TNS to Power Worsley Convenience Stores

North Carolina-based Worsley Operating Corporation, which operates 138 convenience stores throughout North and South Carolina, has selected Transaction Network Services’ “FusionPoint” for credit card and debit card authorizations, ATM authorizations, fuel tank monitoring systems and back office operations. TNS will provide Worsley with a fully managed network in addition to 24/7 customer service and support. Worsley operates 138 stores throughout North and South Carolina.

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Membership Rewards Adds 7 New Partners

The American Express “Membership Rewards” program has added point redemptions for Apple “iTunes.” The music download service is one of several new options in the 2006 American Express “Membership Rewards” program. Other new partners include: Blockbuster, Cole Haan, L’Occitane, Talbots, AirTran Airways, Loews Hotels and Preferred Hotel Group. The program has more than 140 redemption partners. Last year, the program introduced a new benefit enabling cardholders to book travel using “Membership Rewards” points instantly on the American Express travel Web site without blackout dates or restrictions for airlines, hotels or cruises.

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NJ’s Affinity FCU Joins Allpoint Network

New Jersey’s largest credit union, the $1.3 billion Affinity Federal Credit Union, has joined the Allpoint surcharge-free ATM network, gaining access to 905 surcharge-free ATMs across New Jersey and 32,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Affinity FCU has more than 116,000 members from more than 800 businesses and organizations and total assets in excess of $1.3 billion.

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Bankruptcy Surge Lowers Q4 Delinquencies

Credit card delinquencies, based on total dollars outstanding, dipped to its lowest level in more than fifteen years for a fourth quarter period. Sequentially, delinquent dollars slipped 53 basis points largely due to the recent change in the bankruptcy law. The number of past-due credit card accounts also dropped. According to the American Bankers Association’s “Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin,” delinquencies based on total dollars outstanding for 4Q/05 were 3.21%, compared to 3.74% in the third quarter and 4.19% for 4Q/04. Based on the number of accounts past-due, the figures were 4.27% for 4Q/05, 4.74% for 3Q/05, and 4.20% one-year ago. The ABA says the Oct 12th deadline for filing bankruptcy under the old system had a close-out sale effect on filings, wiping clean credit card debt that would normally have been reported as delinquent in the fourth quarter.

4Q CREDIT CARD DELINQUENCY HISTORY
(based on total dollars outstanding)
1999: 4.28%
2000: 4.25%
2001: 4.67%
2002: 4.63%
2003: 4.92%
2004: 4.19%
2005: 3.21%
Source: ABA Delinquency Bulletin

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ICICI Bank to Deploy CTL’s Bankcard Management System

ICICI Bank has chosen Card Tech Limited to upgrade its bankcard
management system to manage its extensive card portfolio including 60,000 merchants. With over four million cards converted, CTL has achieved one of the largest credit card conversions outside of the U.S. to date. CTL’s project design and planning team methodology for systems integration and migration resulted in a smooth transition for the bank and since going live, “PRIME 3.0” has helped ICICI Bank to achieve secure, high-volume transaction processing. Using “PRIME”, the bank now offers over 80 innovative card products, manages 100,000 merchants, and supports its rapidly increasing credit card portfolio of over four million cards.

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Consumers Want Discounts, Not Points

A new study has found that 51% of men 50+ and women 35-49 who have loyalty cards prefer a discount as opposed to accumulating points. Baltimore-based Vertis said the results of its grocery study also showed that 42% of Hispanic consumers prefer to accumulate points for a larger reward or payoff, compared to 34% of total adults. More than half of “Baby Boomers” prefer immediate discounts on specific products or services, compared to 45% of “Generation X” consumers. The Vertis research revealed that if a store offered a frequent buyer or loyalty card program, 51% of professional/white collar adults would prefer a discount on specific products during each visit, compared to 46% of blue collar adults surveyed.

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FreeStar Technology Gets $9.2MM in New Financing

FreeStar Technology Corp announced that it terminated the previously
announced private placement with a European finance group led by Soren
Moberg and reached terms with new investors, lead by Olympia Holding AS,
for $9.2 million in financing on the same terms as the terminated
financing. In addition, FreeStar Technology reported that the first
payment of $4.6 million had been received from the new investors. The
terms agreed to with Olympia and the new investors provide for the
purchase of 46 million newly issued shares under Regulations S of
restricted common stock at $0.20 per share and two-year warrants to
purchase 14 million shares at a strike price of $1.50, as well as an
additional 36 million warrants at a strike prices ranging from $2.50 to
$8.50.

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GO!CARD

Kazkommertsbank has chosen Welcome “XLS” to launch their
new “GO!Card” credit card. The “GO!Card” is designed to stimulate
spending with the use of enhanced payment features such as bonus points
accumulated instantly on the card’s chip, which can then be spent at any
participating merchant location. The amount of bonuses provided differs
from merchant to merchant and could be up to 20% of the total purchase
amount at some locations. In 2005, the “GO!Card” was launched in
Astana and Alamaty. The launch in other regions of Kazakhstan is
scheduled this year. Welcome is a provider of payment software that
utilizes the full capabilities of EMV standard chip credit and debit
cards. Kazkommertsbank is the largest private, full-service bank in
Kazakhstan with total assets of 8.9 billion at year end 2005.

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INSIDE LEADERSHIP

Aix En Provence-based INSIDE Contactless has moved its Chairman into the CEO spot with the departure of its founder. Remy de Tonnac will replace Jacek Kowalski who founded and managed the Company since 1995.
Kowalski says he wants to explore other opportunities within the contactless and near field communication space. As a Partner of the VERTEX Management funds in Europe, Remy sits on the board of several technology and services companies of the VERTEX portfolio, including the chairmanship of INSIDE Contactless. Prior to joining VERTEX in 2001, Remy was with GEMPLUS.

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PPI and Tyler Target Government Agencies

Payment Processing Incorporated and Tyler Technologies have teamed to offer an integrated payment processing solution for its “EDEN” software developed exclusively for government agencies and municipalities. PPI will provide a complete integrated payment solution for credit card support for EDEN cashiering, e-commerce web portal and Interactive Voice Response. Government agencies use these solutions for billing and payment of permits, taxes, utilities, and licenses. Payment Processing provides integrated payment processing solutions.

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India Fastest Growing in Tourist Spending

A new report from VISA Asia Pacific indicates that India is the
fastest-growing Asia Pacific market for international tourist spending.
Tourists to India spent US$372 million during the fourth quarter of
2005, a 25% increase over the same period in 2004. Overall,
international travelers to and within the region spent $6.5 billion on
their VISA cards in the final quarter of 2005, representing a 12% increase
over the same period in 2004 and a 14% increase over the third quarter
in 2005 [$5.8 billion]. Tourists from the US, UK, Japan, Australia and
Hong Kong were the biggest spenders in
the Asia Pacific, accounting for 54% of total spending on VISA
cards between October and December 2005. In all, international tourists
made over 42 million VISA transactions in the region between October and
the end of December 2005 and withdrew $1.4 billion in cash at ATMs and
over-the-counter outlets.

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