Citibank.com

Citibank has taken top honors for the third time for its highly interactive and functional Web site for its credit card customers. Among Citibank’s key differentiators: its full array of pre-formatted self-service requests available on its site including the ability for customers to add and remove authorized cardholders, request a credit limit increase or transfer a balance. The #1 rating on Citibank’s Web site was made by the Gomez “2003 Credit Card Scorecard.” Gomez says that despite Citibank’s dominance, other issuers continue to forge ahead, rolling out new functionality and expanding online product offerings. Discover Card, for example, now supports online applications for five different card products. Fleet and Chase have also added new product applications to their online stables. Gomex says 12 out 19 ranked issuers plan to soon offer paper suppression functionality.

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Kidz Card

Boston-based Kidz Card has launched the first national medical emergency, identification and prepaid phone card for children. The new “Kidz Card” contains the child’s medical information, emergency phone numbers and contacts, and 10 minutes of prepaid phone service provided by Sprint on an identification card. San Diego Chargers’ quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie is serving as a “Kidz Card” spokesperson. Sun Life Financial, Papa Gino’s restaurants and CodeAmber.org are some of the company’s first partners. Kidz Card memberships are annually renewable for $19.99 for each child, and additional companion cards are available for $5 each. Each membership provides three identification cards, one for the child and two for parents and/or caregivers.

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Hannaford Bros Gets ICED

Hannaford Bros, a major Northeast supermarket retailer, has decided to deploy 2,000 “ICE 5500M” terminals with the “HyperSafe” operating system in more than 100 of its multi-lane stores. Hypercom’s ICE 5500M is specifically designed to meet the needs of the multi-lane payment terminal and systems market, which generally includes the top 500 US and selected global retailers, including supermarkets, department stores, chain drug stores, mass merchandisers and other retailers.

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MONEY TRANSFER

Under an agreement signed in January with Grupo Financiero Bital, a unit
of London-based HSBC Group and parent company of Banco Bital, TelecommUSA
has added nearly 1,500 new distribution points in Mexico for its
money-transfer service. Another agreement signed Feb. 20 with Miami-based
Grupo Financiero Uno also gives TelecommUSA 850 new outlets in Guatemala,
El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua,
Costa Rica, and Panama through subsidiary Banco Uno. Together, Banco Bital
and Banco Uno bring TelecommUSA’s Latin American distribution network to
5,300, up from about 3,000 at the beginning of 2003.

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FDC Supermarket Guru

First Data has hired Joseph Venezia, formerly with the Scott’s Company and Proctor & Gamble, as VP of market development for the supermarket industry. Before joining First Data, Venezia served as marketing director with the Scott’s Company. He spent nearly eight years with the Proctor and Gamble Company where he managed various brands, led teams in delivering sales and profit objectives and developed marketing plans. While with Procter and Gamble he led teams that consulted directly with retailers and Wal-Mart in category management.

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DIGICARD & ICMA

The owner and managing director of Vienna-based Digicard Ges.m.b.H. has
been named to the International Card Manufacturers Association board for
the 2003 term. Frank Dorner is the newest member of the ICMA Board of
Directors, representing the Europe region. Digicard is a provider of
plastic card personalization solutions, including “one-stop” service for
card manufacturing and personalization, and a provider of a range of
printing and personalization equipment. Digicard was also responsible for
inventing thermal printing on plastic cards.

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U-Scan1

Optimal Robotics Corp. has introduced a scaled down model of its “U-Scan1” self-checkout system for remote locations, food courts, and convenience stores. The new unit has been specifically designed for debit and credit card transactions, and will also dispense cash as an alternative to an ATM. Optimal also introduced its new dual belt take-away system, “U-ScanMax”, designed for larger environments.  This latest adaptation of the “U-Scan” system comes equipped with sensors near the scanning platform as well as at the end of each belt, allowing a shopper to scan their order and send items along one belt while the previous shopper continues to bag their remaining groceries on the other. Optimal is featuring the new models at this week’s Food Marketing Institute “Marketechnics” trade show in Dallas.

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U-SCAN-MAX

Optimal Robotics Corp. has introduced its new dual belt take-away system,
“U-ScanMax”, designed for large orders. This latest adaptation of the
“U-Scan” system comes equipped with sensors near the scanning platform as
well as at the end of each belt, allowing a shopper to scan their order and
send items along one belt while the previous shopper continues to bag their
remaining groceries on the other. Optimal has also introduced a scaled down
model of the “U-Scan1,” single bag terminal. The new unit has been
specifically designed for debit and credit card transactions, and will also
dispense cash as an added convenience for the shopper. The “U-Scan” model
offers a new solution for remote locations, food courts, music departments,
convenience stores, or virtually anywhere a kiosk might be more beneficial
than a large order system, and in some cases, as an alternative to an ATM.

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CardJet 410

Fargo Electronics is unveiling this week its new “CardJet 410” printer/encoder, the first dedicated plastic card personalization system that uses Fargo’s new “CardJet Printing Technology”. The CardJet 410 offers an optional magnetic-stripe (high-coercivity only) encoding unit, which can be factory installed or upgraded in the field by either a technical end user or Fargo Solution Provider (FSP).

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Cubic LAWA Contract

Cubic Transportation Systems has received a five-year, $16 million service contract from the Los Angeles World Airports for parking control systems maintenance. Cubic has been providing maintenance at the three airports since the late 1980s. The company offered a lifetime warranty to help transportation operators manage costs by extending the operational life of their existing systems while continuing to deliver efficient fare collection and other services.

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FHMS Targets Small Municipalities

The National Association of Cities, which represents 10,000 cities, has selected First Tennessee’s First Horizon Merchant Services to offer credit card processing services to qualified smaller municipalities across the country. This program will allow small cities and towns to offer an additional way their constituents can pay things like fees, taxes and even driver’s license renewals in person or on the Web. Along with MasterCard International’s support this program brings services and technology to smaller municipalities that major cites have enjoyed for years. Harahan, La., is the first city to take advantage of this program and will be a model for National Association of Cities members.

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