Washington Mutual is Switching to MC Debit

The third largest issuer of signature debit cards in the U.S. is planning to switch its payment card programs to MasterCard. Washington Mutual, which has 9.4 million signature debit cardholders and 1.5 million PIN-only cardholders, expects to begin the migration near the end of 2005. The announcement follows on the heels of last month’s announcement by WI-based Associated Bank that it will convert its 400,000 “VISA Check Cards” to “Debit MasterCard Cards.” Washington Mutual currently operates more than 3,200 ATMs in fourteen states and serves 7.9 million retail banking households. MasterCard debit cards are accepted at an estimated 5.6 million merchants in the USA, at nearly 1.5 million PIN terminals, and at approximately 383,000 ATM locations. (CF Library 12/20/04)

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MAGIC TERMINAL

Axalto has introduced its GPRS portable point-of-sale terminal to the Italian market. The new “MagIC X1000 GPRS” is currently under pilot with the Societa’Centrale Monetica Interbancaria, CIM Italia SPA with an installed base of 200,000 terminals across the country. Axalto’s “MagIC X1000 GPRS” terminal hosts the Italian “HGePOS” application and can be used anywhere in Italy. It is EMV Level 1 and Level 2 approved, runs the ABI EMV application, and can handle 250 transactions without recharging.

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Wells Waives Fees for Transfers to India

Wells Fargo and India’s ICICI Bank have waived all transfer fees for U.S.-based customers to send money to friends and families impacted by the recent natural disaster in India. Wells Fargo will also waive the foreign currency fee for all transactions. Both waivers will run through January 31st. Wells normally charges an $8 fee for each transaction. Wells Fargo is also contributing $100,000 to help fund relief efforts.

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Chase Offers $1MM for Tsunami Relief

JPMorgan Chase pledged $1 million to help tsunami and earthquake victims and is matching employee contributions. In order to provide an efficient way for employees to help, you may make a contribution directly to the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Those contributions will be matched and the Foundation Board will direct the funds to relief and recovery efforts. We will provide you with a complete report on the disposition of those funds. Employees have already contributed more than $100,000 to the Foundation to support this effort.

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ICMA Adds Fourteen New Members

The NJ-based International Card Manufacturers Association has added fourteen new members. The new members include ten principal members, or card manufacturers; two associate members, or suppliers; and two contributing members. Principal Members (Card Manufacturers)include DIGIMARC ID Systems (Burlington, MA); Fastcom Technology (Lausanne, VD, Switzerland); GHP Card Systems AG (Bamberg, Germany); Institute of Applied Information Technologies (Kiev, Ukraine); LAWA Card Systems (Riyadh, Central Provinc, Saudi Arabia); PRINC D.O.O. (Sagreb, Croatia); Quatro Security Printing (Markham, Ontario, Canada); S.A.E.T.I.C. (Barcelona, Spain); ST INCARD Srl (Marcianise (CE), Caserta, Italy); and, Znak, Ltd. (Kiev, Ukraine). ICMA has more than 215 members globally.

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Asset Acceptance Improves its Credit Facility

MI-based Asset Acceptance Capital has extended its existing $100 million revolving credit facility with its creditors to 2008 and has received more favorable terms. The Company currently has no borrowings under its line of credit. Asset Acceptance has provided credit originators, such as credit card issuers, consumer finance companies, retail merchants, utilities and others, an efficient alternative in recovering defaulted consumer debt.

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TNB Acquires Three More CU Portfolios

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has purchased the credit card portfolios of three of its card processing clients. Selling their portfolios were Rio Grande Credit Union in Albuquerque, NM; 1st Community Federal Credit Union of San Angelo, TX; and, Corps of Engineers Federal Credit Union of Fort Worth, TX. Rio Grande CU has 11,000 members, 1st Community FCU has 25,000 members, and Corps of Engineers FCU has 3,200 members. All three clients have signed agent issuer deals with TNB. TNB Card Services serves more than 400 credit unions and manages more than 1.5 million payment cards.

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Global Payments Acquires Europhil

Global Payments has acquired a group of European electronic money transfer firms that operate collectively under the name Europhil. Based in Madrid, the group operates 26 retail branches in Spain, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Europhil’s settlement network includes approximately 1,000 locations in over 20 countries. More than 80% of its money transfers are sent to Latin American countries, including Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia and Brazil. For calendar year 2004, Europhil anticipates approximately $12 million in revenue. Europhil was one of the first money transfer firms established in Spain.

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VeriFone Pledges $200K for Asian Disaster

VeriFone has pledged $100,000 to the Southeast Asia disaster and its Chairman/CEO pledged a matching donation of $100,000. The significant support from VeriFone and Doug and Sandra Bergeron will go a long way towards saving lives and relieving suffering for hundreds of thousands of families in need in Southeast Asia. Mercy Corps relief workers are on the ground in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia doing everything they can to help those in need. VeriFone, Inc., a global leader in secure electronic payment technologies, provides expertise, solutions and services for today with a migration strategy for tomorrow.

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GE Offers $1MM for Earthquake Relief

GE is donating $1 million to the Red Cross International Response Fund for the Southeast Asia disaster. In addition, GE employees worldwide are being offered an opportunity to support Red Cross emergency response efforts through an employee giving campaign that the GE Foundation will match 100-percent. In just three days, employees have given over $700,000, and donations continue to be given. The GE Foundation the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to strengthen educational access, equity, and quality for disadvantaged youth globally; and supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world.

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Sovereign Bank Extends First Data Contract

First Data has signed a five-year renewal agreement to provide electronic payment processing products and services for Sovereign Bank’s merchant customers in the New England and Mid-Atlantic markets. First Data provides merchant payment processing services on behalf of Sovereign Bank in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In the past year, Sovereign Merchant Services had more than 27,185 merchant outlets, 73 million merchant transactions and $5.3 billion in merchant sales. Sovereign Bancorp, Inc., is the parent company of Sovereign Bank, pro forma, a $60 billion financial institution. First Data Corp. with global headquarters in Denver, helps power the global economy.

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