Home Depot & GSA

Home Depot has rescinded its policy not to process purchases connected with the U.S. Government, including those made with GSA payment cards. In June, Home Depot issued a notice to its store managers telling them to turn away federal government purchases as it could make Home Depot responsible for compliance with federal laws involving discrimination and affirmative action. This week, Home Depot announced it is revoking its long-standing policy to accept all purchases from the U.S. Federal Government, and from federal contractors and sub-contractors, effective immediately. The June memo created a wave of negative publicity for the specialty retailer. Founded in 1978, The Home Depot operates more than 1,400 stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. (CF Library 6/20/02)

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Concord Offers CHARGE ANYwhere

Concord EFS has certified Comstar Interactive Corp.’s “CHARGE ANYwhere” wireless credit card solution and will distribute the solution through its direct and ISO channels. CHARGE ANYwhere combines a compact card swipe device with an innovative, customizable Web-based transaction database and reporting system with other wireless features such as check authorization, two-way messaging and e-mail access capabilities for hundreds of dollars less than other companies charge just for mobile terminals.

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Eufora Card

A group of Arizona entrepreneurs are launching this week one of the most innovative credit card programs to come down the pike in at least a decade. The new “Eufora MasterCard” creates an incremental income opportunity for cardholders through an agent referral fee program. The new card offers three levels of membership: “Associate” ($29.95), “Preferred” ($59.95), and “Elite” ($99.95), each with its own distinct set of member benefits. Eufora cardholders can earn $200, $500, or $900 per year respectively, for every 10 approved new cardholders they refer. Cardholders continue to earn annual income for as long as they and their referrals remain in good standing. Start-up referral kits are provided free to approved new cardholders and additional marketing materials can be purchased online. For cardholders who own or operate Web sites, the Eufora Card offers a variety of free banner ads to help with marketing efforts. The card is available as a credit card or, to sub-prime consumers, as a prepaid card. Unsecured credit lines are issued up to $20,000, with an intro APR of 1.9% for five billing cycles, and a rate of 9.99% thereafter. Eufora is also offering a “Monthly New Car Sweepstakes” for its cardholders.

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Sears Charge

After receiving guidance from the SEC, Sears moved its after-tax charge of $191 million to the second quarter while raising its first quarter net income by the same amount. Sears previously announced it changed its method of determining its allowance for uncollectible accounts. The company initially recorded the charge as a cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle as of the beginning of 2002. After further interpretive guidance from the SEC, Sears has amended its filings to report the effect of the refinement in the allowance methodology as a change in estimate instead of a change in accounting principle. The effect of the above on the company’s results is to increase reported first quarter 2002 net income by $191 million and to reduce second quarter 2002 reported net income by the same amount. Sears Card outstandings at the end of the second quarter were $20.1 billion while Sears MasterCard receivables were $7.5 billion, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 7/19/02)

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

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Lender Identity Suit

A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted the motion to dismiss filed by ACE and Goleta National Bank in a lawsuit where the plaintiff alleged that GNB’s loans were made by ACE rather than GNB, and were therefore made in violation of Indiana law. TX-based ACE, a check cashing concern, specializes in short-term loans such as pay-day loans. The firm has an agent relationship with GNB. The judge said that after reviewing the plaintiff’s complaint and her loan documents, that GNB was the lender and that Section 85 of the National Bank Act, not Indiana law, regulated the permitted interest on GNB’s loan to the plaintiff. The decision is the first one to specifically address the issue of the lender of the GNB loans and the federal preemption of state law regarding those loans. ACE has a total network of 1,191 stores, consisting of 1,003 company-owned stores and 188 franchised stores in 35 states.

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Oberthur Mid-Year

Oberthur reported this week that its net loss for the first half of this year reached 20.7 million euro compared to a net profit of 200,000 euros one year ago. The smart card manufacturer says profits were affected by variations in exchange rates (2.2 million euros) and the impact of a declining stock price on shares owned by the company (2.5 million euros). However sales revenues were only down 4.7% from 228.2 million euros in the first half of 2001 versus 217.8 million euros for the first half of this year. The company noted it has reduced its net debt by 18 million euros since the first of this year. Oberthur says payment card activity increased by 3% during the first half of 2002, with a considerable increase in microprocessor cards and personalization services, compensating for the slowdown observed in the magnetic cards market. This segment now represents 52% of the company’s sales revenues, compared with 48% in the first half of 2001. For complete details on Oberthur’s performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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LOW COST FINGERPRINT SENSOR

Gothenburg-based Fingerprint Cards AB has launched the world’s smallest
and lowest cost fingerprint sensor. The robust “FPC1030” sensor meets the
requirements for 15 KV repeated air discharges of electrostatic electricity
and can withstand a wear cycle test of one million touches. The “FPC1030”
measures by sending electric impulses through the fingertip, reaching the
living structures in the skin’s
lower layers. The “FPC1030” is a capacitive swipe sensor that can scan the
entire fingerprint pattern. It is only 3 mm x 11 mm making it ideal for for
integration into high-volume devices such as PC peripherals, portable PCs
and mobile phones. The complete fingerprint verification system will be
available to customers at less than US$10/unit for volumes of 500K. The
swipe sensor FPC1030 can also be purchased as a separate packaged component
at US$11/unit at volumes of 10K.

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One Stop Processing

Hypercom’s Golden Eagle Leasing and Creditdiscovery have teamed to develop a program that will for the first time allow ISOs, MSPs and acquirers to enable their merchants to simultaneously apply for merchant credit card processing and POS equipment lease financing via the Internet and receive a decision within seconds on both their acceptance for merchant processing and the terms for leasing their Payment Terminal/POS equipment. Paperless contracts can be instantly generated and electronically signed. Creditdiscovery’s “ISOExpress” will accept on-line electronic credit applications from merchants on a 24/7/365 basis, authenticate the identity of the merchant, obtain the merchants credit report, return a decision for credit card processing and lease financing, and obtain legally binding electronic signatures on contractual documents, virtually instantaneously. CT-based Golden Eagle Leasing is a lessor engaged primarily in micro-ticket leasing (under $5,000) in the credit card transaction market.

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EURONET DATA CENTER

Euronet Worldwide has opened a new data processing facility in
Budapest, almost tripling Euronet’s capacity for transaction processing
in Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions. The operations center
features state-of-the-art security and protection plans. The EOC and the
backup processing center are in separate locations and are connected to
two separate power grids with diesel generators for both centers. Should
a hardware or software failure occur in the primary location, the system
would redirect the processing functions to the backup processing center.
Similarly, if a natural disaster occurred, the backup site would be
operational with replicated data and redundant networks and operations.
As of June 30th, Euronet owned and/or operated a total of 2,840 ATMs
compared to 2,548 ATMs on March 31st. The company owns and/or operates
ATMs in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the U.K.,
Greece and Egypt.

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NPC & Target

National Processing Company has renewed a multi-year EBT, credit and debit card processing agreement with Target that includes all MasterCard and VISA transactions, accepted via in-store sales for all company locations, except those related to the “Target VISA” card. The company operates over 1,435 stores in 47 states under the brand names: Target, Marshall field’s and Mervyn’s.

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