Charge-Offs & Delinquency Ratios Normalize

Credit card charge-offs, among “prime” asset-backed securities, slipped south in September, but, the 60+ day delinquency ratio slightly increased. However, it is likely that slowing economic activity and rising bankruptcy filings will result in slower growth in balances and charge volumes. According to FitchRatings, “prime” charge-offs for September were 3.94%, six basis points lower than August and compared to 5.70% one-year ago. The “prime” 60-plus day delinquency index for September was 2.33%, compared to 2.32% in August. Fitch also reported that “sub-prime” 60+ day late payments increased to 5.32% from 5.00% in August. “Sub-Prime” charge-offs dropped to 7.88% in September compared to 9.45% for August. Fitch says the jump in July and August “sub-prime” charge-offs were due to a roll-off of a delinquency bubble caused by the increase in minimum payments.

ABS PRIME CHARGE-OFFS HISTORICAL
Jan 06: 6.88%
Feb 06: 3.29%
Mar 06: 3.10%
Apr 06: 3.19%
May 06: 3.58%
Jun 06: 3.58%
Jul 06: 3.44%
Aug 06: 3.94%
Sep 06: 3.88%
Source: FitchRatings

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Ultra Unveils the Magicard Avalon Duo

Ultra Electronics has released the new “Magicard Avalon Duo” double-sided ID card printer. Double-sided printing offers convenience for one-stop ID card issuance, as well as the ability to batch print for mid to high volume applications.The new printer features a robust metal print engine and a two year limited warranty across North America and the EU. The printer is priced at $2950.

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PULSE Names a New Oversight Committee Chair

Thirty-year banking veteran Paul Olivier has been elected chairman of PULSE EFT Association Financial Institution Oversight Committee and Ron Samford, senior EVP and chief administrative officer of Capital One and James Outlaw, president and COO of Trustmark-Texas have been added to the panel. The Oversight Committee was created following PULSE’s acquisition by Discover Financial Services LLC in January 2005, and advises the organization on key issues relative to the operations of PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks currently serving more than 4,200 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country. PULSE is one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,200 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country.

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Vendtek’s Now Prepay and Canadian Tire Ink a POSA Deal

VendTek Systems and its Now Prepay subsidiary have inked an agreement with Canadian Tire Petroleum to implement “POSA” activation
terminals and new software to allow for activation of long distance cards by swiping them through the POS terminals. Now Prepay will be working with Bell Canada to deliver a set of prepaid long distance products that can be activated at Canadian Tire Petroleum gas
bars. VendTek develops and licenses automated transaction system software and supporting technologies.

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PayPad Becomes 3PEA International

Payment solutions company, PayPad, has changed its names to 3PEA International. 3PEA International, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary 3PEA Technologies, Inc., designs and develops next generation payment solutions including proprietary payment terminals and payment gateway services. Since 2001, 3PEA has provided online payment solutions with specific focus in the area of PIN-Debit transactions. The company now provides turnkey and customized payment processing services to retailers, internet merchants and software development companies.

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Cardways Offers Customized Gift Cards

Chicago-based Cardways.com has launched 4YourSoul.com to offer customized gift cards. At Cardways.com, consumers can make gift cards uniquely their own by uploading digital photos and script to create a personalized message for family and friends. From a ballet recital to a memorable vacation spot, users can easily add their photos to appear on two-thirds of the gift card. The remaining third of the gift card features the retailer at which the gift card value can be redeemed. Cardways.com is a service of Arroweye Solutions. Founded in 1999, Arroweye Solutions is a technology enabled marketing services company focusing on gifting solutions for multi-channel retailers.

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ADS Signs a Cruise Vacations Retailer

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has signed a long-term agreement with Cruise Management International to provide co-branded credit card services. The co-brand credit card services Alliance Data will provide include account acquisition and activation, receivables funding, credit authorization, card issuance, statement generation, direct mail and email marketing services, remittance processing, and customer service functions. CMI is a service provider for the cruise and travel industry, enhancing customer value and branding efforts for its customers. Alliance Data (NYSE: ADS) is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services, managing over 105 million consumer relationships for some of North America’s most recognizable companies.

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Debt Poll Shows 90% Worry About Debt

Fox Symes, the largest debt relief company in the country, released its first national news poll into how Australians feel about household debt. The survey shows that Australia is a nation of worriers, with more people concerned about paying bills than becoming the victim of a violent crime. The findings of the “Fox Symes Quarterly Debt Poll” have revealed that 92% of of Australians feel household debt is a problem in Australia. One in six people feel that their personal household debt has increased over the past three months.

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26% of Consumers Report Personal Info Thefts

A new survey shows that 19% of consumers have had their financial information stolen including a bank or credit card number. Approximately 14% say they have had their personal information stolen. The latest “Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index” survey also found that consumers with a college education and higher incomes and those living in Western States report the highest occurrences of theft. Three-fourths of Americans think credit card fraud is identity theft. Although about half of all Americans say they think it is unlikely that they will be a victim of identity theft, 70% said they would take more steps to prevent being a victim if they knew what to do. The “PCI” sampling was conducted in July, August and September 2006 and included 3,032 adults.

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Citibank Offers Free Credit Card Cash Withdrawals

Citibank Germany announced that cardholders in the future will be able to withdraw cash without any charges whatsoever if they are generally willing to pay an increased annual fee. Outside Euroland as well, the charge for withdrawing money from a cash machine will be abolished; all that remains is the foreign handling fee, as with credit card purchases. This means that customers of Citibank Germany will in future be able to withdraw their cash free of charge at a million ATMs worldwide. Citibank customers who want to to use the “free cash” service can have their credit cards modified accordingly. The service is conditional on a current account with salary in-payments at Citibank (direct deposit of salary of the customer). The annual fees for the credit cards will then increase by 10 euros to reach 30 euros for “Classic” cards, to 40 euros for “CitiBest Gold” cards and to 76 euros for “Gold” cards. The “CitiBest Gold” cards will remain free of charge as from a purchase turnover of 2,500 euros a year. If customers want to continue using their credit cards without this service, the annual fee will remain unchanged.

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Merchants Want True Transparency on Rates

The Merchants Payments Coalition says the VISA and MasterCard decision to publish online their U.S. interchange rates is a “small step in the right direction.” However, the transparency offered so far is “only one piece of the puzzle” that merchants need to understand why they are paying “excessive merchant rates.” The MPC noted that VISA’s interchange list included more than 70 combinations of rates for different types of merchants, cards and transactions. MasterCard’s list included nearly 150 combinations. The MPC says the shear number of rates alone is “testimony to the opacity of the interchange system and the need for true transparency.” The Merchants Payments Coalition is a group of about 20 trade associations representing retailers, restaurants, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, gas stations, on-line merchants and other businesses that accept debit and credit cards.

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Calypso Obtains Approval to Accept VISA Intl Cards

Alberta-based Calypso has obtained approval from VISA to accept
VISA International cards at approved ATM locations. ATMs processed by Calypso, the first white label ATM processor to succeed in getting both “VISA Plus” and “VISA International” approval, will now be able to accept International VISA-sponsored cards, an additional 1.5 billion cards worldwide. Also, the approval allows for VISA branding to be applied to Calypso ATMs. Calypso works with Moneris Solutions and VISA Canada.

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