Credit Card Analyzer

Microsoft announced this morning it is expanding its “CNBC on MSN Money” personal finance service on June 20th to include a “Credit Card Analyzer” feature. Microsoft also announced that CNBC on MSN Money attracted the largest audience among financial news and information Web sites in March and April, surpassing competitors such as Yahoo! Finance and AOL Personal Finance, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Microsoft also announced other new tools to enable consumers to monitor investment and market changes. For example, “GainsKeeper” which helps investors optimize investment transactions, minimize tax implications and automatically generate a ready-to-file Schedule D. Additionally, there are new “Candlestick Charts” which show investors open/close/high/low prices for one or more stocks providing at-a-glance insights into the bullish or bearish trends underlying daily stock trading activity.

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SPS 2003

San Diego-based Secure Payment Systems has inked a deal with credit card processor US Merchant Services to offer SPS check guarantee services including the SPS “PayDay” 90-day “same-as-cash” loan program. SPS also reported this week a record 48% increase in volume for the first four months of this year as compared to the same period in 2002. SPS offers an integrated check conversion and gift card program and other check services. The company was founded in 1996 by Lin Fellerman, former 20 year employee and 10 year President of the Telecredit/Equifax Check Services subsidiaries.

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AmEx Defined Cards

American Express has launched a suite of “Defined Expense Cards” for larger corporate clients. The new cards can be set-up to expire after a company-determined period of two to 24 months, and carry a maximum spending limit, as well as monthly or per-transaction spending limits if necessary. An online administrative website enables the program manager to issue, monitor and adjust limits on cards in real time from a central point. AmEx said after a successful in-market pilot with more than a dozen companies, the new card has already been used for employee relocation, per-diem travel advances, virtual office needs, marketing project budgets, educational seminars, and temporary assignments. Unlike pre-paid cards, the “Corporate Defined Expense Program” is centrally billed on a monthly basis, after expenses are incurred, enabling companies to spread out payments over the life of a project.

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INSIDE KARTU-KONTAN

Aix-en-Provence-badsed INSIDE Contactless has been selected by Epecom Technology & Distribution to offer PT Adiwira Sembada a cashless payment solution for a parking pilot program in Jakarta,Indonesia. The “Kartu-Kontan” project will use INSIDE Contactless’ “PicoTag” chip and the “Hand’IT” contactless springboard modules for the hand held readers. Epecom will provide the full integration of the system.

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SLMsoft Update

Toronto-based SLMsoft has filed for protection under the “Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act” after negotiations with Insight Venture Associates stalled. Insight has filed a petition for bankruptcy against SLM. However, SLM is commencing proceedings to seek a stay of this petition. SLMsoft Inc. provides real-time end-to-end e-banking solutions that include Internet banking, interactive voice recognition, debit and credit card issuing, automated teller machines and point-of-sale network management, retail branch management, and e-CRM enabling technology.

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Multi-Currency e-Commerce Service

CyberSource and E4X have teamed to deliver a multi-currency e-commerce service that combines E4X’s ability to eliminate currency conversion risks for both sellers and their customers, and CyberSource’s ability to provide payment and risk management solutions through a single interface. E4X’s currency conversion works two ways: merchants price products in their own operating currencies and these prices are dynamically converted into final prices in local currencies (based on a guaranteed rate), or merchants can display fixed pricing in local currencies. CyberSource is a provider of electronic payment and risk management solutions to approximately 3,000 businesses.

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Diners & British Airways Promotion

Diners Club and British Airways announced the return of “Double Miles” between June 1st and August 31st, whereby cardholders can exchange one “Club Rewards,” point for one “Executive Club” mile. Ordinarily, Diners Club cardholders exchange 50,000 “Club Rewards” points for 25,000 “Executive Club” miles. British Airways flies to 550 destinations worldwide.

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CANADIAN TIRE & MONERIS

One of the country’s largest retailers has inked a seven-year agreement with Canada’s largest debit and credit card payment
processor. Canadian Tire made a decision to consolidate all of its processing with one partner, and in so doing, selected Moneris Solutions. The agreement with Canadian Tire Financial Services includes 1,000 retail stores, gas bars and car washes, as well as Canadian Tire Direct online and catalogue ordering channels. Canadian Tire has $7.2-billion in annual retail sales. Moneris provides payment card acceptance and POS technology for more than 350,000 merchant locations across North America and processed approximately 1.7 billion card
transactions last year.

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Equitex Update

CO-based Equitex and its MN-based Chex Services subsidiary has signed an agreement with FL-based Access Card Systems to issue “FastFunds” stored value cards as a private labeled card. ACS has ordered 10,000 cards for a pilot test aimed at the unbanked Hispanic community. Equitex also reported this week first quarter revenues of $4.7 million compared to $7.8 million for the first quarter of 2002. Net loss for the quarter $306,685, as compared to a net loss of $758,228 in the first quarter of 2002. In 1Q/02, Equitex produced $4.9 million in revenues from its sub-prime credit card marketing operations. The revenues ceased after the “Net 1st MasterCard” was shut-down by the regulators. FL-based Net First National Bank was closed March 1, 2002 by the OCC with the FDIC named as receiver. (CF Library 3/11/02)

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SUREFIRE 1Q/03

Montreal-based SureFire Commerce, which merged with Germany’s Electronic Billing Systems on April 1st, reported a net loss of $200,000 for the quarter ending March 31st, compared to a net loss of $5.5 million one year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $12.9 million compared to $16.3 million for the comparable period of the previous year and $12.7 million for the prior quarter. During the quarter, the Company received a net amount of $1.0 million from EBS and its parent company and relating to the closing of the merger. SureFire says it processed more than $965 million in transaction volume over the past twelve months.

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Juniper Airline Cards

Juniper Bank has launched the co-branded “Frontier Airlines MasterCard.” The new card joins Juniper’s other co-branded airline cards including the “AirTran A-Plus Platinum VISA” and the “Midwest Express Airlines MasterCard.” The new Frontier card offers free travel for as little as 15,000 miles. The card is available as a “Platinum MasterCard” or a “WorldCard MasterCard.” The no annual fee “Frontier Platinum MasterCard” enables cardholders to earn one mile for every $2 of credit card purchases. Platinum cardholders may also earn one mile per $1 in transferred balances requested in the first 30 days of account opening, up to a maximum of $5,000. The “Frontier WorldCard MasterCard,” which carries a $49 annual fee, offers one mile for every dollar spent on all credit card purchases, two miles for every dollar spent on air travel with Frontier Airlines, and a 7,500 mile bonus with the first card purchase. Both cards offer a six-month 0% interest rate on balance transfers and an on-going APR of prime +9.74% with a 13.99% minimum. The four card designs offered include Frontier’s signature wolf, rabbit, lynx or fox. Denver-based Frontier Airlines and its regional jet partner Frontier JetExpress offer service to 39 U.S. cities. (CF Library 8/8/02; 11/20/02)

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