Espirit Announces New Payment Platform

Espirit Financial Group has announced that Union Bank of Nigeria has
approved measures to be taken for implementation of an issuing payment
platform. Esprit’s Advanced Electronic Funds Management (AEFM) will
be providing the bank merchant account services, stored value credit and
debit cards and international funds clearing services. Experts predict
implementation to be as early as the beginning of 3Q07. The agreement
stipulates that Esprit deliver 100,000 stored value cards by August,
2007. Union Bank gross earnings as of March 2006 was N 66.576 billion;
profit before tax was N 13.536 billion; total assets was N 667.766 billion;
and shareholders’ fund was N 100.500 billion.

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A&L Bank Appoints New PrePaid Exec

Alliance & Leicester Bank (A&L) has appointed James Le Brocq to the
Director of Pre-paid cards. He will manage pre-paid card strategy to
build the business in the UK and Europe. Le Brocq joins A&L from
Barclaycard and has over 22 years’ experience holding senior positions in
Marketing, Strategy Development, Change Management and Sales.
Experts estimate that the European pre-paid card market will be worth
$164 billion by 2010.

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JAL Mulls a Partial Sale of JALcard

Japan Airlines Corp (JAL) is planning to sell up to a 49% share in its
wholly owned subsidiary, JALcard Inc. JAL
has been propositioning major lenders such as the Development Bank
of Japan and Mizuho Corporate Bank for investments of 200-400
billion yen. JALCard has an estimated market capital of approximately
100 bln yen and handles some 1.5 trillion yen in transactions, making it
No. 6 in the credit card industry. Proceeds from the sale will pay off the company’s debt.

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Selektpoints Awarded For Innovation

An independent panel of industry consultants, credit card experts,VRL
KnowledgeBank’s research team and journalists have decided that
selektpoints
is to be awarded the “Best Innovation in a Loyalty Program” at the “Cards
International Global Conference”. The solution was awarded for creating a
global coalition program available through a wide range of merchants
offering
redemption to cardholders. The loyalty program also provides banks and
retailers with chip-based programs utilizing the “SCTN End to End Loyalty”
Solution through Phoenix Technology Holdings Inc. Selektpoints is
an EMV Smart Chip Based loyalty program.

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APCA Stats Show Low Credit Fraud

Australian Payments Clearing Association(APCA) fraud data
reflected a slight decrease since previous issuance, is very low
in comparison with the billions of annual card transactions and to
the statistics of the UK. Since last year, the fraud to legitimate
transaction ratio has decreased from 6.8 cents to 6.3 cents in every
$1000. Experts credit this development to the banks having
implemented security processes protecting information and
accounts. Other APCA statistics reflect that there were 448 million
checks written, with a value of $1.7 trillion, and a fraud ratio of
2.4 cents to 1.9 cents in every $1000. Also, for debit cards, there
were 1.8 billion debit card transactions for which the rate of fraud fell
from 8.2 cents to 7.7 cents in every $1000 and for credit cards there
were 1.6 billion credit card transactions for which the rate of fraud fell
from 38.9 cents to 36.9 cents in every $1000.

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Wachovia Hits 1 Million Cardholders

After re-entering the credit card business last July, Wachovia Card Services reports it has reached one million credit card customers in its portfolio. Wachovia terminated its joint marketing agreement with MBNA in November 2005. The millionth card customer and the banker who sold the card received 250,000 Wachovia “Possibilities Reward” points and a $500 VISA gift card, respectively. Wachovia recently launched a business credit card product targeting companies with annual revenues of up to $15 million. The new card allows customers to combine business and personal rewards with credit and debit rewards to reach redemption targets faster. Wachovia also offers its consumer cardholders automatic one-time late fee and over-limit fee waivers. Steven Boehm is president of Wachovia Card Services.

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Citi & GXI Expand Global Remittances using GCash

Citigoup’s Global Transaction Service has partnered with G-Xchange
Inc. to use “GCash”. “GCash” is an electronic payment system and,
with this development, users will be able to receive payments from
remitters in
countries where Citi’s cross-border payment services are availed. This
partnership will expand the customer base and over time users will be able to
send and receive remittances, purchase goods and services, and pay
micro-loans using a mobile phone almost anywhere in the world. Citigroup
has 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100
countries.

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Oberthur Card Systems Takes Over Scratch Cards

Control of scratch cards has been given to Oberthur Card Systems by
The Francois-Charles Oberthur Group. The Group decided to combine
all its subsidiary mobile operator-businesses within Oberthur Card Systems.
Therefore, Oberthur Card Systems will now control sales generated by
scratch cards along with the production activities carried out in the
Puy-Guillaume plant in France and satellite plants throughout the world.
Oberthur Card Systems, a subsidiary of the Francois-Charles Oberthur Group,
had sales of 524 million euros in 2006, 47% of which were from payment
services and 37% of revenues were generated through mobile communications.
Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire had revenues of 745 million euros in
2006 and employs 5,000 people worldwide.

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Foreclosure Rates are Not Unusually High

A report released today predicts a credit crunch is impending following the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market and the possibility of more restrictive mortgage regulation. The American Financial Services Association study says a 20% reduction in sub-prime lending levels would deny 1.1 million borrowers or 2.3% of homeowners the ability to own a home. However, the data do not demonstrate that current foreclosure rates are unusually high. The AFSA study found that current rates of foreclosures, including those for sub-prime loans, fall within the range of historical fluctuations recorded since 1998. Foreclosure rates were at historical highs during 2001- 2003, and current foreclosure rates are again beginning to reach those levels, after a significant drop in 2004-2005.

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CUP & H50

China UnionPay has certified Blue Bamboo’s “H50” terminal. The “H50” is a handheld POS terminal supporting GPRS, contactless, dial-up and Bluetooth connectivity. The terminal supports credit, debit, gift and loyalty payment. The company also manufacturers the “P25” printer for portable and wireless applications. Blue Bamboo has operated in China since 2003. The company is a division of Shera International and a sister company to Shera Technology, a 13-year-old manufacturer of POS terminals, thermal printers and electronic devices with state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities. Shanghai-based China UnionPay has more than 175 banks and financial institutions in China as members representing more than 550 million CUP cards.

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Small Biz Economic Confidence Stabilizes

Economic confidence among small business owners fell slightly in May after a very sharp drop in April which was driven by a deteriorating outlook on economic conditions for their businesses, rising insecurity about the U.S. economy and increased cash flow issues. The good news is the decline has slowed and it may point to some stability for the upcoming summer season. The Discover “Small Business Watch” indicator dipped to 110.0 in May, compared to 110.3 for April and 117.7 for March. Discover’s latest survey also found that slightly more than one out of six small business owners work every day of the week compared to one out of every 16 people who work for someone else. Nearly one of three business owners indicated they work at least 10 hours or more per day on average. More than half of the business owners took seven days or less off work last year, compared to 36% of the general population. About 47% said that they always or mostly work on official holidays.

Discover Small Business Watch
Aug 06: 100.0
Sep 06: 107.0
Oct 06: 120.0
Nov 06: 130.0
Dec 06: 109.7
Jan 07: 114.3
Feb 07: 113.4
Mar 07: 117.7
Apr 07: 110.3
May 07: 110.0
Source: Discover Business Card

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