VISA INC

VISA has officially named Joe Saunders as Chairman and CEO of VISA Inc. VISA’s regional boards of directors unanimously approved Saunders’s appointment after an extensive six-month search. Saunders previously had been named the designated Executive Chairman of VISA Inc.’s Board of Directors, a role he assumed in February. VISA plans to form VISA Inc. through a series of mergers involving VISA Canada, VISA USA and VISA International. VISA Europe will retain its member- owned association structure and will become a licensee of VISA Inc. Because VISA Inc. is not expected to be formed until later this year, Saunders is performing his duties as Chairman and CEO as a designated appointee of VISA Inc. Prior to becoming VISA Inc.’s Executive Chairman in February, Saunders served as President of Card Services for Washington Mutual. He joined Providian in 2001 as President and CEO, and was elected Chairman of its Board of Directors in 2002. From 1997 to 2001, he served as Chairman and CEO of Fleet Credit Card Services at FleetBoston.

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First Data Resources Lands a New CTO

First Data has hired Jerry Bartlett, previously with TD AMERITRADE, as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Development for First Data Resources. While at TD AMERITRADE, he oversaw all IT initiatives, including business technology planning, application development, information and physical security, and IT infrastructure and architecture. After directing the application integration in a key merger at TD AMERITRADE, he was recognized as one of ComputerWorld’s 2005 Premier 100 IT Leaders based on his leadership in managing risk and execution during the merger. Before working at TD AMERITRADE, Bartlett led large applications development and database organizations in the St. Paul Company and also led several initiatives as a manager of systems development for the American Red Cross. Bartlett holds a B.S. in Technology and Management from the University of Maryland.

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Online Sales Expected to Hit $260B

Total online sales are expected to hit nearly $260 billion this year, an increase of 18% from 2006. The report from Shop.org and conducted by Forrester Research of 170 retailers, suggests that online sales growth is a result of an influx of new retailers offering products, liberal shipping policies such as free shipping on returns and exchanges, and use of new technologies that allow customers to zoom and rotate merchandise before buying. The report also notes that debit and credit card purchases continue to drive online retailer growth. The study also found that Americans spent more online on clothing last year than they did on computers for the first time in history. The report found the apparel, accessories and footwear category reached $18.3 billion in 2006 and is expected to hit $22.1 billion in 2007. This year, 10% of all clothing sales are expected to occur online.

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Contactless Payments to Drive M-Banking

A new report predicts that within the next five years 35% of all online banking households will engage in mobile banking, compared to less than 1% last year. Also, that mobile contactless payments, contextually relevant time and event based rewards and various promotional banking offers will become part of the equation, spurring payments activity. The study by Boston-based Celent says SMS and downloadable banking applications will account for much of mobile banking activity over the next three to five years. Today, half of all calls to a bank customer service center are placed from a mobile phone. Celent says that “Generation Y” will gravitate to mobile banking faster than the general population. The research firm also noted that mobile browser-based banking or wireless application protocol banking will not be an effective technology for mobile banking for the next three to five years.

MOBILE BANKING HOUSEHOLDS
2006: 0.2 million
2007: 1.0 million
2008: 5.0 million
2009: 11.0 million
2010: 17.0 million
Source: Celent

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CreditExpert Finds British Overspend

Research conducted by CreditExpert.co.uk, an Experian credit card
monitoring service, has found that British overspending has not changed
despite awareness of poor financial control and high debt levels. Many
British submit to irrational ‘therapy spending’ and regular overspending
because of stress, domestic issues and feeling “down”, highlighting the
need for practical education and advice. The research finds that 80% of
those surveyed admit to overspending, 5% have considered, or taken
out, an IVA or declared themselves bankrupt, 9% have taken out a credit
card to pay off debt on another credit card, and 10% have missed
payments on credit cards, store cards, loan or mortgage repayments. In
response, “Credit Awareness Week” has been organized to assist UK
consumers to better manage their finances. It has been organized by Credit
Today magazine together with an expert group of partner organizations
including Experian, The British Bankers Association and the Consumer
Credit Counseling Service.

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Heartland to Expand Parcxmart Card System

Heartland Payment Systems has signed a letter of intent to increase its strategic investment in Parcxmart Technologies’ Payment System. The Parcxmart Card is a fully functional parking and local merchant smart card payment system. The platform uses smart card technology that offers a convenient one-card alternative to coins and cash for small dollar transactions. The Parcxmart Card can be used at on-street and off-street parking locations as well as for retail purchases at participating merchants. The two companies will also develop an exclusive marketing agreement whereby Heartland’s national sales network will have exclusive rights to sell Parcxmart’s payment system to merchants and municipalities nationally. Currently, Parcxmart’s smart card payment system is fully operable in Bridgeport, CT, New Haven, CT and Truckee, CA. Heartland Payment Systems provides credit/debit card processing, payroll and payment solutions.

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Optimal Cooperates in E-Gambling Probe

Optimal Group Inc. payments company has initiated discussions with the
U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding an investigation of the Internet gambling
industry. As part of the investigation, The U.S. Attorney’s Office has
issued
warrants of seizure of monies on deposit, amounting to approximately
$4.2 million, of certain U.S. payment processors. FirePay Limited has these
funds on deposit in a reserve account and Optimal Payments has
approximately $15 million on deposit in a money market account.

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Tempo Payment Network Signs Murphy USA

Tempo Payments announced that Murphy USA has joined the Tempo Payment Network and is initiating a system-wide implementation of Murphy-branded PIN debit cards at more than 1,000 gas stations. As a result of the lower interchange fees it will realize by shifting payments away from bank-issued credit and debit cards, Murphy USA will reward consumers using the card with a one cent per gallon discount at the pump. Murphy USA debit cardholders will also be able to use the card for purchases at more than 200,000 merchant locations in the U.S. that participate in the Tempo Payment Network. Murphy USA Marketing operates high-volume, low-cost retail gasoline stations under the Murphy USA brand across 21 states. Tempo Payments offers bank-independent affinity debit cards.

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KTC Reports Gains For 1Q07

Krungthai Card Public Company Limited (KTC) has reported a 1Q07
net profit of 136 Million Baht and 1.83 million accounts. The growth of
consumer finance industry is slowing, however, consumers still rely on
loans
to prolong the duration in which they can hold on to cash. Therefore, the
company is focusing on the expansion of credit card and “KTC
CASH Revolve” (personal loans) member bases for generating revenue.
As a result, KTC has reported 117,270 new credit card and “KTC Cash
Revolve” accounts for 1Q07, for a total of 1.83 million accounts. Of this
total, 1,422,217 are credit card accounts, 406,328 are “KTC CASH”
personal loan accounts and 3,706 are “KTC Million” self-employed loan
accounts. Just from the credit card operations, KTC reports net receivables
of 40,027 Million Baht, a 35% increase from 1Q06.

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Customized Teen VISA Buxx Card Coming

This summer teens will have the opportunity to design their own general purpose prepaid card. The “PAYjr VISA Buxx Card” will enable teenagers to upload, enlarge, rotate, move and flip their chosen photos inside the card template without any special software downloads. In addition, PAYjr is developing license relationships with various musical artists, major league teams and popular teen brands to provide teens with a wide variety of card designs to choose from. To help promote the program, PAYjr will be running a card design competition, allowing teens to place an interactive mini version of the design on their blogs and MySpace pages. The “PAYjr VISA Buxx Card” is issued by South Dakota-based BankFirst and is marketed by Dallas-based PAYjr. The design feature is powered by U.K.-based Serverside Group.

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Intercontinental Bank Selects NCR Personas ATMs

Nigeria’s Intercontinental Bank has placed an order with NCR corporation
for 400 “Personas M Series” ATMs. This order will include software,
professional services, maintenance services, and NCR’s management solution.
This solution delivers real time alerts, proactive response and
comprehensive management reporting for ensured availability. Of the ATMs
to be deployed, 380 are to be “Personas M Series 87” and 20 are to be
“Personas M Series 76” units with APTRA multivendor software and
Intelligent Deposit technology. This technology uses image-based migration
for a deposit-taking function from the teller line to the self-service
channel.
It also speeds transactions and provides proof-of-deposit providing full
account of each note deposited by denomination.

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