Asia Payment Announces New Management Team

Asia Payment Systems has restructured its management team. The board of
directors has appointed Robert Clarke as CEO and Benny Lee as
President. Lee will be responsible for directing all aspects of Asia
Pay’s operations and business development. Clarke will be responsible
for Asia Pay’s public company and regulatory functions, as well as
corporate finance and development. Current president and CEO Matt Mecke
will continue as a director of the company and Vice-Chairman of the
board. The new appointments reflect Asia Pay’s renewed and intensified
commitment to capitalize upon the abundance of opportunities in China
and to fully integrate its service offerings across the broader East
Asian region. The business opportunity and the company’s proven
business model remain fundamentally unchanged, but Asia Pay will focus
added effort on accelerating revenue growth to become net cash positive.

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MBNA Joins the MasterCard PayPass Bandwagon

MBNA has started issuing “MasterCard PayPass” credit cards to new and existing customers in Atlanta. MBNA says it plans to expand the contactless payment option to other markets. MBNA will deploy the option for its affinity cardholders in Atlanta including such cards as those issued Atlanta Braves fans and the University of Georgia alumni. Last month, HSBC Bank announced it will add the “PayPass” contactless payment option to its debit cards. HSBC expects to upgrade about one million cards by year’s end. In August, Cleveland-based KeyBank became the first bank in the USA to launch “MasterCard PayPass” debit cards. Also in August, Citibank introduced a “MasterCard PayPass” key chain fob for its debit card customers. Citi plans to issue about 2.5 million “PayPass” debit devices. In May, PA-based convenience store chain Sheetz became the first retailer to launch a cobranded contactless credit card. The Chase-issued MasterCard offers the “PayPass” option. In January, Sheetz became the first retailer in the nation to adopt acceptance of MasterCard “PayPass.(CF Library 3/23/05; 5/27/05; 8/4/05; 8/25/05; 9/14/05)

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Pay By Touch Inks Deal to Acquire CardSystems

Troubled processor CardSystems Solutions this weekend ended merger talks with CyberSource Corporation and has inked a new deal with San Francisco-based Pay By Touch. Atlanta-based CardSystems experienced a serious data security breach several months ago that potentially threatened the security of 40 million credit card accounts worldwide. Following the breach investigation, VISA and American Express notified CardSystems of their intention to terminate their relationships with the processor on October 31st. The processor announced on September 20th that CyberSource agreed to buy its assets. But this weekend, CyberSource said the inability of the parties to reach agreement in a timely manner created severe obstacles to closing the transaction. On September 29th, VISA announced it was delaying by three months its plan to cut ties with CardSystems to facilitate the planned acquisition of CardSystems’ assets by CyberSource. The extension will still apply for the Pay By Touch agreement. Pay By Touch says there are tremendous synergies between CardSystems and Pay By Touch that will hopefully boost growth of its biometric payment system. (CF Library 7/20/05; 9/20/05; 9/23/05)

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Cash Systems Receives Patent for Cash Advances

Minnesota-based Cash Systems has been awarded a patent for technology which allows a casino to swipe a patron’s drivers license to complete a credit card cash advance transaction in under 60 seconds, while immediately populating a casino’s customer database. Cash Systems is a provider of cash access and related services to the retail and gaming industries.

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HSBC Finds 40% Respond to FACT Act Free Reports

A new survey by HSBC has found that only four in 10 consumers have taken advantage of the new “Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act” which gives consumers free access annually to their credit reports. More than 90 percent of consumers know their credit score impacts their ability to make major purchases such as a home, but only one-third actually know their score. More than one-third of people who received their free credit reports found errors in them. Of the consumers who received their free credit report, only 21 percent paid the extra fee to get the credit score To help consumers better understand their financial status and manage their finances proactively, HSBC today launched for the third consecutive year its “Your Money Counts” financial-education campaign.

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Peppercoin Selects Ingrian DataSecure Platform

Peppercoin has selected Ingrian “DataSecure Platforms” to help secure sensitive transaction information in its corporate data centers. DataSecure encrypts data at the field or column level, and can be used to secure such data as credit card numbers, social security numbers, passwords, account balances, and email addresses. Peppercoin provides merchants with a blend of pay-as-you-go, post-paid aggregation, subscription and pre-paid offerings and complies with the security guidelines of the credit card issuers, such as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards and the encryption of sensitive data. Ingrian products offer granular encryption, seamless integration, and centralized security management.

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AmEx Launches a Fee-Free Credit Card

American Express has introduced a new credit card devoid of any fees and offering an automatic rewards program as well as a free enhanced credit report. The new “Clear from American Express” does not charge any late fees, over-limit fees or balance transfer fees. However, AmEx will still levy a punitive APR of 28.74% if a cardholder makes two late payments within a twelve-month period. Under the “Clear Rewards” feature, cardholders receive a shopping card worth $25 for every $2,500 of eligible spending. The card expires one-year from issuance. There is no annual cap on the rewards earned. The new “Clear” card offers a 0% intro APR for up to 12 months and a 3.99% fixed APR on balance transfers. The go-to APR for purchases is prime plus either 5.99%, 7.99%, or 9.99%, depending on the credit score.

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Acies Offers a Contactless Card Solution

New York-based Acies has introduced a new contactless card payment solution. Using this technology, consumers simply tap or wave their contactless-enabled credit or debit card on a specially equipped merchant terminal that eliminates the need to swipe the card through a reader. In addition, the card never leaves the consumer’s hand. The new solution is ideal for traditional cash-only environments where speed is essential, such as quick serve and casual restaurants, gas stations and movie theaters. Acies Corporation is a financial services company that specializes in providing payment processing and online banking services to small, medium, and large-size merchants across the United States.

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CITIBANK CHOICE

Citibank Berhad has launched “Free for Life Citibank Choice” VISA and MasterCard credit cards. The new card features an automatic
“Flexi Payment Plan” for major purchases. Purchases over RM500 are
automatically converted into 12 monthly installments. The card does not carry any annual for life, however, a RM5 monthly charge applies if the
cardholder conducts less than two transactions of RM500 or more. The
card carries a flat annual interest rate of 9.88%. The new card also offers 50 “Reward” points for every RM50 spent. Points can be redeemed for 200 items of merchandise found in a “Rewards” catalog. The bank expects to issue 100,000 “Choice” cards in the first twelve months.

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Citi Set to Launch a No Late Fee Card

Citibank has jumped on the no late fee bandwagon with the upcoming launch of the “Simplicity MasterCard.” While the late fees are waived, the card will still assess an over-limit fee as well as other fees. To qualify for the late fee waiver, cardholders must make at least one purchase transaction per month. Citi currently charges a $39 late fee to its cardholders. “Simplicity” cardholders will still be subject to Citi’s punitive interest rate of prime plus 23.99% (currently 30.74%). Citi says the 30%+ rate is triggered if the cardholder fails to make a payment to Citi when due, exceeds the credit line or if a payment to Citi is not honored. Citi reportedly will announce the card next week.

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Concord Acquisition Drags on FDC’s Q3 Inc

First Data reported this morning that third quarter net income dropped by 8% even though total revenues increased 6% to nearly $2.7 billion, compared to one-year ago. The integration costs of its Concord EFS acquisition continues to drag on performance. Payment Services and Merchant Services produced solid growth while Card Issuing Services declined by 12%. Payment Services posted revenue of $1.1 billion, a 12% increase, and operating profit of $361 million, up 8%. The Western Union money transfer business, which makes up 86% of Payment Services’ revenue, delivered a 14% gain in revenue for the quarter. Merchant Services reported revenue of $1.1 billion, up 8% as operating profit rose 7% to $266 million. North America merchant transactions were up 13% to 5.9 billion while issuer transaction rose 5% to nearly two billion for the third quarter. As of September 30th, accounts on file were 402.5 million domestic and 34 million international. Of the 436.5 million card accounts on file, 84.7 million were bank card accounts, 252.0 million were retail accounts and 99.8 million were debit accounts. For complete details on FDC’s third quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

FDC NET INCOME
3Q/04: $460.6 million
4Q/04: $465.1 million
1Q/05: $374.5 million
2Q/05: $391.9 million
3Q/05: $421.5 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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