Optimal Group Launches FireOne Group

Optimal Group announced that it intends to sell a minority
interest in a new subsidiary based in Dublin and incorporated in the
Republic of Ireland, to be named FireOne Group, through a flotation
on AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s global market for growing companies,
and has engaged Numis Securities Limited in connection with the
flotation. Numis Securities is part of the investment banking and
stockbroking group Numis Corporation. Following the completion of the
flotation, Optimal Group will remain the majority shareholder of FireOne. FireOne and its subsidiaries will carry on the activities that relate to the processing of on-line gaming transactions through the use of credit and debit cards, electronic debit and through FirePay, a leading stored-value, electronic wallet.

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AmEx and Hilton Beef-Up the Platinum Card

American Express and Hilton have beefed up their co-branded “Platinum” credit card. Under the revised program, cardholders can upgrade to “Gold VIP HHonors” status for spending $20,000 or more on the card in a calendar year. Also, five “Hilton HHonors” bonus points will be awarded for every eligible dollar charged to the card for purchases at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations and drug stores that are not departments of superstores or warehouse clubs, the United States Postal Service and for wireless phone bill payments. Additionally, 500 “Hilton HHonors” bonus points will now be awarded for each qualifying stay at a participating Hilton Family hotel when the stay is booked online at any Hilton Family hotel website and paid for with the card. AmEx launched the “Hilton HHonors Platinum Credit Card” in October 2000. During 1995, Hilton and AmEx teamed up to offer the first Hilton “Optima” credit card. (CF Library 9/13/95; 10/24/00)

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CITI INTL 1Q/05

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).

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BSG to Offer Passmark’s Authentication System

PassMark Security announced that Business Systems Group will offer the PassMark Two-Factor Two-Way System as a hosted service to protect users from online fraud and identity theft. The PassMark system authenticates the user to the site and the site to the user and identifies the user’s computer hardware as a second factor of authentication. BSG designs, deploys and operates all or part of its clients’ business operations. PassMark Security develops anti-fraud and authentication solutions for consumer ecommerce.

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Asia Payment Systems Tops 100K Transactions in Q1

Asia Payment Systems reports that during March, the dollar volume and number of transactions processed by the company’s card processing systems increased significantly over prior months. Based on volume, March showed a 16% increase over February, which had a 16%
increase in volume over January. In terms of the number of transactions,
March showed a 16% increase over February, which had a 9% increase over January. The three-month total of Asia Pay’s volume of transactions was more than $23 million for January through March 2005. For the same 3-month period, the total number of transactions processed using Asia Pay’s system approached 100,000 transactions.

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Providian’s ABS Delinquency Dives in March

Providian’s securitized charge-off rate edged upward by 15 basis points, while its 30+ day delinquency ratio sunk 52 basis points, during March, compared to the prior month. This is the third consecutive monthly decline in ABS delinquency. For securitized receivables, Providian’s charge-off rate increased to 11.18% from 11.03% in February. One-year ago ABS charge-offs were 17.17%. Delinquency, on a securitized basis, dropped to 7.23% in March from 7.75% in the prior month and 9.56% for March 2004. Providian will report its managed charge-off and delinquency data when it releases its first quarter earnings report after the stock market closes on April 25th. For complete details on Providian’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

PROVIDIAN MONTHLY ABS METRICS
Month Charge-Offs Delinquency
Mar 04 17.17% 9.56%
Apr 04 15.84% 9.09%
May 04 14.82% 8.68%
Jun 04 14.44% 8.40%
Jul 04 13.17% 8.42%
Aug 04 12.39% 8.37%
Sep 04 12.45% 8.30%
Oct 04 12.11% 8.48%
Nov 04 12.14% 8.27%
Dec 04 11.73% 8.06%
Jan 05 11.75% 8.01%
Feb 05 11.03% 7.75%
Mar 05 11.18% 7.23%
Source: CardData(R) (www.carddata.com

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

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Euronet Worldwide Promotes Two Executives

Kansas-based Euronet has appointed Miro I. Bergman as COO, Prepaid Processing Segment and John Romney to Managing Director, EMEA EFT Processing Segment. Prior to joining Euronet, Mr. Bergman was with First Bank System from 1992 to 1996 as VP in charge of the bank’s off-premise ATM business and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of New York at Albany and M.B.A. from Cornell University. Mr. Romney will be responsible for EMEA EFT, including provision of ATM, POS, and card-related services. Previously, Mr. Romney was the SVP and CEMEA Regional Manager. Mr. Romney received a BA in finance with high honors from the University of Notre Dame. Euronet Worldwide processes secure electronic financial transactions worldwide.

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Hypercom Lands a Major Deal with ICICI Bank

Phoenix-based Hypercom Corporation announced that ICICI Bank of India has purchased 5,000 T7Plus EMV-certified credit/debit card payment terminals. The T7Plus model accepts all magnetic stripe and EMV cards, providing fast authorization of online transactions with “One-Touch” shortcut keys for quick access to functions and transactions. ICICI Bank is India’s second largest bank with an asset base of Rs 1462.14 billion as of December 31,2004. Hypercom delivers complete card payment terminal, network access device, server and transaction networking solutions worldwide.

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PegaCARD Now Supports 350 Million Cards

Cambridge-based Pegasystems announced that its PegaCARD suite of solution frameworks is now supporting more than 350 million cards, driving over $1.5 trillion in card payments annually. Additionally, Pegasystems’ software supports the execution of over two billion instructions and over fifty thousand database accesses globally every second. Pegasystems Inc. provides software to automate complex, changing business processes through its Business Process Management (BPM) solutions

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5/3 Moves its Consumer Card Portfolio to TSYS

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp has selected TSYS to process its Visa and MasterCard consumer-credit portfolio. TSYS has processed the Fifth Third commercial-card portfolio since 1996. Fifth Third Bancorp has $102.7 billion in assets, operates 17 affiliates with 1,092 full-service banking centers and 1,988 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. TSYS is a provider of outsourced payment services.

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