Barclays and Icelandair Launch a Co-Brand

Icelandair and Barclays have teamed for the first time to launch a frequent flyer MasterCard. The new “Icelandair MasterCard” offers two pricing options, one with an annual fee and one without. The $39 annual fee card offers 10,000 bonus points for the first usage, two points for every dollar spent with Icelandair and one point for every dollar spent on other purchases. The no annual fee card offers 5,000 miles for the first transaction, one point for every dollar spent on Icelandair and one point for every $2 spent elsewhere. The APR for both cards starts at 13.99%. With six U.S. gateways, Icelandair’s primary destinations include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik and Stockholm.

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ICELANDAIR MASTERCARD

Icelandair and Barclays have teamed for the first time to launch a
frequent flyer MasterCard. The new “Icelandair MasterCard” offers two
pricing options, one with an annual fee and one without. The $39 annual fee
card offers 10,000 bonus points for the first usage, two points for
every dollar spent with Icelandair and one point for every dollar spent
on other purchases. The no-annual fee card offers 5,000 miles for the
first transaction, one point for every dollar spent on Icelandair and
one point for every $2 spent elsewhere. The APR for both cards starts at
13.99%. With six U.S. gateways, Icelandair’s primary destinations
include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg,
Helsinki, London, Manchester, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik and Stockholm.

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Century Bankcard Services Passes $1B Volume

Chatsworth, CA-based merchant processing acquirer, Century Bankcard Services, with 6,500 merchant accounts, passed the $1 billion milestone in merchant volume last year. It was named among the “500 fastest growing small businesses in the U.S.” by Inc. Magazine and is growing through portfolio acquisitions, ISO referrals, and financial institution partnerships.

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ADS’ Epsilon Acquires Email Marketing Firm

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems and its Epsilon division has reached an agreement to acquire DoubleClick Email Solutions, the largest permission-based email marketing service provider in the industry. The combination of DoubleClick Email Solutions and Epsilon Interactive (formerly Bigfoot Interactive) will further strengthen Epsilon Interactive’s technology and marketing service capabilities particularly in the areas of strategic consulting, client services, delivery optimization and analytics.

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Economic Inflection Point Likely in 2006

A softening housing market and climbing mortgage rates could negatively affect consumer spending, particularly in durable goods and home furnishings. The latest Deloitte Research “Leading Index of Consumer Spending” forecasts a potential economic inflection point if employment trends continue. The labor market, with unemployment rates at lows not seen since the late 1990s, will lead to higher wages. Deloitte says the labor market is adding positively to the index, but not enough to offset deterioration in the other three components including tax burden, wages and real home prices.

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Fort Knox National Hires Hines as CEO

Fort Knox National Company has hired Jerry Hines, former EVP of Certegy and EVP/COO of AT&T Universal Card Services, as President and CEO Before joining Fort Knox, Hines most recently served as executive vice president of global development for Certegy, Inc. He was responsible for leading the company’s business development activities, including strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions. Prior to this position, he served as group executive for Certegy’s global credit card processing units. These units process more than 43 million credit card, debit card, and private label cards for more than 6,000 clients around the world. Prior to joining Certegy in 1997, Hines was executive vice president and chief operating officer at AT&T Universal Card Services and chairman of AT&T Universal Services Corporation. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in finance from St. Louis University. Fort Knox National Company is provider of electronic payment solutions.

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Lipman Receives $3.2MM Order for Secura PIN Pads

Lipman Electronic Engineering has received from one of Mexico’s largest banks a follow-on order for its “Dione Secura PIN Entry Device” valued at $3.2 million. This order follows this bank’s order of Secura units in the fourth quarter of 2005. The expanded deployment of these PIN entry units will allow the bank to continue driving the growth of card-based payments in the Mexican market. The bank is working with its customers in the multi-lane retail market to upgrade their payment systems for the acceptance of highly secure EMV smart cards.

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PayPal Tops 100MM Accounts This Month

PayPal reported it has crossed the 100 million account milestone this month. Last year, PayPal processed more than $27 billion in total payment volume and exceeded $1 billion in revenue. During 1999, its first year of operation, PayPal ended that year with 12,000 accounts and $235,000 in total payment volume. At the end of 2005 PayPal had 96.2 million total accounts, a 51% increase from one-year ago. Total payment volume for the fourth quarter rose 45% to a record $8.1 billion which includes payments initiated through the PayPal system but excludes its payment gateway business. The number of active accounts hit 28.1 million at year-end, its highest level to-date. During the fourth quarter, PayPal handled 139.7 million payments, a 19% increase over the prior quarter and up 40% from 4Q/04. For complete details on eBay/PayPal’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/18/06)

PAYPAL ACCOUNT HISTORICAL
Dec 04: 63.8 million
Mar 05: 71.6 million
Jun 05: 78.9 million
Sep 05: 86.6 million
Dec 05: 96.2 million
Feb 06: 100 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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DenizBank Reduces Credit Card Application Turnaround

DenizBank is using Microsoft technology as the basis of its
entire IT infrastructure to achieve greater profitability, improve
productivity and comply with financial services industry regulations.
The bank has put into operation a solution for the processing
of credit card applications, based on Microsoft’s “BizTalk Server 2004”,
that has helped to produce a 94% cut in customer waiting time
for new credit cards. Following the installation of the new system,
application-to-delivery time has been reduced from 16 days to just one
and DenizBank has seen its number of cardholders increase by 39 per cent
in one year.

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First Premier Nears 3MM Active Accounts

Sioux Falls, SD-based First Premier Bank continues to plug along in the sub-prime market after peaking in 2002. At the end of 2005, the issuer topped 3.6 million accounts and had a record 2.9 million active accounts during the fourth quarter. The issuer offers fee heavy cards that carry low credit lines. The average balance per active account is $255 and the average annual volume per active account now stands at $410. At the end of 2005, First Premier posted $742 million in outstandings, a 4% increase over the prior year. The portfolio peaked in 2002 when the issuer reported $763 million in outstandings. Since 1999, the portfolio has more than tripled. For complete details on First Premier’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

FIRST PREMIER CARD LOANS
1999: $173.9 million
2000: $380.1 million
2001: $571.9 million
2002: $763.2 million
2003: $708.6 million
2004: $710.8 million
2005: $742.0 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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BSI2000 Awarded Bank Card Patent

Colorado-based BSI2000 has been informed by the South
African Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office that its
complete specification for its patent application titled “Optical Bank
Card” has been accepted. The patent covers methods and processes for
executing and tracking financial transactions and covers security issues
regarding biometric authentication of customers, crypto protection of
financial information residing on optical cards, and on-card transaction
audit trails. The patent covers and protects the “MICROBANKER2000” system that we have developed and continue to develop initially for the markets in South Africa. BSI2000 provides high-end security-related products for the homeland defense, entry/exit access control, and identification and transaction markets.

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Discover Drops its No Surcharge Rule

Discover Financial Services has agreed to rescind its “No Surcharge Rule,” opening the way for merchants to request a fee from consumers for using a “Discover Card.” As a result of Discover’s decision, a group of merchants seeking antitrust violations against the major card networks and issuers have agreed to drop Discover from the lawsuit. Lead attorneys, Friedman & Shube of New York City and Reinhardt Wendorf and Blanchfield of St. Paul, requested the release of Discover on February 10th in a letter sent to U.S. District Judge John Gleeson. In their court filings, the merchants have complained that they are forced to pass along high processing fees to consumers via price increases. Attorneys for the merchant say that VISA, AmEx and MasterCard are “scared to compete on merchant fees.”

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