DRFS Inks a Mexican Debit Card Agreement

Direct Response Financial Services, in conjunction with Optimum Pay USA, has entered into a purchase and sale agreement for delivery of 50,000 ATM/debit cards to Poder de Compra, Mexico, S.A. for an initial purchase price of $250,000 plus ongoing revenue share from card activity. Direct Response Financial Services, Inc. is a provider of payment card systems, including a variety of branded and co-branded stored value cards and provides payment solutions for the un-banked and under-banked Latino market. Optimum Pay USA, Inc. offers a simpler, less-expensive alternative to traditional payment process using the Internet to move payments and financial records quickly and cost-effectively.

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Issuers Need to Learn from US Mistakes

A new research report says that U.K. card issuers should learn from U.S. issuers and their mistakes. The overriding lesson coming out of the U.S. market is to forget about outright retention and concentrate on securing top-of-wallet position. The Research and Markets report provides data and analysis to detail the size, progression and drivers of the U.S. credit and debit card markets and compares the U.S. market to others. It also explores the U.S. card market to profile innovative products developed to tackle problems facing U.S. issuers.

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FTC Settles with 3 Debt Services Scams

The FTC yesterday announced a settlement with three debt services operations that scammed consumers out of more than one hundred million dollars by falsely promising easy debt relief. The companies and their principals will pay more than $6 million combined in consumer redress. The three firms were the National Consumer Council, Debt Management Foundation Services, and Better Budget Financial Services. Complaints against the firms were filed in 2004. The FTC also recently announced a settlement with MD-based AmeriDebt, a credit counseling firm that collected nearly $200 million in hidden fees from consumers across the country. AmeriDebt will shut down its operation and transfer all existing accounts to a third party. (CF Library 3/22/05)

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Q Comm 4Q/04 Revenues Soar by 72%

UT-based Q Comm International posted fourth quarter revenues of $12.5 million, a 72% increase over 4Q/03. Total revenues for the full year increased 59% to $40.1 million. The gross profit increased 66% to $10.6 million for 2004. Active terminals increased 104% to 2,325 units and the revenue per active terminal increased 17% to $68 last year. During the fourth quarter, Q Comm entered into a manufacturing relationship with Shera Technology, signed a referral agreement with the McLane Company, and expanded its broker relationships to include Business Payment Systems. The Company expects revenue for the first quarter to be between $14.0 million and $15.0 million. For complete details on Q Comm’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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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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