Vital Clears Lipman’s Wireless Terminals

Vital Processing Services has “Class A” approved Lipman’s retail and direct marketing POS application to include restaurants for credit, debit, EBT and commercial card processing for the “NURIT 2085,” “NURIT 3000,” and the “NURIT 3010” terminals. Vital has also Class A Approved the wireless NURIT 8000 terminal to process through Vital’s network. These solutions will be fully supported on Vital’s award-winning merchant help desk. The addition of Lipman’s enhanced POS application for restaurants and wireless terminal solutions to Vital’s terminal offerings provides Vital’s acquiring and Independent Sales Organization clients with additional targeted POS solutions to sell and distribute to their restaurant, retail and direct marketing customers.

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FTC Clears Sears-Citigroup Card Deal

The Federal Trade Commission has provided antitrust clearance to Citigroup for its acquisition of the of Sears credit card portfolio. Sears announced last month that it reached a definitive agreement to sell its domestic private-label and bank credit card portfolio to Citigroup for more than $3 billion, or approximately 10% over the total outstandings. Other terms of the deal include payment for approximately $3 billion of Sears’ net invested capital, related to loan loss reserves. Sears also expects to receive approximately $200 million in annual performance payments from Citigroup based on items such as new account and credit sales generation activities. In addition, Sears expects to realize annual savings of more than $200 million as Citigroup will absorb costs associated with Sears’ zero percent financing program. (CF Library 7/16/03)

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COLES MYER MASTERCARD

Giant retailer Coles Myer has finally decided to go with GE Consumer Finance to issue a co-branded MasterCard. The new card will be issued in October and will be linked to the popular “Fly Buys” loyalty program. Coles Myer currently has a private label card, but began the process of evaluating a co-branded bank credit card partner more than one year ago. “Fly Buys” is the most popular loyalty program in Australia and New Zealand with more than 5.4 million members. Coles Myer has 1.7 million store cardholders. However, GE has had to overcome several roadblocks to issue the card. GE had to negotiate with National Australia Bank over the “Fly Buys” loyalty program. It is also in discussions with the Commonwealth Bank and Woolworths, who have a contract with MasterCard stipulating that no other retailer may issue a MasterCard in Australia. GE Consumer Finance recently applied for a specialist banking license in Australia and is set to launch private label cards with Harvey Norman, Clive Peters, and Freedom next month.

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University Affinity Gift Card Launched in Texas

The first-ever university affinity gift card is being launched by the largest “VISA Gift Card” program in the country. Simon Property Group and the University of Texas-Austin have teamed to launch the new “Longhorn Simon VISA Giftcard.” The card, available in denominations ranging from $20 to $500, has a $2.50 handling fee, a portion of which will support activities at UT-Austin. The “Simon Giftcard” was piloted in August 2001 and was rolled out to nearly 160 Simon Malls this year. The company says sales are running about 30% higher than comparable gift certificate sales last year. Simon currently operates 16 malls in the Texas area that sell “Simon Giftcards” and will test market the “Longhorn Giftcard” at Barton Creek Square in Austin next month. The “Longhorn Giftcards” will also be available for purchase online by October.

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CyberSource to Offer First Data’s Internet Check Solution

CyberSource has signed a deal to offer the “TeleCheck Internet Check Acceptance” service from First Data as a preferred Internet check solution for its merchants. The TeleCheck Internet Check Acceptance service from First Data is now a preferred Internet check solution for CyberSource merchants. This service provides Internet merchants access to the underserved market of customers who prefer to pay by check, and is designed to be flexible and easy to implement. Merchants can accept customer checks, using the ICA service’s proprietary fraud prevention tools and databases, which reduce merchant risk through real-time authentication, account number screens and identity-based check writer files.

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ProPay Gets More Funding

UT-based ProPay, a firm specializing in electronic transactions for small business owners including dealers of Mary Kay and Nu Skin, has picked up a second investment from UT-based UTFC Financing Solutions. The Orem, Utah-based firm is a popular choice among the 12 million Americans engaged in the direct selling industry, already partnering with, among others, $1.6-billion Mary Kay and nearly-$1 billion Nu Skin Enterprises for retail payment needs. Since UTFC’s first $250,000 investment in ProPay in May 2002, the company has achieved cash-flow profitability.

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NPC Signs Processing Deal with Luxottica Retail

National Processing Company has signed a multi-year credit card processing agreement with Luxottica Retail and its 2,500 U.S.-based LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Watch Station and Watch World stores. Under the terms of the agreement, NPC will provide authorization and settlement services via NPC’s MultiLink platform for all MasterCard and VISA transactions accepted at all U.S.-based LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Watch Station and Watch World stores. Luxottica Group is the world leader in the design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of prescription frames and sunglasses in mid and premium-priced categories.

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Relo VISA Card has Potential

Prudential Relocation services released a survey this week showing that most corporations believe that “Lump Sum” relocation programs should be blended into the overall mobility strategy as a cost containment element. Prudential and U.S. Bank have teamed to issue the “Relo VISA Card,” a pre-funded card for relocating employees. Survey respondents were asked how they track “Lump Sum” spending: 53% said they don’t track how the money is spent and only 6% are using a summary report or “Relo Card” to track spending.

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Biometrics Credit Card Fraud Tool Coming

NY-based Eye-d-Signature will tomorrow launch its “CFD TOO” biometrics technology for credit card fraud. It is designed for retail, and restaurant industries as well as leisure and transportation industries. CFD TOO is the only security system on the market that can be used to detect any type of credit card purchase; and, that guarantees 100% fraud-free transactions and information. The system takes individual hand signatures and face profiles to create a personal profile that is stored in CFD TOO(TM) data base. The personal, individual profile confirms the identity of the card owner or the person authorized to use the credit card.

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Alliance Payment Solutions, Inc. Formed

Lansing, MI-based Alliance Payment Solutions, Inc. announced its formation yesterday to provide remittance processing services to financial and commercial businesses. Alliance’s services will include the physical collection of bill payments, image-based processing and deposits made to the customers’ banks. Daily reports, statement rendering, ACH payment conversion, image archive and online account access will also be available. With opportunities in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio under consideration, the company anticipates processing volumes to exceed 10,000 payments daily by the end of December.

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Bellarmine University and U.S. Bank Launch Campus Card

KY-based Bellarmine University has teamed with U.S. Bank to issue a multi-use school identification card. The new “Bellarmine OneCard” will enable users to check out library resources, purchase meals, access the campus fitness facilities as well as obtain cash as an U.S. Bank ATM card on and off campus and make purchases as a VISA card off-campus. The new card will be used by Bellarmine’s 2,400 students and more than 200 faculty and staff members. U.S. Bank is one of the top student banking institutions and is a leader in the issuance of the prepaid “VISA Bixx Card.” In July, U.S. Bank signed a deal with Spokane-based Gonzaga University for a multi-use identification card for its 5,400 students and 800 faculty and staff members. (CF Library 7/21/03)

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National Do Not Call Registry Tops 41 Million

The Federal Trade Commission reported yesterday that 41.7 million telephone numbers have been registered on the “National Do Not Call Registry.” Nine million additional consumer telephone numbers were transferred recently from state do-not-call lists to the Registry. Telemarketers will be permitted to purchase the registry as of September 1st and compliance with the list is required as of October 1st. The majority, 85% of the registrations occurred on-line. The FTC projects that 60 million phone numbers may be registered in the “Registry” within the first twelve months.

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