Card Fraud Is A Growing Problem In Shanghai

Throughout the city of Shanghai last year, there were 925 reports of
criminal activity involving bank cards. Furthermore, victims of bank card
theft suffered losses equivalent to $1.68 million, 30% of which has been
recovered. This number is rising as criminals become smarter and use
new methods to steal peoples’ information. The most popular tactics include
strategically installing tiny video cameras to obtain PINs, setting up fake
online banks to get victims to send information voluntarily, blocking ATM
slots to trap cards, sending false messages to cell phones advising deposit
money in a designated accounts, and disguising as service employees
demanding bank card information.

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ICICI Bank Promotes Card Payments For Environment

ICICI Bank will begin a “Go Green India” initiative for the promotion
of environment-friendly practices. As means of reducing paper used,
the initiative encourages customers to use their debit cards at the point of sale rather than withdrawing paper money from an ATM to make purchases. Also, “Go Green India” encourages consumers to conduct online banking for the reduction of paper-based transactions. These tactics will reduce the amount of paper used as well as the energy and the amount of ink used on currency and paper receipts.

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BankNet To Begin ATM Operations

BankNet is set to become operational in the month of April 2007 and
will connect the ATM systems of three members in the first period, to
be followed by four other members (Agribank, ACB, Sacombank and
EAB) by the end of the year. Banknet, consisting of 7 banks and the
Vietnam Data and Communications Company, was founded in April
2003 to connect payment systems in Vietnam and is expected to sign
an agreement to connect the payment system with a Chinese card
institution, allowing Vietnamese cards to be accepted in China. Once the connection is completed, several million
clients will be able to use the common services of all the BankNet
members, including ATM service for a fee of VND 3,000.

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Amro Bank Agreement With PT Garuda

Amro Bank has signed an agreement with PT Garuda that will enable
the bank’s credit card customers, who are also members of
“Garuda Frequent Flyers”, to exchange reward points for free flights.
The Program has been designated the “Rewards and Mileage” program
and has no destination restrictions. “Rewards and Mileage” was designed
with the intent of doubling the number of Amro Bank credit card holders
by years’ end from 200,000 to 400,000.

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Discover to Unveil 13 WNBA Affinity Cards

Discover now has more than 150 card designs in its product suite and has added another new group including affinity cards issued for the Women’s National Basketball Association. The thirteen new “WNBA Team Affinity Discover” cards will be unveiled today at the WNBA’s draft day festivities held in Cleveland. Those who apply for the team-affiliated card, as well as existing Discover cardholders, will have access to the “Discover Card Fan Lounge” at select WNBA arenas. Current Discover cardholders can also show their card to gain access to the “Lounge” and have the chance to meet WNBA players while enjoying a VIP experience. The new cards include the Discover “Cashback” and “Cashback Bonus” programs. Additionally, Discover will make a $20 donation to “WNBA Cares” charitable partners to be identified at the launch of the season for each new account upon first purchase.

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First Data Resources Gets New SVP of Sales

First Data has hired Kyle Thomas, former CEO of Global Chili/Chilly Co as SVP, Processing and Product Sales, for First Data Resources. Thomas was most recently CEO of Global Chili/Chilly Co., which he founded in 2004. Prior to this entrepreneurial venture, he was with Abacus, a division of Doubleclick, where he served as executive vice president and was responsible for product management, sales and marketing. Thomas’ career includes various senior management positions with HNC Software, ABN Amro Bank and Citibank, both in the United States and overseas. First Data is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions.

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Bankruptcy Roars Like a Lion in March

Overall post holiday bankruptcy filings surged in the first quarter to more than 185,000, a nearly 60% increase over the year ago period. Momentum exploded in March rising more than 30% over the prior month. According to OK-based Jupiter eSources and DC-based American Bankruptcy Institute consumer filings rose from 50,000 in January to 55,000 in February and slightly less than 73,000 in March. According the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts there were 117,000 filings in the first quarter of 2006 and an all-time record of 667,431 in the fourth quarter of 2005. There is a consensus that bankruptcy filings could top one million in 2007 driven by the implosion in the sub-prime mortgage market.

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MC FOUNDATION

MasterCard announced the leadership of the new Toronto-based MasterCard
Foundation. Lois Juliber, retired vice chairman and COO of
Colgate-Palmolive, will serve as chairman of the board. Deanna
Rosenswig, a former senior executive at Bank of Montreal, will serve as
the foundation’s president and CEO. The Foundation’s mission is to
broaden access to the global economy through innovative microfinance
programs and to increase access to quality education opportunities for
young people around the world. The Foundation was created last May when
MasterCard went public. The Foundation was vested with more than 13
million shares of stock, currently valued at more than $1 billion.

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FIS Signs Processing Deal with NewAlliance Bank

Florida-based Fidelity National Information Services has signed a five year agreement with NewAlliance Bank to provide merchant processing solutions. FIS will provide transaction authorization capture, online debit, and associated services for new and existing merchants. NewAlliance is the sixth-largest bank headquartered in New England with $8 billion in assets, has more than 3,000 merchant customers and processes more than 8 million transactions annually. Fidelity National Information Services is a provider of core processing for financial institutions; card issuer and transaction processing services; mortgage loan processing and mortgage-related information products; and outsourcing services to financial institutions, retailers, mortgage lenders and real estate professionals.

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Korea Credit Bureau Offers FICO Score

Fair Isaac Corporation has announced its agreement with Korea Credit
Bureau, allowing the Bureau to market and sell Fair Issac’s
“Global FICO score” and giving lenders greater access to evaluate
credit risks. The solution rank-orders consumers and is designed to be
consistent as a global standard using a range of bureau configurations
and available data. Furthermore, the system will help lenders and
institutions meet regulatory compliance requirements and allow them to
automate more processes. Korea Credit Bureau was established by
19 financial institutions with the intent of consolidating the credit
infrastructure throughout the country.

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Cross-Border Deals Dominate ARM M&A Deals

Cross-border deals in the Accounts Receivable Management industry spilled over into 2007 as five of the nine M&A transactions completed in the first quarter involved buyers and sellers in different countries. According to Kaulkin Ginsberg, cross-border deals involved target companies located in the U.S., Australia, the UK, and Malaysia. The largest transaction of the quarter, in terms of deal value, occurred in January, when a consortium of private equity firms acquired Vertex Outsourcing, which has an ARM utility focused division, from UK-based United Utilities for roughly $428 million as a platform acquisition. Also in January, U.S.-based NCO Group’s subsidiary Australian Receivables Limited, increased its Australian market presence with the add-on acquisition of Statewide Mercantile Services. Kaulkin Ginsberg also announced that it is conducting an ongoing operational benchmarking study for the ARM industry. The study found that for the twelve month period ending on June 30th, 2006, the average collector brought in nearly $655,162 in gross revenues. The median gross revenue taken in by collectors during this same period was $400,774.

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