VISA Reports that Tourist Spending Explodes

VISA reports its tourist cardholders charged more than $23 billion in Asia Pacific last year, a 17% increase over 2004. The biggest increase in tourist spending was in China, where VISA cardholders spent $636 million more last year than they did in 2004. Destinations that drew the most tourist dollars last year were Australia ($4.5 billion), Thailand ($2.8 billion) and China ($2.7 billion). China is expected to overtake Thailand this year as the market receiving the second-largest amount of tourist dollars. The top spending destinations for visitors in China was Shanghai $587 million (22% of tourist spend in China); Beijing $490 million (18% of tourist spend) and Shenzhen $162 million (6% of tourist spend). While China experienced the largest annual increase in VISA tourist spending, India continued to establish itself as a growing tourism market. Tourists to India spent $1.2 billion in 2005 – up 34% or $313 million more than they did the year before.

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GPN Renews EVO Merchant Services

Long Island-based EVO Merchant Services has renewed its multi-year processing agreement with Global Payments for services including authorization, draft capture, settlement and BIN sponsorship. EVO has been a GPN customer since 1995. EVO services more than 110,000 primarily small and mid-size merchant locations. EVO’s solutions are offered through a network of more than 1,000 sales professionals across 75 offices nationwide.

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Morgan Stanley and Liverpool Victoria Team

Morgan Stanley and Liverpool Victoria have announced a new business
partnership. Under the terms of the deal, Morgan Stanley will acquire
Liverpool Victoria’s own branded credit cards and the affinity credit
card it issues for the Civil Service Motoring Association, while the
friendly society will have the opportunity to offer its competitive
motor and home insurance products to Morgan Stanley credit cardholders.
In addition, Liverpool Victoria will acquire Morgan Stanley’s existing
personal loan portfolio. Liverpool Victoria offers a broad range of
financial services including life assurance, general insurance, asset
management, banking services and whole of market financial advice, with
around GBP 8 billion in total assets.

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ARM Index Poised to Rebound in April

The indicator of economic conditions affecting the accounts receivable management industry decreased 60 basis points in March to 1222.4. The decline was driven by slight increases in three of its seven macroeconomic variables, including the unemployment rate, federal funds rate and “Consumer Price Index.” The “Kaulkin Ginsberg Index” is up 2.4% year-over-year. The research group says it expects next month’s results will jump with the government’s announcement of decreases in the number of bankruptcy filings. Kaulkin Ginsberg is a diversified advisory, research and media company.

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SNAP and e-pay Ink a Prepaid Deal

SNAP has signed an agreement with e-pay, to make free “SNAP” cards and
top-up services available at thousands of locations across the UK where
e-pay terminals are installed. SNAP cards make it possible for all
consumers to enjoy the advantages of shopping online, even those who do
not have a credit or debit card, or do not want to use their credit card
on the Internet. SNAP cards are distributed for free and users do not
have to register. SNAP cards are currently being offered only in the
UK, but will be rolled out across Europe and then elsewhere around the
world. e-pay, a Euronet subsidiary, is an electronic payments
processor of prepaid mobile airtime top-up services.

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NCR Creates a VP/Global Operations

NCR has promoted Bruce Langos, a 30-year company veteran, to the newly created position of VP/Global Operations. Langos will oversee all operational functions across the company worldwide, and will design and implement programs that strengthen the company’s processes and increase efficiency. Most recently, Langos served as vice president of business operations of the company’s Teradata Division where he oversaw the division’s order, supply-line management and procurement processes, and intellectual property portfolio.

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Paymetric Lands a Sales Exec

Houston-based Paymetric has landed Ken Naumann, formerly with Guidance Software, as SVP/Sales and Marketing. Prior to Guidance, he served as Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Bindview Corporation, where he managed more than 200 professionals in sales, systems engineering and sales operations. During his 10 years at Bindview, the company emerged from a $3 million startup to a publicly-held $84 million organization as Naumann ascended from Director of Sales, to Vice President of Sales for the Americas, and ultimately Vice President of Worldwide Sales.

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ECHO Names a SVP of Sales

Electronic Clearing House, Inc., a leading provider of electronic payment and transaction processing services, announced that Karl Asplund has joined the company in the newly established position of Senior Vice President of Sales. Before joining ECHO, Mr. Asplund was the Senior Vice President of Genpass Technologies in Irving, Texas. Prior to that, he served as Group Manager of Business Development for First USA/Paymentech in Dallas, Texas, and was the Founder and President of Merchant Card Management Systems in Newport Beach, California. Asplund holds a BS degree in biology/chemistry from Brigham Young University in Utah.

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Comdata to Issue Florida Fleet Card

TN-based Comdata has been retained by the state of Florida as its fleet card provider. Comdata will issue fuel cards for the 25,000 state-owned vehicles and will provide line-item detail and authorization prompting data on the usage under a five-year contract. The Comdata card will be a MasterCard. Comdata says the deal will enable state vehicles to obtain fuel for the first responders in the event of an emergency and will save in excess of $2 million dollars annually due to tax-exemption.

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Pay By Touch Expands in South Carolina

SC-based Fast Phil’s has deployed the Pay By Touch biometric payment system. As an introductory offer, customers who enroll in the new finger scan service will receive a large coffee or fountain drink and a Nestle candy bar, plus they will receive a 2 cent discount on each gallon of gas purchased. Last month, North Carolina-based Harris Teeter, the 40th largest supermarket in the USA, installed Pay By Touch’s biometric payment service. Albertson’s has also expanded its deployment of the biometric payment systems in its Jewel-Osco stores throughout the Midwest in March. (CF Library 3/22/06; 4/6/06)

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Off-Line Debit PDV Continues to Climb

Signature debit card purchase volume in the USA is now growing at an annual pace of 19%, compared to 21% in the prior quarter. During the first quarter, consumers and businesses charged $150.2 billion to their off-line debit cards for purchases. Year-over-year, MasterCard’s signature debit card purchase volume is growing at a 25% clip, compared to VISA’s 18%. VISA posted $116.3 billion in first quarter signature debit card purchase volume, with $109.8 billion coming from consumer debit cards. MasterCard reported $33.9 billion in off-line PDV for 1Q/06. For complete current and historical statistics on the U.S. signature debit card market, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

U.S. SIGNATURE DEBIT SNAPSHOT
(Purchase Volume Only)
1Q/05
VISA $116.3b
MasterCard $ 33.9b
TOTAL $150.2b
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Beaches Drive Summer Card Volume

A new MasterCard survey has found that Americans prefer to spend their down time luxuriating on a warm, sunny beach over any other activity. However, twenty-six percent of respondents were more concerned about losing their credit cards, travel documents (25%) or getting sick (24%) when compared with losing luggage (15%) or getting into an accident or otherwise damaging a rental car (10%). The preference for sun and surf was shared across all ages, income levels, genders and regions, the survey found. The survey also found that while Americans may dream of visiting far-off and exotic locales, when it actually comes to booking a vacation, few venture outside the country.

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