China UnionPay Awards AT&T IP VPN Contract

China UnionPay has awarded AT&T a contract to provide an Internet
Protocol Virtual Private Network, integrating CUP Hong
Kong with offices in major cities in Europe, North America and across
the Asia Pacific region. In preparation for intense competition from
well-known global credit card providers after China opens its bankcard
sectors to foreign players in 2007, CUP has embarked on aggressive
expansion plans to develop a worldwide acceptance network by the end of
2006. The contract between CUP and AT&T will provide CUP cardholders
with safe and secure payment services when they are abroad.
Since its launch in 2002, CUP has issued more than 800 million
cards that are already accepted in Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Korea
and Thailand. As the only national card brand serving China’s population
of more than 1.3 billion, and fast growing economy, CUP anticipates
exponential growth in demand for its card services both at home and abroad.

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Egg Finds Brits Oblivious to Card Spending

Research by Egg Money, the UK’s first ever dedicated spending account,
shows that British consumers are unaware of how much they spend each
month on plastic, believing they spend over GBP 350 a month less than they
actually do. This lack of understanding means Britons spend over GBP 200
billion a year on their cards of which they are unaware. One in two claim to
be unsure how much they spend on cards, believing they spend just GBP 418 a
month. Actual industry figures show average amount much higher at GBP 775
a month or about GBP 17 billion more. Consumers believe they spend GBP 236
billion a year on plastic when real amount is actually GBP 437 billion
The lack of awareness appears to be due to the fact there are
so many different ways that consumers can now pay for goods and
services. As a result many consumers are oblivious to the frequency and
cost of the different forms of card spending which leave their accounts
at different times through the month.

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Gift Certificates Lead Reward Redemptions

Most Americans redeem their credit card reward points for gift cards or certificates to use at electronics stores. A recent analysis also showed that nearly two-thirds of those redeeming for in-kind rewards opt for cash-back instead of a lower APR or statement credit. The study by St. Louis-based Maritz Loyalty Marketing revealed that 57% of loyalty reward card customers redeem for gift certificates, while 37% redeem for in-kind rewards (of in-kind redemptions, 62% preferred cash-back). Other findings: 2.7% redeem for travel and 2.6% redeem for merchandise. Electronics received approximately 40% of the overall redemptions in the merchandise category. Furthermore, redemptions for Best Buy gift certificates moved ahead of Home Depot in popularity among loyalty rewards card customers as compared to the previous year’s redemptions. Maritz runs credit card consumer loyalty programs for nine of the top 10 U.S. banks.

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MasterCard Makes PayPass Priceless

MasterCard has unleashed its first TV spot to promote its “PayPass” contactless payment program. The new 30-second “Priceless” commercial highlights “PayPass” usage at a McDonald’s drive-thru. In the spot, a consumer awkwardly searches his car for crumpled dollar bills and loose change. The ad will run through the end of the year and was created by McCann Erickson of New York as part of a fully-integrated marketing campaign. McDonald’s is the largest deployer of “PayPass” with acceptance at more than 9,000 restaurant locations in the USA. Since its debut in October 1997, MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign has earned more than 100 industry awards.

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350,000 Consumers Get GreenZapped

San Diego-based GreenZap reports it has hit 350,000 registered account holders compared to 300,000 one-month ago. The company also reported that it has received over $22 million in transactional requests since its launch in early June of this year. The online payment service recently reported it has grown its sales force to over 2,300 Internet marketers. The GreenZap rewards program compensates its account holders with $25 in “WebCash” for opening an account and further rewards members with $5 “WebCash” for referrals. “WebCash” can only be spent online to cover GreenZap transaction fees or to purchase goods and services at a discounted rate in GreenZap stores or at a number of auction sites. GreenZap offers two types of accounts, a basic “GreenZap” account and an upgraded “Gold” account. The “Gold” account offers reduced transaction fees, increased rewards and a “GreenZap Stored Value MasterCard/VISA” for off-line spending. (CF Library 9/15/05)

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MC EUROPE Q2

MasterCard Europe posted a 14.4% gain in gross dollar volume at the point of sale for the second quarter with $83.2 billion. For the twelve months ending June 30th, European purchase dollar volume for credit and off-line debit cards hit $325 billion, compared to $270 billion for the prior year. “Maestro” card, or on-line debit, purchase dollar volume for Europe in the second quarter was $104.3 billion. At mid-year MasterCard had 118.4 million credit and off-line debit cards in Europe. “Maestro” cards in circulation in Europe grew to 257.4 million, a 1.7% increase over the same period in 2004.

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TSYS Prepaid Names a TSYS Veteran as COO

TSYS has named Cal Holman, a 20-year veteran of payment services for issuing and acquiring banks, as COO of TSYS Prepaid. As COO, Holman’s direct oversight of TSYS Prepaid will include management responsibility for customer service, information technology, product development, operations, human resources, finance and legal. Holman has worked more than 17 years in a range of technical leadership positions with TSYS and Vital Processing Services.TSYS Prepaid is a provider of prepaid card solutions and a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS.

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JET AIRWAYS & CITIBANK

MasterCard Europe posted a 14.4% gain in gross dollar volume at the point of sale for the second quarter with $83.2 billion. For the twelve months ending June 30th, European purchase dollar volume for credit and off-line debit cards hit $325 billion, compared to $270 billion for the prior year. “Maestro” card, or on-line debit, purchase dollar volume for Europe in the second quarter was $104.3 billion. At mid-year MasterCard had 118.4 million credit and off-line debit cards in Europe. “Maestro” cards in circulation in Europe grew to 257.4 million, a 1.7% increase over the same period in 2004.

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KeyBank to Use Axalto PayPass Cards

Axalto is supplying more than two million “MasterCard PayPass” cards to KeyBank for the first contactless debit card rollout in the U.S. Axalto contactless payment smart cards enable cardholders to simply tap their card on the reader or within one inch of a point-of-sale terminal at checkout. The KeyBank MasterCard PayPass card includes a magnetic stripe, allowing consumers to use it at any location that accepts MasterCard debit cards. Cleveland-based KeyCorp has assets of approximately $91 billion. Axalto is a provider of microprocessor cards.

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Low/Mid Household Card Debt Gets Analyzed

A new study has found that low- and middle-income indebted households carry average credit card debt of $8,650 and that 70% of such households use their credit cards as a safety net. The research also found that one out of three households reported using credit cards to cover basic living expenses, on average four out of the last 12 months. Households that reported a recent job loss or unemployment, and those without health insurance in the last three years, were almost twice as likely to use credit cards for basic living expenses. The new report by New York City-based Demos and Washington, DC-based Center for Responsible Lending, focused on households whose earnings fell between 50% and 120% of local median income. The study also found that nearly half of these households missed or were late with a payment in the last year, with nearly a quarter of the households reporting paying a late fee at least one or two times in the past year. Most of these households also faced interest rates of 25% or more as a result.

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Loudeye Incorporates Peppercoin Solution

Seattle-based Loudeye, a specialist in business-to-business digital media solutions, is incorporating the Peppercoin “Small Transaction Suite” into its product portfolio. By incorporating the Small Transaction Suite into its product portfolio, Loudeye can allow its network of digital music stores to process low-priced digital transactions more efficiently. Peppercoin will work with Chase Merchant Services to process transactions from Loudeye’s customers. Peppercoin is a provider of small payment products.

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