ClickPay Solutions Names a New Sales Executive

Calfornia-based ClickPay Solutions has hired Christopher Rawson, formerly with First National Bank of Omaha, as VP/Sales. At First National Bank, he was responsible for developing and delivering gross margin growth from businesses with annual Visa/MC sales volumes in excess of $100M and transaction counts greater that 100,000 in a venue that initially covered a six-state region before broadening to a national responsibility. Prior to joining First National Bank of Omaha, Rawson spent 8 years with Concord/EFS National Bank developing and supporting their broad merchant customer base and eventually served as their Director of Agent Banking. ClickPay Solutions, Inc. is a premier sales and marketing organization that provides ‘Cashless-Check-Cashing’ services to retail locations nationwide.

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Van Fleet Promoted to Lead RewardsNOW as CEO

New Hampshire-based loyalty marketing specialist, RewardsNOW, has promoted Steven Van Fleet, formerly with MasterCard and First Data, from SVP to President and CEO. VanFleet has extensive payments industry experience in strategic planning, financial and product management, operations, new business development and more. He has also worked at Financial Interchange (Pulse EFT Switch) and Diebold’s ATM division. RewardsNOW is a premier provider of marketing services for the financial industry.

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PayCash NOW VISA Gets More Support

Boston-based Cyphermint has teamed with Harborlight Technologies, to boosts its “PayCash NOW VISA” debit card program, serving low-income HUD and Government Section 8 housing recipients. The PayCash NOW Visa Debit Card is reloadable and prepaid and provides residents who may not qualify for credit or checking accounts, a flexible and secure cashless payment option. Recipients of the program who apply and qualify will be able to pay their rent and utilities without the use of a major credit card, a checking account or cash. Headquartered in Marlborough, Mass., Cyphermint is a provider of global electronic cash payment and eCommerce infrastructure/integration solutions. Harborlight Technologies is a software company that provises advanced self-service solutions that enable banks and credit unions to offer self-service banking to customers.

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Payment Processing Acquires Paradata

CA-based Payment Processing has acquired substantially all of the assets of Whistler, B.C.-based Paradata Systems. Paradata’s payment system provides support for card-present and card-not-present payment, enables merchants to securely process credit card and e-check transactions and is easily integrated into any application. The Paradata payment system will be used to enhance the “PPI PayMover” payment gateway which was released in March 2005 and to provide Canadian processing support. In 2005, PPI processed nearly $3 billion in VISA and MasterCard payments.

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95% of New Bankruptcies Still Chapter 7s

The largest credit counseling organization in the U.S. says that in the 13 weeks after the new bankruptcy law took effect, a mere 4.5% of the 14,907 debtors it counseled had enough income to enter into a repayment plan. The National Association of Legal Document Preparers say that the evidence from Money Management International shows that “Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” is still the only option for most consumers to get a new financial start. Bankruptcy filings fell to a weekly rate of about 3,500 compared to 315,000 just before the new law took effect on Oct. 17, but the numbers have increased to about 5,000 per week and are expected to climb.

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American Express Adds a New Board Member

American Express announced that Peter Chernin, President and COO of News Corporation has been elected to the Board of Directors of American Express Company. Chernin has been President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation, one of the world’s largest media companies, since 1996. Chernin serves on the Board of Directors of News Corporation, DIRECTV, and Gemstar TV-Guide International and holds a BA from University of California – Berkeley.

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Allegiant Group Leads Loyalty Solutions

A new loyalty management and marketing company has been created by several industry veterans. Cincinnati-based The Allegiant Group is a coalition of nine specialty companies organized under a common brand and business philosophy. Partner companies include Shift Global, Loyalty Research Center, Customer Asset Consulting Group, 121 Marketer, Bullseye Marketing Group, FiSite Research, Profitable Projects, Hendricks Consulting, and Top Gun Sales Performance System. Stephen Drees, president and founder, developed affinity and co-brand loyalty card products for MasterCard and served as President and CEO of Quantum Loyalty Systems.

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Micropayments Poised for an Explosion

A new report predicts that micropayments in the USA will reach $11.5 billion by 2009, with nearly $5 billion of that amount transacted via mobile phones. The global mobile commerce market is also expected to rise to as high as $75 billion by 2009, with global micropayments generating about $40 billion in revenue. The new report by TowerGroup says that by 2015, a substantial share of consumer payments globally will have moved from cash to other payment mechanisms. TowerGroup notes that financial institutions dismissing evolving payments models as quirky or meaningless to their current business strategies risk being supplanted by more nimble and far-sighted competitors. They must also consider the impact of non-traditional payments players, such as telecommunications companies looking to grow their share of the nascent mobile payments space.

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AmEx Q4 U.S Card Profits Rise 13% Y/Y

American Express reported that its U.S. Card Services division posted fourth quarter net income of $411 million, up 13% year-over-year, but down sequentially due to higher bankruptcies. AmEx says the bankruptcy impact was cushioned by higher spending by affluent consumers, small businesses and corporate cardholders. Total revenues for the fourth quarter increased 14% to $3.5 billion for U.S. Card Services. Card volume in the U.S. increased 11.5% to $93.0 billion. The total number of domestic cards-in-force grew by 1.0 million from the prior quarter to 43 million cards. Marketing, promotion, rewards and cardholder services expenses increased 12%, reflecting greater rewards costs and higher marketing and promotion expenses. For complete details on American Express’ fourth quarter results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

American Express U.S. Card Portfolio Snapshot
4Q/05 3Q/05 2Q/05 1Q/05 4Q/04 Ann Chng
Volume $93.0b 89.0 88.5 79.6 83.4 +11.5%
Cards 43.0m 42.0 41.0 40.3 39.9 + 7.8%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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NOV 05 DEBT

Credit card debt passed the A$33 billion milestone in November while charge volume took off as energy prices settled down. During the past twelve months, credit card debt has increased 15.7% while credit card volume has risen 9.3%. One-year ago credit card debt stood at A$28.7 billion. Gross dollar volume on credit card and charge cards in November was A$15.3 billion, the same as August. Credit card volume peaked in December 2004 at A$16.2 billion. Based on data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, consumers charged A$14.3 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards during November, compared to A$13.1 billion one-year ago. Card credit limits reached A$90.5 billion at the end of November, compared to A$80.6 billion for November 2004. There are currently 12.4 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 11.5 million one-year ago.

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