Elan to Process HealthEquity HSA Cards

HealthEquity has selected Elan Financial Services for its “Health Savings Accounts” card processing. Card authorization processing and routing for point-of-service transactions along with required system monitoring and support services will be provided by Elan. The HeatlhEquity HSA card can be used at healthcare locations where Visa® cards are accepted. HeatlhEquity members can pay doctors, dentists, and pharmacies directly from their HSA, using their card. HealthEquity forms partnerships with health plans, third party administrators, and banks to provide an HSA service. Elan Financial Services offers a variety of ATM services to financial institutions and ISOs. The company supports over 7,800 ATMs, 15 million ATM/POS cards, and 2 million credit cardholders, providing credit card issuing, ATM, debit cards, and merchant processing.

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OBERTHUR 3Q/04

Oberthur Card Systems reported that third quarter revenues for its banking smart card segment grew by 32% in value and 37% in volume, compared to the year ago quarter. On a sequential basis, the volume of cards delivered in 3Q/04 reached 18.3 million, a 22% increase. The sharp increase was driven by the EMV migration in the UK. Overall, Oberthur posted third quarter total revenues of $139 million, a slight increase over the same quarter of last year. Compared to the previous quarter, revenues were flat. The strongest performing unit was the Identity and Security segment which produced a 60% increase in sales. Revenues for SIM cards and banking personalization services declined. Third quarter revenues for magnetic stripe cards, scratch cards, and memory cards were flat. Oberthur projects that fourth quarter sales will grow between 10% and 15% over the third quarter. For complete details on Oberthur’s third quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Euronet Acquires a Processor of Mobile Phone Top Ups

Euronet Worldwide has closed an asset acquisition of the Movilcarga Division of Grupo Meflur Corporacion. Euronet will own 80% of Movilcarga and Meflur will own the remaining 20%. Movilcarga is a provider of electronic prepaid voucher solutions in Spain. Movilcarga has a distribution agreement with Telefonica, the largest mobile operator in Spain, which services 52% of that country’s mobile telecommunications market. The company plans to expand its top-up
services with additional mobile operators in Spain. Based on its most recent three-months’ unaudited financial information, Movilcarga generated net revenue, on a recognition basis consistent with Euronet’s other prepaid processing revenues, of approximately $3.5 million.

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ActivCard Authentication Server Released

ActivCard has unveiled “ActivCard Authentication Server” delivering scalable and versatile authentication for secure online banking. The service is a result of collaboration between London-based ASPACE Solutions and ActivCard. ASPACE Solution’s flagship solution, “4TRESS,” is a key component for the “ActivCard Authentication Server.”
“ActivCard Authentication Server” allows banks to support multiple forms of authentication including as static passwords, one-time password generating tokens, and EMV authentication with card readers, all through one integrated server.

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NBS Technologies and Security Compliance

Toronto-based NBS Technologies has achieved compliance with the VISA and MasterCard CISP, AIS and SDP initiatives. NBS selected Ubizen, Inc. as its security consultant and auditor for the program compliance projects because of Ubizen’s depth of experience in payment network forensics. The NBS “Commerce Gateway” processed over 30 million transactions in North America last year as a high- speed payment engine designed to serve the needs of merchants everywhere. In addition to credit and debit payments, the Gateway provides integration of gift cards and loyalty rewards directly at the point of sale.

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CREDICARD OWNERSHIP

The joint venture ownership of The Credicard Group, the country’s leading credit card company, is being restructured. Under the new arrangement, Citibank Brazil and Banco Itau will each increase their ownership to 50% by acquiring all of Unibanco’s interest in Credicard. Formerly, Banco Itau, Citibank Brazil, and Unibanco each owned equal shares of Credicard. Banco Itau also announced it will increase its ownership in Orbitall, the card processing and servicing business, to 100% by acquiring all of Citibank’s and Unibanco’s shares. Redecard, the merchant acquiring business, will maintain its current ownership structure, with Citibank, Itau and Unibanco each owning 32%, and MasterCard owning 4%. The Credicard Group has grown to serve more than 5 million clients, issuing 7 million credit cards, processing more than 13 million accounts, and maintaining important commercial relationships with 750,000 merchants.

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US Dataworks’ Clearingworks is Upgraded

US Dataworks says it is introducing its next-generation “Clearingworks” with “Express Batching” and “Real-time Web Enablement”. The new payment processing capabilities strengthen US Dataworks integrated electronic payment processing platform known as Clearingworks. Express Batching captures electronic images from checks and remittance stubs, enabling payments to clear more rapidly. To further improve payment processing, Real-time Web Enablement offers remote, secure, web-based data capture, access, and entry capabilities. US Dataworks recently released a Meta Software study indicating that one of the nation’s three largest credit card processors is saving 37.9 % in operational costs by using the Clearingworks solution. The company develops payment processing solutions and focuses on the financial services market, federal, state, and local governments, billers and retailers.

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SmartPay Jieyin Expands to Chongqing

SmartPay Jieyin announced the launch of its electronic payment
system in Chongqing. The system allows mobile users to pay their phone bills, top up their pre-paid accounts, purchase online gaming time and other merchant offerings simply by sending an SMS message. Partner merchants and banks including China Unicom, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China have already been fully integrated into the system. The system launch in Chonqing closely follows the launch of SmartPay services in Shanghai and Anhui. With the addition of Chongqing, over 11 million mobile phone subscribers can now use SmartPay to pay for merchant offerings conveniently and electronically.

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VISA Invests in a Mobile POS Service

VISA has made an investment in Boston-based WAY Systems, a provider of mobile phone-based POS solutions. As part of the deal, Roger Swales, SVP Global Acceptance and Operations of VISA International, has accepted a position on WAY Systems’ advisory board. WAY Systems provides cost-effective innovative mobile payment transaction solutions that transform low-cost GSM mobile phones into secure wireless POS terminals using standard “General Packet Radio Service” networks. WAY Systems is the only company in the world that holds a license from Fractal Commerce for “Accessor Technology for Merchant POS.”

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Hypercom Wins a euroConex Contract

US Bancorp/NOVA’s euroConex unit has awarded Hypercom a $4 million contract for the migration to “chip and PIN” in Ireland. Hypercom’s “ICE 5500” and “HFT 106” terminal technology will be used in the migration. The first “Chip and PIN” transaction in Ireland using Hypercom’s “ICE” card transaction technology occurred in Naas/Newbridge. That transaction used a UK “Switch” card taken as “International Maestro” on Hypercom’s “ICE 5500” card payment terminal and “HFT 106” PIN pad. euroConex provides an integrated payments processing service to banks and merchants in Ireland, the UK, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland using a multi-currency platform.

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Card Debt Spirals Upward in September

The roller coaster trend in revolving credit resumed in September as revolving credit soared at an annual rate of 10% after declining more than 3% in August. During September, consumers piled on more than $6 billion in revolving credit, mostly credit card debt. One-year ago, consumers added $1.6 billion in revolving credit during September. According to figures released Friday by the Federal Reserve, at the end of September 2004 Americans owed $748.3 billion in revolving credit, compared to $742.1 billion for August. One-year ago revolving credit stood at $730.7 billion. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the second quarter was $672.1 billion, or roughly 90% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). At the end of September, Americans were $2053.3 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Sep 04 Aug 04 Jul 04 Jun 04 May 04 Apr 04 Mar 04
GRWTH: 10.0% -3.3 8.9 -0.1 -1.0 -5.3 5.5
$OWED: $748.3 742.1 744.2 738.7 738.6 740.9 744.2

Feb 04 Jan 04 Dec 03 Nov 03 Oct 03 Sep 03 Aug 03
GRWTH: -0.6% 13.0 3.3 4.9 4.1 6.8 3.4
$OWED: $750.4 753.0 734.1 743.8 740.5 730.7 729.1
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 11/05/04;
For complete historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Bankruptcy Filings Pause in September

While bankruptcy filings are down more than 3% this year, the number of filings in September nearly matched the number filed in September 2003. During September, 127,664 filings were made compared to 127,079 for September 2003. Year-to-date bankruptcy filings were 1.19 million. The total number of bankruptcies filed in the 12-month period ending June 30th, was 1,635,725, down 0.9% from a year ago. For the second quarter of this year total filings were down 0.4% to 421,100. The decline for the first half of this year is the first drop in consumer bankruptcy filings since 2000.

Monthly Filings Historical
Sep 03: 127,079
Oct 03: 148,044
Nov 03: 131,921
Dec 03: 113,383
Jan 04: 114,737
Feb 04: 124,719
Mar 04: 152,567
Apr 04: 145,543
May 04: 136,509
Jun 04: 127,742
Jul 04: 133,390
Aug 04: 125,783
Sep 04: 127,664
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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