Sodexo Pass USA Named Winner in Third Annual Paybefore Awards

February 27, 2009

Paybefore has chosen the Esteem Pass (TM) prepaid gift card program by Sodexo Pass USA (a division of the Sodexo Group) a winner in the 2009 Paybefore Awards in the Best Business/Corporate-Funded Prepaid Card B2B category.

Sodexo Pass USA Named Winner in Third Annual Paybefore Awards

GAITHERSBURG, Md., February 27, 2009 — The annual Paybefore Awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards to recognize excellence in the worldwide prepaid and stored value card industry. To date, more than 130 organizations and individuals have been honored by Paybefore for their achievements.

“We are honored for this recognition of The Esteem Pass program and proud to have partnered with eCommLink to develop a unique addition to the corporate incentive market. eCommLink’s flexible platform allowed us to create The Esteem Pass, which can be used for purchases at a variety of popular retail brands unlike traditional single-retailer gift cards,” stated Vincent Hillenmeyer, president, Sodexo Pass USA.

The Esteem Pass program by Sodexo was selected by a panel of five industry experts who served as judges for this year’s competition.

“Paybefore Awards shine the spotlight on terrific people and companies using prepaid to provide innovative payment solutions,” said Marilyn Bochicchio, CEO, Paybefore. “It’s our honor to recognize the efforts of Sodexo as a leader in its category.

“The number of nominations considered this year was almost double last year’s, making winning an even more significant achievement,” she continued. “The quality of the nominated products, services and programs was exceptional, creating quite a challenge for the judges who carefully evaluated each entry on its merits and in context of all the nominations.”

Esteem Pass is a multi-merchant incentive gift card and an exciting new program for corporate recognition and reward. Offering flexibility and choice to consumers, Esteem Pass incentive gift cards are different than typical offerings because users have a single card that can be used at over 20,000 locations operated by 35 leading brands. Esteem Pass also offers value to its retail partners by selecting the number of retailers in the program to direct cardholders to their locations and by offering exclusivity to category leaders. "The Esteem Pass program offers a truly unique way for corporations to motivate and engage their employees. We were proud to partner with Sodexo in the creation of this program and are excited that it has received such a prestigious award," stated Ennio Ponzetto, CEO, eCommLink. 

Esteem Pass gift cards are a Discover® Network Prepaid Gift Card issued by Palm Desert National Bank, a federally chartered bank and sold business-to-business by Sodexo as a corporate reward and incentive and gifting solution. The cards are fulfilled and managed by Sodexo Pass USA.

The Esteem Pass™ program now will compete for Paybefore Awards’ coveted Best-in-Category designation at the 2009 Prepaid Card Expo to be held in Orlando, Fla., March 9 -11.   

Sodexo, Inc.
Sodexo, Inc. in North America is a leading integrated food and facilities management services company in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo in North America serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government and remote sites. Sodexo in North America, headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, which owns and operates Sodexo Pass. Sodexo in North America funds the Sodexo Foundation, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $11 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Sodexo Pass, currently ranked second in the world in the prepaid card sector, offers meal and food vouchers, childcare vouchers and prepaid gift cards across 30 countries with additional tailored gift programs in 24 countries.

SODEXO, founded in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, is a world leader in Food and Facilities Management services, with more than 342,380 employees on 29,000 sites in 80 countries as of August 31, 2007. For Fiscal 2007, which closed August 31, 2007, SODEXO had revenues of 13.4 billion euro. Listed on Euronext Paris, the Group has a current market capitalization of 6.8 billion euro.

eCommLink, Inc.
eCommLink, Inc. enables program managers and financial institutions to maximize revenue from their prepaid debit programs. The Company's flexible prepaid processing platform, innovative features and industry experience allows clients to create customized prepaid programs for their specific markets while ensuring quality, security and time to market. eCommLink supports the full array of prepaid debit programs, including general spend, payroll, teen, gift, travel, government and loyalty cards.

About Paybefore
Paybefore is the leading information provider to prepaid and stored value card industry professionals, offering the latest news, commentary and analysis. Paybefore’s family of industry publications include: Paybefore.com, an online information portal; Paybefore News, daily news briefs delivered electronically; Paybefore Update, a downloadable e-newsletter including Paybefore Legal, delivered 20 times a year; Paybefore Magazine, a biannual print publication highlighting the best of Paybefore; and Paybefore Buyer’s Guide, available online and in print.

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