StoreNext Markets Pay By Touch to Grocers

Texas-based StoreNext has inked a deal to resell the Pay By Touch store-level hardware, software and interfaces to independent grocers. Pay By Touch is a biometric payment service free to consumers to quickly and securely pay for purchases or cash checks using a finger scan linked to their personal identification information,financial accounts and loyalty programs. StoreNext Retail Technologies LLC is a supplier of retail technology to independent grocers and regional chains and is a joint venture of Retalix Ltd. and Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc.

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BofA and Chase Lead Card Growth in Q1

Monolines, which dominated organic growth in the U.S. payment card industry for a decade, continued to fall from grace during the first quarter. Bank of America has emerged as the new growth engine followed by Chase, displacing long-term leaders MBNA and Capital One. During the first quarter, Bank of America posted a 7.8% year-over-year increase in outstandings, compared to a 9.8% decline in MBNA outstandings. Chase, the largest U.S. issuer, posted a solid 6.5% in credit card outstandings during the first quarter, compared to Capital One’s weak 2.9% gain. As a group, the top five U.S. issuers reported $429.6 billion in first quarter credit card managed outstandings, a 2% gain over 1Q/04. For complete details on first quarter performance by U.S. issuers, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Top 5 U.S. Issuers’ Outstandings
ISSUER 1Q/05 1Q/04 CHNG
Chase $133.4b $125.2b +6.5%
Citi $115.8b $112.1b +3.3%
MBNA $ 74.8b $ 82.9b -9.8%
BofA $ 57.9b $ 53.7b +7.8%
Disc $ 47.7b $ 47.3b +0.2%
TOTAL $429.5b $421.1b +2.0%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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AmEx Expands Business Cash Rebate Cards

The success of cash rebate cards continues to drive American Express’ growth in the USA as the issuer unveiled another business cash rebate card for high-spending small business owners. The new “Platinum Business Premium Cash Rebate Card” carries no annual fee and offers 2.5% cash back on annual spending between $20,000 and $120,000. AmEx also offers the “Platinum Business Cash Rebate Card,” which rewards customers with 0.5% cash back for annual purchases at or below $7,500; 2.5% cash back for annual purchases between $7,501 and $15,000; and 1% cash back for annual purchases above $15,000. There is no limit to the amount of cash back customers can earn each year with either card. Under both programs, cardholders can earn double cash back, up to 5%, for purchases made through merchants that participate in the “OPEN Savings” program. AmEx introduced its first “Cash Rebate Card” in 2002. The following year it launched the “Blue Cash Card” for younger consumers and a few months later introduced a cash rebate business card. (CF Library 4/3/03; 5/9/03)

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Allpoint Signs its First NC Client

Durham, NC-based Mutual Community Savings Bank has become the first financial institution in North Carolina to join the Allpoint ATM Network. Customers can now benefit from the convenience of surcharge-free ATM access nationwide. Mutual Community Savings Bank, Inc., SSB, is a North Carolina-chartered stock savings bank. Allpoint is America’s largest surcharge-free ATM network with over 32,000 ATMs.

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U.S. Bank Introduces a Korean Air Biz Card

U.S. Bank and Korean Air have introduced the “SKYPASS VISA Company Business Card,” its sixth “SKYPASS VISA” card. The SKYPASS Visa is issued to a particular company to designate multiple users for the account. The credit limits are higher because the credit decision is made for the business, not the individual. Korean Air operates almost 400 flights per day to 85 cities in 29 countries. U.S. Bancorp is the 6th largest financial holding company in the United States with $198 billion in assets.

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FEB CARD DEBT

For the second time, credit card balances have topped the A$30 billion milestone. During February, credit card balances grew 13% and volume increased 9%, compared to one-year ago. Credit card balances ended February at A$30.1 billion, compared to A$29.3 billion in January, and A$26.6 billion for February 2004. Gross dollar volume on credit card and charge cards in February of A$12.8 billion was A$600 million higher than the prior month, and up more than A$1 billion from one-year ago. Based on data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, consumers charged A$12.0 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards during February compared to A$11.0 billion one-year ago. Card credit limits reached A$82.8 billion at the end of February, compared to A$72.9 billion for February 2004. There are 11.7 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 11.1 million one-year ago.

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AmEx Names a New Chief Information Officer

American Express has promoted Stephen Squeri, former president of its Global Commercial Card group, to EVP/CIO. He joined American Express as a manager in Travelers Cheque Group (TCG) in 1985 and subsequently held increasingly senior roles in TCG, Worldwide Marketing and Establishment Services (ES), becoming president of the Global Commercial Card group in 2002. He received a bachelor of science and MBA from Manhattan College. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.

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Merrill Lynch & VISA Kick-Off a Sweepstakes

Merrill Lynch has launched the “Ultimate World Tours Sweepstakes” for cardholders of the “MERRILL+SM VISA” and the “Merrill Lynch VISA Signature Rewards” cards. The winner will select one of three tours and receive $225,000 in cash. Merrill Lynch is a financial management and advisory company with offices in 36 countries and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion.

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West Marine Platinum MasterCard is Unveiled

Juniper Bank and West Marine, a major specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories, have teamed to unveil a “Platinum MasterCard.” Linked to West Marine’s membership programs, this exclusive card allows cardholders to personalize their card with a picture of their boat and earn up to six percent on purchases at West Marine and BoatUS locations, and one percent at all other stores. Juniper Financial Corporation, a member of the Barclays Group, is a leading full-service credit card issuer. West Marine, Inc. has more than $680 million in annual sales.

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MasterCard’s Debit Volume Soars by 29%

MasterCard’s signature debit card business continues to expand rapidly, as gross dollar volume jumped 29% in the first quarter, compared to 1Q/04. During the first three months of 2005, MasterCard added 2.8 million off-line debit cardholders in the USA to its network. Overall, MasterCard reported that its U.S. gross dollar volume for credit and debit cards for the first quarter increased 9.0% over 1Q/04 to $174.5 billion, compared to a 11.5% annual growth rate for the prior quarter. The number of U.S. credit cards grew by more than six million to 277.8 million since the fourth quarter. MasterCard ended the first quarter with 63.3 million off-line debit card accounts representing 69.1 million cards. In the prior quarter, MasterCard had 61.0 million signature debit card accounts representing 66.3 million cards. One-year ago, MasterCard had 49.6 million signature debit card accounts representing 54.4 million cards. Credit card volume was up 3.8% year-on-year to $131.6 billion. During the first quarter, MasterCard processed 1.26 billion credit card purchase transactions and more than 622 million debit card purchase transactions in the USA. For complete details on MasterCard’s 1Q/05 results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

HISTORICAL DEBIT VOLUME
4Q/02: $31.1 billion
1Q/03: $29.4 billion
2Q/03: $31.2 billion
3Q/03: $30.4 billion
4Q/03: $31.4 billion
1Q/04: $30.8 billion
2Q/04: $34.5 billion
3Q/04: $37.0 billion
4Q/04: $41.7 billion
1Q/05: $42.9 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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