Citi Gives Intl Executives Mobile Credit

Citi has launched an innovative new program to provide international executives with mobile credit. The new “Global Executive Banking” program will use cross border client credit references to provide credit cards to executives upon arrival in the destination country. Citi says it is an industry first. The program was launched in the U.S., the U.K. and Singapore, but will expand to additional countries throughout the year. Clients will work with dedicated staff who manage their finances and provide access to banking products, funds transfers, credit cards and personal loans for clients on, or as near as possible to, arrival, while complying with local regulations and privacy laws.

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OBERTHUR 2006

After some rough sailing in the first half of last year, Oberthur Card Systems says cost controls and a pick-up in European sales paid-off in the second half. Total annual revenues rose nearly 5% to $698.4 million but net income plummeted from $40.9 million for 2005 to $12.7 million for 2006. In the microprocessor card segment Oberthur posted a 39.4% gain, delivering more than 271 million cards last year. Revenue in the magnetic stripe card segment rose by 3.5% to $104.1 million. The services and personalization business, which is tightly linked to smart card deliveries in banking, reached $142.5 million, a 4.7% increase year-on-year. Europe represented the largest region with revenues at $334.7 million but posted an 8.5% fall essentially due to unfavorable cyclical trends in the payment segment in the UK. North America grew by 16.1% compared to 2005 with sales reaching $179.4 million. Under the leadership of its new CEO, Philippe Geyres, Oberthur says cost controls remain in place with on-going reviews of all its operations worldwide. For complete details on Oberthur’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Taco Bell Joins the MC PayPass Migration

Contactless payments in the U.S. got another big boost as Taco Bell announced plans to test “MasterCard PayPass.” The news comes as “PayPass” is now accepted at more than 46,000 merchant locations worldwide, compared to less than 25,000 one-year ago. There are nearly 13 million “PayPass”-enabled cards now in the market. Approximately 100 Taco Bell stores will begin accepting “PayPass” in the fourth quarter of this year, with additional stores likely to be added throughout 2008. Taco Bell says it intends to launch at all 1,300 company owned restaurants and additional participating franchise locations nationwide. Other major participating merchants include 7-Eleven, CVS, and Regal Entertainment Group theaters, plus numerous football and baseball stadiums.

PAYPASS LOCATIONS
Feb 06: 25,000
Jul 06: 32,000
Nov 06: 36,000
Mar 07: 46,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Frost & Sullivan Reveals Smart Card Expansion

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, a growth consulting company, reveals
smart card applications and the low labor and materials’ cost are
contributing to explosive growth of the smart card market and of smart
card vendors in Asia Pacific. This growth has resulted in an emerging
pool of local vendors and an increase in the number of regional
participants in various segments of the value chain, from manufacturers
to system integrators. These companies, however, are forced to invest
more in upgrading their R&D facilities and delivering more high-end
products because of international competition in the market. Frost &
Sullivan has been partnering with clients to support the development of
innovative strategies for more than 40 years.

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USA Technologies Moves to the NASDAQ

PA-based USA Technologies will begin trading on The NASDAQ Capital Market under its current trading symbol “USAT” on March 19th. The Company also announced that it has completed a $10 million private placement of common stock and warrants with S.A.C. Capital Associates, LLC. The Company sold 1,666,667 million shares at $6.00 per share and issued six year warrants, exercisable to purchase 833,333 shares of common stock at $6.40 per share. USA Technologies provides networking of wireless non-cash transactions, associated financial/network services and energy management.

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Sampath Bank Issues a VISA Mini Card

VISA International will issue “mini debit cards” with Sampath Bank in
Sri Lanka, pushing the plastic card market over the 1,500,000 mark and
widening the country’s electronic payment systems. There are nearly one
million visa debit cards in Sri Lanka, a number that will increase with
this new development. Every customer that opens a new account with the
bank will receive The Visa “Mini Card”. The “Mini Card”, however, is
nearly half the size of a standard-sized Visa card and can be used at
7600 point-of-sale locations across the country.

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Cash Systems’ 4Q/06 Revenue Soars by 55%

NV-based Cash Systems reported that fourth quarter revenue soared 55% to $25.4 million. Net loss for the quarter was $7.1 million, compared to net loss of $2.3 million in 4Q/05. During the quarter, Cash Systems signed a multi-year contract renewal to provide ATM, check cashing and cash advance services at all seven of the gaming facilities owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida; signed a new vault cash agreement with Fidelity Bank; and expanded a contract renewal with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of Southern California to include a complete line of cash access services including all-in-1 and check cashing as well as the first ever “cashclub” installation. Cash Systems also debut its “powercash” and “eCashsystem with eCash.” The Company currently expects revenue to increase approximately 20% to between $115 million to $120 million in 2007. For complete details on Cash System’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Crittenden Withdraws from UPS Board Nomination

UPS announced that Gary Crittenden, former American Express CFO and now CFO of Citigroup, has withdrawn his name for election to the UPS Board. On Feb. 14, the UPS Board announced it had nominated Crittenden to stand for election as a new director at the company’s annual shareowners meeting in May. At that time, Crittenden was the chief financial officer of the American Express Co. He subsequently agreed to become CFO of Citigroup and under Citigroup policy, senior executives may only serve on one outside board.

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PepsiCo Chairman is Nominated to AmEx Board

American Express announced that Steven Reinemund, Chairman of the Board of PepsiCo, has been nominated to stand for election to its Board of Directors. Reinemund previously served as Pepsi’s CEO in addition to Chairman of the Board. Earlier in his PepsiCo career, he held the positions as PepsiCo’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Reinemund began his distinguished 23-year long career with PepsiCo in 1984 with the Pizza Hut division, now part of Yum! Brands, Inc., and became CEO of that division in 1986. During his tenure, he also led the North American snack division and Frito-Lay’s worldwide operations. Reinemund received a MBA from the University of Virginia.

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Bone Thugs-N-Harmony VISA in the Works

Los Angeles-based prepaid card specialist Smart SMS has signed an agreement to issue a “Bone Thugs-N-Harmony” branded VISA debit card. Bone is the first recording act to take part in Smart’s vanity card program. Gross revenue potential is predicted to top $8 million annually. The availability of the branded VISA debit card will coincide with a new album release. Both “Bone Thugs-N-Harmony” and Smart expect the distribution of cards to exceed two hundred and fifty thousand based on “Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s” one million plus loyal fans. Smart SMS is a mobile entertainment marketing and distribution company that specializes in market branding via text and MMS for television shows, celebrities, musicians, entertainers, athletes, and major brands, as well as fundraising programs.

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Cash Systems Inks Western Penna’s First Casino

Las Vegas-based Cash Systems has signed a new multi-year contract with the Meadows Racetrack and Casino, the first casino to open in Western Pennsylvania. Cash Systems offers the “all-in-1atm”, an ATM with multifunction capability from which patrons can select an ATM cash withdrawal or select a POS debit or credit card transaction all from the same ATM. “casinopc” offers the full range of services for processing and completing transactions at the casino cage, all residing on one system and “ecash” checking is the quickest and most efficient check cashing and guarantee product in the industry. Casino cage personnel experience faster check cashing times with higher limits for casino patrons.

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Price Pressure Force Gemalto’s Profits Down

Gemalto reports that annual revenues slipped 1.5% last year to $2.26 billion due to extreme price pressure in the SIM mobile card and EMV smart card segments. Profits collapsed to $2.1 million, compared to $180.8 million for 2005, due to merger-related expenses and other extraordinary items. The average SIM card selling price was down 31% at constant exchange rates. However, the year-on-year price decrease improved throughout the year from 34% in the first half year to 32% in the third quarter and 25% in the fourth quarter. Deliveries of microprocessor cards were up 20%, driven by on-going EMV deployment, primarily in North Asia, Latin America, Turkey and Russia. Average selling prices decreased, reflecting more intense competition in certain high growth markets migrating to EMV. Deliveries of microprocessor products (mainly contactless, high-end cards and e-passports) were up 81%, fueled by the initial deployments of large scale identity programs, mainly in Europe. For 2007, Gemalto says cost synergies from the Gemplus-Axalto merger are materializing progressively in line with the Company’s expectations, but they will not be sufficient to offset the adverse effect on the operating margin of the strong price decline of the last twelve months. For complete details on Gemalto’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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