Globalink @dvantage

Atlanta-based Global Payments has launched “Globalink @dvantage,” an information and account access Web portal customized exclusively for Global’s ISOs. Globalink @dvantage is a secure, Web-based data and business management tool designed to help ISOs effectively run and grow their businesses. Globalink offers a comprehensive library of informative materials, transaction and financial data, as well as portfolio management and risk reduction tools, all highly secured by five levels of protection.

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BIBIT 1Q/03

Kosterijland-based Bibit Global Payment Services reported that transaction volumes increased 247% and values of transactions increased 382% in the first quarter compared to one year ago. Bibit specializes in processing payments over the Internet and provides a multi-lingual, end-to-end payment service that combines over 70 multi-currency and international payment methods into a single digital solution. During the first quarter the company signed Hapag-Lloyd / TUI, Virgin Express, Footlocker Europe and Pixmania as clients. Bibit says its average amount per transaction grew from $192 to $266 over the past year with the IT sector being the largest contributor, with shoppers by now spending well over US$1,285 per purchase.

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EasyFuel

On Track Innovations Ltd has commercially launched its wireless solution for petroleum payment management and loyalty programs for oil companies, commercial transport and transportation fleets, and private motorists. “EasyFuel” is targeted for the U.S. and European markets, but is currently deployed in Africa and South America. The fleet product has been operating in Africa via BP and Exel under the brand name “FuelMaster,” and currently includes approximately 500 gas stations and 40,000 vehicles. OTI recently announced that ABSA Bank, the largest commercial bank in South Africa, had joined the “FuelMaster Express” program, geared toward private motorists, providing access to over 400,000 motorists in ABSA’s fuel card program. BP and Repsol have adopted OTI’s solution for petroleum payment and fleet management in Africa, South America, and Europe.

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FARE COLLECTION SYSTEM

The Metropolitan Bus Authority for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Department of Transportation and Public Works has signed a $6.4 million contract with Cubic Transportation Systems to provide an advanced electronic bus fare collection system for San Juan. Cubic will supply the MBA with a modern computer managed system. The system will consist of modular fareboxes which have been operationally proven in New York City and Vancouver. The fareboxes validate coins and process magnetic fare cards and are configured so that contactless smart card technology can be introduced in the future. A big part of the system is the central computer for data collection and reporting, which will enable the MBA to better manage fare collection revenues. Under this same contract, Cubic is also supplying its bus fare collection equipment and technology for a second bus operator, Metro Bus Uno, which is under contract to the MBA. Fare collection data from the 30 buses operated by Metro Bus Uno will be uploaded to the MBA central system as part of the fare collection revenue management process.

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FDC-Concord Merger

As expected, the U.S. Department of Justice has requested additional information pertaining to First Data’s pending merger with Concord EFS. The second request will extend the waiting period, however the companies still expect to close the transaction by the end of this year. The DOJ is weighing the impact on the electronic transactions market if First Data’s “NYCE” network is combined with Concord’s “STAR,” “MAC” and “Cash Station” networks. FDC’s ownership of Western Union may also be an issue. FDC and Concord EFS announced in April a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $7 billion. (CF Library 4/2/03)

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COF Settlement

Capital One confirmed yesterday it has settled an age discrimination lawsuit filed by about 60 former employees. The lawsuit, filed in December, and joined in March by the AARP, was seeking class action status. Capital One reportedly said the firings of the employees, who were 40 years old and up, were “performance related.” All the parties agreed to keep the terms of this week’s settlement confidential. However, Capital One has denied any liability in connection with the lawsuit. In February, Capital One was ranked in Fortune’s listing of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” for the fourth year in a row. Capital One was also recognized as one of the top “25 Best Places to Work for Women.” (CF Library 3/18/03)

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Best Buy Lawsuit

Best Buy has filed its own lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard over fees its pays to accept debit and prepaid cards. The company says it has accepted nearly 90 million signature debit card payments over the past four years that has cost the retailer tens of millions of extra dollars compared to PIN debit card payments. The federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Minneapolis. Other retailers such as Home Depot, Toys R Us, Meijer Stores and Giant Eagle have also filed separate lawsuits over off-line debit cards. Formal settlement agreements were signed last week by the parties in the “Wal-Mart” antitrust case against VISA/MasterCard. According to the settlement terms, VISA is set to pay $2.025 billion to merchants over the next 10 years and MasterCard is set to pay $1.025 billion over the same period. The agreements also state that VISA and MasterCard will lower fees on off-line signature debit card transactions beginning August 1st. Also, as of January 1, 2004, merchants will no longer be forced to comply with the credit card associations’ “Honor All Cards” rule. The parties will seek final approval of the agreement by the federal court in late September. (CF Library 5/5/03; 6/6/03)

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VW VISA

Volkswagen of America and Bank One are gearing up to launch a co-branded VISA card this summer. The new “Volkswagen Platinum VISA Card with Rewards” offers points for every purchase, double points for Volkswagen purchases, and an instant credit feature. Under the program, cardholders earn two points for every dollar spent on qualified Volkswagen purchases and one point for every dollar spent on other purchases. Points may be used toward the purchase or lease of a new Volkswagen or the purchase of a previously owned Volkswagen. Points can also be redeemed for Volkswagen service or maintenance, parts, Volkswagen “DriverGear,” extended service or warranty contracts, or for goods and services from more than 100 partners. A minimum of 2,500 points are required to make a redemption. Later this year, some Volkswagen dealerships will feature instant credit applications, enabling consumers to apply for the card when applying to Volkswagen Credit for an automobile loan or lease. Approved cardholders will receive an initial instant credit line of $2,000 that can be used at the dealerships for Volkswagen purchases, for which they’ll receive double reward points. The card carries no annual fee, a six-month 0% intro rate, and a prime +6.99% on-going APR. The VW card was previously issued by MBNA.

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MBNA/TWA/AA Action

A law firm announced yesterday it is investigating complaints over the termination of the “MBNA/TWA Aviators VISA/MasterCard.” Los Angeles-based Weiss & Yourman filed a lawsuit against MBNA, TWA, and American Airlines alleging the companies did not transfer cardholder “Aviator” miles to the American Airlines “AAdvantage” program in a reasonable amount of time. The lawsuit says in some cases the miles were not transferred at all. The lawsuit also alleges that MBNA failed to provide a refund, on a pro rata basis, of the annual fees based on the termination of the program which occurred on September 24, 2001. TWA filed for bankruptcy in January 2001 and was later acquired by American Airlines.

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Fifth Third & La Quinta

Dallas-based La Quinta has selected Fifth Third Bank’s electronic payment processing division as the endorsed credit card processor for its 350 locations in 33 states. Dallas-based La Quinta Corporation owns, operates or franchises more than 350 La Quinta Inns and La Quinta Inn & Suites in 33 states. Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Experian Traffic

Experian Consumer Direct reported this week that its family of Web sites, according to comScore Media Metrix, produced first quarter traffic of 26.1 million unique visitors compared to Equifax’s 4.0 million and TransUnion’s 1.6 million. Experian Consumer Direct’s family of sites produced a 22 percent increase in traffic from the previous quarter. Experian Consumer Direct offers consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit histories, to help them better manage their financial lives.

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