U.S. Gift Card Market to Top $47B by 2010

A new report says holiday season sales of gift cards jumped from $17.34 billion in 2004 to approximately $18.48 billion in 2005. The study also says the overall U.S. gift card market has grown into a annual $35.3 billion industry. The “U.S. Prepaid and Gift Card Market” from Packaged Facts also projects the popularity of gift cards across generations will continue to drive card sales upwards of 5% annually to surpass the $47 billion mark by 2010. However, the report notes that dormancy fees, the devaluing of cards over time and customer awareness of hidden fees attached to bank gift cards are issuers that need to be overcome in order to assure continued consumer trust and satisfaction in this wide open market.

U.S. GIFT CARD MARKET
2005: $35.3 billion
2006: $37.8 billion
2007: $39.6 billion
2008: $41.5 billion
2009: $43.1 billion
2010: $47.0 billion
Source: Packaged Facts

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GPN CEO Named Among the Best U.S. CEOs

The “Institutional Investor” magazine has named Global Payments’ Chairman, President and CEO, Paul Garcia, as one of “The Best CEOs in America” In order to to be considered a “Best CEO”, they “must be visionary leaders, possess great integrity and deliver superior results ” among other credentials. The designees were chosen based on input from more than 1,300 analysts and portfolio managers at more than 400 money management firms. Global Payments is a provider of electronic transaction processing services.

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EduCard and Metavante Target Student Cards

Metavante is providing prepaid debit card processing and related services to EduCard to help more than 10 colleges to convert check-based student accounts payable transactions into electronic funds transfers loaded directly onto prepaid debit cards. Metavante is providing card personalization and fulfillment, 24/7 cardholder phone support and Internet account access. Intellecard, EduCard’s proprietary prepaid debit card solution, works with Intellecheck, Evisions’ proprietary accounts payable software application currently used at the bursar’s office at more than 800 institutions of higher education across the United States. The Visa-branded prepaid debit card can be used at over 30 million merchants and more than 1 million ATM locations. EduCard, a subsidiary of Evisions, provides software applications for higher educational institutions across the U.S.

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New MULTOS Group Becomes StepNexus

The group that acquired the “MULTOS” smart card technology from MasterCard in November has decided to name the new company StepNexus Inc. Oak Hill Venture Partners, Hitachi, Keycorp, and MasterCard teamed four months ago to established the Company in the US and in the UK. StepNexus was formerly called Bamboo Technologies. StepNexus offers two initial solutions including the “MULTOS Operating System” and “StepNexus Service” which includes initialization and maintenance of device trust environments including “MULTOS” based smart cards. More than 50 million MULTOS smart cards have been issued in more than 30 countries.

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DIB VISA

Dubai Islamic Bank has teamed with London-based Card Tech Limited to launch its first credit card that is fully compliant with
Islamic Sharia’a principles. The new “DIB Alislami VISA” is available
as a “Classic,” “Gold,” “Gold Executive” or “Platinum” card. Dubai Islamic Bank was established in 1975 and is the first Islamic bank
to have incorporated the principles of Islam in all its practices.
DIB has been a client of CTL since 1991 when it selected CTL’s “CARDMAN”
issuer system to manage its credit card portfolio. The bank migrated to
CTL’s “PRIME” and “ONLINE” platform in 1999, and has since used it to issue over 25,000 VISA charge cards and approximately 300,000
“VISA Electron” Cards. More than 190 banks from 70 countries use CTL solutions.

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DRG Earns VISA’s QDSC and QPASC Status

San Jose-based Digital Resources Group has received “Qualified Data Security Company” and “Qualified Payment Application Security Company” status from VISA. VISA USA Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) and MasterCard International’s Site Data Protection (SDP) require the use of approved Qualified Data Security Companies (QDSCs) to perform PCI On-Site Security Audits to validate compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard using the Payment Card Industry Security Audit Procedures. DRG is also qualified to perform Payment Application Security Assessments according to VISA’s Payment Application Best Practices (PABP) procedures. VISA has developed “Payment Application Best Practices” to address security and the risks associated when full magnetic stripe data or CVV2 values are stored after authorization by payment applications. The goal of the PABP is to help software vendors create secure payment applications. Digital Resources Group provides information security assessment and data protection.

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Online Resources Q4 Revenues Nearly Triple

VA-based Online Resources reported that fourth quarter revenue increased 39% over 4Q/04 to $15.8 million. Net income nearly tripled to $2.9 million. Last year, ORCC increased end-users, with a 32% increase in banking account presentation, a 27% increase in banking billpayers and a 42% increase in active cardholders. The Company also expanded potential service distribution, increasing the total client base to 829 including a 16% increase in the pool of potential banking and cardholder users. ORCC is projecting first quarter income between $16.5 million and $17.0 million and net income between $1.3 million and $1.7 million. For complete details on ORCC’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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OPC Renews its Washington DC Contract

Official Payments Corp. has won a renewal contract with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue to continue providing electronic tax payment processing services to residents of the District. Official Payments has processed electronic individual income tax payments made by credit and debit card for DC since 1999. OTR has also expanded the agreement, authorizing Official Payments to begin accepting payments made by electronic check. Official Payments provides electronic payment services on behalf of government entities.

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Discover’s No Surcharge Decision Draws Rebuke

Discover Card’s decision to drop its “No Surcharge Rule” has drawn fire from the Americans for Consumer Education & Competition, which is largely funded by VISA USA. The group says Discover waved the white flag to merchants and has entered a slippery slope as it will pave the way for more check out fees. The group says consumers need to lobby their state legislators to ban merchant check out fees and to enforce those bans. States that ban surcharging are: California, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, and New York. New Hampshire specifically bans surcharging by travel companies and Kentucky bans surcharging by restaurants for tips if they are included on a credit transaction. Wyoming, Washington, Maryland and Massachusetts allow merchants to offer a cash discount to the customer who pays with cash rather than credit, as do many other states. Only Minnesota allows surcharging up to five percent of the purchase price.

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USA Technologies Q4 Revenues Rise 72%

PA-based USA Technologies posted fourth calendar quarter revenue of $1.96 million, a 72.4% increase compared to the same period a year ago. During the quarter, USTT completed a $4 million private placement and achieved $1 million in gross revenue for December, the highest in its history. The Company also launched its “Miser” product with Pepsi including 100 Pepsi bottlers and lowered its production costs through offshore manufacturing. USTT’s other products include “e-Port” for cashless transaction solutions, unattended “Business Express” services in hotels and the online “e-Suds” laundry service. For complete details on USTT’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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