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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 13, 2007 • Issue 07:08:01

Industry Update

The Green Sheet, Inc.NEWS

First Data shareholders say yea to KKR

Shareholders of First Data Corp. voted overwhelmingly in favor of the processor's merger with an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Only 2% nixed the union. Upon the merger's conclusion, First Data shareholders will receive $34 in cash, without interest, per share of First Data common stock held. Ric Duques, First Data Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said most of the necessary conditions have now been met, and "we are well on our way to closing this transaction, as expected, in the third quarter."

NAOPP teleconference to highlight hot legal issues

Payments industry Attorney Paul Rianda will address free-terminal program legal issues, as well as other important legislative developments, in a free teleconference for members of the National Association of Payment Professionals. The call will take place Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.

For call-in information, NAOPP members should e-mail naopp@netdoor.com. Membership in NAOPP is $99 a year for merchant level salespeople.

ATM thieves strike again

In June, a criminal duo reprogrammed the ATM at Mastrorocco's Market in Pittsburgh, Pa., to dispense $20 bills, while the machine recorded that it was dispensing $1 bills. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the two-day heist netted $1,540 for the pair, who used the ATM's keypad to alter the device. The theft was similar to one in Virginia Beach, Va., last fall when thieves, likewise, reprogrammed an ATM using its keypad.

In both cases, the ATM manuals, along with administrative passwords, were available online.

The Pittsburgh theft was perpetrated with a stolen credit card. The crime went undetected for nearly a week while Mastrorocco was on vacation. Upon his return, he found the discrepancy between the amount of money in his safe and the ATM accounting of cash dispensed.

Citi and Obopay team for mobile payments

Citi Card, a division of Citigroup Inc., is piloting a mobile peer-to-peer payment service with leading mobile payment provider Obopay. Initially, the new service will be offered to select new and existing Citi Card customers in Boston and Chicago as part of a limited trial.

Participating consumers can add money to their mobile payment accounts through credit cards or electronic bank transfers. Then, using the Obopay mobile application, text messaging or a mobile Web browser, they can manage their accounts directly via mobile phone.

Consumers will be able to instantly send or receive money between friends or family, make payments to institutions, check balances, view payment histories and add funds to their mobile accounts.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ANNOUNCEMENTS

CFSI banks on the underbanked

The nonprofit Center for Financial Services Innovation raised an initial $1 million from KeyBank and the Ford Foundation for its new CFSI Catalyst Fund LP. The fund will invest in companies that offer products and services, such as prepaid cards, to the underbanked market.

Diebold installs 100,000th Opteva

Diebold Inc. recently sold its 100,000th Opteva ATM. Introduced in 2003, the Opteva line includes full deposit automation and personalized user services, using Agilis software. A 20-year customer of Diebold, Commerce Bank purchased the milestone ATM as part of a 300-unit order. The device was installed with fanfare in July at the bank's Clayton, Mo., branch.

The event included a presentation by the National Federation of the Blind, highlighting the ATM's features for visually impaired users.

Moneris on the move

In July, Moneris Solutions Inc., an electronic transaction processor, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new U.S. headquarters. The hub is at Woodfield Corporate Center, 150 N. Martingale Road, Suite 900, Schaumburg, Ill. A joint investment of Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal, Moneris serves more than 350,000 North American merchant locations and has over 1,100 employees worldwide.

UBC launches new charity program

United Bank Card Inc. launched Pennies for Humanity, a new charitable donation program. The endeavor enables UBC's merchants to make tax-deductible donations to nonprofit organizations by contributing a percentage of each transaction. Under this program, merchants can contribute $0.01, $0.02 or more from every transaction to the American Cancer Society, Make-AWish Foundation, National Federation of the Blind or National Cancer Coalition.

Participating merchants are given marketing collateral signifying their enrollment in the program, and detailed monthly and annual reporting. Based on UBC's annual transaction volume and growth, the company projects its charitable contributions from this program will exceed $1 million within the first year.

The Green Sheet, Inc.PARTNERSHIPS

Best Western taps ExaDigm for POS duties

Best Western International Inc. selected ExaDigm's XD1000 countertop payment solution for deployment nationwide.

The XD1000 provides a single terminal capable of processing all card-based payments, including traditional credit and debit cards and the Best Western Travel Card.

The terminal's PC-based platform, which runs on the Linux operating system, reportedly provides reliability, security, ease of use, and the flexibility and upgradeability that come with PC-based architecture.

Merchant Lynx selects JR's POS Depot

JR's POS Depot is Merchant Lynx Services' preferred provider for POS hardware and deployment services. Merchant Lynx Services offers merchants credit and debit card processing, check guarantee services, prepaid phone card and gift card programs, as well as payment solutions for e-commerce businesses.

TriSource bonds with Granite

TriSource Solutions LLC signed a long-term processing agreement with Granite Payment Alliance. Under the agreement, Granite will use TriSource's Nobel Electronic Transfer processing platform. Granite will provide full turnkey processing and support services to the agent bank market.

The Green Sheet, Inc.ACQUISITIONS

TenderCard captures Catuity

In conjunction with AmeriBanc Corp., an active Catuity Inc. reseller since January 2007, TenderCard reformatted its existing gift card program to meet AmeriBanc's requirements: program simplicity, flat monthly fees and quick turnaround.

TenderCard acquired and converted some 200 merchants from Catuity's system; it plans to integrate another 1,000 in three phases.

In June, Catuity's board of directors voted to seek a buyer for the company after determining it "would be unable to raise sufficient capital in the U.S. public markets to be able to continue [doing business]," according to a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Catuity stated it would immediately suspend its U.S. operations.

The company also terminated all U.S.-based employees and is no longer taking new client orders.

Ingenico swallows Turkish distributor

Ingenico, a global supplier of transaction and secure payment solutions, agreed to purchase Planet, its Turkish distributor, for 26 million euros.

With this acquisition, Ingenico intends to further develop its business in Turkey and broaden activities in neighboring high-growth markets such as the Persian Gulf countries, Egypt and Romania.

According to Ingenico, Planet's information technology and services development platforms will enable the company to enter the payment applications market and extend its offerings in such areas as terminal rental, repair and maintenance, as well as preprocessing of transactions.

The Bancorp bullish on BankFirst prepaid

The Bancorp Inc. is set to acquire BankFirst Corp.'s Stored Value Solutions business. SVS provides customized stored-value program development and card issuing services to WageWorks Inc., Western Union Holdings Inc. and Evolution Benefits Inc., among others. It had issued more than 3.7 million prepaid cards as of June 2007.

SVS employs cards branded by Visa U.S.A., MasterCard Worldwide and Discover Financial Services LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, Bancorp will purchase SVS for $60.6 million, payable with $12.1 million in Bancorp common stock shares and $48.5 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007, pending approval by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Green Sheet, Inc.APPOINTMENTS

U.S. Merchant Systems appoints two

U.S. Merchant Systems appointed Gary Breeds and Keith Boucher National Sales Directors. Breeds, who spent five years with CrossCheck Inc., later served as Vice President of Partner Acquisitions with a Louisville, Ky.-based ISO.

Boucher's career began at CrossCheck. Most recently, he was a Manager in Westamerica Bancorp's Redwood Merchant Services division.

Panini promotes Pratt

Panini North America appointed Michael Pratt Chief Marketing Officer. Most recently, Pratt developed for the company some widely-used business case models for distributed data capture.

He also authored several white papers. Pratt's prior experience includes senior executive positions for a NCR Corp. and AT&T.

First American hires Rizenbergs

First American Payment Systems LP named Rick Rizenbergs Senior Vice President and Senior Sales Strategist. Rizenbergs has over 25 years of sales experience. Most recently, he was part of Siemens Medical Solutions' executive team.

CrossCheck's Ficarra to serve on ETA committee

Bob Ficarra, CrossCheck Inc.'s Vice President of Partner and ISO Relations, will serve as Vice Chair of the Electronic Transactions Association's annual meeting program planning committee for a one-year term.

Credit Union 24 welcomes Santiago; re-elects Cromer, Garcia

Credit Union 24 shareholders elected Joan Santiago to the company's board of directors. They also re-elected Ray Cromer Jr. and Maria Garcia to second terms. Santiago is a Vice President with IBM Southeast Employees' Federal Credit Union. She takes the seat of retiring board member Paul Simkins, a founder of Credit Union 24.

Cromer, who heads Envision Credit Union, has served as the board's Chairman since June 2006. Garcia, a Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union executive, has served on the board since 2004.

PaySimple snags Segale

PaySimple added Jeremy Segale to its management team as Vice President of Operations. Segale, formerly of Avaya Inc., will be based at the company's headquarters in Denver.

While working for Avaya, Segale served as Director of North American Remote Services, heading a group of over 600 engineers. Previously, he was a Senior Purchasing Manager with Dex Media.

eTelcharge.com wins Wilson

ETelcharge.com has appointed James L. (Toby) Wilson Senior Vice President of Technology. Wilson was most recently Principal of JTW Consulting, where he implemented e-commerce systems for streaming video and retail distributors.

Bottom Lines

  • Total retail sales grew 3.2% in the first quarter of 2007 versus the first quarter of 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated; e-commerce sales grew 18.4% for the same period (adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day variations).
  • Confidence among small-business owners is on the rise according to Discover Financial Services LLC's Small Business Watch: In July, 41% of respondents said their business conditions are improving, up from 34% in June.
  • Spending on back-to-school merchandise is likely to reach $18.4 billion this year, a survey conducted by BIGresearch on behalf of the National Retail Federation indicated. Families of school-age children are expected to spend an average of $563.49, up 6.9% from the 2006 average of $527.08.
end of article

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