GPS Signs Hancock Bank

Global Payment Systems announced Monday that it has signed an agreement to provide card issuing and merchant processing services to Hancock Bank of Louisiana. Under the terms of the contract, Global will provide Hancock Bank with card issuing services, including card production, authorization, exception processing, system servicing and statement production services. Global will also provide the bank with merchant accounting and point-of-sale transaction processing services.

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VISA Funds Extensity

VISA International led a $14 million round of venture funding yesterday in a startup specializing in electronic expense reporting.  CA-based Extensity Inc.’s operational cost management application suite employs Java-based Web technology to help CFOs and controllers create a highly efficient and fully integrated system for processing travel and entertainment, labor, and materials. Compatible with the data formats used by many card-issuing institutions, including Visa, ‘Extensity Expense Reports’ allows customers to feed credit card data directly into expense reports, eliminating entry errors and increasing employee productivity and reducing administrative costs.

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MasterCard Fraud Fighter

HNC Software and MasterCard International announced Monday an agreement to jointly develop a new fraud detection system, based on neural network modeling technology. By means of a new application of HNC’s proprietary profiling technology, the MasterCard fraud-predictive system will constantly update information with each new transaction, building a detailed profile of each merchant and cardholder. This exclusive use of dynamic merchant profiles to supplement the transaction-based account profiles provides a boost to the predictive precision of the model. By using a variety of models of behavior for each global region, the system will ultimately allow members to examine similar patterns in a given set of countries.  A dozen MasterCard members are participating in the association’s pilot program for the credit card fraud detection module. The first module of the new risk-predictive service will be available in the fourth quarter of this year and will be exclusive to MasterCard and its member institutions. The product can be integrated with an issuer’s existing system or used as a stand-alone fraud detection service.

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USPS Purchasing Card

U.S. Bancorp announced yesterday that its I.M.P.A.C. Government Services unit has been awarded a five-year, $320 million per year contract, with five one-year renewal options to provide the ‘Purchasing Card Program’ for the U.S. Postal Service. This is the longest purchasing card contract awarded to date. The USPS award comes just three weeks after U.S. Bank won the competition for the world’s largest purchasing card contract, a $9 billion dollar, three-year agreement with the Department of Defense (DoD).

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Kiosks for Calgary Stampede

Home Ticket HTN announced that is has successfully installed and placed into service three new Multi-media touch-screen Ticket Kiosks at this year’s Calgary Stampede, which underway now . The HTN kiosks offer the first ever computerized gate admission ticketing at the Stampede, and speeds customers through a complete debit or credit card transaction in under 25 seconds. Use of the kiosk is free to the ticket buyer. HTN earns a transaction fee on each ticket sold. The Calgary Stampede attracts over one million visitors in a ten day period. HTN’s kiosks will not only improve customer service at the gate, but they will also make it possible to dramatically simplify daily reconciliation of ticket sales, reduce cash handling, and generate detailed profiles of attendance for management.

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Crestar Update

Following its announcement Thursday that it will sell $600 million in card receivables to Fleet, Crestar said Friday it will not layoff the 75 employees affected by the sale. Crestar said all employees involved will be offered opportunities to fill existing and upcoming vacancies within Crestar. Crestar also reported Friday that its total net charge-offs, as well as net charge-offs in the bank card portfolio, declined during the second quarter. Net charge-offs in the second quarter were $21.8 million or .54% of average loans compared to $25.7 million or .73% of average loans in the second quarter of 1997 and down from $25.1 million or .64% of average loans in the first quarter of this year.

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DataCard Loyalty

DataCard Corporation announced Friday an alliance with Vancouver-based Credit Systems International to enable DataCard to offer retailers, restaurateurs and other merchants CSI’s ‘Ernex’ card-based loyalty program in the U.S.. The CSI solution consists of an electronic database and tracking system that operates through the DataCard ‘Jigsaw’ modular POS solution. ‘Ernex’ allows merchants to offer loyalty card programs, and authorize customer credit and debit card transactions, from a single transaction terminal at the point of sale. Merchants can use ‘Ernex’ to offer points programs, instant-win programs and electronic gift certificates.

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InterCept Signs ACCESS LINK

GA-based The InterCept Group has been selected as the new processor for the ACCESS LINK ATM network. The network was previously managed by First Commercial Bank of AR which recently announced that it would be merging with AL-based Regions Financial. ACCESS LINK is a regional ATM network located in Arkansas with 26 financial institution members and 70 ATM locations. In addition to providing the banks with ATM network processing services, InterCept will also provide EFT processing services for the network’s members.

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Cards Fight Hooliganism

Bull signed contracts Friday to deliver more than 200,000 smart cards to the Belgian football league to tackle football hooliganism, with the blessing of the Belgian government. To improve safety inside stadiums, all fans will have their own smart card and PIN. The card will also have to be shown when fans buy tickets for certain games.  The Belgian government last year banned ticket sales on match days for high-risk games to avoid dense crowds at turnstiles. Initially the smart card with a chip and 1KB memory will only be used as a means of authenticating fans when they buy tickets, however, the program may be expanded to offer other payment and loyalty functions. Sponsors for the program include Canal+, the pay TV company, FINA, the petroleum company and Jupiler, the brewers.

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Oligopolistic ATM Net Market

California Independent Bankers cautioned the Fed that the pending merger of NationsBank and BankAmerica will pave the way for an oligopolistic ATM network market owned by a handful of the nation’s largest banks. The CIB said Friday these mega banks will control the pricing, policies and functionality of the nation’s ATM networks.  Given this control, large banks could limit access for community banks and their customers by imposing anti-competitive and discriminatory pricing, membership requirements, operating rules or technological barriers. The CIB, which represents 200 independent California financial institutions, also expressed concern about the creation of an oligopoly of credit card issuers led by Citicorp, Banc One and NationsBank. The bankers group pointed to CardWeb data showing the top ten credit card issuers controlling 72% of the credit card market when the current, pending, mega-mergers are finalized.

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TSYS Update

Total System Services reported Friday that net income for the first six months of 1998 increased 18.6% to $21.9 million while revenues for the same period were $187.8 million, an increase of 8.6%, compared with revenues of $172.9 million reported for the first six months of 1997. The nation’s second largest processor said Friday it will now be focusing on the conversion of 78 million new accounts, which includes Canadian Tire, Royal Bank of Canada and Sears, representing an 80% growth in accounts on file by year-end 1999.

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