BofA Introduces Mercedes VISA Cards

Mercedes-Benz Credit has partnered with Bank of America to introduce two new credit cards for Mercedes-Benz drivers. The “Mercedes-Benz VISA Signature” card offers a rewards program that allows cardholders to earn 1.5 reward points for every dollar spent on net monthly purchases, with up to 10 reward points on Mercedes-Benz dealership transactions. Cardholders can redeem their points for airline travel, vacation packages, merchandise, gift certificates, Mercedes-Benz Credit monthly payments, Mercedes-Benz parts and service or charitable donations. Cardholders can also create their own rewards including hosting a wine tasting or taking the family on a custom-designed vacation. The partnership between Mercedes-Benz Credit and Bank of America also enhanced the existing “Mercedes-Benz VISA Platinum” card. Cardholders can earn reward points on purchases without an annual fee. The reward component allows cardholders to use their points toward their choice of Mercedes-Benz Parts and Service at authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Credit monthly payments and Mercedes-Benz Collection and Mercedes-Benz Classic merchandise.

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Lloyds TSB to Issue AmEx Cards in the UK

Lloyds TSB has teamed with American Express to issue its own range of credit cards utilizing the American Express Network in the UK. Lloyds will create the products, issue the cards and manage the customer accounts, billing and credit management. The first in this new line of credit cards will launch later this quarter. Lloyds will introduce a new rewards program that enables cardholders to earn points that can be redeemed for vouchers at some of the UK’s leading retailers. The new card will also provide exclusive access to unique benefits offered by American Express, including special merchant offers and global customer support. Lloyds TSB has 16 million customers, over 2,000 branches and, more than 6 million credit card customers.

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VISA Wins Best Commercial Card Award

The UK-issued “GPC VISA” was recognized for “Best Commercial Card” at Lafferty’s Cards International “European Cards & Payments Awards” ceremony last week in Prague. GPC Visa now has over 66,000 users in over 450 public sector organisations in the UK and is in fact becoming a standard form of payment in the public sector. Visa is one of the world’s leading payment brands generating over EUR2.6 trillion (over $USD3.1 trillion) in annual card sales volume.

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MasterCard Launches Debt Know How Program

MasterCard is launching its “Debt Know How” program, a multi-year, consumer education program, to help consumers manage their personal debt. The program will consists of an interactive website containing free, easy-to-use tips and resources for consumers, a national web-based Debt Know How seminar and local seminars around the U.S., partnerships with financial institutions and partnerships with policymakers to ensure their constituents receive the Debt Know How information.

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Winferno Intros Private IE 2005

Boston-based Winferno Software announced “Private IE 2005,” the next generation of its personal information security program. Private IE 2005 encompasses a more comprehensive approach to securing personal information by clearing and managing a greater number of the tracks or histories people unknowingly leave behind as they use their computer by providing maximum control by allowing user-determined security zones. Winferno developed Secure IE, the first Internet security software tool, to protect consumers from web browser security threats.

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Ariba’s Supplier Network gets vPayment

Ariba has integrated “vPayment,” an electronic settlement tool, into its “Supplier Network”. The new payment option, supported by GE’s Corporate Payment Services unit, will enable Ariba’s customers to further automate, expedite and control their spend management processes. The integration will also help customers reduce processing time and costs and maximize collaboration with a global network of trading partners. Ariba, Inc. is the leading provider of spend management solutions. Corporate Payment Services, the commercial card unit of GE Consumer Finance, a unit of General Electric Company, with more than $151 billion in assets.

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Anteon Buys $5MM of LaserCards

California-based LaserCard has received an order from Anteon International for approximately $5 million of “LaserCard” optical memory cards for use as permanent resident cards and for approximately $1.8 million of LaserCard optical memory cards to be used as U.S./Mexico Border Crossing Cards. LaserCard Corporation manufactures and markets LaserCard optical memory cards, chip-ready Smart/Optical(TM) cards and other advanced-technology secure identification cards.

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Gemplus Q1 Smart Card Shipments Up 20%

Smart card specialist Gemplus reported that first quarter net sales were flat at 193.1 million euros. However, gross profits edged up 1% to 61.9 million euros. Gemplus shipped 12.8 million units of payment microprocessor cards, up 20.0% year-on-year. Payment microprocessor card revenue rose 14.9% year-on-year. Despite significant EMV growth, revenue was down, due to lower sales in Pay-TV and Metering, and the cannibalization of other payment and conventional cards. For complete details on Gemplus’ first quarter performance as well as prior quarters, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Gemplus Gross Sales Track Record
1Q/04: 193.1 million euros
2Q/04: 210.5 million euros
3Q/04: 214.7 million euros
4Q/04: 242.5 million euros
1Q/05: 197.3 million euros
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Providian Card Profit Rises 41% in Q1

Providian posted a 41% increase in net income to $133.0 million for the first quarter, driven by interest revenue, non-interest revenue and better credit quality. Managed loans receivable at quarter end, were $18.1 billion, essentially flat to the level at the end of the fourth quarter of 2004, excluding the higher-risk loans held for sale at the beginning of the quarter. Managed net credit losses in the first quarter were $378.8 million, resulting in a managed net credit loss rate of 8.43%, compared to 13.88% in 1Q/04. The Company’s managed 30+ day delinquency rate at the end of the first quarter was 5.16%, compared to 7.36% at the end of the first quarter of last year. Based on the ongoing improvement in the credit quality of its loan portfolio, the Company is lowering its 2005 managed net credit loss guidance by $50 million to $1.6 billion for the year. Providian added approximately 513,000 gross new accounts in the first quarter, which was more than offset by the closure in February of approximately 530,000 inactive accounts, as well as the elimination of approximately 350,000 accounts through the higher-risk asset sale. For complete details on Providian’s first quarter performance as well as prior quarters, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Providian Net Income Track Record
1Q/04: $ 93.7 million
2Q/04: $ 69.7 million
3Q/04: $109.1 million
4Q/04: $138.1 million
1Q/05: $133.0 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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PayPass Expands in the Ritz Camera Net

MasterCard and MD-based Ritz Camera Centers have expanded MasterCard “PayPass” acceptance to each of the more than 1,100 Ritz Camera Centers and 114 Boater’s World Marine Centers. Both Ritz Camera and Boater’s World participated in the MasterCard PayPass contactless payment market trial in Orlando, FL in 2003. Sheetz deployed “PayPass” system-wide in March. In August 2004, McDonald’s inked a deal to accept MasterCard “PayPass.” In February, MasterCard teamed with MBNA, the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens Football Clubs to integrate its “PayPass” contactless payment technology into the Seahawks and Ravens “Extra Points” credit card programs. (CF Library 1/4/05; 2/22/05)

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Your Credit Card Companies Educate Cardholders

Your Credit Card Companies, a coalition of Chase, Citigroup, Discover, MasterCard, and MBNA, released a tip sheet to consumers today. The guide will enable consumers to take full advantage of credit card benefits, stay on budget, manage debt better and protect against identity theft and fraud. Your Credit Card Companies provides credit resources and a variety of tools that help consumers to better understand how credit works, to understand and protect their total credit picture and to manage debt.

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Citigroup International Cards Up 18%

Citigroup reported that its international card business produced first quarter net income of $175 million, an 18% increase over year ago levels, largely driven by the performance in the Asian region. During the first quarter of 2005, Citi posted a 22% gain in card loans and a 30% increase in sales volume. The account base increased slightly to 20.9 million accounts compared to the previous quarter, but up 31% compared to 1Q/04. International credit card loans at the end of 1Q/05 stood at $17.8 billion, compared to $14.6 billion one-year ago. Charge volume for the first quarter was $14.7 billion, compared to $11.3 billion for 1Q/04. In Japan, average credit card loans were up 8% year-over-year. In the rest of Asia, credit card loans grew 34% to $9.8 billion. Citigroup holds $6.1 billion in card loans for the EMEA region and $700 million in Latin America, which grew 11% and 40%, respectively. Charge-offs and delinquency dropped during the first quarter, compared to the previous quarter. Delinquency (90+ days) inched down to 1.54% for 1Q/05. Charge-offs decreased from 3.89% in 4Q/04 to 3.78% for the first quarter. For complete detail’s on Citigroup’s international cards performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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