EA/CITI SKYWARD VISA

Emirates Airlines and Citibank have launched a new credit card campaign to entice new applicants with 15,000 miles for signing-up for a “Silver VISA” or 25,000 miles for applying for a “Gold VISA” card. Under the new “Fly Free Campaign,” the initial bonus can be automatically exchanged for free flights. The co-branded credit card is the only
credit card in the UAE that rewards customers with “Skywards Miles” every time the card is used. Customers can earn bonus “Skywards Miles” in addition to the “Skywards Miles” earned on every one U.S. Dollar spent. Recently, Citibank and Emirates Airline introduced “The
Emirates-Citibank Ultima Credit Card,” UAE’s premium black credit card.
Skywards and Citibank launched the “Emirates-Citibank” cobranded credit card in 2000 and recently renewed the agreement for a period of five more years.

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Bank Asya Selects VASCO Digipass 810

Istanbul-based Bank Asya will use VASCO Data Security card-based “Digipass 810” strong authentication to secure its retail- and corporate banking customers for both phone- and e-banking. About 65% of Bank Asya’s money transfer business is generated over the Internet. In addition, the bank receives an average of 200,000 calls per
month for phone banking. The “Digipass 810” functionalities include
EMV-CAP (Europay-Mastercard-Visa Chip Authentication Program).

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ECHO’s Bankcard Q1 Volume Jumps 66%

CA-based Electronic Clearing House reported that revenue for the quarter ending March 31st increased 44% to $19 million. Net income for the quarter was $424,000, versus net income of $144,000 in the year ago quarter. Bankcard and transaction processing revenue grew 49% to $15 million. Bankcard processing volume increased 66% to $464 million. ACH transactions processed increased 19% to 9.1 million. The Company anticipates that net income for the next quarter will remain in the previously disclosed range of $1.5 million to $2.5 million. For complete details on ECHO’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Specialty Retailers See Strong Mother’s Day Sales

Debit and credit card spending data from Moneris Solutions shows Canadians
will opt for traditional gifts such as flowers and jewellery for Mother’s
Day this year. The increase in card spending at various merchant
categories from May 2 to 8, 2005 include: florists up 108%, jewellery
stores up 40%, candy stores up 39% and gift, card and novelty stores up
33%. According to Moneris’ spending data from 2005, Mother’s Day is the
second most popular spending period of the year, trailing only Christmas.

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Operating Expense Finally Heads South

Rising interest rates and narrowing margins are not the only issues facing credit card providers in 2006. Operating expense, driven by increased competition, is still running 100 basis points over year ago levels, but may finally be abating. After peaking at 6.04% in February, operating expenses have nudged down by two basis points in March. Operating expense is determined by dividing monthly gross operating expenses by the average managed card outstandings and then annualizing. Operating expense includes such items as credit processing, call center servicing, billing, collections, fraud management, and card issuance. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), operating expenses stood at 5.00% for March 2005 and settled at 6.02% for March 2006.

OPERATING EXPENSE
Mar 05: 5.00%
Apr 05: 4.97%
May 05: 5.03%
Jun 05: 5.09%
Jul 05: 5.15%
Aug 05: 5.17%
Sep 05: 5.24%
Oct 05: 5.64%
Nov 05: 5.89%
Dec 05: 5.99%
Jan 06: 6.00%
Feb 06: 6.04%
Mar 06: 6.02%
note: Excludes American Express and Discover
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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STAR Network Inks North Shore Bank

Wisconsin-based North Shore Bank has added “STAR Network” access at more than 40 locations throughout Wisconsin for its 50,000 ATM and debit cardholders. North Shore Bank has assets of $1.9 billion with 45 branches throughout Eastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. First Data is a provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide.

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Chase Launches the Borders 3-2-1 VISA

Borders and Chase have enhanced their VISA cobranded credit card program, now offering extra points and enabling “Borders Rewards” members to double-dip. The new “Borders 3-2-1 VISA” card awards cardholders three points for every dollar spent at Borders or Waldenbooks stores; two points for gas, dining and grocery card purchases; and one point for all other card purchases. Cardholders can now choose to redeem points for a check or gift card from a variety of other merchants, including airlines. Under the current program, cardholders receive a $25 Borders gift card for 2,500 points. Cardholders who are also members of the “Borders Rewards” program can now earn points on both their VISA card and earn 5% cash-back from the loyalty card program. Additionally, “Borders VISA” cardholders can have their “Borders Rewards” number embossed on their “3-2-1 VISA” to eliminate the need to carry both cards.

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iPayment Delists from NASDAQ

Nashville-based iPayment, a card processor with 140,000 small U.S. merchants, has completed a merger with its related entities and was delisted from NASDAQ yesterday. Each issued and outstanding share of iPayment’s common stock has been converted into the right to receive $43.50 in cash without interest iPayment, Inc. is a provider of credit and debit card-based payment processing services to approximately 140,000 small merchants across the United States.

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InComm & PRE Holdings Merger Closes

Atlanta-based InComm has closed on its deal to acquire prepaid specialist PRE Holdings and now has more than 145,000 distribution points across the Nation. The new InComm will offer a prepaid product range which includes its subscription activation products, full range of prepaid wireless programs, enhanced long-distance programs, music and game downloads, private label and third party gift cards and financial services products such as the Mio Money Prepaid MasterCard and Vanilla Visa Gift Card.

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