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Google Now In Electronic Payments

PALO ALTO, Calif.-Internet search engine giant Google said it has completed beta testing of its fledgling electronic funds transfer service and is ready to unveil person-to-person payments to its millions of regular customers.

The company tested its EFT system with thousands of advertisers in 16 countries and is rolling out the new consumer service to compete with banks, credit unions and other P2P providers. Google is offering participants a discount if they sign on other users.

CO-OP Offers ATM Check Transfers

ONTARIO, Calif.-The CO-OP Network announced it has successfully captured, imaged and cleared its first digital check image from an ATM, an important break-through for the credit union-owned electronic funds network.

A team consisting of The CO-OP, eFunds, NCR Corp., California Center CU and WesCorp FCU, used a California Center CU ATM card and deposited $25 through an NCR Personas M ATM, where it was routed through the CO-OP, processed at eFunds, then cleared through WesCorp.

The CO-OP plans to continue working with the same entities to introduce a check imaging service across multiple ATM terminal types.

The technology will be available in the first quarter of 2006. The CO-OP connects more than 1,800 credit unions from coast to coast.

Service CU Supports Public Library

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.-Service CU said it donated $25,000 to the campaign to finance construction of a new public library.

The donation puts the fundraising drive at $50,000. Credit union officials said the donation was made in part to help celebrate the $900-million credit union's upcoming 50th anniversary, slated for 2007.

Legal Woes For Visa, MasterCard

CHICAGO-Publix Super Markets has filed a new anti-trust suit against Visa USA and MasterCard International, claiming the credit card giants engage in anti-competitive practices in the setting of the interchange fees they charge retailers.

The suit by Publix, which operates 865 grocery stores in the southeast, is the latest in a growing list of legal challenges challenging the credit card companies' fee-setting practices. Publix says 60% of its customers pay using credit or debit cards.

The lawsuits say that because the card associations are owned by the same banks and credit unions that issue their cards, they constitute a cartel of competitors, which would make the interchange fees illegal.

Let Your Blackberry Find Your ATM

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.-Research In Motion, the maker of the popular handheld PDA, has teamed with MapQuest Inc. and Sprint to deliver a GPS-enabled wireless service that will allow users of the BlackBerry 7520 to find their credit union or bank branch or the nearest ATM.

'MapQuest Find Me' lets users find their location, access maps and directions and locate nearby points of interest including airports, hotels and restaurants, as well as ATMs.

DNA Leads To Suspect In Heist

BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP, Pa.-It took three years, but police believe they have finally connected a second suspect to the Sept. 4, 2002 armed robbery of $38,000 from The Heights St. Joseph FCU.

Gregory Brown, 38, was arrested at his home after his DNA matched up to DNA from a sneaker and a stocking mask worn by the gunman during the hold-up, which was later recovered by police.

Money wrappers with Brown's fingerprints on them were also found discarded behind his house. Brown was connected to the robbery shortly afterwards when he left $390 in cash for inmates at a local prison.

The serial numbers on the bills he used matched those on the cash stolen from the credit union. An accomplice in the case, Melvin Bush, was convicted in February 2003 for his role in the robbery.

About $7,600 of the stolen money, all wrapped in paper with the CU's name on it, was in Bush's possession when he was captured.

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