CardFlash Looks Back to April 2007

First Data signs a deal to be acquired by an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for about $29 billion. MasterCard launches a “MasterCard Nearby” service trial that allows MasterCard cardholders to use their mobile phones to access information on ATM and merchant locations, driving directions, rewards, special offers, etc. Discover renames the “Discover Platinum Card” as the “Discover More Card” and the “Discover Gas Card” as the “Discover Open Road Card.” Marshall & Ilsley confirm plans to split Marshall & Ilsley and Metavante into independent public companies. Wells Fargo launches the “Wells Fargo Home Rebate VISA.” AL-based Coca-Cola Bottling Company United begins equipping its vending machines with USA Technologies’ “e-Port G6” to accept “MasterCard PayPass” contactless payments as well as traditional magnetic stripe credit card payments. Affinion Group acquires CA-based CardCops, a specialist in ID theft protection, data monitoring and analysis technology solutions. VISA USA publishes its new interchange rates online that are effective April 14th. OR-based Chockstone has acquired MA-based Peppercoin, a small payments technology company providing card-based merchant loyalty programs and related consulting and analytical services. First Data confirms plans to acquire FundsXpress, a provider of online banking and bill payment services for consumers and small businesses. Wells Fargo becomes the first U.S. financial institution to make clean, renewable energy reward options available to its cardholders. Discover Network announces plans to roll-out “Discover ZIP,” its contactless payment solution. The U.S. House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on “Credit Card Practices: Current Consumer and Regulatory Issues.”

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Education & Retirement Reward Cards Enhanced

Four new credit cards have been enhanced that help consumers to meet education and retirement goals through everyday spending. The Bankers Bank, Vesdia and MXT Card Services have introduced the four upgraded “Platinum VISA” cards that offer a 1% rebate on all card purchases and up to a 26% rebate on purchases made within its merchant network. The four enhanced credit card programs include “BabyMint,” “NestEggz,” “Stockback” and “FundraiserRewards.” “BabyMint” allows the cardholder, family and friends to earn unlimited contributions into any college savings plan as well as earning matching tuition credits valid at hundreds of colleges and universities. “NestEggz” produces rebates towards retirement and hundreds of merchants offer savings which are deposited into almost any tax-advantaged retirement account. “Stockback” generates deposits into virtually any mutual fund, brokerage and banking account, and adds cash rewards from various merchants. “FundraiserRewards” generates donations via purchases made through participating online, catalog, and brick & mortar merchants and service providers. The rewards are automatically donated to the charitable organization of the member’s choice.

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CardFlash Looks Back to May 2007

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems announces pans to go private following a deal to be acquired by Blackstone Capital Partners for about $7.8 billion in cash and debt assumption. VISA officially names Joe Saunders as Chairman and CEO of VISA Inc. NJ-based American Banknote acquires Boston-based Arthur Blank & Company. Blizzard Entertainment and First National Bank Omaha partner to launch a series of VISA credit cards for the “World of Warcraft” online game. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission authorizes the installation of “Credit Card Acceptance Capability” payment systems in taxi cabs. GTCR has signed a deal to sell TransFirst to Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe for $683 million. NY-based Debt Resolve has signed a deal to acquire Buffalo-based Creditors Interchange for $64 million. VeriSign and Innovative Card Technologies team to launch a smarter payment card that features built-in identity authentication. First Data makes a strategic investment in ViVOtech. Heartland Bank becomes an issuer of “Discover Network Cards.” MasterCard has teamed with TRX to develop the “MasterCard Travel Dashboard,” a Web-based business intelligence tool that will enable companies to evaluate, analyze and optimize travel programs. NY-based National Envelope Corporation unveils card sleeves and mailing envelopes to help shield contactless payment cards in transit. Ceridian terminates Gary Krow, EVP of Ceridian and President of Comdata for violations of Ceridian’s “Code of Conduct.” American Express set-ups a partnership with American Home Mortgage Corp. to enable prime mortgage customers to charge their mortgage payments to an AmEx card.

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Roady’s Truck Network Taps TransFund$

TN-based TransFund$ has signed a deal to be offered as a fuel card processor for Roady’s merchant chain, and offer the Roady’s private label card running on the TransFund$ processing system. The one-card solution manages fuel, cash and checks, and can be utilized as a payroll card. Through this partnership, fleets of all sizes will also be eligible to earn rebates on their fuel purchases in the Roady’s truck stop network. TransCard offers electronic funds transfer services including direct-to-card payroll technology, electronic fuel processing, transaction processing, global money remittance and payment services. Also, the comapny processes over $960 million in electronic transactions annually.

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Trustwave Acquires Creduware

IL-based compliance and security management provider Trustwave has acquired Creduware, an enterprise application security infrastructure management company. Creduware’s “Credential Management Platform” will be integrated into Trustwave’s suite of identity management security solutions as the “Trustwave Certificate Lifecycle Manager” to automate digital certificate renewal, installation, the Trustwave Application Password Manager (APM) and implement policy-based application monitoring.

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Worklife Rewards VISA Signature Launched

Chase Card Services and FL-based Office Depot have rolled out the “Office Depot Worklife Rewards VISA Signature Card” that offers 5% rebate rewards to business owners and consumers. The rebates are automatically applied as a statement credit to cardmembers’ accounts each month, as long as an Office Depot purchase is made that month. If an Office Depot purchase is not made that month, the rebates continue to accrue until the next Office Depot purchase is made and gives a 1%back in rebates everywhere else Visa credit cards are accepted. The card has contactless payment functionality and easy-to-use reporting tools for better cash flow management.

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TXT2GO

Travelers with Go North East can now purchase tickets with the new
“txt2go” solution. The new solution affords travelers a mobile
phone digital ticket almost immediately after purchase,
eliminating the need for customers to carry cash. Furthermore, with
“txt2go”, tickets can be ordered anytime and anywhere by sending the
appropriate text to a specified number. The initial step for establishing
an account requires customers to establish an on-line account at Go
North East’s website to allow funds to be added using a debit or credit
card. This will generate a funds pool for the purchasing of tickets. The new
solution is made possible thanks to the partnership with international IT
services, Atos Origin and Swiftpass.

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JALCARD

Japan Airlines is considering corporate shareholders for a possible
majority stake in its “JALCARD” credit card division. Among the 5
companies, down from 10, being considered to purchase the division
shares are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Credit Saison Co.,
Mitsubishi Corp. and U.S. investment fund TPG. Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group and Credit Saison, however, are projected to win
consideration, which will ultimately be determined at the second round
of bidding before April of 2008. JALCARD currently has nearly 1.9
million cardholders with a total transaction volume of 1,650.5 billion
yen in 2006.

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PUDONG & CITI

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank is proposing Citigroup raise
its investment stake for 2008. Citigroup currently holds 3.8% share
in Pudong Development Bank and is given the option to up this
figure to 19.9%, primarily for the credit-card and corporate
governance divisions. The bank is projecting annual loans of just
over CNY80 billion for 2008, similar to the 2007 figure, however,
with a lower rate of 15%. Furthermore, the bank’s 2007 net profit
was CNY5.5 billion, up 64% from the 2006 figure, and currently has
nearly 370 branches throughout China.

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FLEXION DISTRIBUTION

For the South Korean distribution of its Flexion batteries, Solicore has
partnered with BlueChip ENP Distribution Co. These agreements came
to fruition following BlueChip’s Solicore preposition, which culminated
with its analysis that found possible growth opportunities. For example,
the Flexion batteries may be useful for organizations designing secure
bankcards and provide components needed for compliance with OTP
applications. Solicore provides embedded power solutions and advanced
battery technology, such as the Flexion products, while BlueChip ENP Co.,
Ltd. is a Korea-based electronic components distributor.

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