Rising Gas Prices Cut Discretionary Spend

A new survey from Discover has found that consumers are more likely to cut discretionary spending when gas prices rise. About 70% of car owners said they will cut back on entertainment spending if gas prices were to increase a dollar, 66% said they will change their vacation plans, and 64% said they will postpone a major purchase. Nearly 60% of consumers are paying more than $100 a month for gas. Discover noted that 52% of those polled said they were somewhat or very likely to cut back on grocery spending if gas prices rose a $1. The “Discover Spending Confidence Monitor” says that consumers are likely to cut back discretionary spending, but rising gas prices may force some to go a step further by cutting into living expenses as well.

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Fidelity National to Acquire EFD/eFunds

Jacksonville, FL-based Fidelity National Information Services has agreed to acquire Scottsdale, AZ-based EFD/eFunds for $1.8 billion in cash. The deal will give FIS greater scale, extending its presence in the U.S. and international banking markets, and expands the distribution channel for its core processing and risk analytic services. EFD also gives FIS EFT and prepaid card processing capabilities. EFD provides services to more than 10,000 financial services companies in more than 80 countries. EFD also provides POS fraud prevention solutions to retailers and electronic benefits processing services to government entities. In 2006, EFD generated total revenue of $552 million and operating income of $83 million. FIS expects to realize approximately $65 million in annual cost savings due to synergies. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter. Last month EFD/eFunds confirmed it received interest for a potential merger and formed a special committee to explore its strategic options. The Company reported that first quarter revenues declined 4% year-on-year to $134 million however, operating income grew 10% to $17 million compared to 1Q/06. ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 5/9/07)

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

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Cash Systems’ powercash Gains More Traction

Las Vegas-based payment specialist Cash Systems announced another multi year contract for “powercash” with the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. “powercash” is the first product of the Company’s joint venture with Bally Technologies and Scotch Twist. With the “powercash” patented technology enrolled patrons have access funds from their desired credit, debit or checking accounts while sitting at the gaming device. Players are able to request funds from the designated financial account, transfer those funds into their player’s club account and then transfer down to the gaming device the amount of money that they want to use. Additionally, “powercash” is the first product that has the ability to touch every aspect of the casino resort facilities through the Company’s suite of products such as “tablecash” and “play-n-shop.” Patrons can use their player’s club card to make purchases in the retail shops, restaurants, spa, hotel, golf and any of the entertainment facilities offered by a casino resort property.

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Japan’s JCB/JCBI Names a New Top Executive

Japan’s JCB has named Tamio Takakura, Deputy President since 2002, as its new President and CEO. Takakura succeeds Hiroya Nobuhara who had served as JCB’s President and CEO for the past 4 years. JCB International also announced management changes as Takakura will succeed Nobuhara as Chairman and CEO of JCBI. Kenji Seto, formerly Senior Deputy President, has become President and COO. Kunio Yoshizawa, who held the position of President and COO of JCBI for the past 4 years, is retiring after 13 years. JCB’s merchant network includes 13.5 million merchants and spans 190 countries and territories. JCB cards are now issued in 20 countries and territories, with more than 55.75 million cardholders.

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EXPERIAN & SERASA

From a consortium of Brazilian banks, Experian has acquired a 65%
stake in Serasa Credit Bureau for 1.2 billion USD. Serasa sales have
grown at a rate of over 20% per annum for the past two years, has
a database of 161 million Brazilian consumer records and 5
million Brazilian company records. The Brazilian credit bureau has a
60% market share and will consolidate Experian’s position in Credit
Services, who will control three of the top five credit bureaus
worldwide with this development. The company has over 110,000
clients, 2,200 employees, and operates across more than 80 locations.

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PAYBYCASH & CASHU

PayByCash is now accepting customer payments through cashU
Internet payment cards. PayBycash has nearly 70 payment providers,
acceptance around the world, and serves merchants in 230 countries.
CashU will provide for PayByCash a platform on which to operate
that offers fraud prevention. CashU is an internet payment solution with
operations in 28 Middle Eastern countries that allows for online payment
and funds transfer on a secure network.

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RETAIL BANKING RESEARCH

Retail Banking Research has found that ATM use and deployment is up in
Central and Eastern Europe. The number of ATMs deployed is fast
approaching 90,000 with the most growth in Russia and the Ukraine.
Among these new ATMs, 59% are installed off-site, reflect an average
withdrawal of 90 euro, and nearly 25% utilize outsourced cash
replenishment. Findings also include that the most common manufacturer
of ATMs is NCR with 44% of the market share, followed by Wincor Nixdorf
with 30% of the market. Among operating systems, 71% use Windows XP,
replacing the NT operating system as the preferred system. RBR is a
research and consulting firm with nearly 30 years experience in retail
banking,
banking automation and payment systems.

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BANKING STUDY

One-hundred and fifty-two banking executives representing organizations
from around the world participated in a study commissioned by First Data
International. The study was meant to gain insight from national and
foreign
banking and retail and payment services executives regarding experience
with conducting business in China. Also, First Data was attempting to
identify
and understand challenges and opportunities for organizations that are
currently
considering the China Market. It found Executives’ attitudes toward the
Chinese
payments market are optimistic about the prospects for electronic payments
in China. Eighty-five percent of respondents, for example, believe
prospects
for credit cards are either highly or somewhat promising. Additional
findings
show that 83% believe infrastructure is key to card market growth, merchant
acquisition is among the most significant challenges, and consumer
education is
a priority.

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Eyesavigsplus Smart Card Gets a Boost

San Antonio-based SmartCard Marketing has acquired C.O.P.S. to boost its “Eyesavigsplus” smart card. This acquisitions combined with the consolidation of SmartCard sales from goods and services for 2007 are estimated for 2007 year end to reach $10,800,000 USD. SmartCard Marketing Systems is a provider of prepaid cards, value smart storage cards and optical management services.

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OFT EDUCATION

In response to recent research reflecting that consumers do not fully
understand the costs of having certain credit cards, the OFT has
introduced a program that clarifies policies to consumers. The program
is also being introduced citing a lack of consumer research on what
card best suits their needs. In conjunction with the credit card industry,
the OFT will conduct research over a period of 6 months concerning
various costs of credit cards including purchases, cash advances,
introductory offers and payment allocation.

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