Chimera Technology and e-Network Partner

Chimera Technology announced that e-Network (Europe) Limited, operating the URL www.eNetworkBank.com, has been selected to execute the e-commerce transactions for all Chimera licensees. The payment gateway is the backbone of any successful online gaming portal and it must have the ability to reliably execute e-commerce transactions so that patrons may deposit and withdraw funds from their accounts with complete confidence. e-Network deals with all major e-commerce institutions and has the ability to execute transactions using all major credit cards including VISA, MasterCard and Diner’s Club. In addition, they also offer alternative methods of deposit including, VISA Electron, Direct Bank Wire, Neteller, Pre-Pay ATM and Book to Book transfer.

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Bankruptcy Boom Likely if IRS Revokes CCAs Status

A national consumer advocacy group warns there could be an explosion in the numbers of bankruptcies filed in the near future unless most states or Congress act soon to change the laws regulating the credit counseling industry. Currently, a majority of states have laws that either outright ban individuals or taxpaying businesses from providing credit counseling services, or otherwise in practice restrict credit counseling services exclusively to tax-exempt organizations. A recently released IRS memo indicates the IRS is preparing a case for revoking the tax-exempt status of large numbers of credit counseling agencies. Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions says such entities would likely shut-down, leaving hundreds of thousands of consumers with little choice but to declare bankruptcy.

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Kerry to Take on Abusive Credit Card Practices

Senator John Kerry will take on the credit card industry today accusing banks of abusive practices in regard to penalty interest rates, universal default clauses, overlimit, and late payment policies. Adding fuel to the debate is that pre-tax credit card profits have doubled during the Bush administration, at a time when funding costs plunged to record lows. In a speech to be given today, Kerry will say he will ask Congress to legislate standards and to direct the Federal Trade Commission and bank regulators to impose regulations to require issuers to disclose the cost of making minimum payments. Kerry also wants to limit the increase in penalty interest rates to a few percentage points. Additionally, he wants to forbid credit card issuers from raising interest rates for customers with perfect payment records who have missed a payment on some other company’s bill. Kerry will also attack predatory lending practices associated with mortgages today. In the four year period between 1996 and 1999, credit card profits were $51.7 billion compared to $102.4 billion in the last four years.

PRE-TAX CARD PROFITS
1990: $ 6.4 billion
1991: $ 6.4 billion
1992: $ 6.3 billion
1993: $ 7.1 billion
1994: $11.1 billion
1995: $12.9 billion
1996: $13.6 billion
1997: $11.5 billion
1998: $11.4 billion
1999: $15.2 billion
2000: $20.5 billion
2001: $24.3 billion
2002: $27.8 billion
2003: $29.8 billion
SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Hibernia Offers Biz Credit and Debit Card Rewards

New Orleans-based Hibernia National Bank has launched a rewards program enabling small-business owners to earn points on credit card and debit card activity. The “Hibernia MasterCard BusinessCard” also allows them to earn rewards from multiple cards with no annual cap. The program allows the use of two enrolled cards per membership, one credit and one debit. Under the rewards program, one point is awarded for each dollar spent. Businesses can enroll an unlimited number of employees in the rewards program for $50 each. A bonus of 1,000 points are awarded for the first qualifying purchase on each enrolled card. Points can be redeemed for a wide range of merchandise, gift certificates and travel.

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On Track Innovations Hits Breakeven Point

Israel-based On Track Innovations reported that its operating cash flow reached the breakeven point for the first half of this year as revenues neared $10 million. The specialist in contactless, microprocessor-based smart card solutions, is also prepared for a sharp rise in orders for its card readers used in conjunction with the “MasterCard PayPass” card, currently in a national roll-out. OTI recently received its first commercial order to support “PayPass” from an undisclosed issuer. For complete details on OTI’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Carville and Matalin to Keynote FI’s InterACT

Fair Isaac is holding its “InterACT” conference in Miami Beach on October 26th to 29th with James Carville and Mary Matalin delivering a keynote address. Business leaders from around the world will attend to learn about the latest strategies for growth powered by advanced analytics. Specific issues in financial services, insurance, direct marketing and other customer-facing industries will be addressed.

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OTI Reaches Breakeven Cash Flow; Gears up for PayPass

Israel-based On Track Innovations reported that its operating cash flow reached the breakeven point for the first half of this year as revenues neared $10 million. The specialist in contactless, microprocessor-based smart card solutions, is also prepared for a sharp rise in orders for its card readers used in conjunction with the “MasterCard PayPass” card, currently in a national roll-out. OTI recently received its first commercial order to support “PayPass” from an undisclosed issuer. For complete details on OTI’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Top Consumer Credit Seminar to be Held Next Month

A highly regarded consumer credit management training program, usually offered internally at major banks and financial institutions, such as Chase and Wells Fargo, is now open to executives from all financial institutions. The “Consumer Credit: Managing Risk and Reward” is slated for New York City, September 21st through the 23rd. The seminar is led by former Citibank and Ford Motor executive David Lawrence and his partner, Arlene Solomon. Mr. Lawrence is also the author of “The Handbook of Consumer Lending” and co-author, with Ms. Solomon, of the 2002 book, “Managing a Consumer Lending Business.” The three-day program uses case studies, exercises, and a computer-based profit-modeling game to ensure active involvement. The faculty at this offering will also include Alan Schiffres, of Portfolio Management Associates, for the front end of the credit cycle and scoring, and Don Griffin, of The Center for Business Solutions, for collections.

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EST to Offer CommerSafe ACS to Issuers

EST has agreed to license iBIZ Software’s “CommerSafe ACS”
to authenticate cardholders in real-time. EST will manage the localization, deployment and ongoing sales of “CommerSafe ACS” to Turkish and Polish card issuers. Issuers will have the choice of deploying “CommerSafe ACS Classic” or “thinServer” depending on their preference to have independent sources of data, or to have it all centralized on their current host database. iBIZ Software’s “CommerSafe Product Suite,” has been compliant with each of the 3-D Secure programs from their very launch, including “Verified by Visa,” “MasterCard SecureCode,” and “JCB J/Secure.”

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Postal Rate Commission Wants More NSAs in the Pipeline

The Postal Rate Commission is reaching out to credit unions and smaller banks to encourage them to enter into “Negotiated Service Agreements” to lower their mailing costs. To date, only Capital One has been approved for an “NSA,” but Discover and Bank One struck similar deals with the Postal Service in June that are now awaiting approval from the PRC. Since September 2003, Capital One has been able to mail credit card solicitations using First-Class Mail at discounts up to 6 cents per piece. Under the Cap One “NSA” and the two proposed “NSAs,” mailers receive pricing incentives if they send more First-Class Mail than they typically do in a year and convert to using the “Address Change Service,” which provides electronic notification of forwarded mail and undeliverable pieces, eliminating the return of undeliverable mail. Currently, NSAs are complex and time-consuming to create but the Postal Service says it is aiming to streamline the process. Once negotiated, the NSA is presented to the Board of Governors and authorization is requested to file the case with the PRC. The Postal Service and the customer then litigate the case before the PRC, presenting documentation and evidence that the agreement is in the best interest of the mailing public. This process can take 10 months. If the NSA is recommended by the PRC, it is returned to the Board of Governors for final approval and implementation.

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Dollar General to Accept Discover Nationwide

Discover has inked an exclusive acceptance agreement with Dollar General. The “Discover Card” will be the only credit card accepted for payment at more than 5,500 Dollar General stores in 27 states and will be accepted at all of Dollar General’s more than 7,000 stores chain wide. Previously, Dollar General accepted only cash and personal checks as forms of payment. Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions has been selected as the electronic card processor for all electronic payments.

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Metris Rolls-Out a Monthly Jackpot Card

A new MasterCard has been introduced that gives cardholders a chance to win a monthly cash jackpot of at least $25,000, every time they spend $1 on purchases. The new “American DreamCard Platinum MasterCard” awards one sweepstakes entry for every net $1.00 spent on the card, up to 1,000 entries per a $1,000 transaction. Consumers also receive 1,000 entries for applying during the promotional period which ends September 30th. If approved, cardholders will also earn 100 entries by enrolling in the online account servicing platform, and one hundred entries each time they pay their “American DreamCard” bill online. Monthly winners will receive 0.50% of the total amount of net dollars spent by the cumulative number of cardholders on their “American DreamCards” during each drawing period. The maximum monthly prize is expected to vary between $30,000 and $100,000. Metris/Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank is the issuer of the innovative card.

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