 1999. The highest rate of 32.5%, was charged for the Toys ‘R’ Us credit card.

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