Comms XL Empowers First Choice Holidays

First Choice Holidays has teamed with Comms XL to combat card fraud in the foreign currency exchange environment. The Comms XL “SmartCCard” software was fully integrated with the First Choice existing EPOS system from Comtec. First Choice completed the roll-out of the software within its network of First Choice Travel Shops and Holiday Hypermarkets, together with an Ingenico terminal, to all their Foreign Currency Bureaux, making it the first major leisure travel company to do this, and also before the 2005 liability shift deadline. First Choice says it is taking approximately 9,000 “Chip and Pin” transactions per month.

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ExxonMobil Launches a Summer Card Promotion

ExxonMobil has launched its “Upromise Summer Promotion,” wherein all Upromise members who make a gasoline purchase at an Exxon or Mobil station with a credit or debit card registered with Upromise will receive one entry into the contest which will award $250 to 500 winners this summer. ExxonMobil has been affiliated with Upromise since 2001 and has contributed more than $14 million toward college savings for Upromise members. Upromise is a non-government service helping families save for college while making everyday purchases.

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Banka Koper Issues PocketServer MasterCard

Banka Koper has begun issuing MasterCard “OneSMART” EMV cards with “PocketServer.” Banka Koper is the first of seven banks in the Activa System Bank Group to launch. The Activa banks will issue more than 1 million EMV cards over the next two years. Banka Koper is also the first financial institution to utilize “PocketServer 3.2” which includes one-click form fill instead of the previous drag and drop technique for consumer information. “PocketServer” and “PocketServer Plus,” have 4 million users worldwide.

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Payment Rates Soar to a New High in Apr

After dipping sharply in March, monthly payment rates on asset-backed credit card bonds set a new record in April. Payment rates, the amount that cardholders pay toward outstandings each month, hit 18.52%, about 220 basis points above March and 121 basis points above year ago levels. According to FitchRatings, the monthly payment rate, among prime issuers was 16.32% in March and 17.31% one-year ago. The highest among managed card portfolios was 18.03% in October of last year. Since 2000, the lowest MPR average occurred in October 2001 when it dipped to 14.89%, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

MONTHLY PAYMENT RATES
(Prime Credit Card-Backed ABS)
Apr 04: 17.31%
Nov 04: 16.67%
Dec 04: 17.09%
Jan 05: 17.70%
Feb 05: 17.64%
Mar 05: 16.32%
Apr 05: 18.52%
Source: FitchRatings

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

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AmEx Snags a Third Major U.S. Card Issuer

TX-based USAA Federal Savings Bank has become the third U.S. card issuer to launch American Express cards. In return, AmEx has agreed to dismiss USAA from its antitrust litigation against VISA, MasterCard and a number of major issuers. Earlier, AmEx released MBNA and Citigroup from the lawsuit after they agreed to issue AmEx cards. The USAA-AmEx cards are expected to launch in the second quarter of 2006. USAA, which primarily serves members of the military and their families, has more than five million members. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), USAA has 3.3 million VISA and MasterCard accounts and 4.3 million cardholders. At the end of the first quarter USAA had $6.2 billion in credit card outstandings, making it the 12th largest U.S. issuer.

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

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Networks Refuse to Provide Market Share Data

The Payments System Board recently considered the publication of the market shares of the various credit and charge card programs.
Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of Australia wrote to American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard and VISA seeking their agreement to the publication of market share data. American Express and VISA both subsequently agreed to this request on the condition that the market shares of all five networks be published. In contrast, Bankcard, Diners Club and MasterCard have not agreed to the publication of their market shares. The RBA says the publication of the market share data
would foster competition and promote more informed analysis regarding competition and efficiency in the payments system. The RBA says it has approached Bankcard, Diners Club and MasterCard seeking their agreement once again to publication of their market shares.

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Shanghai Shen JCB Card Launches this Month

China’s Bank of Shanghai is gearing up to launch its first JCB branded credit card next month. The new “Shanghai Shen JCB Card” will be denominated in both local Chinese currency and U.S. dollars and be issued in both “Standard” and “Gold.” The new card is targeted at Shanghai’s business travelers and expects to issue 50,000 cards in the first year, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. JCB is currently working with other Japanese partners to develop new services for JCB cardholders in China such as discounted package prices for tours in Japan and special deals on mobile phone rental in Japan. JCB has 12.2 million merchants in its network and 53.6 million cardholders worldwide.

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Dashen Bank to Issue VISA Cards and Use BASE24

Dashen Bank has become the first bank in Ethiopia to
issue and acquire VISA cards as well as license ACI’s “BASE24” e-payment processing solution. Dashen Bank will deploy ACI software to issue cards and authorize, route and switch both ATM and POS transactions while meeting processing requirements for EMV smart card transactions. This project will be carried out with the assistance of SS
Communications, ACI’s local partner in Ethiopia and an HP “NonStop”
accredited support partner. The solution will run on an HP “NonStop”
platform. In addition to handling settlement with VISA, the ACI “Card Management System” will maintain account information, track card usage and provide customer service. Dashen serves over 260,000 deposit
customers. ACI serves more than 500 customers in 78 countries.

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AssetExchange Lands a MBNA Executive as VP

Oregon-based AssetExchange has hired Ron Turochy, formerly with MBNA America, as Vice President. Turochy brings over 15 years of credit card partnership experience to AssetExchange and will assist credit card issuers with portfolio sales and the formation of co-branded credit card partnerships. AssetExchange is a leading credit card advisory and brokerage firm for financial institutions.

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Barclays Optimizes Marketing with Experian

Barclays has selected Experian-Scorex to help optimize
the targeting of its customer communications. Barclays will combine information about actual and potential customer events, such as insurance renewal date and credit products reaching the end of term, with channel and product propensity scores. Using mathematically based decisioning, Barclays will be able to make truly optimal decisions to proactively plan its marketing campaigns over time, taking into account day-to-day resource and business targets. Barclaycard is one of the largest global credit card companies with 13.4 million credit card customers around the world.

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UOB VISA

United Overseas Bank and VISA International have launched the first
platinum business credit card in Southeast Asia that specially caters to
the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. The new “UOB VISA
Platinum Business Card” offers an interest rate of 8% per annum and up
to S$2 million in travel insurance when trips are booked through UOB
Travel Planners. VISA has issued 238 million cards in the Asia-Pacific
region.

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