Russian Standard Bank Expands ATM Deployment

Russian Standard Bank is expanding its ATM network beyond Moscow and other major cities to 120 smaller towns and cities throughout the country. The largest private lending bank in the country will deploy
1,100 NCR “Intelligent Deposit Personas” ATMs and 150 cash-dispensing ATMs. Most of the ATMs will be located in off-premise locations, such as
department stores, shopping malls or underground stations. The bank has
partnerships with a growing network of retailers where customers will be
able to take out a loan to cover their purchases on the spot and then
make their monthly cash repayments through an ATM. The new ATMs are equipped with barcode readers. NCR has customized its “APTRA” software so that customers can repay their loans by simply scanning in their loan agreements, as well as bills, and inserting their cash.

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Barclaycard Encourages Higher MPRs

Like the USA, the monthly payment rate in the UK has been rising from 15.9% in the fourth quarter to 19.5% in the first quarter. This week, Barclaycard reports that its “Flexi-Rate” cardholders are repaying credit card balances more quickly than ever. The “Flexi-Rate VISA,” introduced in October, charges a lower interest rate to those customers who pay off a higher proportion of their balance. Customers who pay more than 10% of their monthly balance are charged an interest rate of 9.9%, those who pay more than 5% are charged 12.9%. Customers who opt to pay less than 5% (minimum 2%) are charged 16.9%. Barclaycard says it recently introduced a new statement message to cardholders who have only made the minimum payment in the previous six months, encouraging them to lower their costs by paying more. Barclaycard has 11.2 million cardholders in the UK.

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Morgan Beaumont Names Interim CFO

FL-based Morgan Beaumont has named Alec Brophy as interim CFO. The Company is a prepaid card specialist and has developed the SIRE Network. The POS and PC-based software platform connects retail merchants with multiple stored value and prepaid card processors and issuing banks, in addition to private transaction networks and IVR and CRM technology. Morgan Beaumont is a MasterCard Third Party Processor Member Service Provider and a VISA Independent Sales Organization.

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MC Adds its 7th Independent Director

MasterCard added another independent director to its Board this week to bring the total to seven outside directors with one more to go. MasterCard’s Board recently set the retainers for outside directors to $70,000 annually and, if subsequently approved, an annual stock grant of $100,000. The new outside director is Bernard S. Y. Fung who is Chairman and CEO of Aon Asia Pacific Region, a subsidiary operation of the Chicago-based Aon Corporation. Along with MasterCard CEO Robert Selander, the board will ultimately number nine “Class A” directors and three “Class M” directors. Last month, MasterCard announced that after its IPO all but Bob Selander and Norman McLuskie would resign from the Board. The other six new outside directors include Manoel Amorim of Brazil’s Telefonica International; David Carlucci of Connecticut-based IMS Health; Richard Haythornthwaite of the UK’s Star Capital Partners; Marc Olivie of Belgium’s Agfa-Gevaert Group; Mark Schwartz, formerly of Soros Fund Management; and Edward Suning Tian of China’s China Netcom Group. (CF Library 5/4/06)

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The Hartford to Offer a Claim Card

The Hartford Financial Services Group is set to launch a debit card next month for emergency claims payments. The new “Emergency Claim Card from The Hartford” can be used for PIN-debit or ATM transactions. The card will issued by Chase. Upon review of the claim, The Hartford Emergency Claim Cards will be issued by company claim handlers directly to customers at a catastrophe site or the nearest accessible location. The claim handlers will then determine the amount of funds to be allocated and have the card activated within 24 hours.

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IRS Private Collections Hits a Snag

The outsourcing of the collection of taxes was hit another roadblock this week as an amendment was passed by the U.S. House that prevents the Administration from spending $54 million to set-up a system from scratch that would allow it to subcontract the collection of taxes. Last week, Rep. Steve Rothman’s (D-NJ) amendment to the “2007 Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations” bill passed out of the House committee that determines federal spending in a vote of 29-27. Rothman cited growing privacy concerns and the generous collection bounties to be earned by private collectors.

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CashTechCard Joins Green Dot Net

Los Angeles-based CashTechCard Systems has signed an agreement with Green Dot to enabling its cards to be loaded at tens of thousands of the “Green Dot Financial Network” which includes locations throughout in Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, RadioShack and other retailers nationwide. CashTechCard prepaid debit cards can be loaded from a credit card, Paypal or bank account from the company’s Web site. They may also be loaded with cash at participating retail locations by purchasing a Green Dot “MoneyPak.”

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Survey Says 90% of Online Shoppers are Satisfied

A recent survey has revealed that E-commerce is
going strong in Canada as Canadians are going online to shop and
research products. The survey of 2,000 online Canadians shows that
online shoppers spent an average of $447 in the past six months with 80
per cent of them making two or more purchases online. Product selection, customer service and guaranteed merchandise return methods are essential in creating repeat customers online. However, one of the main barriers to E-commerce remains concern over security. Online Canadians who had not shopped on the Internet indicated that the security of their credit card and personal information is critically important, and some are still uneasy about providing this information over the Internet.

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YeePay Named Top Innovators at ChinICT

YeePay was named as one of the “Top Innovators” at the
“ChinICT 2006 Conference” in Beijing. YeePay is the first company in China to provide a single platform integrating both online and offline
payments, enabling consumers and merchants to send and receive payments
over the Internet, mobile and telephone. Earlier this year, YeePay was
named as the “Best e-Payment Platform” for China at the Annual
e-Commerce Fortune Summit organized by the China e-Commerce Association
and as one of the “Top 50 Innovators” by the China Internet Society in
2005.

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GPN Signs a Merchant Cash Advance Firm

NYC-based AmeriMerchant, a provider of working capital to businesses against their future credit card sales, has signed Global Payments as its payment processor. The new agreement allows AmeriMerchant to offer both working capital and credit card processing services for its retail and restaurant merchant customers. AmeriMerchant was founded in January 2002. Atlanta-based Global Payments recently reported first quarter revenues of $225.2 million and net income of $30.1 million. (CF Library 3/31/06)

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