MasterCard Takes Grocery Icons to Dinner

MasterCard has assembled an all-star cast of 10 iconic characters from leading grocery brands to promote its “Debit MasterCard” this weekend. The 30-second spot, which airs in the fourth quarter of “Super Bowl XXXIX,” will show 10 characters seated at a dinner table passing various dishes to each other, having a “Priceless” family dinner. Included in the commercial are: “Count Chocula,” “Chef Boyardee,” “Mr. Peanut,”, the “Pillsbury Doughboy,” “Charlie the Tuna,”, the “Jolly Green Giant,” the “Morton Salt Girl,” “Mr. Clean,”, “Gorton’s Fisherman,” and, the “Vlasic Stork.” The spot was produced by McCann-Erickson/New York. Last year, MasterCard aired a spot featuring characters from TV’s “The Simpsons” during “Super Bowl XXXVIII.” (CF Library 1-30-04)

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Northwest Airlines Offers an AirPlus Account

Northwest Airlines has launched an “AirPlus Company Account” providing corporate travel managers with a central payment tool for air travel, individual corporate credit cards for travelers, and access to aggregated data through Internet-based travel expense reporting and electronic invoicing. The Northwest Airlines AirPlus Company Account will be accepted as a form of payment at travel agencies, the airline’s nwa.com Web site, Northwest Airlines reservations and merchants that accept the Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP) charge card. The program will be available to the airline’s corporate customers through the Northwest Airlines sales team. Northwest Airlines is the world’s fourth largest airline with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo, and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,500 daily departures.

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MASTERCARD 4Q/04

For the first time, MasterCard International has topped $400 billion in gross dollar volume and four billion purchase transactions in a single quarter. The world’s second largest payment card network, by GDV, also neared the $1.5 trillion gross volume and 15 billion purchase transactions milestones for a full-year. MasterCard posted $401.2 billion in worldwide gross dollar volume in 4Q/04, a 12.5% increase over 4Q/03. Purchase transactions for the fourth quarter hit 4.034 billion compared to 3.597 billion one-year ago. For the full year of 2004, MasterCard GDV was $1.455 trillion, a 10.6% gain over 2003. Purchase transactions for the year totaled 14.715 billion compared to 13.202 billion for the prior year. Globally, MasterCard has 679.5 million cards-in-force linked to 576.0 million accounts. The number of acceptance locations worldwide at year-end 2004 was 24.6 million compared to 21.9 million one-year ago. For complete details on MasterCard’s fourth quarter results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Hypercom to Restate 2004 Due to UK Leases

Hypercom announced this morning it will restate its financial results for the first three quarters of last year due to a lease accounting issue with its U.K. subsidiary. Approximately 3,200 leases, originated by Hypercom EMEA, were incorrectly accounted for as sales-type leases, resulting in an overstatement of net revenue for the first three quarters of 2004. Hypercom estimates that net revenue for the first nine months of 2004 will decrease by up to $4.0 million, and that the operating profit for the same period will decrease by approximately 65 to 75% of the amount of the net revenue reduction. The Company says it is devoting appropriate resources to reviewing its internal controls surrounding accounting for lease contracts and related contract review policies and procedures to prevent this type of accounting error from occurring in the future.

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Barclays and Swedbank Team for Nordic Cards

Swedbank and Barclays have inked a partnership to issue cards in the Nordic market, according to CardFlash International. The joint venture will tap into a market that has a 10 million card and $5.7 billion outstandings potential. The current credit card market in Sweden and Norway is estimated at two to three million cards. The JV will consist of Swedbank’s Swedish credit cards operations and its subsidiary EnterCard in Norway. It will be jointly owned by Swedbank and Barclays, with Swedbank retaining a 60% share of the votes and Barclays 40%. The JV will be headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Sales will be handled by Swedbank’s distribution network in Sweden while EnterCard will serve Norwegian customers. Under terms of the deal, Swedbank will sell its 500,000 account credit card operation to the new JV for approximately $142.7 million.

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VISA Enlists Super Heroes for the Super Bowl

VISA has turned to Marvel’s “Super Heroes” to help communicate the security benefits of the “VISA Check Card.” During the first half of this weekend’s “Super Bowl XXXIX,” VISA will show “Spider-Man,” “Captain America,” “Wolverine,” “Storm,” and “Thor,” plus a surprise guest, come to the rescue of a woman who lost her “VISA Check Card.” The TV spot was created by BBDO NY. VISA has been a “Super Bowl” advertiser since 1994, producing a total of 15 “Super Bowl” commercials. Last year, VISA promoted its “Olympic Games” sponsorship. Marvel Enterprises has a library of over 5,000 proprietary characters. Although VISA does not disclose the cost to air the spot, the going rate this year is $2.4 million for a 30-second spot, compared to $2.3 million last year. In 2004, there were nearly 90 million viewers of “Super Bowl XXXVIII.” (CF Library 1-28-04)

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NEXCOM Deploys NCR’s RealPOS 80 System

The Navy Exchange Service Command is installing NCR’s “RealPOS 80” terminals, peripherals, and bar-code scanners in its 113 Navy Exchange stores in the U.S., Europe and the Pacific. The terminal features a sleek, contemporary exterior and incorporates a power and cable management system that connects multiple peripherals in a neat and orderly way, maximizing valuable counter space. NEXCOM’s mission is to provide authorized customers quality goods and services at a savings and to support quality-of-life programs for active duty military, retirees, reservists and their families. NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR) is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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Inovant VP Receives a Business Intelligence Award

Kate Kristensen, VP of Information Services Product Support at Inovant, a VISA Solutions Company, has been named as the recipient of MicroStrategy’s “Individual Excellence in Business Intelligence” award. Ms. Kristensen was recognized at MicroStrategy World 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. MicroStrategy is a worldwide leader in the business intelligence software market. Leading Fortune 2000 companies are increasingly integrating MicroStrategy’s business monitoring, reporting, and analysis software into their operations.

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Swedbank and Barclays Form a Credit Card JV

Swedbank (ForeningsSparbanken) and Barclays have inked a partnership to issue cards in the Nordic market. The joint venture will tap into a market that has a 10 million card and SEK 40 billion ($US5.7 billion) potential. The current credit card market in Sweden and Norway is estimated at two to three million cards. The JV will consist of ForeningsSparbanken’s Swedish credit cards operations and its subsidiary EnterCard AS in Norway. It will be jointly owned by ForeningsSparbanken and Barclays, with ForeningsSparbanken retaining a 60% share of the votes and Barclays 40%. The JV will be headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Sales will be handled by ForeningsSparbanken’s extensive distribution network in Sweden while EnterCard AS will serve Norwegian customers, among them many savings bank customers. Under terms of the deal, ForeningsSparbanken will sell its 500,000 account credit card operation to the new JV for approximately SEK 1.0 billion (US$142.7 million).

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