Project Credit Despair Nets 20 Scams

The FTC, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and eight state law enforcement agencies have taken action against on 20 credit repair operations nationwide. The FTC began coordinating “Project Credit Despair” last year in response to thousands of consumer complaints. The cases involved companies throughout the nation, many of which promised to remove accurate and timely information from consumers’ credit reports, and typically charged hundreds of dollars in advance for the service. The FTC advises that only time, a conscious effort and a personal debt repayment plan can improve your credit report.

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Equifax Personal Solutions Income Quadruples

Atlanta-based Equifax reported that fourth quarter operating income for its Personal Solutions business in North America nearly quadrupled compared to one-year ago. The growth was driven by the free credit reports mandated by Congress in “The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003.” The offering of free reports took effect September 1st. Equifax reported that Personal Solutions increased its revenue 15% to $26.8 million and that operating income for Personal Solutions hit $3.7 million compared to $1.0 million for 4Q/04. Equifax noted that the FACT Act-related regulatory recovery fee revenue contributed $9 million to North America’s overall revenue growth. This fee was instituted in the beginning of December 2004 to mitigate compliance costs related to the FACT Act. Meanwhile, North America Information Services reported revenue of $197 million was up 9% in Q4. Marketing Services revenue in North America also grew 9% to $67 million. For complete details on Equifax’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Pay By Touch/BioPay Enters Alabama

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has landed its first merchant in Alabama for its BioPay payment system. Star Markets chose to implement BioPay to give their check writing, credit and debit card customers a faster checkout and greater convenience when making a purchase. BioPay was recently acquired by Pay By Touch, a provider of biometric authentication, loyalty, membership, and payment solutions. Their combined biometric solutions have 2.3 million enrolled customers and have authenticated in excess of $8 billion dollars worth of transactions.

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Ingenico to Supply NTT DATA Payment Terminals

Ingenico will supply payment terminals to NTT DATA Corporation, Japan. NTT
DATA operates CAFIS / INFOX – NET, which is the largest financial
transaction acquiring network in Japan. Currently approximately 300,000
terminals are installed in a number of merchant environments throughout
Japan including department stores, various retailers and restaurants.
INFOX – NET and NTT DATA are targeting to have a total of 400,000
terminals installed by the end of 2006. This agreement provides Ingenico
Japan with a further opportunity to strengthen their business and
establishes Ingenico as a major supplier to the payment terminal market in
Japan.

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DEC DEBT

Credit card outstandings continued to hover around GBP 56 billion during December. The figure is GBP 1.7 billion below year-ago levels. The Bank of England reports that the increase in consumer credit was lower than in November. BOE says there was hardly any growth in credit card lending in December, compared with a GBP 300 million increase in November, but other loans and advances rose by GBP 800 million in December, stronger than in November. The annual growth rate of consumer credit continued to fall, to 9.3% in December.

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Axalto Shareholders Approve Gemplus Merger

Axalto Holding reported that Meeting of Shareholders approved the merger with Gemplus International announced on December 7th
2005. A very large majority adopted the single resolution put forth to
shareholders vote, with over 99.9% of votes cast in favor of the
resolution (15 342 651 votes approved the resolution, no vote cast against
the resolution, and 51 votes abstained). The $1.1 billion transaction will create a company with annual revenues of $2.1 billion and 11,000 employees.

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VeriFone Introduces PCCharge Partner

VeriFone has introduced “PCCharge Partner,” a compact, all-in-one device that enables a personal computer to run any type of electronic payment transaction. The compact, all-in-one PCCharge Partner device reduces countertop and cabling clutter. The bundle includes PC-based payment processing software and the PCCharge Partner device with magnetic card swipe, PIN pad and thermal printer in one solution and features a consumer-facing PIN pad with mag-stripe card reader and “hand-over” design that makes it easy to initiate transactions and enter PINs; an integrated thermal printer that prints receipts quickly and quietly; and comprehensive reporting that simplifies account reconciliation and business management. Also included are a one-year Buyer Protection program covering all repairs, a one-year End User Support program, along with all necessary cables, documentation and device pre-configuration, packaging and kitting

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HSBC Deploys Digipass In A/P Markets

HSBC is utilizing VASCO’s Digipass across the entire Asia Pacific Region
for secure Internet Banking. HSBC has currently rolled out an impressive
900,000 “Digipass GO3” authenticators and has initiated “Digipass” use in
mainland China, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka,
Brunei, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia for retail, commercial,
corporate and private banking applications. VASCO designs, develops,
markets and supports patented user authentication products for the
financial world, remote access, e-business and e-commerce.

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Bank Petrocommerce Selects Opteva ATMs

Bank Petrocommerce has purchased 250 of Diebold’s Opteva ATMs. The
deal will support the bank’s planned growth in the region and will
provide the bank’s customers with advanced functionalities such as bulk
note acceptance. The “Diebold Bulk Note Acceptor” accepts a stack
of mixed-denomination currency at the ATM without the use of an
envelope. The terminals are powered by Agilis, Diebold’s high-
performance software, capable of interfacing with multivendor
product, reducing the need for back-end support and enables Bank
Petrocommerce to customize its terminals. Bank Petrocommerce
offers a full range of services to corporate and individual clients and
ranks among Russia’s largest financial institutions in terms of the main
financial indicators. As of Nov. 1, 2005, Bank Petrocommerce had
issued 385,000 cards and had installed 400 ATMs across Russia. The bank
is majority owned by the companies of Financial Group IFD Kapital.

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Sagem Orga To Supply EMV DDA Cards to LEUMI Bank

Sagem Orga announced has signed a contract with LEUMI, the second
largest Israeli bank, to supply smart bank cards. Sagem Orga’s new
generation of smart cards comply with EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa)
banking standards and contain a DDA (Dynamic Data Authentification)
cryptoprocessor, designed to reinforce the security of bankcard payments
by guaranteeing the uniqueness of each transaction. The EMV DDA cards
will be the first of their kind to be issued in the Middle East and will
number 1.3 million. Sagem Orga provides hardware and software, consulting
and services related to smart cards for
the telecommunications, health, ID and banking sectors.

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STV Card Growth Driven By Biz & Gov

According to a new report, the stored value marketplace will grow from $216 billion in 2005 to more than $650 billion by 2010. The PELORUS Group says the increase is being driven as more corporations and governments seek to lower the costs of and increase the accountability for disbursements. PELORUS says in some cases prepaid debit cards can reduce disbursements costs by 75% or more. The “Stored Value: New Markets, New Growth”, suggests that the relationship between banks, merchants and individuals will be irrevocably altered over the next few years. Some banks, most likely community banks, will lose demand deposits to larger national banks. Furthermore, local banks will see retailers taking over other retail banking functions such as providing ATMs and selling money orders.

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