Paperless Initiatives Gather More Steam

MA-based Aite Group has released findings of its report on paperless initiatives based on an October ’07 survey of 505 American professionals. In addition to regulatory initiatives recently proposed by the SEC to post mutual fund prospectuses online and supply only a “summary prospectus” in paper form of between two and four pages, saving the industry more than US$65 million annually in printing and postage, the research finds varying degrees of reception in different sectors, mostly positive. In financial services, cost is fundamental to paperless efforts, retail firms see paperless options as an opportunity to eliminate reams of paper stored in branches and, across all industries, paper customer correspondence is undervalued by recipients considering financial/environmental costs. Aite Group, LLC research and advisory firm focuses on issues impacting the financial services industry.

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United Bank Card Deploys 4Access Orion

NJ-based United Bank Card payment processor/merchant acquirer has deployed the 4Access “Orion” check reader/imager/card solution. The deployment of the “Orion” compact payment processing terminal offers an integrated solution for the bank’s merchant clients that facilitates processing for both checks and payment cards. This technology integrates MICR with optical character recognition to ensure accuracy. United Bank Card payment processor processes merchant accounts in 75,000 locations in excess of 6 billion dollars annually while IL-based 4Access Communications provides POS software and hardware to organizations across the country.

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KOTAK VISA

Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched its suite of VISA credit cards. The
new cards, which include 2 VISA Gold Cards, a VISA Platinum Card
and a VISA Signature Card, complete the Bank’s range of financial
services and have been designed to provide consumers with relevant
benefits, simplify credit and to provide a transparent communication of
charges. The card suite includes the “Trump” VISA Gold Card with no
fee and 10% cash back on annual purchases, the “Fortune” VISA Gold
Card also with no fee and up to 48 days interest-free cash withdrawals,
the “League” VISA Platinum Card, which charges a one-time fee and
provides auto-encashment of reward points earned, and the “Royale”
VISA Signature Card which charges a one-time fee for auto-encashment
of reward points earned, concierge and insurance services, a “Golf Fee
Card” for exclusive access to golf courses and a “Priority Pass” for access
to international airport VIP lounges.

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Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Gets Support

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, announced that she has secured the 100th co-sponsor for her “Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights” (H.R. 5244), she introduced in February to reform major credit card industry abuses and improve consumer protections. Rep. Maloney also held the second of two planned legislative hearings on the bill in her Subcommittee. The “Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights” requires card companies to give cardholders advance notice of any interest rate hike; gives cardholders the right to say “no” to borrowing money at a higher interest rate than they originally agreed to; stops tricks and traps that make cardholders incur rate hikes and pricey fees; empowers cardholders to set limits on their credit; shields cardholders from misleading terms; protects vulnerable consumers from fee-heavy subprime cards; and requires Congress to provide better oversight of the credit card industry.

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TASQ Technology to Market Ingenico’s AQUA

Ingenico has entered into an agreement with POS TASQ Technology to market Ingenico’s new “AQUA” transaction terminal. The “AQUA” terminal is an affordably priced PCI PED terminals that provides a solution for customers who are looking to upgrade their current non-PCI terminal base with has multi-application and multi-merchant capabilities, an English and Spanish payment application that can be activated easily by the merchant. TASQ will be offering Level 1 help desk support on the “AQUA” terminal by month end and certification will take place in 2008. Class B+ certification is currently available for certain channels.

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APS & METAVANTE

Advanced Payment Solutions and Metavante have signed agreements
stipulating the latter will be providing the former with prepaid card
processing. This development, concerning APS’ entire prepaid card
portfolio, is already being implemented and all portfolio transfers will
be complete by the end of April ’08-a migration representing over
200,000 account customers transitioning to Metavante Technologies
Ltd.’s platform. Since 2005, APS’ prepaid portfolio saw a total prepaid
loading volume of more than EUR200 million onto its cards. Additional
research providing a promising outlook on the future of this industry
reflects prepaid payment card spending in Europe is estimated to reach
$164 billion by 2010 and in the U.K. is projected to reach $34 billion
(USD) by 2010. Metavante Technologies debit and prepaid card payments
processor provides it s services to nearly 8,000 financial
organizations, processing for over 80 million cards worldwide.

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APS & Metavante Ink a Prepaid Processing Deal

Advanced Payment Solutions and Metavante have signed agreements stipulating the latter will be providing the former with prepaid card processing. This development, concerning APS’ entire prepaid card portfolio, is already being implemented and all portfolio transfers will be complete by the end of April ’08-a migration representing over 200,000 account customers transitioning to Metavante Technologies Ltd.’s platform. Since 2005, APS’ prepaid portfolio saw a total prepaid loading volume of more than EUR200 million onto its cards. Additional research providing a promising outlook on the future of this industry reflects prepaid payment card spending in Europe is estimated to reach $164 billion by 2010 and in the U.K. is projected to reach $34 billion (USD) by 2010. Metavante Technologies debit and prepaid card payments processor provides it s services to nearly 8,000 financial organizations, processing for over 80 million cards worldwide.

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Capital One U.S. 1Q/08 Card Profits Drop 9%

Capital One’s first quarter U.S. credit card profits decreased nearly 9% year-on-year. Purchase volume in the U.S. rose 2%. The number of U.S. card accounts declined by about 500,000 during the quarter from 4Q/07, and remained down from the year-on-year figure of 41.3 million accounts. U.S. card net income was $491.2 million, compared to $498.6 million in the prior quarter and $538.5 million for 1Q/07. U.S. managed card outstandings were $67.3 billion for 1Q/08 compared to $65.4 billion one-year ago and $69.7 billion in the previous quarter. Purchase volume hit $24.5 billion for 1Q/08, compared to $28.2 billion for 4Q/07 and $24.1 billion for 1Q/07. The managed delinquency rate (30+ days) for U.S. credit cards was 4.04% for the first quarter, compared to 4.28% for 4Q/07 and 3.06% for the first quarter of 2007. The net charge-off rate for U.S. credit cards was 5.85% for the first quarter, compared to 4.84% for the fourth quarter and 3.72% one-year ago. For complete details on Capital One’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

COF U.S. CARD NET INCOME
1Q/07: $538.5 million
2Q/07: $538.3 million
3Q/07: $560.8 million
4Q/07: $498.6 million
1Q/08: $491.2 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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SEIU Stop Debt Disease Finalists Announced

WA-based Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will be cosponsoring the KeepItInYourPants.org debt awareness video contest, “Stop Debt Disease”. Having already selected 5 student finalists, the “Stop Debt Disease” finalist’s video will be judged based on its focus on the growing problem of “Debt Disease” among young Americans and will be awarded a grand prize of $5,000 to fund school-related expenses. This contest is being introduced at a time research shows Americans have almost have one trillion dollars in credit card debt nationally, the average American carries has up to 9 different credit cards while 78% of college students have at least one and 82% of Americans believe household debt is a serious problem. The Service Employees International Union has nearly 1.9 million members.

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SAGEM SECURITE & EU

Sagem Securite will be coordinating the TrUsted Revocable Biometric
IdeNtitiEs (TURBINE) project for the development of digital identity
solutions. Other contributers to the effort include such organizations
as Philips Research Europe, Sagem Orga, Precise Biometrics in Sweden,
Cryptolog, ARTTIC in France and 3D-GAA in Greece. Combining automatic
fingerprint recognition and innovative cryptographic techniques, the
project is focal on developing solutions to allow designated fingerprint
functionalities and cryptographic techniques when users are accessing
personal information. In doing so, this research could lead to
fundamental changes to the manner in which personal data is protected.

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