Industry News

   The nation's commercial financial institutions originated almost another billion Automated Clearing House payments in 2002, according to statistics recently released by NACHA.
   More than 490 million e-check payments were made in 2002, nearly tripling the number in 2001. An e-check is an electronic debit to a consumer's checking account that is initiated at the point-of-sale, on the Internet, over the telephone, or via a bill remittance sent through the mail, and is processed using the ACH Network.
   In 2002 there were 233 million e-checks initiated via the Internet, up 213 percent over 2001. The average dollar amount of a Web e-check was $246. The number of e-checks at the point-of-sale was 167 million, up 89 percent. The average dollar amount of a POS e-check was $70.
   NYCE increased interchange fee percentages for supermarket customers and per-ticket fees for other retailers on July 1 in moves that were designed to be beneficial for issuers while maintaining a competitive balance, according to Jim Judd, Executive Vice President. er, to 3.5 cents per transaction. For those in the 1.5 to 3 million transaction range, the fee is now 3.25 per transaction, down from 3 cents. The fees for those with more than 3 million transactions fell to 2.5 cents per transaction.
   For non-grocery standard retailers, the rate is .55 percent, plus 14 cents per transaction, with a maximum charge of 40 cents, up from the previous per-transaction fee of 12 cents and transaction maximum of 34 cents. The standard supermarket rate increased to a flat 21.5 cents per transaction from 19 cents currently. Fees for qualified supermarkets, those with more than $10 billion in annual sales, rose from 14 to 16 cents per transaction.
   Though the above fees are increasing, switch fees are dropping. The maximum switch fees for processors with less than 1 million NYCE transactions per merchant per month have dropped from 4 cents to 3.75 cents for transactions. For processors with merchants handling between 1 and 1.5 million, the fee dropped furth
   TSYS recently acquired Enhancement Services Corp., which provides targeted loyalty consulting and travel, as well as gift card and merchandise reward programs to more than 40 national and regional financial institutions in the United States, including two top-ten banks. Steven Wilson, ESC President and CEO, will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the wholly owned subsidiary.
   Of the 617 million credit cards in use in 2002, only a small percentage of the MasterCard and Visa cards participated in a points-based loyalty program. Since 2001, these programs have continued to grow rapidly.
   PCCharge has passed the 85,000 milestone for installations, according to GO Software, Inc. Today PCCharge can be found behind the scenes at movie theater chains, quick service and full-service restaurants, hair salons, sports arenas, and countless other Mail Order / Telephone Order, Retail, and eCommerce businesses.
   GO Software, a subsidiary of Return On Investment Corporation, announced today the immediate availability of American Express Plural Interface Processing (PIP) in its award-winning payment processing software, PCCharge Pro. The availability of American Express PIP in PCCharge Pro saves merchants money by allowing direct settlement of credit card transactions to American Express, avoiding fees charged by third party processors for routing these transactions.
   Hypercom Corporation recently shipped its 6 millionth card payment terminal, the T7Plus with SureLoad printing technology. The terminal was delivered to NOVA Information Systems.

   First Data Corp. recentlhy realigned resources dedicated to third-party sales channels in order to offer third-party clients a full spectrum of relationship programs and a complete menu of transaction processing products and services.
   This move enables First Data to broaden the availability of several processing and payment resources from First Data Merchant Processing Omaha and Cardservice International, as well as equipment management and deployment services    First Data also launched Merchant Account Express Plus, its newest online solution for Web-based merchant application processing, which offers an underwriting tool that provides instant, automated scoring for same-day approval. MAE Plus offers First Data retail ISO clients automatic approval and functionality for merchant account setup and initiation.
   RDM Corporation recently introduced two new payment solutions. The EC6000i is the latest RDM innovation in small document imaging.
   The electronic check conversion solution can scan and capture image lines in a single pass. The unit also has OCR capability. Synergy is a multiple application POS payment platform that was developed as a stand-alone check-processing device.
   More than half of U.S. consumers with bank accounts would be more likely to make a deposit at an ATM if their bank provided an ATM receipt that captures a picture of all deposited checks, according to a recent 2003 Harris Interactive survey of U.S. adults.

   Merchant Services, Inc. recently launched 1-800-BANKCARD, a new marketing identity program for MSI and its network of ISOs.
   The main objective for MSI's 1-800-BANKCARD initiative is to provide a new marketing brand that will attract merchants as well as professionals in the payments industry.
   ICMA Retirement Corporation, a provider of retirement plans to public sector employees, has partnered with CashEdge Inc. to launch its new on-line financial account aggregation service. The new service, called VantageView, will enable all ICMA Retirement Corporation participants to consolidate and view their financial assets held at ICMA-RC and other online financial institutions.
   Utilizing CashEdge's Advanced Account Aggregation platform, ICMA-RC participants will be able to view retirement savings, investment, banking, and credit card accounts, on a single Web page. Account data from ICMA-RC retirement plans and IRAs are automatically included.