E-Check Payments May Top 1 Billion this Year

The number of e-check payments is likely to reach or exceed one billion this year, which would double the number of e-checks payments in 2002. According to the Electronic Payments Association, more than 490 million e-check payments were made in 2002, nearly tripling the number in 2001. During 2002, there were 233 million e-checks initiated via the Internet, up 213% over 2001. The number of e-checks at the POS was 167 million, up 89%. Over the telephone, there were 68 million e-check payments, up 680%. More than 24 million checks sent to remittance locations were converted to e-checks in 2002, the first year this application was available. An e-check is an electronic debit to a consumer’s checking account that is initiated at the point-of-sale, on the Internet, over the telephone, or via a bill remittance sent through the mail, and is processed using the ACH Network. NACHA is holding its 6th annual electronic check conference, in New Orleans, in mid-September. (CF Library 4/28/03)

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PULSE EFT Raises PIN Interchange this Fall

Pulse EFT Association announced it will raise its PIN-based debit card transaction fees from 15 cents each to 18 cents each on October 1st. The network raised fees last year from 10 cents per transaction. NYCE raised its interchange last week to a maximum of 40 cents for retailers and 21.5 cents for supermarkets. The STAR network currently charges a maximum of 34 cents for retailers and 19 cents for supermarkets. The changes in PIN-debit interchange are not related to the recent Wal-Mart debit card lawsuit which will significantly reduce signature-based debit card interchange next month.

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First Data Tackles Healthcare Transaction Processing

Competition is heating up in the healthcare transaction processing business as industry giant First Data teams with FL-based ProxyMed. Under terms of the deal, the two companies will jointly market “FirstProxy,” a new suite of innovative solutions that streamline and expedite healthcare claim, payment and settlement processes. The first offering, “FirstProxy ERA/EFT,” will transform the remittance advice and payment process from paper-based to electronic. The processing and settlement of the financial transactions and payments will start and end within the First Data processing system. ProxyMed is the nation’s second largest medical claims processor with direct connectivity to over 140,000 healthcare providers and all-payer connections in 46 states, and is an EHNAC certified organization maintaining direct connectivity to one of the industry’s largest lists of payers, the largest list of chain and independent pharmacies and the largest list of clinical laboratories.

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Golf Galaxy Launches E-Gift Card for its Superstores

The first sports-based retail chain to implement an electronic cash card program has been launched. Edina, MN-based Golf Galaxy has introduced an electronic gift card for its 22 superstores which can be used for merchandise, golf lessons, club repair and other services. The card program is being provided by Comdata’s Stored Value Systems subsidiary and minority-owned marketing partner, Salt Lake City-based Gift Card Solutions. Gift Card Solutions, formerly Gift Check Solutions, manages the creation, processing, printing and fulfillment of gift certificates and gift cards.

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Welcome Real-time and Dionica Integrate Loyalty and Terminals

France-based loyalty specialist Welcome Real-time and Italy-based terminal manufacturer Dionica have partnered to provide EMV payment and loyalty solutions for card issuers and retailers. Under the agreement, the two companies will integrate Welcome ‘s “eXtended Loyalty System” within Dionica’s “OMERO” range of EMV terminals. Welcome provides smart card software that enhances payment transactions with real-time point of sale features such as welcome gifts, surprise bonuses, personal reminders, targeted samples, loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, and cash back. Dionica’s product portfolio includes desktop, wireless and portable terminals, electronic purse payment applications and PIN Pads.

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Mac’s Goes Triton for ATMs

eFunds and Trition announced that Mac’s Convenience Stores is currently installing 379 new Triton ATMs among its 500 stores including Bigfoot, Dairy Mart, Handy Andy, and Mac’s stores. The ATMs will connect to the eFunds ATM processing network through existing high speed in-store wide area networks. The connection technology reduces transaction processing times for Mac’s customers and decreases communication costs. Triton is the leading provider of cash-dispensing ATMs for off-premise locations, and is committed to redefining and leading the retail market for cash delivery systems.

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Second Quarter Outstandings Growth Weak

Early returns in the “2Q/03 Portfolio Survey” has found weak growth in credit card outstandings. Based on returns from smaller issuers with outstandings between $28 million and $87 million, second quarter outstandings were up a mere 60 basis points from one year ago. The siphoning-off of credit card debt by home equity and home refinancing plus the sluggish economy appear to be factors. For complete details on the latest 2Q/03 portfolio reports visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

2Q/03 Early Bank Credit Card Early Snapshot
Issuer 2Q/03 OUT 2Q/02 OUT CHANGE
Randolph Brooks FCU (TX) $87,027,410 $84,738,119 +2.7%
Franklin Templeton B&T (UT) $35,801,058 $33,781,209 +6.0%
San Mateo CU (CA) $33,300,000 $34,900,000 -4.6%
Tinker CU (OK) $30,069,241 $30,200,000 -0.4%
Andrews FCU (MD) $28,329,837 $29,686,052 -4.6%
TOTAL $214,527,546 $213,305,380 +0.6%

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Bender to Drive e-Suds for USTT

PA-based USA Technologies has named Erika Bender as VP/Channel Manager of its “e-Suds” product line, a comprehensive online laundry payment, operating and service system that connects washing machines and dryers to the Internet. USA Technologies also recently restructured its organization and go-to-market strategy to strengthen focus on its core markets of Intelligent Vending and Automated Retailing, Business Services, and Commercial Laundry. USA Technologies expects to disclose details of several significant new alliances in each of its core areas of business, an Intelligent Vending alliance involving a global leader in the vending industry, a Business Express partnership with one of the biggest business services concerns in the world, and an e-Suds contract with a global giant in the consumer products industry.

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OMERO XLS

Aix-en-Provence-based loyalty specialist Welcome Real-time and Italy-based terminal manufacturer Dionica have partnered to provide EMV payment and loyalty solutions for card issuers and retailers. Under the agreement, the two companies will integrate Welcome ‘s “eXtended Loyalty System” within Dionica’s “OMERO” range of EMV terminals. Welcome provides smart card software that enhances payment transactions with real-time point of sale features such as welcome gifts, surprise bonuses, personal reminders, targeted samples, loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, cash back and more, all in a single payment process. Dionica’s product portfolio includes desktop, wireless and portable terminals, electronic purse payment applications and PIN Pads.

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Coinstar for Blood Cancer Research Exceeds $1 Million

Coinstar reported it processed $1.3 million in spare change this year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society annual fundraiser. Last year, only $663,000 was raised for the Pennies for Patients program, compared to nearly twice as much this year. Overall, Pennies for Patients has raised a total of $10.5 million this year to help in the fight against blood cancers. Coinstar users have the option to donate spare change to the Society by simply following the donation prompts on the machine’s screen and selecting the organization’s designated donation code.

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Diebold’s Change-Back Machines Signs PA Client

Diebold’s “Change-Back Machines,” which allows cash customers to pay at the pump and receive change from a self-service terminal without entering the store, have picked up a new customer. The latest machines have been deployed at Sheetz stores in Johnstown and Dunmore, Pennsylvania. The convenience store chain is considering the installation in more of its stores later this year in response to customer demand. Sheetz operates more than 285 c-stories in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. Diebold introduced the “Change-Back Machines” two years ago and has deployed them in more than a dozen states.

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