NetSpend Gets a New CEO

NetSpend Corporation has named Richard Savard, formerly with Federated Department Stores and Membership Rewards American Express Canada, as its new CEO. Prior to joining NetSpend, Savard served as Senior Vice President, Marketing Services in the FACS Group, Inc., a division of Federated Department Stores, where he was responsible for the marketing of all Visa credit products, store credit card products and all electronic gift card products, generating for the company revenues in excess of $500 Million. NetSpend Corporation, based in Austin, Texas, is a proven leader for prepaid debit processing platforms, offering an end-to-end approach that is unique in the prepaid payments industry.

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Penthouse’s iBill Still in VISA’s RIS Program

Penthouse International yesterday back pedaled over the status of its iBill operating subsidiary with VISA. On May 21st, Penthouse announced that, “iBill was notified by its processing bank and VISA that it is the first IPSP to be released from the VISA “RIS” program. As a result, iBill will no longer be assessed a monthly fee of $100,000, or $1,200,000 annually.” In fact, iBill has not been released from the VISA “RIS” program as previously announced. However, the Company says it intends to be fully compliant with the “RIS” program by third quarter. Penthouse’s Media Billing subsidiary paid $23.5 million for all of the outstanding member interests of iBill to InterCept. The Penthouse/Media Billing deal includes $0.7 million in cash, a $0.8 million short-term note, and assumption of a $22.0 million working capital deficit. (CF Library 5/25/04)

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WildCard Systems in the Florida Private 200

Prepaid specialist, WildCard Systems, has joined Florida Trend Magazine’s list of the “Florida Private 200. The Florida Private 200 highlights the largest privately held Florida-based businesses. The list reflects Florida’s diverse economy, with companies located across the state covering a range of industries. WildCard Systems is the global solutions leader in turnkey host based prepaid cards and custom stored-value products.

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AmEx Delta SkyMiles Card Offers Double Points

American Express has launched a nationwide promotion to give all “Delta SkyMiles Credit Card” users the ability to earn double miles on all eligible retail, restaurant and entertainment purchases through July 15th. The Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is accepted everywhere American Express(R) Cards are welcomed. Delta SkyMiles Credit Cardmembers also receive American Express Card features, including 24-hour customer service, Global Assist(R) Hotline, Purchase Protection Plan(iii), Buyers Assurance Plan(iv), and more. The Delta SkyMiles program offers many mileage-building opportunities including: the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, participating hotels, car rental companies, restaurants and cruise lines. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.

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Citigroup Launches the First USA-Mexico Card

Citigroup is introducing a new program to enable “Banamex USA” cardholders to add cardholders residing in Mexico. Under the program, the U.S. cardholder is given a “Banamex USA” credit card and the designated person in Mexico gets a card issued by Banamex in Mexico. The U.S. card is issued by California Commerce Bank, the US banking arm of Banco Nacional de Mexico or Banamex. Banamex USA and Banamex in Mexico are companies of Citigroup. The U.S. customer will receive a monthly statement listing all activity on both cards. The cardholder in Mexico will receive a monthly courtesy statement, reflecting only his or her activity. The U.S. cardholder may make dollar payments on the entire bill, or allow the cardholder in Mexico to pay his or her portion in pesos at any Banamex branch. The program may be added to an existing “Banamex USA credit card account or be included on a new credit card account. During enrollment, the customer may designate the person in Mexico with whom he or she wants to share the account and set a pre-authorized portion of their credit line for that person. The annual fee for the US-based card is $29.

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Volume for Debit Cards Up 16% and Credit Cards Up 9%

In the twelve month period ending April 30th, the average monthly payment card expenditure grew by 12.8% to £20.1 billion per month. Debit cards accounted for 53% of the total, growing 15.9% to £10.7 billion. Credit cards increased 9.4% during the same one-year period. The average value of a debit card transaction was £39.47 and for a credit card the average transaction was £60.19, according to the latest figures released by the Association of Payment Clearing Services. Monthly average plastic card transaction volumes grew by 8% to 436 million, with debit card transactions up by 23.8
million (9.3%) to 278.7 million and credit card use up by 8.7 million (5.8%) to 157.3 million transactions per month.

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LML Payment Systems Revenues Up 17%

LML Payment Systems reported first calandar quarter revenues of $2.7 million, compared to $2.3 million one-year ago. Cost of operations was approximately $6.4 million or approximately 73.6% of revenue for fiscal 2004 compared to approximately $6.6 million or approximately 76.7% of revenue for the previous year. Cost of operations for the fourth quarter fiscal 2004 was approximately $1.5 million or approximately, 55.6% of revenue, compared to approximately $1.7 million, or approximately 73.9% of revenue, for the fourth quarter fiscal 2003. The Corporation, through its subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp., is a financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including electronic check authorization, electronic check conversion (ECC) and primary and secondary check collection including electronic check re-presentment (RCK) to national, regional and local retailers.

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Smart Card Alliance Adds 21 Members

The Smart Card Alliance has added 21 new members including VeriSign and Lockheed Martin at the Leadership Council level Smart cards continue to attract influential adopters in the U.S. for identity credentials and data security and privacy. Security industry companies continue to make up the fastest-growing category of new members. Security solutions integrators AMAG Technology, Tyco Software House and SSP Litronic all have a large presence in the government and commercial security industry. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology.

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Internet Facilitates Checking Account Fraud

A new study has concluded that illegal access to checking accounts is the fastest-growing type of U.S. financial consumer fraud, and thieves appear to be proliferating through online channels. The Gartner research found 1.98 million online adults have experienced this sort of crime in the past 12 months. The cost is approximately $2.4 billion in direct fraud losses, or an average of $1,200 per victim. Unauthorized access to checking accounts accounted for 44% of reported incidents over the past year, compared with 34% of illegal credit card purchases, 30% of new account frauds, 24% of check forgeries, and 29% of fraudulent cash advances. The Gartner survey involved 5,000 online U.S. adults during April.

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Drexler Technology Revenues Up 28% in Q1

“LaserCard” manufacturer, Drexler Technology, reported first calendar quarter revenues of $6.3 million, compared with $4.9 million one-year ago LaserCard(R) optical memory card revenues for fiscal 2004 primarily included sales of Laser Visa Border Crossing Cards and Green Cards manufactured for the U.S. government, Permanent Resident Cards made for the Canadian government, and Carta d’Identica Elettronica (CIE) cards for the Italian government’s development of an electronic national ID card program. Drexler Technology Corporation manufactures LaserCard(R) optical memory cards, chip-ready Smart/Optical(TM) cards, and other advanced-technology cards.

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Advanta Hires Top T2 Group Executives

Advanta has hired several former executives of advertising and public relations agency firm, T2 Group, including Brian Tierney as Vice Chairman, Eric Hollreiser as Chief Communications Officer, and Maureen Garrity, Maxene Fernstrom and Alison Grove as VPs. T2 will cease operations following a brief transition. “Over the past six months I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Brian and I can tell you that he put together a phenomenally talented group with diverse backgrounds that perfectly complement our strengths,” said Bill Rosoff. Advanta focuses on the small business market and related community, providing funding and support to the nation’s small businesses through innovative products and services.

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Multi-Media Gift Card is Launched

A Florida firm has introduced the first multi-media gift card that integrates the electronic capabilities of a CD-ROM. The new “MoxyCard” card, for example, can be programmed with a Flash animated greeting card and then sold to the consumer as a greeting card/gift card combination. The card, launched by Tampa-based One28 Marketing Group, is very close in size to any regular gift card but with a dime-size hole at its center and a curvature to both sides to allow it to fit into the smaller inner ring of any standard CD tray. The card has 16 megabytes of space available to accommodate the placement of any type of electronic file including HTML, all video formats such as MPG and AVI, MP3 or even Flash. One28 says because the card itself can be programmed to facilitate an Internet connection, the merchant can greatly increase their chances of realizing a reload or even another gift card purchase. The Company says negotiations are currently underway with a number of national retailers..

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