NFC Payment Trials Produce Solid Results

A new study has found that contactless payments trials, using near-field communications technologies, have produced 20% more purchases, and a 20%+ lift in value per transaction compared to traditional credit cards. However, the study by ABI Research cautions that contactless payments based on NFC can’t take off until payment infrastructure is there in the marketplace. The recent joint announcement by Philips and ViVOtech of a partnership marrying Philips’ near-field communications technologies with ViVOtech’s readers and processing software, takes contactless payment one big step closer to reality. ABI says real deployment of contactless NFC-based payment systems must be made as easy as possible for merchants, keeping disruptive upgrades of their existing charge systems to a minimum.

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Virginia Renews Official Payments Services

Official Payments has signed a two-year contract extension with Virginia to enable residents and businesses to pay a variety of taxes electronically including the use of credit cards. The extension enables Virginia taxpayers to pay individual income and estimated taxes and notice of assessments and business bills using the Internet, telephone, or credit card through September 2006. Official Payments Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tier Technologies, Inc., provides the IRS, 24 states, Washington D.C., and over 1,500 local government clients across the nation with electronic payment services. Netifice & IP Merchant Solutions

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AmEx U.S. Volume Slows as Expenses Rise

American Express Travel Related Services reported third quarter net income of $726 million, compared to $732 million in the previous quarter, and $606 million one-year ago. Charge volume for 3Q/04 in the U.S. increased 14% year-over-year, compared to 17% for the prior quarter, 19% for the first quarter, and a 14% for 3Q/03. AmEx says marketing, promotion, rewards, and cardholder services expenses increased 28% over the year-ago period. The steep rise was due to a higher redemption rate, increased cardholder loyalty program participation, and the general increase in volume. The issuer added 600,000 net new cardholders in the third quarter for the U.S., compared to 400,000 in 2Q/04, and 500,000 in 3Q/03. Worldwide, AmEx had $45.6 billion in card loans, an 8.2% increase over 3Q/03. Worldwide delinquency was 2.5% for 3Q/04, compared to 2.8% one-year ago. Worldwide net charge-offs were 4.1% for the third quarter, compared to 5.1% for 3Q/03. For complete details on AmEx’s third quarter performance as well as prior quarters, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

American Express U.S. Card Portfolio Snapshot
3Q/04 2Q/04 1Q/04 4Q/03 3Q/03 Ann Chng
Volume $75.6b 75.7 70.1 72.3b 66.3b +14.0%
Cards 38.0m 37.4m 37.0m 36.4m 35.9m + 5.8%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Intersections’ Pre-Tax Income Nearly Doubles

VA-based Intersections, a provider of identity theft protection and credit management services to consumers via credit card issuers, reported that revenues for the third quarter of $38.5 million were up slightly from 3Q/03. However, pretax income was $5.6 million for the quarter, compared to $3.0 million for the third quarter of 2003. Subscription revenue, which excludes transactional sales, increased 17.4%. Total subscribers increased to approximately 2.6 million as of September 30th, from approximately 2.1 million as of September 30, 2003. Intersections currently provides its services to more than 2.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. For complete details on Intersections’ third quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Alliance & Leicester Deploys S1 Software

Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank has selected S1 Corporation to deploy its next-generation commercial e-banking solution. The S1 Corporate Banking solution will enable Alliance & Leicester to
replace its multiple existing applications with a single, best-of-breed
solution for all its corporate and small to mid-sized commercial
customers. S1 Corporate Banking also offers an integrated service that
will grow with the bank as it offers more online services and as the
adoption of e-banking continues to grow strongly in the U.K. Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank has $91 billion in assets and 250,000 business and corporate customers.

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Coinstar Machines Blanket Every State

Loose change specialist, Coinstar, has added self-service machines in North and South Dakota, giving it a presence in every state and more than 11,000 coin-counting machines in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In over 245 million transactions, Coinstar has counted over $8.5 million in change. The latest installations in North and South Dakota offer self-service coin counting along with pay-as-you-go products such as a prepaid MasterCard(R) and prepaid wireless airtime. People who use the Coinstar machine can also donate their change to several non-profit organizations. Coinstar, Inc. offers a range of products and services associated with coin counting, electronic payment solutions, and entertainment services at over 44,000 retail locations.

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MC Europe Merchants & Acquirers Initiative

MasterCard Europe has introduced a new initiative for the merchant and acquiring community. The new initiative includes the publication of MasterCard intra-European MIF rates, the launch of a dedicated merchant Web site, and, publication of a new merchant “Rules Manual.” To spearhead this new initiative, Brian Moore has been appointed to head up merchant strategy for the MasterCard Europe region.
Brian was previously MasterCard Europe SVP and general manager for the UK.

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FAPS Hires Two Top Sales Executives

TX-based First American Payment Systems has hired Russ Goebel, formerly SVP at Retriever Payment Systems, as SVP/Sales and Marketing, and Rusty Martz, formerly Business Development Manager at Paymentech Network Services, as VP/Sales. Mr. Goebel and Mr. Martz’s responsibilities will involve growing and building the company’s sales force and increasing First American’s presence in the industry. Goebel’s objective will be leading and directing sales and marketing efforts across distribution channels for First American. Martz, who served as Business Development Manager at Paymentech Network Services also served as Vice President of Sales at Sterling Technologies. He has obtained a successful background in sales management and business development. First American Payment Systems, L.P. is a provider of full service credit card processing for roughly 75,000 merchants throughout the nation.

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LML Patent Trial Set for April 2006

Vancouver-based LML Patent Corp. and LML Payment Systems says a federal judge has set a trial date in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by LML against four companies who provide equipment, systems and services that convert paper checks presented at the point of sale into electronic transactions. The trial is scheduled for April 17, 2006 in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. LML filed suit against TeleCheck Services, Electronic Clearing House, Xpresschex, and Nova Information Systems.

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Payment Rates Hit a Record High in August

Consumers continued to pay-off more credit card charges and make more on-time payments during August. Based on $400 billion in asset-backed card bonds, the monthly payment rate for August 2004 hit a record high of 17.16%, well above last August’s rate of 15.63%, and the March 2004 rate of 16.60%. The delinquency rate fell to 4.32% during August from 5.11% a year ago, and 4.74% in March. On a year-over-year basis, the delinquency rate has fallen for the last thirteen consecutive months and the lowest monthly delinquency rate reported since July 2000. Moody’s “Credit Card Credit Indexes” also reported that charge-offs fell to 6.01%, down from 6.88% a year ago. This marks the ninth consecutive month in which the charge-off rate improved after over a year of nearly uninterrupted deterioration. Yield fell to 16.68% in August from 17.33% a year ago. The yield has marginally fallen from year-ago levels for the last three consecutive months.

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VISA Europe Supports the EU Action Plan 2004

VISA Europe is openly supporting the European Commission’s “EU Action Plan 2004 – 2007” which is aimed at preventing fraud on non-cash means of payment. The “Action Plan” builds on the European Commission’s initial plan launched in February 2001. Since then VISA has taken a lead role in migrating Europe to smart cards, providing a EUR162 million investment towards bringing about its pan-European implementation. The European Commission has been a strong supporter of EMV chip migration.

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Lafayette Services and Certegy Team

Lafayette Services, a leading European provider for card, credit, and loyalty programs for retail and end consumers has signed a MOU with Certegy. The MOU contains the basic terms upon which Certegy intends to provide a wide range of card and loan processing services to LaSer subsidiaries throughout Europe. Under the terms of the MOU, Certegy intends to provide private label, bankcard, chip card, and consumer loan processing and support services to LaSer subsidiaries located in five countries throughout Europe, including: Creation Financial Services and Sygma Bank (United Kingdom); PrimeLine Services B.V. (Netherlands); Credifin (Portugal); Banco Sygma Hispana (Spain); and Fidexis (Belgium).

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