H&R Block Joins Green Dot Network

H&R Block has joined the Green Dot Financial Network to enable customers to add funds to H&R Block’s prepaid debit cards. The multi-year agreement allows H&R Block to increase the retention of its prepaid cardholders while giving H&R Block customers a powerful financial tool. The year-round program is set to launch in mid-August. Green Dot Corporation is America’s first and largest provider of retailer-sold prepaid debit cards. Green Dot Corporation is America’s first and largest provider of retailer-sold prepaid debit cards.

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Hannaford Bros Deploys NeXpose

Hannaford Bros. has purchased Rapid7’s “NeXpose” to perform network security scanning in compliance with the PCI data security standard. Rapid7 is a MasterCard-approved security scanning vendor as part of the MasterCard Site Data Protection (SDP) Program. During a review of several vulnerability management solutions for performing its PCI compliance scanning, Hannaford found that NeXpose stood out for several reasons. Hannaford Bros. Co., based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 158 supermarkets and food and drug combination stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. Rapid7 was founded in 1999 by a team of software industry veterans who were major contributors to product development and subsequent growth and success at Percussion Software, Bond Technologies and Stride & Associates.

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Alliance Data System Names a New COO

Atlanta-based Alliance Data System has named John Scullion to the newly created position of President and Chief Operating Officer, effective October 2, 2006. Scullion will be responsible for overseeing the Company’s Loyalty and Marketing Services and Utilities Services businesses. He will also oversee corporate ITS, corporate Human Resources and the Corporate Development and Innovation Group. Mr. Scullion has been with the Company since its acquisition of The Loyalty Group in 1998, serving most recently as EVP and President, Loyalty and Marketing Services.

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ROAA Heads North After Four Months

The return on average credit card assets has rebounded after digesting the autumn 2005 explosion in personal bankruptcies. After dipping below 100 basis points in December the ROAA has steadily surged, peaking at 2.46% for March but slipping slightly for four consecutive months. The ROAA is determined by dividing the after-tax return by the average managed card outstandings and then annualizing. The figures do not include the impact of American Express and Discover performance. Rising interest rates, higher minimum payments and increasing energy costs appear to be pushing delinquency upward.

RETURN ON AVERAGE ASSETS
Jul 05: 1.28%
Aug 05: 1.39%
Sep 05: 1.46%
Oct 05: 1.40%
Nov 05: 0.84%
Dec 05: 0.81%
Jan 06: 1.11%
Feb 06: 1.98%
Mar 06: 2.46%
Apr 06: 2.40%
May 06: 2.37%
Jun 06: 2.34%
Jul 06: 2.41%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Net Interest Margin Rebounds But Erodes

Net interest margins for credit card issuers rebounded in the first quarter but deteriorated since but remain at 5.98%. Capital One reported a NIM of 6.90% for the second quarter compared to 7.78% for the second quarter of 2005. Cap One’s NIM for 1Q/06 was 7.30%. Citibank reported a NIM of 7.06%% for the second quarter for its U.S. card portfolio compared to 6.69% for the second quarter of 2005. Citibank’s NIM for 1Q/06 was 7.88%.

NET INTEREST MARGIN
Jul 05: 5.44%
Aug 05: 5.21%
Sep 05: 5.17%
Oct 05: 5.10%
Nov 05: 3.71%
Dec 05: 3.42%
Jan 06: 3.85%
Feb 06: 4.78%
Mar 06: 6.41%
Apr 06: 6.34%
May 06: 6.14%
Jun 06: 6.06%
Jul 06: 5.98%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Sears Pulls $35MM from Debit Card Fund

Sears last week reported a $36 million pre-tax gain from proceeds received during the second quarter related to the settlement of VISA/MasterCard debit card antitrust litigation. For the quarter, domestic comparable stores sales declined 3.8% in the aggregate, with Sears Domestic comparable store sales declining 6.3% and Kmart comparable store sales declining 0.6%. The comparable store sales declines at both Kmart and Sears Domestic reflect the impact of increased competition and lower transaction volumes. Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation’s third largest broadline retailer, with approximately $55 billion in annual revenues, and with approximately 3,800 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada. Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, home electronics and automotive repair and maintenance.

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Nordstrom Lands $6MM from Debit Card Fund

Nordstrom reported a one-time payment of $5.6 million related to the VISA/MasterCard settlement. Year-to-date net earnings increased 22.3 percent to $310.0 million for the period ended July 29, 2006, compared to net earnings of $253.5 million for the same period last year. Earnings per diluted share for the same periods were $1.15 and $0.91, respectively. Nordstrom, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers, with 156 US stores located in 27 states.

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Bradesco Partners with AirPlus

AirPlus International has teamed with Brazil’s largest private bank issuer to provide international companies in Brazil with a complete corporate payment solution. Through the partnership with Bradesco, AirPlus will further extend its partner network and merchant base in the Latin American region, strengthening its position in the business travel payment market worldwide. The core product of the partnership is the” BRADESCO Cartao Passagem Bradesco”. This lodged product offers companies a central billing solution to easily pay for air tickets from all major international airlines. The detailed accounting information provided by the CPB enables companies to enjoy the benefit of unparalleled transparency of costs. Over 30,000 corporate customers worldwide rely on AirPlus for their business travel management needs and benefit from AirPlus’ presence in all the leading business travel markets worldwide.

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WaMu Inks a CardTronics’ Walgreens Deal

Washington Mutual has inked a deal with Cardtronics to brand 160 cash dispensing ATMs in select Walgreens locations. Through the relationship, all WaMu-branded ATMs in Walgreens stores will be free to WaMu customers for cash withdrawals, just like ATMs owned and operated by Washington Mutual. Initial roll-out is scheduled to be complete in the third quarter of 2006. Cardtronics has a nationwide U.S. network of more than 26,000 locations operating in every major market and in all 50 states as well as 1,000 locations throughout the UK.

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LINK Network Deploys ATM TrueTest Solution

LINK Interchange Network has extended its relationship with Level Four Software. This will enable LINK to enhance customers’ experience throughout a network of over 20,000 outsourced ATMs serviced and managed by its outsourcing division Avantra in the UK. Avantra is now rolling out this solution throughout its development and
test teams at its Harrogate headquarters. The LINK ATM Scheme brings together 105 million card holders and over 58,000 ATMs in the UK.

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Mortgaged Consumers Have Higher Scores

A nationwide study shows that consumers with mortgages have an average credit score that is 55 points higher than consumers without a mortgage. The report from Experian Consumer Direct also shows the percentage of consumers with open second mortgages has increased 63% from 2001. The research showed that the average debt for consumers without a mortgage averaged $4,565 compared to consumers with a mortgage of $24,565. Average debt among consumers with a second mortgage averaged $42,511. Experian’s study was compiled using the “PLUS Score” and “National Score Index,” which is based on a nationwide sampling of 3 million consumer credit profiles.

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PayByCash Joins Google Checkout

VA-based PayByCash has become one of the first major alternate payment options providers to roll out gateway services for Google Checkout. Google Checkout is a safe way to pay via credit card. It’s increasingly common for consumers to feel wary about giving their credit card information to online merchants. The addition of Google Checkout to PayByCash’s suite of more than 40 non-credit-card payment options provides Web merchants with a powerful way to extend a credit-card payment alternative to hesitant customers. Neither PayByCash nor the merchant ever see the customer’s credit card number. PayByCash bridges the gulf between merchants seeking to take advantage of the Internet’s global reach and consumers who want or need to pay without a credit card.

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