NBS Certifies Systech’s IPG/7000 Converter

Minnesota-based National Bankcard Services has certified Systech’s “IPG/7000” dial-to-IP converters for retail petroleum POS applications. The solution gives merchants the flexibility to convert to broadband IP without new expenditures for POS hardware or software and in-store payment devices such as POS controllers, ATMs, POS terminals, and check readers can be connected to the Systech solution. National Bankcard Services is a leading provider of electronic payment and loyalty services. Systech Corporation designs and manufactures Internet Payment Gateways for electronic transaction markets.

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Cardinal Teams with Cart32 and Scan Alert

CardinalCommerce has partnered with Cart32 and Scan Alert to actively fight e-commerce fraud and chargebacks. CardinalCommerce’s authentication platform is now integrated into Cart32 Version 6.0, a shopping cart system for Windows, allowing merchants the ability to participate in the 3-D Secure authentication initiatives. Cardinal Commerce’s proprietary technology provides the ability to conduct fully authenticated Internet-based e-commerce. ScanAlert is a web site security certification company, protecting over 65,000 web sites in 30 countries through the HACKER SAFE certification program.

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Hypercom Cuts 100 Jobs Including Officers

Hypercom said yesterday it has completed its overhaul of the company and will cut 100 jobs today including 21 senior management positions. The plan also calls for the elimination of more than 25 employee annual pay packages in excess of $100,000 each. Top jobs included EVP, SVP, VP and Regional President positions. The move is expected to create annualized savings in excess of $15 million. However, the changes will result in one-time employee termination costs estimated at $1.6 million. Hypercom says more cost reduction action will be taken in the third quarter. The Company previously reported a 10% increase in net revenue for the first quarter, however, Q1 gross profit declined more than 9% due to $3.7 million in special charges. First quarter revenue was $54.5 million, compared to $49.6 million for 1Q/04. Gross profit declined from $20.5 million for 1Q/04 to $18.6 million. For complete details on Hypercom’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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TSAI to Acquire S2 Systems for $35MM

Transaction Systems Architects has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Dallas-based S2 Systems for $35 million. S2 is a global provider of electronic payments and network connectivity software. The firm has more than 120 active customers and generates nearly half of its revenue from international markets. Lynn Holland, S2 System’s CTO, is expected to serve as VP with ACI Worldwide. S2 facilities in England and Australia will be integrated into ACI Worldwide offices, while other acquired locations will increase the Company’s presence in the Middle East and U.S. The transaction is expected to close by the end of July.

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BofA to Acquire MBNA for $35 Billion

Bank of America, the second largest U.S. bank, has inked a deal to acquire MBNA for $35 billion, in a deal that creates the nation’s largest bank credit card issuer with nearly $135 billion in U.S. outstandings. The merger, expected to close in the fourth quarter, will further consolidate the market power of the top ten issuers producing a market share of about 87%. About 6,000 jobs will be cut as a result of the combination producing an estimated $850 million in cost reductions. Bruce Hammonds, CEO and president of MBNA, will become CEO and president of BofA Card Services and report to Liam McGee, president, BofA’s Global Consumer and Small Business Banking unit. Hammonds will also be part of BofA’s Risk & Capital Committee. Frank Bramble, vice chairman of MBNA, will be appointed to the BofA Board of Directors. MBNA posted net income of $514.1 million in 1Q/05, excluding charges for staff reductions, facilities closings, and contract terminations. The issuer has been struggling with declining credit card balances and a weak diversification effort in the USA.

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TNS Certifies Semtek’s Mobile Swipe Reader

Semtek’s “Mobile Swipe” magnetic card reader line of Nextel cellular phones has been certified on the Synapse Payment Gateway operated by Transaction Network Services. The combination provides mobile merchants with the ability to wirelessly authorize credit card payments. TNS’ Synapse Payment Gateway provides transaction connectivity to the major banks and third party payment processors in the US and has over 42,000 payment terminals currently in service. Semtek Innovative Solutions Corporation is a developer and manufacturer of magnetic stripe card readers and software applications for mobile commerce transactions. Transaction Network Services provides data communications services for transaction-oriented applications.

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MAY CARD DEBT

Credit card outstandings finally rebounded to GBP 55.7 billion during May, but remain up a mere 3% over one year ago. In April, seasonally adjusted credit card loans actually dipped for the first time since May 1994. Total net lending to consumers for May was GBP 188.5 billion. The Bank of England says the increase in total net lending to individuals in May (GBP 9.8 billion) was stronger than in April and the previous six month average. Within the total, the increase in net lending secured on
dwellings (GBP 8.0 billion) was stronger than the increase in April and
the previous six month average, but the twelve-month growth rate fell to
11.1% from 11.4% in April. The increase in consumer credit (GBP 1.8
billion) was stronger than Aprilâ™s weak turn out. Within this, net credit card lending was stronger than in April and the previous six month average, while net other loans were stronger than in April but weaker than the previous six month average. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England decided June 22nd to maintain its benchmark interest
rate at 4.75%.

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Smart Card Group Forms a Healthcare Counci

The Smart Card Alliance has formed a Healthcare Council to bring payers, providers and technologists together to promote the adoption of smart cards in U.S. healthcare organizations. The Council will also seek partnerships with HL7 and other organizations whose mission it is to achieve common standards for electronic medical records. The Healthcare Council is one of several Smart Card Alliance Technology and Industry Councils, a new type of focused group within the overall structure of the Alliance. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.

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Credit Card Portfolio Yields Wane in May

Yields on credit card-backed bonds fell for the third consecutive month as the gap between credit card interest rates and costs continues to narrow. During May, the yield declined to 16.90%, 37 basis points lower than the prior month and 81 basis points below the high set in March. However, yields remain remarkably above year-ago levels by 69 basis points. During May, charge-offs were higher, while delinquency and monthly payment rates declined, according to FitchRatings.

YIELD HISTORICAL
May 04: 16.21%
Jun 04: 16.77%
Jul 04: 16.72%
Aug 04: 16.37%
Sep 04: 17.50%
Oct 04: 16.39%
Nov 04: 17.15%
Dec 04: 16.81%
Jan 05: 16.64%
Feb 05: 16.27%
Mar 05: 17.71%
Apr 05: 17.27%
May 05: 16.90%
Source: FitchRatings

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AmEx Middle East Launches a Gold Credit Car

American Express Middle East has introduced a “Gold Credit Card.” AmEx is now looking for local bank partnerships to expand the new smart card product offering. The card carries an annual membership fee of QR300. It offers “Membership Rewards,” “Retail Protection Insurance,” and access to airport lounges. American Express cards are accepted by more than 1,000 merchants in Qatar.

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