Best Western and MC Launch Soccer Sweepstakes

Best Western International and MasterCard International have teamed up to send one lucky fan and a guest to Germany this summer for the 2006 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, and a special meeting with Hall of Fame superstar, Pele. The grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to Munich, including tickets to the Opening Ceremonies and Opening Match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, courtesy of MasterCard International. Rounding out the package are complimentary airfare, Best Western accommodations for five nights, a $500 (USD) MasterCard Gift Card and a congratulatory dinner, along with ground transportation and local sightseeing opportunities. Best Western International operates 4,200 hotels in 80 countries.

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Over 100,000 Bankruptcy Filers in 2005

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy has reported 101,192
Canadians filed a bankruptcy or proposal in 2005, the first time in
Canadian history that more than 100,000 people have filed.
Statistically, 4 out of every 1,000 adults declared themselves to be
insolvent last year. In Canada, consumer bankruptcies and proposals
increased by 1.2% in 2005 and by 3.1% in Ontario.

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Bank Aval Provides Low Cost ATM Money Transfers

Bank Aval has announced that holders of payment cards issued by Bank
Aval are able to make hryvnia transfers from one card account to another
via Aval ATMs for only 1 hryvnia. The transfers may be performed between
private individuals. The funds, transferred from one card account to
another, become accessible to their receiver online immediately after
the transaction. The promotion is valid till April 30th in the Aval
ATM network throughout Ukraine.

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Mastercard Offers Financial Know How

MasterCard International has launched the “MasterCard Financial Know
How” program, a consumer education program designed to give consumers
access to free, easy-to-understand tools to help manage their personal
finances. A key component of this program is the “MasterCard Financial
Know How” interactive website, aimed at providing Taiwanese consumers
with information on personal financing. “MasterCard Financial Know How”
is a professional website that teaches consumers how to manage their
finances well. The website includes free, easy-to-use information, tips
and resources for consumers, including six smart tips for personal
financing. These tips include curbing spending; assessing one’s debt;
setting a goal; creating a plan; tracking spending and paying more than
the minimum.

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PayWi Payment Platform Makes it Debut

Portland, OR-based PayWi yesterday debuted its wireless payment platform that stores all consumer information on its servers and not in the phone. With PayWi, consumers can use their wireless phones to securely make retail purchases showing a credit or debit card, monitor and share restaurant tabs in real time and instantly pay the bill, establish family sub-accounts and monthly allowances for shared users, make secure online purchases, Transfer funds between bank accounts and make payments toward monthly bills, either automatically or manually.

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Moberge Invests in Freestar Technology

The Swedish Moberge Group announced that it has signed an
agreement to acquire a major position in Freestar Technology
Corporation, a payment
processing and technology company based in Dublin, Ireland with primary
operations in Helsinki, Finland. The investment will be in the form of
newly-issued common stock; based upon its current capital structure, the
acquisition could amount to approximately 24% of the outstanding common
stock of Freestar.

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GECF Buys Hbc Private Label Card Portfolio

The Canadian arm of GE Consumer Finance has acquired Hudson’s Bay Company credit card financial assets for about $370 million. The private label portfolio includes 3.1 million cardholders and has been on the market since October. After peaking in 2003, HBC’s credit card outstandings have been steadily declining due to lower store sales and higher customer payments. The deal also includes a 10-year alliance under which GE Money will provide credit marketing and analytic support, credit servicing and customer care for Hbc’s retail cardholders. The acquisition will also include the transfer of approximately 650 Hbc employees directly involved in Hbc’s Financial Services business to GE Money. These employees will continue to work at their current locations, at operations centers in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. GE Money currently has 600 employees at its headquarters in Mississauga and its operations center in Edmonton. (CFI Library 10/7/05)

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Datacard Acquires Card Manufacturer

Datacard Group has acquired the assets and ongoing business operations of
Ga-Vehren Engineering, a manufacturer of flexible, high speed print and
package finishing machinery used in plastic card delivery, direct mail
and commercial printing environments. The purchase brings complementary
new products to the Datacard Group portfolio, significantly enhancing
its ability to pursue growth opportunities in mobile telecom, loyalty,
gift card, direct mail,
commercial printing, and print and package finishing. Terms of the
purchase were not disclosed. Datacard Group provides secure ID and card
personalization solutions.

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Debit Cannibalizes Credit Card Share

A major new study shows that credit cards’ share of in-store payments has declined to 19% and credit cards’ share of Internet purchases has dropped to 55%. Two years ago credit cards accounted for 21% of in-store payments and 64% of Internet purchases. The research revealed that an increasing number of consumers are making debit cards their primary payment card and that the use of prepaid cards has doubled over the past two years. The study, conducted by the American Bankers Association and Boston-based Dove Consulting, found that on net, 7% of consumers who use debit cards expect their use of credit cards to decrease over the next two years. Although most consumers use both PIN and signature debit, 48% of consumers reported a preference for PIN debit, while 34% indicated a preference for signature debit (18% have no preference between the two). The ABA/Dove study found that prepaid cards’ share of consumers’ in-store payments grew from 2% in 2003 to 4% in 2005.

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VISA Selects RFI-Smart for Card Testing

RFI-Smart has the full approval from VISA to offer a one-stop test
service for contactless cards and terminals with all necessary services
from pre-qualification to security for both contact and contactless
cards at a single site. The Company says the newer contactless cards and
terminals are in high demand and quality testing is critical during the
development stages. RFI is a worldwide services company recognized
by the smart card industry as a key consulting and testing specialist in
financial services, ID & security and telecom.

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CUETS Implements Fair Isaac Products

Mastercard supplier CUETS is implementing Fair Isaac’s
“LiquidCredit” service and “Capstone Decision Accelerator” to automate
and improve its credit card application decision processes. The “LiquidCredit” and “Capstone Decision Accelerator” services are designed for new accounts
and help businesses develop and maintain the policies, practices and
procedures that define the business strategies used in account
originations. “Capstone Decision Accelerator”
leverages the power of Fair Isaac “Blaze Advisor” software to provide
companies with proven rules management technology that supports the
entire process for designing, building and maintaining rules-based
decision applications. CUETS is a national supplier and partner in the
Canadian co-operative system, providing a complete range of advanced
payment systems and services to credit unions, caisses populaires,
cardholders, merchants and other organizations.

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