Dec Debt Decline

Consumer revolving debt data for November 2002 turned about to be an aberration after all, as revised data released Friday show that consumers added $1.7 billion to revolving credit rather than paying down $1.6 billion in November. However, in December, Americans paid down $8.4 billion in revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, according to new data provided by the Federal Reserve. In December 2001, Americans paid down $5.6 billion in revolving credit. The revised FRB data show that consumer revolving credit increased from $699.9 billion to $711.2 billion during 2002, the slowest rate of increase since the recession of 1990-1991. Bank credit card debt at the end of the third quarter was $632.7 billion or roughly 88% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). CardData is set to release 4Q/02 data in mid-February. According to the government figures released Friday, American consumers were $1.722 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages during December. Overall, consumer credit declined 2.8%, the second such decline in overall consumer credit in five years.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
($billions)
Dec 02 Nov 02 Oct 02 Sep 02 Aug 02 Jul 02 Jun 02
GRWTH: -14.0% 2.8 1.6 3.0 6.2 8.9 6.0
$OWED: $711.2 719.6 717.9 721.3 719.5 717.4 715.6

May 02 Apr02 Mar 02 Feb 02 Jan 02 Dec 01 Nov 01
GRWTH: 4.1% 8.0 4.8 2.2 1.8 -9.7 12.7
$OWED: $712.1 708.7 705.4 705.0 702.4 692.4 698.0

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 02/07/03; For complete
historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

DATAWAVE 4Q/02

Vancouver-based DataWave reported net income of US$119,964 for the quarter
ended December 31st, compared to net income of US$22,667 for the same
period last year, an increase of 429%. Revenues increased 47% to
US$4,798,270 from US$3,273,335. DataWave’s Canadian operation generates all
its revenues from the sale of prepaid long distance and prepaid wireless
phone cards and PINs to retailers. DataWave announced in the prior quarter
its intention to become an intermediary between national Canadian prepaid
cellular providers and certain national convenience stores in order to
exploit its POSA technology. The Company has deployed 356 terminals
distributing prepaid cellular PINs in Canada as of the end of 2002. These
terminals dispensed PINs with a gross value of US$1.3 million in the
quarter ended December 31, 2002 and US$1.5 million since the program began.

ECHO 4Q/02

Electronic Clearing House reported revenue of $9.3 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31st, an increase of 17.4% compared to the prior year quarter. Operating income rose to $527,000, as compared to an operating loss of $76,000 one year ago. ECHO says the increase was mainly attributable to a decrease in legal and professional fees. Total processing and transaction revenue for the quarter increased 16.8%, from $7.8 million one year ago to $9.2 million for the current quarter. Bankcard processing and transaction revenue increased 14.0% to $7.5 million. Check-related revenues increased 34.4% to $1,782,000, from $1,326,000 for the three months ended December 31, 2001. For complete details on ECHO’s 4Q/02 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

POST OFFICE CARD

EDS has selected Pegasystems to provide call center software to support a
roll-out of electronic card-based accounts being launched through the UK
Post Office. EDS was awarded a contract by Post Office Ltd. in March 2002
to provide a full spectrum of business process outsourcing services to
support the payment of benefits directly into Post Office card accounts,
beginning in April of this year. The UK Government is changing the way
benefit payments are made effective April 1st. Benefit claimants will still
be able to collect their benefits in cash from Post Office branches from
April on by using their existing account if they bank with one of the Post
Office’s banking partners, through a basic bank account, or through a Post
Office card account. In July of last year, EDS selected Pegasystems’
software as one of the business process management platforms of choice for
use within the Inland Revenue in the UK.

AOL & OPEN

America Online and the American Express “OPEN” small business network have signed a multi-year contract which makes the “OPEN Network” the exclusive small business card advertiser on AOL for small business. AOL will also integrate “OPEN Network” content and articles designed to assist small business owners in managing their companies. “OPEN Network” cardholders will also be eligible to receive special subscription offers for “AOL for Small Business” and benefits, such as a 50% discount on a six-month enhanced online Yellow Pages listing on AOL, MapQuest, Netscape, and CompuServe. AOL for Small Business was launched in November. AmEx launched the “OPEN: The Small Business Network” in January 2002. (CF Library 1/18/02)

Marcus Theatre Card

TN-based Comdata has introduced the “Marcus Theatres Entertainment Gift Card”, the 10th largest theatre circuit in the USA and one of the largest in the Mid-West. As part of the agreement with Marcus, Stored Value Systems will manage card production and packaging, and provide Internet-based back office reporting that will allow Marcus to track card redemption rates, perform card activation and analyze purchasing trends not previously available with its paper-based gift certificate program.

Buckeye VISA Check Card

OH-based Huntington National Bank is introducing the “National Champion Buckeye Banking VISA Check Card” this morning. The new check card celebrates the Ohio State University football team’s recent Fiesta Bowl victory with an enhanced design featuring the National Champion logo. The card is available while supplies last.

UATP Execs

Washington, DC-based Universal Air Travel Plan has hired Ken Murphy, formerly with the Export-Import Bank of the United States, as VP/Marketing and has promoted Emily Carter to VP/Member Relations and Recruitment. UATP offers a global air travel management control and cost savings program. The UATP brand corporate travel card provides the most complete data and lowest administrative cost of any charge product in the airline industry.

What-If Simulator

MD-based CreditXpert has launched a “What-If Simulator” for consumer credit reports, to be offered first by Trilegiant. Based on a hybrid of artificial intelligence, statistical techniques and analytical methods, the CreditXpert What-If Simulator(TM) enables consumers to experiment with actions like applying for credit, refinancing, opening accounts, missing payments, or updating information – and view their potential effects – before taking steps that impact their credit standing.

Tax Refund Checks

A new consumer survey has found that 19% of Americans would use any refund checks they receive from President Bush’s proposed income tax cuts to pay off credit card debt. These findings are the result of monthly nationwide telephone poll of 1000+ adults conducted by ICR/International Communications Research in the past week, sponsored by The Debt Relief Clearinghouse.

ATMEL CB CARDS

Sagem has selected Atmel’s “secureAVR AT90SC9608RC” as the silicon
platform for the development contract of the next generation for chip-based
French bank cards. Sagem was awarded the smart card contract by Groupement
des Cartes Bancaires. Currently there are in excess of 45 million “CB”
cards in circulation, which will be replaced by the new EMV cards starting
in 2004. The “AT90SC9608RC” is an 8-bit/16-bit RISC microcontroller, having
96K of ROM, 8K of EEPROM, 3K of RAM, with a 16-bit high performance RISC
co-processor.

Gov Card Projects

According to information obtained from GSA, OMB, and other federal agencies, as of November, 18 federal agencies were planning, testing, operating, or completing a total of 62 smart card projects. Thirteen projects were in the planning stage, and 7 were being piloted. An additional 17 projects were listed as operational, and 13 had been completed. The status of the remaining 12 initiatives is not clear. The major DOD “CAC” smart card project is to be used to authenticate the identity of nearly 4 million military and civilian personnel and to improve security over on-line systems and transactions. The cards are being deployed in tandem with the roll-out of a department wide PKI. As of November, DOD had issued approximately 1.4 million “CACs” to military and civilian personnel and had purchased card readers and middleware for about 1 million of its computers. The Department of Transportation is also developing two large smart card pilot projects, which will be focused on controlling access to and improving security at the nation’s many transportation hubs as well as at federal facilities controlled by the department. One pilot aims to distribute smart cards to approximately 10,000 FAA employees and contractor personnel for access to the department’s facilities. Subsequent phases will be implemented across the agency to approximately 100,000 employees. In the second pilot, transportation worker identification cards will be issued to about 15 million transportation workers across the USA and is intended to improve physical and logical access to public transportation.