June ABS Payment Rates and Yield Improve

Monthly payment rates, the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt, made a significant uptick in June. Portfolio yield, among credit card- asset backed securities, also began showing signs of improvement in June. The MPR ABS rose 89% basis points to 19.54%, but remains down three basis points from one-year ago. According to FitchRatings, the gross yield increased in June to 17.42%% from 17.27% in May, but remains down eight basis points from June 2007.

ABS METRICS
YIELD MPR
Mar 07: 18.21% 18.76%
Apr 07: 19.23% 21.09%
May 07: 18.23% 19.58%
Jun 07: 18.94% 20.17%
Jul 07: 18.46% 20.46%
Aug 07: 19.27% 20.88%
Sep 07: 19.61% 20.99%
Oct 07: 18.83% 19.09%
Nov 07: 19.44% 20.31%
Dec 07: 19.92% 19.09%
Jan 08: 19.11% 17.64%
Feb 08: 20.46% 18.00%
Mar 08: 18.61% 18.50%
Source: FitchRatings

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Most U.S. Parents Prefer Teen Prepaid Cards

New research among teens and their parents concludes that prepaid debit cards can help kids maintain a “cool” status while making payments easier, providing payment security and control for parents. According to Mintel Comperemedia 62% of parents are interested in having their children use a prepaid debit card rather than a credit card. Additional benefits Mintel research has concluded is prepaid cards offers teen-friendly features with no risk of overdraft fees, users can only spend the amount of money pre-paid onto the card and provide the opportunity to build credit. Also, many prepaid cards come with safety features like allowing parents to monitor spending or requiring authorization for online use.

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Merchant Acquiring Faces Many Challenges

New research suggest that the merchant acquiring side of the payments industry is facing unprecedented challenges. Mercator Advisory Group says the proposed legislation to regulate merchant costs of card
acceptance is of chief concern. Cumulatively, the presence of regulatory
and legislative scrutiny on the acquiring side of the bankcard space has
never been more intense. There has also seen the beginning of the dissolution and division into two pieces of the largest merchant acquiring venture in the world. Mercator notes that the industry is also uncertain about the effects of a potential recession in the U.S. economy and what that means for electronic payments. From one perspective, the overall electronification of payments in general bodes well for those managing the opportunity. On the other hand, if the overall power of the US consumer diminishes, electronification may not make much difference in the acquirer’s bottom line.

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M&S AND POSTILION

Marks & Spencer has launched a gift card solution based on S1
Corporation’s “Postilion” software solutions. The “Postilion Card
Issuer” solution will allow Marks & Spencer to manage the entire life
cycle of their gift cards for the control of issuing, authorization, and
account management of individual and batches of gift cards. The gift
cards are identified either by a magnetic stripe or a barcode, are
loaded at the time of purchase and offer a solution for issuance and
management in multiple currencies. The Marks & Spencer gift card program
was first launched in all UK stores in November 2007 while the store
employs over 75,000 people at its 643 stores in the UK and 258 stores in
40 territories globally while Postilion has over 1,500 customers in more
than 50 countries, operates over 100,000 ATMs and 500,000 POS terminals
worldwide.

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Visa and Elan Sends Two to the Olympics

Visa and Elan Financial Services will send two of Elan’s clients off to
the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Each employee who sold five or more
approved and booked credit cards during the promotion was entered in to
a random drawing to win one of the two trips to the Olympic Games. Twice
a year, Elan and Visa team up to provide Elan clients an opportunity to
participate in promotions that offer unique experiences. All Elan
clients had an opportunity to participate in the two-month-long Visa
Olympic Games promotion. Elan Financial Services is a provider of
complete outsourced solutions with a focus on payments and card
processing.

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U.S. House Committee Approves HR 5244

The House Financial Services Committee
has approved measures on H.R. 5244, Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008.
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights will help level the playing field
between credit card companies and cardholders. It allows for
cardholders say “no” to interest rate increases and prohibits card
companies from luring people into paying high rates and fees.

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BACS & VOCALINK

VocaLink Payment Platform and Bacs Payments have extended their existing
processing agreements for UK automated payments from 2010 to 2015. Bacs
clears and settles automated payments in the UK for its “Direct Debit”
and “Bacs Direct Credit” while VocaLink processes over 5.5 billion
automated payments a year for the organization, with 90 million
transactions on a peak day. Additional information shows 90% of UK
salaries and 70% of regular household bills are paid through the “Bacs
Direct Credit” and “Direct Debit” platforms, respectively, the company
was founded in 1968, has since processed over 68 billion transactions
and is owned by 15 financial institutions throughout Europe.

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Consumer Biller Direct Market Looks Healthy

A new report on the biller direct technology market in the U.S. has found that only about 11% of consumer bill payments were made through that channel last year in the USA. However, Aite Group forecasts that about 17% of consumer bill payments will be made through the biller direct channel by 2010. Earlier this year Boston-based Aite surveyed more than 40 technology vendors and billers that process more than 100,000 bills a month for its latest report. Aite notes that the biller direct market remains highly fragmented. Also, in the coming years, mergers and acquisitions should slow, driven by several factors, including the lack of appetite among billers for consolidating their various biller direct vendors, and the simple fact that a number of biller direct solutions are already tucked into very large companies.

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FAL & WRIGHT

Wright Express payment processing/information management services is set to acquire Financial Automation Limited (FAL) by the conclusion of 3Q/08, allowing the company to offer fleet card solutions to major oil companies in international markets. Definitive agreements have been signed to acquire the assets of FAL for approximately US$9 million. In conjunction with these developments, the payment processor is appointing Joe Czternastek GM of international operations, bringing with him over 25 years’ executive experience in the European corporate fuel card market. Wright Express provides its services to nearly 300,000 fleets of more than 4.5 million vehicles and markets its payment processing services for more than 125 strategic relationships, providing the MasterCard-branded corporate card.

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Canada Post Signs a Major VeriFone Deal

VeriFone Holdings announced that Canada Post will install more than 7,000 “VeriFone
MX870” multimedia payment systems over the next two years. Canada Post will
utilize the MX870 as a customer display system that
accepts debit and credit card payments while offering signature capture
for payment and other types of personal receipts, essentially combining
in one device the features that today require three separate systems.
VeriFone’s PCI PED approved MX870 meets the most stringent security
requirements for the payment industry while enabling the display of
multimedia content to customers at the point-of-sale.

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VERIFONE MX870

Canada Post has signed agreements with VeriFone to deploy 7,000 of the
“VeriFone MX870” POS units before 2010. Combining a signature tablet,
customer display and payment onto one unit, the “VeriFone MX870” is set
for deployment of 2,200 before the end of 2008 while the remainder will
be activated throughout 2009. The “MX870” touch screen supports
finger/stylus input on a future-proof platform and is PCI PED approved
for the acceptance of both debit and credit card payments. New and
already installed “MX870” systems will have included Interac Chip debit
and EMV during deployment throughout 2009. VeriFone Holding provides
secure electronic payment solutions with self-service payment systems in
many different sectors.

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Encore Capital Group’s Q2 Revenues Rise 4%

Encore Capital Group reported that second quarter revenues increased 4%
to $66.3 million, over 2Q/07. The consumer debt management company $52.5
million to purchase $1.8 billion in face value of debt during the
quarter, compared to $1.3 billion for the same period of the prior year.
Gross collections were $102.1 million, a 9% increase over 2Q/07. ECG’s
net income was $7.3 million for the second quarter, compares to a net
loss of $0.8 million in the same period of the prior year. For complete
details on Encore Capital’s second quarter
results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

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