New Index Identifies the Credit Hungry

A new index to track revolving bankcard debt says 51 million households carry credit card debt at an average balance of nearly $12,000. PA-based MKTG Services, an affiliate of CBCInnovis, launched its “Revolving Bankcard Debt Index” to assist lenders identifying prime or sub-prime credit prospects that need additional cash. The index is used in combination with MKTG Services “Real Insights Risk Assessment Scores” to define six segments available for targeting varying levels of bankcard revolving balances. The Company says the combined results are based on the actual financial transaction data of 188 million consumers and 58 million homeowners aggregated at the zip+4 level.

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Q1 Debit Cards Gain on Credit Card PDV

Purchase dollar volume on signature debit cards outpaced credit cards in the first quarter, rising 19% year-on-year compared to slightly more than 12% for VISA and MasterCard credit cards. Over the past five years, off-line debit card purchase volume in the U.S. during the first quarter has more than doubled rising 114% while credit card PDV has increased 46% for the same period. During the first quarter VISA and MasterCard posted $149.6 billion in debit card purchase volume versus $285.2 billion in credit card PDV, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Q1 PURCHASE DOLLAR VOLUME
($ billions; V/MC only)
CREDIT DEBIT
2002: 194.8 70.0
2003: 209.8 85.4
2004: 237.3 104.2
2005: 254.3 125.7
2006: 285.2 149.6
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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P-Card Professional Certification Introduced

The National Association of Purchasing Card Professionals is launching the “Certified Purchasing Card Professional” certification program with the first application deadline of August 31st. The CPCP credential is awarded to P-Card professionals who have demonstrated experience and understanding of the body of knowledge necessary to administer a Purchasing Card program. This credential focuses on individual skills and knowledge of specialized P-Card functions. The NAPCP is a non-profit professional trade association committed to the advancement of Purchasing Card (P-Card) professionals and practices.

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Giesecke & Devrient and Nokia Form a NFC JV

The world’s second largest producer of smart cards and a top global provider of mobile communications are forming a joint venture
to provide services to the “Near Field Communication” ecosystem. Munich-based Giesecke & Devrient and Helsinki-based Nokia are expecting to have their integrated NFC services up and running in the fourth quarter. Target markets for NFC include: mobile operators, transport
operators, retailers, banks, credit card companies, and providers of
digital services/media. The joint venture will implement and operate a secure and versatile service platform to manage the over-the-air transactions with consumers’ NFC enabled devices. The service platform will be operated in a white-label mode with in-built interfaces to the IT systems of the actual service providers, such as banks issuing credit cards. The new company’s services will be available and open to any NFC
enabled devices from all vendors. Giesecke & Devrient will own 57% and Nokia 43% of the new company.

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Optimum T4100 Adds Another Distributor

Phoenix-based Element Payment Services, an ISO with more than 30,000 merchants, has “Class A” certified Hypercom’s “Optimum T4100” multi-application card payment terminal. The IP-enabled “Optimum T4100” is designed specifically for smaller retailers. In April, NY-based EVO Merchant Services selected and “Class A” certified the “Optimum T4100” (CF Library 4/18/06)

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TSYS Prepaid Gets a New President

James A. Accordino, a 21-year veteran of TSYS and the payments industry, has been named president of TSYS Prepaid, Inc., effective immediately. He is responsible for the entire prepaid enterprise, including client relations, operations, product development and implementation, sales and marketing. Accordino currently oversees issuer support for TSYS Managed Services, the servicing division of TSYS that provides call-center, risk and operations support to clients of TSYS. He joined the TSYS Managed Services team in 1999 as director of sales. Mr. Accordino’s previous roles with TSYS have included research and development, client relations, sales and total quality management. TSYS Prepaid is a leading provider of network branded prepaid card processing services.

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India’s Top Bank Deploys Strategy Science

Fair Isaac announced that India-based ICICI Bank has become the first financial institution in Asia to implement its “Strategy Science” to enhance business performance in its retail credit portfolio. ICICI will apply Strategy Science for Acquisitions to take a more precise, data-guided approach to its origination strategy design, enabling the lender to substantially grow its retail credit portfolio while keeping losses under control at target levels.

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Interac Certifies VF’s Vx 510 and Vx 610

Interac Association has certified VeriFone’s “Vx 510” countertop and “Vx 610” wireless payment solution as meeting new chip card device requirements for Canada. The VeriFone systems are the first card acceptance devices to achieve Interac chip card certification. The Interac Association has established a goal of initiating the first chip card transaction in 2007 and will impose financial sanctions beginning in 2010 on member banks who do not meet minimum required levels of chip conversion.

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VIRGIN CARD

Virgin Money has formed a joint venture with Absa to issue the
“Virgin Money” credit card in South Africa. The new MasterCard is the first in the country to offer a combination of no fees and an interest rate of 0% for the first three months with an ongoing APR of 15.75% thereafter. Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson said the card would shake-up the South African credit card market which he claims is ripping-off consumers to the tune of 1.5 billion rand or US$201 million per year. Branson introduced the card after making a 25-story zip-line slide from an adjacent hotel into the parking lot of his company in Johannesburg. The “Virgin Money VIP” loyalty program connected to the new card is free. It offers automatic discounts to “Virgin Active,” “Virgin Atlantic,” “Virgin Cosmetics,” “Virgin Limited Edition” and “Virgin Mobile” based on card usage. Virgin Money also issues credit cards in the UK and Australia. The Company currently has about two million cardholders worldwide.

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Most Small Businesses Beef-Up Data Security

A new survey has found that 64% of small businesses have taken action within the last 12 months to better protect customer financial information and 29% have done so in the last 3 months. The research from VISA USA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also found that 34% of small retailers spend more resources preventing the theft of products and cash from their store compared to 20% who spend more to secure customer data. Additionally, about 53% of retailers think their customers, rarely, if at all, worry about their personal information. VISA and the Chamber of Commerce began a 12-city nationwide town hall tour today titled, “Securing Our Businesses, Protecting Our Customers.” It is the second year that VISA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have teamed to educate small businesses about new fraud threats and how to protect themselves.

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Retriever Certifies 4Access’ Orion Terminal

Houston-based Retriever Payment Systems has agreed to “Class A” certify and launch the “Orion” all-in-one check reader, imager and card solution from 4Access Communications Company. Orion is a comprehensive, stand-alone solution for reading and processing checks, credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, EBT cards and gift cards. Retriever is one of the fastest growing U.S. merchant acquirers and transaction processors, providing payment processing and other related services to small- and medium-sized merchants for credit card, debit card and other payment transactions. 4Access Communications produces point-of-transaction software and hardware.

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