Asian Americans Most Affluent Consumers

A new report has found that Asian Americans represent the single most affluent consumer group in the USA, trumping their Hispanic counterparts. The study by Packaged Facts says Asian Americans have $400 billion in total buying power. Also, Asian Americans have per capita income of $25,786 versus $14,007 for Hispanics, and a median-household income $56,161 versus $35,929 for Hispanics. Additionally, the Asian population of nearly 13 million has grown at a rate of only 1% less than that of Hispanics in the last five years. Packaged Facts says Asian Americans are big on family, designer items, technology, Internet shopping, and healthy living.

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Wright Express’ Q2 Revenue Jumps 33%

Fleet card specialist, Wright Express, reported second quarter revenue of $76.2 million, a 33% increase year-on-year. However, net income for the quarter was $9.9 million, compared with $15.0 million, for the comparable quarter last year, due to fuel-price derivative instruments issues. The Company reported that fuel transactions processed increased 8% to 61.1 million. Payment processing transactions increased 12% to 46 million, and transaction processing transactions decreased 5% to 15.1 million. Average expenditure per payment processing transaction grew to $57.45, an increase of 30% from the same period last year. Total MasterCard purchase volume grew 47% to $332.7 million. For the third quarter the Company expects revenue in the range of $75 million to $80 million. For complete details on Wright Express’ latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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SPC Card Introduces a Student Loyalty Program

Toronto-based SPC Card has introduced a student loyalty
program with over 500,000 members and 120 National retail chains such as
Aldo, Athlete’s World, Bluenotes, Buffalo, Guess, Esprit, Transit, Xcetera, Jack Astor’s and Burger King. Newly added retailers include Sport Chek, FCUK, Roots, Levi’s, Second Cup and GNC. Students can purchase SPC Card at various retailers, or through their campus bookstore or high school.

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William Schenck Leaves His Penna State Post

William Schenck, who previously led major card initiatives at PNC and WaMu, is resigning as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Banking. Since his appointment by Governor Rendell, Schenck has increased the number of professional examiners who ensure the safety and soundness of the state’s banking institutions and doubled the number who review the business practices of financial service providers, such as mortgage brokers, check cashers, and auto sales financers.

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Maybank Acquires AmEx Card Business in Malaysia

Malayan Banking has acquired American Express’ card business in Malaysia for RM80 million. The acquisition will increase Maybank’s credit cards number to 1.3 million with market share up to 25% from 21% before the deal. Since December 2003, Maybank has been issuing the Maybank American Express credit card under an existing arrangement with American Express in Malaysia.

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PSCU Financial Services Adds a Reloadable Card

FL-based PSCU Financial Services has added a reloadable card to its prepaid offerings and has produced turnkey marketing materials for credit unions including statement inserts, brochures, branch posters and other materials to promote its use as a “Travel Card,” “Student Card” and/or a general purpose card. This platform delivers all the benefits of a standard prepaid card, with the ability to add value as needed. This card also offers the same protection as a VISA debit card and is supported by the cooperative’s award-winning 24 x 7 Contact Center. PSCU Financial Services is owned by more than 500 member credit unions representing 10 million cardholder accounts and more than 345,000 online bill payment subscribers.

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KBC Introduces Serverside Personalized Banking Cards

KBC is the latest issuer to enable customers to design the
front of their payment cards with a favorite photo. The cards are free until November, at which point KBC intends to start charging for them. The exact amount hasn’t yet been confirmed, but is likely to be around EUR 10. However, KBC says that under certain conditions, people below the age of 25 will continue to get the card for free. The personalized feature is powered by London-based Serverside Group. Currently, 22 financial institutions globally have taken advantage of Serverside’s technology and many more will be announced in the months
ahead.

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Heartland Payment’s Q2 Profits Leap 70%

NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems posted record revenues of $278 million for the second quarter, a 33% increase compared 2Q/05. Net income for the three months was $7.4 million an increase of 70%, compared to one-year ago. HPS says record merchant processing volumes, which grew 29% over the year ago period and reached almost $11 billion in the second quarter drove the growth. The Company says 78% of new merchants installed and 62% of total transactions processed during the quarter were on HPS Exchange. The Company’s active card processing merchant count rose to 124,800 at mid-year, a 23% increase over the past twelve months. However, same store sales at its installed base rose 4.8%, below the level of growth the company has experienced in recent years. For the year, HPS is raising its guidance, and now expects net revenue (total revenue less interchange, dues and assessments) to grow by 28% to 30%. HPS serves nearly 128,000 small to medium-sized merchants throughout the USA. For complete details on Heartland Payment Systems latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Jean Coutu Group Renews AIR MILES Reward Program

The Jean Coutu Group has signed a renewal agreement as a sponsor in Alliance Data’s Canadian “AIR MILES Reward Program.” The program has approximately two-thirds of Canadian households actively collecting reward miles. “AIR MILES” collectors earn reward miles at more
than 100 sponsors and miles can be redeemed for more than 800 different rewards, such as travel, movie passes, entertainment attractions, electronic merchandise and more. The Jean Coutu Group operates 320 PJC Jean Coutu franchised drugstores in the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario.

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Kabira Hires a Customer Services Executive

CA-based Kabira Technologies has hired Sanjay Saini, formerly with Mercury Interactive, as VP/Global Customer Services. Saini has been leading professional services operations at large software companies for more than 10 years. He is currently responsible for mission-critical engagements at Fortune 1000 companies within Kabira’s core vertical markets of telecommunications, financial services, and online exchanges. Kabira provides high performance transaction processing software for global enterprises to manage high volumes at a substantially lower cost.

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DBS Bank Deploys VeriFone Vx for its ComPass VISA

DBS Bank has chosen and has begun implementing the VeriFone “Vx 510” payment solution for the enhanced “ComPass VISA” card, a co-branded credit card jointly offered with Hutchison Whampoa. The upgraded “ComPass” smart card was launched last month. The “ComPass VISA” card program recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. About 5,000 “Vx 510” payment systems have been deployed across the Hong Kong SAR, including in mega-retail chains such as Park N Shop. “ComPass VISA” has approximately 500,000 cards in circulation, the largest customer base for chip cards in Hong Kong.

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Cards Capture Back-to-School Spending

A new poll reveals that 74% of parents are expected to rely on payment cards for back-to-school shopping. The MasterCard Worldwide/Harris Interactive “Back to School Spending Index” found that 58% of parents of U.S. students college age or younger plan to use debit cards for back-to-school purchases, increasing from 26% last year. Parents of U.S. students college age and younger expect to spend, on average, $424 this year on back-to-school items. Sixteen percent anticipate 2006 back-to-school expenses for books, clothes, and supplies to exceed $500. Two-thirds claimed that clothing will be their highest expense, followed by books (13%) and supplies (9%).

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