Hypercom to Lose CEO Alexander Today

Less than ten days after losing its CFO, Hypercom will lose its top executive today. The payment card terminal manufacturer confirms that Chris Alexander, who served Hypercom for 12 years and most recently as chairman, president and CEO, is retiring, effective this morning. The Company has named William Keiper, a member of its Board since April 2000, to the positions of chairman, interim president and CEO. A search for a new president and CEO is underway. Alexander will continue to serve as a Board member and Special Assistant to the Board of Directors and the CEO. On March 21st, Hypercom announced the departure of John Smolak, who served as EVP, CFO and Administrative Officer. Grant Lyon was named as interim CFO. In February, Hypercom announced it needed to restate its financial results for the first three quarters of last year due to a lease accounting issue with its U.K. subsidiary. The leases were incorrectly accounted for as sales-type leases, resulting in an overstatement of net revenue for the first three quarters of 2004. Yesterday, the Company said it has concluded an investigation into its restatement. Hypercom says that based upon the investigation conducted during the past seven weeks by outside counsel and members of the Audit Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors, the Committee concluded that there was no misconduct with regard to the incorrect classification of such leases. (CF Library 2/4/05; 3/22/05)

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Canadian Smart Card Migration Takes Shape

Canada’s Desjardins Group this week announced it will migrate to smart cards between 2006 and 2008. Interac recently announced it will have the necessary infrastructure to process transactions using smart card technology by the end of 2006. Desjardins expects the first chip transactions to be made starting in 2008, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International. Desjardins has been an active participant in a national committee created to define common Canadian chip card specifications. The company also tested the Mondex “ecash card” in Sherbrooke in 2000, which provided useful information on chip technology. Last year, more than 500 million direct payment and ATM withdrawal transactions were carried out by Desjardins cardholders in Quebec.

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Budget Launches a MasterCard Promotion

Budget Rent A Car System announced the launch of “Easy Money.” Customers who complete a qualifying weekly rental of five paid days or more and pay for the rental with MasterCard(R), will receive a $15 Prepaid MasterCard Gift Card. The promotion runs to May 15, 2005. Budget Rent A Car System, Inc. is the owner and franchiser of one of the world’s best-known car rental brands with nearly 1,900 car rental locations worldwide.

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RBS Natl Bank Names VP of U.S. Operations

RBS National Bank has appointed Susie Gleeson Buffam as Vice President of Operations. Previously, Ms. Buffam was Vice President, Global Consumer Group Financial Control at Citigroup, where she was responsible for analysis and business planning for credit-card portfolios in 47 countries, generating more than $3 billion in annual net income. Ms. Buffam received her MBA from Columbia Graduate School of Business. RBS National Bank is the US credit-card arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. RBS Group had a market capitalization of 55.6 billion pounds Sterling at December 31, 2004, making it the fifth largest bank in the world.

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TRM’s ATM Revenue Climbs 46% in 2004

Portland, OR-based TRM reported that fourth quarter net sales rose 30% to $26.6 million, driven by the addition of 15,700 ATMs from eFunds. For the full year of 2004, TRM had consolidated gross sales of $126.0 million, and net sales of $92.6 million, a 32.9% and 18.5% increase over 2003, respectively. ATM operations produced net sales of $50.5 million, an increase of 46%, as compared to 2003. Full year ATM gross profit increased 43% to $23.0 million. The addition of eFunds ATMs increased transactions by 200% in the fourth quarter. On November 19th, TRM acquired the ATM business of eFunds for $150 million cash. TRM also entered into a five-year agreement pursuant to which eFunds provides ongoing ATM management services for the acquired networks. TRM says that its average monthly withdrawals per ATM was 359 for 2004, compared to 393 in 2003. The average fee per withdrawal was $2.76 last year, compared to $2.55 in 2003. Therefore, the average sales per ATM increased 7% last year to $1,071. For complete details on TRM’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 11/22/05)

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

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Trycera Introduces a Prepaid Hispanic MC

Trycera Financial has launched the “Mi Dinero y Mis Suenos”(“My Money, My Dreams”) Prepaid MasterCard. The card is issued by Meta Payment Systems. The Mi Dinero y Mis Suenos card enables the cardholder to store money on the card for shopping worldwide wherever MasterCard Debit is accepted and for withdrawing cash via the MasterCard global ATM network. Trycera Financial is a publicly reporting financial services company specializing in customized and turnkey prepaid programs and partnerships that serve the needs of self-banked consumers. Meta Payment Systems, a division of MetaBank, offers card issuing and program support to banks, processors and third-party program managers.

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Bradesco and Comper Launch a Store Card

Bradesco and Rede Comper de Supermercados launched a private label credit card with rewards. The new “CompCard” enables Comper customers to take up to 40 days to make payments or in three installments. There is no annual fee but a minimum income of R$260 is required. Payments can be made through a bank, Comper stores or through Bradesco automatic debit. Comper currently has a 27-store network located mainly at Midwest and South Regions. Bradesco expects to issue about 250,000 cards.

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Rewards Network Hits a Road Bump

Following the departure of other executives, Chicago-based Rewards Network lost its CEO yesterday and is projecting a net loss for the first quarter. The news follows a weak fourth quarter wherein operating revenues and sales dropped 8% driven by declines in restaurant merchant count, dining transactions and the average dining transaction amount. CEO and president George Wiedemann said the Company’s 2004 performance was less than satisfactory. He resigned yesterday. Rewards Network promptly named Ronald Blake as the new president, CEO and director. Blake was chairman and CEO of Willis Stein Telecom Acquisition and previously worked for Ameritech. The Company expects to report a net loss, in the range of $0.16 to $0.22 per share, for the first quarter. Rewards Network says the loss is the result of lower-than-expected revenues; a higher-than-expected provision for losses; and severance costs for executives. For the fourth quarter Rewards Network posted operating revenues of $22.6 million on $82.0 million in sales. As of year-end 2004, Rewards Network had 3.8 million active member accounts, 10,514 restaurants and 11,321 hotels participating in its rewards programs. For complete details on the Rewards Network fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

REWARDS NETWORK HISTORICAL
Sales Restaurants Transactions
2002: $271.8mm 9,681 2,349,000
2003: $320.1mm 10,836 2,746,000
2004: $320.6mm 10,514 2,641,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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VISA to be Official Hong Kong Disneyland Card

VISA will become the official card of Hong Kong Disneyland. The park is expected to open in September. It is the first Disney theme park in China and is expected to attract 5.6 million visitors annually. The deal is part of existing global alliance between Disney and VISA that began in 2002. Under the alliance, an integrated marketing arrangement for Hong Kong Disneyland will be launched in the Asia-Pacific region.
There are 7.3 million VISA cardholders in Hong Kong.

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Digital River Launches VISA Electron

Minneapolis-based Digital River has launched a PIN debit card for the global clients of its hosted e-commerce sites. The new “Digital River VISA Electron Card” is targeted at small- to mid-sized clients operating where credit card acceptance is low or withdrawing cash from banks is difficult. The card can be used for making off-line PIN purchases, withdrawing cash, and receiving payments from the company for revenue they generate on their Digital River-hosted e-commerce sites. The card also is accompanied by a “Virtual VISA” card, which can be used to make online purchases. The “Digital River VISA Electron Card” is powered by ePassporte. Digital River has more than 40,000 software publishers, manufacturers, distributors and online retailers as clients. are trademarks, registrations or copyrights of their respective owners.

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