Arthur Blank Expands Card Capacity

Boston-based Arthur Blank announced it now has the single largest card production facility in the world. The facility is able to produce more than 1.3 billion high quality plastic cards per year. The milestone was reached with the installation of a fourth Burkle high-speed laminator to its production floor. Arthur Blank’s has an 80,000 square foot production facility in Boston. Arthur Blank products include: private label loyalty, gift, phone, credit, debit, membership, security I.D., access cards, RFID and Smart cards, as well as complete card numbering and personalization.

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FNF Opts to Pay $400MM Cash for InterCept

Fidelity National Financial confirmed it has opted to pay all-cash for its acquisition of InterCept. InterCept shareholders will receive $18.90 in cash for each share of common stock they hold or about $400 million total. Under the terms of the merger agreement signed September 8th, Fidelity had the option to pay the consideration in all cash or in a combination of cash and stock. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. InterCept provides outsourced and in-house, fully integrated core banking solutions for approximately 425 community banks and operates significant item processing and check imaging operations for approximately 720 customers. FNF is a provider of products and outsourced services and solutions to financial institutions and the real estate industry, with annual income of more than $7.7 billion.

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AmEx Adds Identity Theft Assistance Benefit

American Express has added an “Identity Theft Assistance” program to all cardholders at no extra cost. The new program provides support to assist Cardmembers in securing their personal information, determine identity theft, and provide help in regaining stolen identity. The Identity Theft Assistance has benefits including 24/7 access to representatives, assistance with suspected identity theft, and materials assisting Cardmembers re-establish their credit. American Express offers additional fraud protection programs to Cardmembers for a nominal fee. Such programs include CreditSecure, which monitors credit profiles and notifies customers of any changes, Identity Protection from American Express, which provides up to $15,000 (after a $100 deductible) in identity theft coverage, and American Express Credit Card Registry, which insures protection on Cardmember cards. Founded in 1850, The American Express Company is a global provider of travel, network, and financial services.

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HSBC Bank Launches Small Business Program

HSBC Bank has launched the “BusinessSmart” program for its small business customers, which includes a “MasterCard BusinessCard.” BusinessSmart will offer Free Business Checking and ExtraVantage for Business to small businesses. In addition, HSBC customers will be able to access a toll-free small business service line 24 hours a day. Free Business Checking has no minimum balance and is intended for small businesses focusing on value. Free online banking, free bill pay, and a MasterCard BusinessCard (R) are included in the program. ExtraVantage for Business is intended for businesses in need of a higher level of service when compared to traditional small business bank offerings. Like Free Busniness Checking, ExtraVantage will include free online bill pay. It is accessible to companies that have a $25,000 combined deposit relationship with HSBC or to any small business for a monthly fee of $25.00. HSBC Bank USA, National Association, has approximately 400 branches in New York, 11 branches in Flordia, 6 in California, and 1 branch in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Oregon.

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OPC Renews its Wisconsin Contract

Official Payments has renewed its contract with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to enable Wisconsin taxpayers to pay a wide variety of individual and business taxes using a credit card. VISA(R), American Express(R), Discover(R), or MasterCard(R) credit cards may be used to pay 16 different types of individual and business taxes. Official Payments Corp. also offers “Payment Reminders,” an email reminder of upcoming payment due dates. Official Payments is a provider of electronic payment services. It serves Washington, D.C., the IRS, 22 states, and has more than 1,500 local government clients across the nation. Citizens are charged a convenience fee for services. Official Payments is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tier Technologies, Inc., which provides transaction processing, packaged software, and systems integration services to clients in the public sector.

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AA Card Adds 90-Day Grace Period Benefit

American Airlines has launched a “90 days same-as-cash” offer for its private label card. Cardholders of the “American Airlines Credit Card” must make a $199 minimum purchase to qualify for the deal. The offer is for individuals only. Finance charges accrue from the date of purchase and all accrued finance charges are added to the account for the entire promotional period if qualifying purchases are not paid in full before the end of the promotional period, or if a late payment is made. Citibank provides the credit feature of the card. The APR for purchases is 21.96%, and there is no annual fee. American Airlines also has a co-branded VISA and MasterCard program with Citibank.

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Certegy Signs Pulaski Processing Contract

Certegy has inked an agreement with Pulaski Bank and Trust of Little Rock, Arkansas for credit card and merchant processing services. Pulaski Bank and Trust was very impressed with Certegy’s processing platform and is very pleased to have Certegy process their credit card accounts. Certegy provides various processing services to over 6,500 financial institutions, 117,000 retailers, and 100 million consumers around the world. Formed in 1956, Pulaski Bank has assets totaling $400 million and operates 12 branches throughout Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.

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MBNA & STARWOOD

MBNA Canada and Starwood Hotels have teamed to launch a co-branded MasterCard next week. The new “MBNA/Starwood Preferred Guest MasterCard” is the first hotel affinity card offered in Canada. In the USA, American Express holds the Starwood co-branding relationship and has also inked a deal for MBNA to issue AmEx cards next year in the USA. Under the “MBNA/Starwood Preferred Guest MasterCard” program, cardholders earn one “Starpoint” for every C$2.00 spent. A welcome bonus of 5,000 “Starpoints” will be awarded on the first retail usage of the card. Customers will earn an additional 5,000 bonus “Starpoints” for every C$10,000 in retail spend, up to 15,000 bonus “Starpoints” each year. Additionally, customers will earn another 5,000 bonus “Starpoints” the first time they charge a stay at one of the Starwood properties to their new credit card. The “Starwood Preferred Guest Program” debuted in 1999 and has been voted “Hotel Program of the Year” since its introduction.

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Capital One Upgraded to a Long-Term Buy

Capital One was upgraded yesterday to a “long-term buy” rating by analysts at Hilliard Lyons Research. The target price was set at $89. Cap One is currently trading at $75 per share. It reached a 52-week high of $77.67 in mid-April. Hilliard Lyons analysts says the Company’s consistent EPS growth is the key factor in the upgrade. Cap One’s EPS is expected to rise by 17% this year, and 16% next year. Cap One’s second quarter U.S. card profits increased by 40% year-over-year. For the second quarter, COF posted net income for U.S. cards of $384.1 million, compared to $386.8 million in the first quarter, and $274.2 million one-year ago. At the end of the second quarter Cap One had $45.2 billion in U.S. card loans, compared to $45.3 billion in the first quarter. COF’s global managed loan portfolio grew by $1.6 billion to $73.4 billion in 2Q/04. For complete details on Capital One’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Universal Express Partners with Points.com

NY-based Universal Express has signed a deal with Points.com for a gift card program. Cecilia Vesnesky, President of Luggage Express, says that Points.com allows program members to receive more value from their participation in loyalty programs through its relationship and exchange with companies such as Delta Airlines and Intercontinental Hotels. Earned points can be exchanged for luggage and gift card services. Richard A. Altomare, Chairman of Universal Express, says that frequent flyer miles or earned value credits can be exchanged for luggage services. Miles and loyalty points convert into cash for their services. Points International Ltd. operates the only independent loyalty points exchange. Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates subsidiaries that provide its private postal trade association customers and couriers with various value-added services and products including the cost-effective delivery of goods and luggage worldwide.

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Certegy Signs FL’s Largest Credit Union

Suncoast Schools FCU, the largest credit union in Florida, has selected Certegy Card Services to process its 100,000 VISA credit cards with $275 million in loans outstanding. Suncoast is the largest credit union in Flordia, and the eighth largest credit union in the nation with $4.3 billion in total assets and 350,000 members. Certegy will service Suncoast’s credit card portfolio, which contains a platform that provides card processing solutions. Certegy provides various services including credit and debit processing, check risk management, check cashing, merchant processing, and e-banking to almost 7,000 financial institutions, 117,000 retailers, and 100 million consumers around the world.

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