MC’s U.S. PIN Debit Grew 4X+ in 4Q/04

“Maestro,” MasterCard’s global PIN-based debit brand, now appears on nearly 563 million cards worldwide, an 8% increase over one year ago. Europe continued to be the largest cardholder base for “Maestro” with 258 million cards as of December 31st, a 7.6% increase over the same date in 2003. At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 148.1 million “Maestro” cards issued in Asia/Pacific, a slight decline from the third quarter. Latin America increased nearly 29% to almost 81.0 million, while the South Asia, Middle East and Africa region surged by 44% to 29.4 million cards. In the United States, PIN debit purchase transactions grew 456% for the fourth quarter compared to 4Q/03. As of December 31st, there were nearly 1.5 million merchant locations accepting MasterCard and Maestro, as well as 383,000 Cirrus ATMs.

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FDC to Use Austin Logistics’ EarlyDetection

Denver-based First Data will incorporate Austin Logistics’ new predictive analytic EarlyDetection System into its credit card processing system. EarlyDetection System is an analytic software solution that reliably predicts revenue, varying levels of activation and fraud/delinquency risk as early as the first day of account activity. First Data Corp. serves approximately 4.1 million merchant locations and 1,400 card issuers. Austin Logistics provides analytic software and solutions that predict customer value and behavior.

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Card Debt Growth Remains Sluggish in Feb

Revolving consumer credit hovered above the $800 billion milestone in February. However, Americans added $4.1 billion to revolving credit during the second month of the new year, compared to nearly $8 billion one-year ago. The change from last year validates the higher monthly payment rates reported by the nation’s top issuers. The monthly payment rate remains between 17.50% and 18.00%. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owed $803.5 billion in revolving credit at the end of February, compared to $799.4 billion for January. One-year ago revolving credit stood at approximately $754.8 billion. The annual growth rate is now 6.1%, compared to 8.9% in the previous month. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the fourth quarter was $684.9 billion, or roughly 85% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). At the end of February, Americans were $2122.5 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Feb 05 Jan 05 Dec 04 Nov 04 Sep 04 Jun 04 Mar 04
GRWTH: 6.1% 8.9 8.6 0.9 5.5 10.4 -1.9
$OWED: $803.5 799.4 793.6 790.4 784.0 765.2 768.9
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 4/07/05;
For complete historical data, visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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United Airlines Offers 3X Miles for Cruises

United Airline customers can earn triple miles by using their Mileage Plus Visa cards to purchase a United Cruises vacation. Mileage Plus members have opportunities to earn miles with 31 different cruise lines and are able to redeem miles on any cruise vacation with redemption starting as low as 10,000 miles. United Mileage Plus has over 45 million enrolled members. United Airlines is the world’s second largest airline.

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Bank’s Payment Business is Under Fire in 05

A new report says that large U.S. banks must move quickly to protect their lucrative payments business amidst the acceleration from paper to electronic consumer payments. DiamondCluster International says the impact of technology on the bank payments business since the 1980s has shifted from the back-end of the payments value chain (creating economies of scale on the acquiring side of payments transactions), to the front end in the 1990s (applying advanced technology to improve issuing of payment instruments such as credit cards), to the middle link: the use of the payment instrument itself in the consumer’s purchasing process (including the store). DiamondCluster says one of the first steps a bank must take to compete in the payments future is to develop a decision-making process that crosses payments businesses. The silos in banks? payment businesses must also be reconfigured. Above all, DiamondCluster says banks need payments strategies that cross their payments businesses.

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Petco Settles Card Fraud Patent Litigation

Acacia Research Corporation announced that its subsidiary, Financial Systems Innovation LLC, has entered into a non-exclusive license and settled patent infringement litigation covering a patent that applies to credit card fraud protection technology with Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. The Acacia Technologies group develops, acquires, and licenses patented technologies.

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National City Card Loans Slip 4% in Q1/05

OH-based National City reported that its first quarter credit card outstandings were down 4% year-on-year, and down 7% sequentially. NCCS reported $2.35 billion in first quarter managed outstandings, compared to $2.44 billion one-year ago, and $2.52 billion in 4Q/04. In the current quarter ended March 31st, National City had 1,716,664 gross accounts and 1,104,126 active accounts, according to CardData. ([www.carddata.com][1]). For complete details on National City’s 1Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

NATL CITY CARD LOANS
1Q/03: $2,271 million
2Q/03: $2,417 million
3Q/03: $2,179 million
4Q/03: $2,558 million
1Q/04: $2,443 million
2Q/04: $2,426 million
3Q/04: $2,432 million
4Q/04: $2,518 million
1Q/05: $2,352 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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USA Technologies Launched a Vending Campaign

USA Technologies kicked off its campaign to demonstrate its Intelligent Vending technology at NAMA (National Automatic Merchandising Association) Spring Expo. USA Technologies currently has more than 100,000 Intelligent Vending installations worldwide and provides networked credit card and other non-cash systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries.

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Credit Card Tax Payments May Triple in 05

Another survey confirms the increased popularity of Federal income tax payments via credit cards this tax season. The most recent “Cambridge Consumer Credit Index” found that 11% of Americans plan to use their credit cards to pay their tax bill this year, up from only 3% who used credit cards in 2004. The Cambridge survey also found that 31%, up from 27% in 2004, plan to save their tax refunds in a bank account or invest the money in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Earlier this week, Ipsos-Insight reported that a recent survey showed that payment of Federal income taxes via a credit card will increase to 5% this year, compared to 1% in 2004.

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Horizon to Retrofit Citibank’s ATM Screens

California-based Horizon Technology has been selected by Citigroup to design and manufacture kits to retrofit existing CRT screens for its ATM machines across North America. The customized kits will cover several size applications and includes an LCD screen, controller board, inverter, OSD board and cabling. Horizon Technology is a independent distributor specializing in storage and display products for the OEM, EMS and ODM markets.

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Cross Country Accepts Wright Express Cards

Wright Express cardholders can now take advantage of Cross Country Automotive Services to provide 24-hour roadside assistance and towing services nationwide by calling one toll-free number. Payment can be made using the Wright Express card. Wright Express is a provider of payment processing and information management services for over 280,000 commercial and government fleets containing more than 3.9 million vehicles. Cross Country Automotive Services is a provider of integrated vehicle and driver programs in North America.

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