Ultima Card Lands a Distribution Deal

American Card Services has inked an agreement with Empire Distributors for distribution of ACS’ proprietary stored value “Ultima Card.” Empire Distributors, with a customer base of approximately 7,500 locations, is one of the largest wholesale distributors of wine, spirits, beer and bar beverages in the southeastern United States. The distribution program will center on Empire Distributors’ 5,000 convenience and package store customers. American Card Services Inc. operates in the stored value card arena.

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An Online Merchant Collective Seeks Members

A Pebble Beach, CA startup, EmerchantsGroup, is seeking to build a collective of on-line merchants to obtain wholesale card processor pricing. EMG is also looking at parcel service rates. As group participation grows, shipping discounts are the next logical target. EMG membership is free and easily achieved by participating in the merchant account/credit card processing program.

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Major Thrift to Sell AmEx Prepaid Products

American Express has lined up the sixth largest thrift in the nation to distribute its prepaid card products. Astoria Federal will begin offering the “TravelFunds Card” and the “Gift Card” beginning today to its 700,000 customers via 86 branches in the northeast. The thrift will also offer AmEx “Travelers Cheques,” “Cheques For Two,” and “Gift Cheques.” Last month, AmEx signed a deal with the AARP to offer its prepaid “TravelFunds Card” to the AARP’s 35 million members. AmEx launched the TravelFunds Card” in October, 2003. The card is available in U.S. Dollar, Euro and British Pound Sterling, enabling cardholders to lock in exchange rates. The AmEx “Gift Card” was launched in October, 2002. The card is embossed with the recipient’s name and is available in amounts from $25 to $500. (CF Library 9/25/02;10/11/02;10/2/03;6/9/04)

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AmEx Sued in Calif Over Statement Mailing

A lawsuit, seeking class action status, has been filed in Los Angeles against American Express for allegedly sending statements out late. The suit contends that AmEx sent monthly statements about a week into the 20-day grace period. The lawsuit also claims that AmEx hide the practice by mailing the bills in envelopes without postmarks. The suit was filed on behalf of cardholder Jerome Pomerance charging American Express and American Express Centurion Bank of Utah with unfair business practices and breach of contract and good faith and fair dealing.

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LIVING PLUS CARD

JCB has launched a trial in the Kansai area to test a new credit card that is designed to incent and reward consumers for charging public utilities. The “JCB Living Plus Card” offers payment options for Kansai Electric Power and Osaka Gas along with major telecommunications service providers including NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, and pay-TV providers WOWOW and Sky Perfect TV. JCB has established a dedicated customer support unit, the “Living Support Desk,” to help customers with the process of converting these expenses to credit card payment. Applications for the new card product will only be accepted through the end of this year.
JCB says Kansai is an area where the infrastructure for credit card payment for public utilities is well established, but where credit card usage by consumers is low compared to other areas in Japan.

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Fair Isaac Lowers Guidance for the Next Quarter

Fair Isaac said Monday that it expects second calendar quarter revenues to be lower than its previous guidance and has therefore issued revised guidance for the next quarter. Total revenues are expected to be in the range of $173 million to $175 million for the quarter ending June 30th, lower than the guidance range of $185 million to $189 million provided by the Company. Total revenues are expected to be in the range of $189 million to $195 million for the next quarter ending September 30th, lower than the guidance range of $205 million to $211 million provided by the company. Fair Isaac will release its second quarter results on July 28th. For complete details on Fair Isaac’s past performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Global Cash Access Inks Eighteen 3-in-1 ATM deals

Global Cash Access has signed contracts with Resorts Atlantic City and 17 other gaming properties to use its 3-in-1 ATM Technology. Resorts Atlantic City has signed a multi-year agreement to take advantage of GCA products and services, including the Casino Cash Plus(R) 3-in-1 ATM, one of GCA’s most popular ATMs, and QuikCash Plus (QCP) Web, a full-service transaction processing system for cage operations that streamlines casino operations and increases gaming revenues. Global Cash Access is the global leader in providing cash access and customer relationship marketing services to approximately 960 gaming properties and other clients in the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Europe.

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NCR to Top Analysts’ Earnings Estimates for Q2

NCR said yesterday that it expects its second-quarter results to be better than expected. Earnings are expected to top $0.35 per share, compared to the mean estimate of $0.18 per share for the second quarter among Wall Street analysts. NCR expects 2Q/04 revenue of approximately $1.44 billion to $1.45 billion, an increase of approximately 6% percent from the second quarter of 2003. NCR’s “Financial Self Service” or ATM businesses generated second-quarter year-over-year revenue growth well ahead of expectations, the Company said. NCR’s stock rose more than 10% yesterday to $52.58, but has slipped to $51.20 in morning trading today. NCR will release its second-quarter results on July 29th. For complete details on NCR’s past performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Cambridge Credit Adds Three Independent Board Members

Cambridge Credit has added three new, independent members to its Board of Directors. Jacques deViller is the President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and free enterprise. John Stacey Ed.D. is the former Director of Education Services for WGBY-TV, the PBS affiliate in Springfield, Mass., and is responsible for the implementation of all of the station’s education services conducted throughout the region. Dean O’Keefe is Vice President of Marketing and Sales at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. where he manages all public relations, marketing, sales, sponsorship and promotional activities. Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. provides credit counseling, educational assistance and budget planning services to clients throughout the United States.

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A National Advocacy Group Attacks the NFCC

Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions released an 80-page report Monday that warns that consumers frequently receive bad advice when seeking out a credit counseling agency. The report openly attacks the Consumer Credit Counseling Services and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Among key findings: Credit counseling agencies under the NFCC umbrella are essentially agents of creditors, receiving two-thirds of their funding from creditors; the nonprofit NFCC secures billions of dollars in profits for creditors and corporate level compensation for NFCC executives; and, the financial record of the NFCC’s leadership and agencies raises serious concerns. CRCS recommends establishing national standards and opening the industry to professional financial services businesses that already serve consumers and are already subject to regulatory scrutiny.

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Your Credit Card Companies Launch National Campaign

The newly formed coalition, Your Credit Card Companies, announced this morning it is launching a national campaign to “educate consumers about how to protect and enhance their credit and to raise public awareness of ways to guard against the crimes of credit card fraud and identity theft.” The national campaign follows a similar program recently conducted in select cities. The coalition’s membership includes Capital One; Chase Manhattan Bank USA,; Citigroup; Discover Card; MasterCard; and MBNA.

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Viad Corp Adds Two Board Members

Phoenix-based Viad Corp has elected Wayne Allcott, former senior executive with US West, and Robert Munzenrider, former president of Harmon AutoGlass, to its Board. During Wayne G. Allcott 35-year career with the company he held a variety of assignments in marketing, customer service and operations, and helped manage the regulatory approval of the corporate merger of Qwest and US West before retiring in 2000. Robert E. Munzenrider is a retired financial and operating executive. Viad is an S&P SmallCap 600 company.

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