StanChart Launches Shariah Compliant Credit Card

Standard Chartered has introduced its first global
Islamic credit card. The “Saadiq VISA Gold Credit Card” will initially
be available only for the Bank’s UAE customers, but will be rolled-out
across the Middle East in coming months. The new card is part of the
new “Saadiq” global Islamic Banking business brand first introduced in
Malaysia. “Saadiq” means “truthful” in Arabic. The StanChart “Saadiq
Gold Credit Card” is comprised of a card and service account, and operates
on a fixed-fee structure based on the “Ujrah” concept. This unique
feature provides customers with the flexibility of paying a fixed
monthly maintenance fee and does not depend on the outstanding balance
or duration of the balance in the service account.

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MagTek Unveils a New Tri-Band Reader

CA-based MagTek announced the addition of “Tri-band” readers to the “IntelliStripe” family of card readers. “Tri-band” readers integrate magstripe, smartcard, and contactless technologies, allowing three distinct information bands or card data inputs in a single device that includes Magstripe, Smartcard that is EMV 4.0 certified and Contactless to include Mastercard PayPass, VISA Wave, MIFARE, American Express ExpressPay, and Discover Card. MagTek is a provider of electronic transaction technology.

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MTS Upgrades its Card Processing Center

Mellon Technology Solutions (MTS), provider of processing
services in Serbia, has moved its processing operations to new
certified processing center facilities. MTS employs data protection
systems and applies electronic security controls and processes.
Currently MTS is servicing 14 banks in Serbia and abroad and its
facilities have been certified by VISA, MASTERCARD. MTS is also
currently acquiring certification from international standardization
authority PCI (Payment Cards Industry).

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Chase Paymentech Signs Think Partnership

Think Partnership has chosen Chase Paymentech for payment processing. Think Partnership has a large base of recurring charges from products and services including pay per click advertising, dating, education and home-based business opportunities. The company will begin migrating payment processing for many of their businesses throughout the month of May. Think Partnership is a provider of interactive performance-based marketing and related Internet technologies. Chase Paymentech Solutions is a merchant acquirer accepting payments at the point of sale, hospitality, internet, retail, catalogue and recurring billing. The company processed approximately 18.2 billion transactions in 2006, with more than $660.6 billion in annual bankcard and debit volume.

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Bankers’ Association to Offer Exception Fee Info

The Australian Bankers Association(ABA) has announced that it and
its member banks will provide customer clarity on exception fees. These
type of fees include credit card late payments, account overdraft fees,
and over-the-limit fees. The information member banks will publish
regarding policies and products include an industry fact sheet describing
each of those member banks’ approaches, how bank customers can
modify their behavior to avoid incidence of these fees, and how policies
affect customers in relation to the charging of the fees.

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Chinese Credit Cards See No Profit

The Chinese credit card industry had losses of $232 million last year,
leaving the deficit at an estimated $4 per card for the 56 million credit
cards issued. These losses are contributed to low borrowing levels,
competition in customers acquisition, and a lack of scale in spending at
the point of sale. Experts also say foreign banks, issuers of most of
China’s cards, need to nurture the market before competing for new
clients. The Lafferty group, however, predicts that the situation will
improve, with losses of $219 million in 2007 shrinking to $59 million
in 2008.

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Poll: Credit Card Applications Not Fuzzy

A new survey found that 58% of its 400+ respondents agreed that they feel well-informed about credit cards and their benefits before deciding to apply for new card. Auriemma Consulting Group also discovered that only a third of consumers applying for a new credit card do so after researching cards available to them. Nearly half of applicants apply for a new credit card spontaneously, with no prior thought given to obtaining an additional card. Additionally, 35% of all participants agreed completely that the information offered was exemplary, giving it a rating of 10 out of 10.

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MasterCard Certifies STM and OTI Solutions

STMicroelectronics and OTI(On Track Innovations)have announced
that their joint contactless solution has been certified as level 1, level 2, and Chip Assessment Security Testing (CAST) by MasterCard. This will allow the solution to support both MasterCard PayPass and Visa
Paywave on one chip, for which OTI will provide the operating system,
application and the inlay technology. Card manufacturers can program
the card to support either MasterCard or Visa programs optimizing
inventory management. Last year, STMicroelectronic’s net revenues were
$9.85 billion and net earnings were $782 million.

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Credit Card Practices Bill Introduced

Senators Carl Levin and Claire McCaskill have introduced “The Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act” to stop credit card practices that unfairly deepen or prolong credit card debt held by consumers. The Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act follows an investigation and hearing by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The Act seeks to address the following: no interest on debt paid on time, no trailing interest; limits on penalty interest; apply interest rate increases only to future debt; no interest on fees, restrictions on over-limit fees; no “Pay-to-Pay” fees, reasonable currency exchange fees; prompt and fair crediting of card holder payments and fixed credit limits. The Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act has been endorsed by Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, National Consumer Law Center, U.S. PIRG, and the Center for Responsible Lending.

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3M Launches a New Clear Credit Card Design

While early “clear” payment cards encountered operating problems with ATMs, 3M this week unveiled the first truly transparent, fully ATM-functioning payment card. The new infrared “Vikuiti Clear Card Filter” passes all international standards for payment cards. VISA International recently approved 3M as a manufacturer of a transparent inlay for use in VISA-branded payment cards worldwide. Although the magnetic stripe shows through the front of the card, it can easily be integrated into the design. Typography, solids, patterns, illustrations all reproduce well on the clear plastic substrate and it accepts traditional four-color printing in addition to a wide range of translucent inks. The card is powered by a proprietary multi-layer, IR light-blocking optical film from 3M. Laminated between two clear sheets of PVC, the film reflects the IR light generated by LEDs used in ATMs to detect the presence of a card.

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H&R Block Prepaid Card Balances Top $211MM

H&R Block reported it has signed-up more than two million accounts for its prepaid card with more than $211 million in payroll and other funds deposited to-date. The “H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard,” launched one year-ago, exploded during this tax season as its account base more than doubled and deposited funds soared from $14 million in early February. The Company noted that 40% of the clients were previously unbanked. The card is only available to tax clients completing their taxes in H&R Block 12,800 tax offices. The card is issued by H&R Block Bank. The Company estimates the card has saved clients more than $60 million in check-cashing fees.

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