MasterCard Reports 60+ Growth in Five European Countries

MasterCard use in Romania soared by 133% last year, leading the charge among the five fastest growing European countries with annual growth exceeding 60%. Overall, the 2003 gross dollar volume on MasterCards, across all platforms in Europe, increased 13.3% to $315.8 billion, produced by 100.3 million cards, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International (www.cardflashinternational.com). Romania posted GDV for 2003 of $256 million. Turkey posted an 89% increase in GDV with $12.8 billion as Lithuania reported $81.5 million in GDV for a 72% gain. The Russian Federation posted $1.6 billion in GDV a 77% increase, and the Ukraine produced GDV of $369 million, a 60% increase. The two countries with the largest MasterCard share in Europe include France and the United Kingdom. France was number one with $102 billion in GDV for a 6.7% increase over 2002, driven by 14.1 million cardholders. In the United Kingdom MasterCard posted GDV of $84.1 billion, a 19.3% increase, produced by 26.8 million cardholders.

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FTC to Study Adverse Actions Based on Credit Reports

The FTC is preparing a study to explore the effects of requiring that a consumer who has experienced an adverse action based on a credit report receive a copy of the same credit report that the creditor relied on in taking the adverse action. The Commission will hold a roundtable discussion on June 30, 2004, to aid the FTC staff in conducting a study of the accuracy and completeness of consumer reports, as required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).

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Contactless Payments Teleconference Scheduled

The Smart Card Alliance is hosting a live interactive teleconference presentation on “Contactless Payments: Delivering Merchant and Consumer Benefits” on July 22nd. Millions of U.S. consumers are already using contactless payment devices at gasoline service stations, transit systems, and on our nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels. Millions more are expected this year as new financial industry-backed contactless payment initiatives are launched in test cities for retail purchases. Consumers and retailers alike are attracted to the dual advantages of fast and convenient credit payments using contactless technology. This SmartTalk teleconference will provide a comprehensive look at the benefits contactless payments give to merchants, consumers and issuers. 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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Lending Solutions Offers Fair Isaac’s LiquidCredit

Fair Isaac and Lending Solutions have partnered to enable lenders of all sizes to tap the power of Fair Isaac’s advanced origination solutions for improved risk prediction and “LiquidCredit” loan origination decisioning. Developed specifically for use in credit origination decisions, Fair Isaac’s pooled consumer origination models allow lenders to take advantage of proven risk assessment quickly, without expensive development costs. The models assess credit risk by evaluating credit application and consumer credit reporting agency data and rank-ordering applicants by score. Lending Solutions, Inc. has been a leader in providing lending center services and consulting programs for financial institutions across North America since it was founded in 1994 by Rex Johnson. Fair Isaac Corporation is the preeminent provider of creative analytics that unlock value for people, businesses and industries.

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Cumberland Farms to Install NCR POS Terminals

MA-based Cumberland Farms has selected NCR to implement a complete store-automation solution for all of its 650 company-operated stores and stations. The Cumberland Farms solution includes NCR RealPOS 80c point-of-sale terminals and NCR RealScan 92 bar-code scanners. In addition, NCR is providing staging and installation management services for the chainwide deployment, which includes software from NCR solution partner Retalix USA. Cumberland Farms is headquartered in Canton, Mass., and today owns more than 1,100 outlets, operating 650 stores and gas stations in 11 eastern seaboard states from Maine to Florida. NCR Corporation is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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First Data Assembles a Major Deal In Greece

First Data has signed an agreement to acquire the payment processing and outsourcing division and fully owned subsidiary of Delta Singular in Greece. Delta Singular Outsourcing Services provides payment processing and outsourcing services, including card processing, ATM and POS driving and call center support. Through the acquisition, FDC has secured a long-term agreement to provide payment processing and related services to Alpha Bank, currently DSOS’s largest client. Alpha Bank is the second largest private commercial bank in Greece, the largest issuer of Visa cards and the exclusive issuer of American Express cards in Greece.

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MBNA Takes Over the Stockback Co-brand from Chase

MBNA has taken over the Stockback co-branded credit card program formerly with Chase. Atlanta-based Vesdia and MBNA re-launched the card yesterday as a VISA card, doubling the rebate feature, adding hundreds of new partners, and offering more investment options. Under the “Stockback” rewards program, cardholders earn rebates ranging generally, between 2% and 20% of their total purchases, which are then automatically swept into an investment account. The new Stockback VISA” has nearly 500 merchant partners, compared to 75 partners when in launched in late 2001 with Chase. The new MBNA version will reward cardholders with an up to 2% rebate for all purchases, instead of the 1% rebate offered under the former Chase program. Vesdia is also offering new investment options as participants now have the ability to direct their rebates into virtually any mutual fund or brokerage account, or simply receive them in the form of a check. The program previously limited members to an S&P 500 Index Mutual Fund. Chase officially launched its Stockback MasterCard in March 2002, after inking a deal with Vesdia in 2001. Stockback was launched in June 2000 with $33 million. Merchants pay Stockback a flat rate or percentage fee. Stockback’s investors include RRE Ventures, TH Lee Putnam Internet Partners, NeoCarta Ventures, and Ernst & Young. Vesdia also offers the “BabyMint” and “NestEggz” loyalty programs. (CF Library 3/13/02; 12/12/01)

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INFINEON LEADERSHIP

When it comes to smart card chips Munich-based Infineon Technologies is the undisputed leader. Infineon led the total smart card IC market with a 47.3% share in terms of units, and 37.1% in terms of revenues generated in 2003. Considering product types, Infineon accounted for 66.5% in the memory market, and 30.0% in the microcontroller market in terms of unit shipments. GSM is the flagship area for Infineon and its ascendancy in this market is growing each year. Infineon sustained market dominance in the GSM market with 30.3% unit shipment market share in 2003. Because of its leadership position, Infineon has been awarded the “2004 Frost & Sullivan Market Engineering Leadership Award” for the third time running. Infineon Technologies generated sales of Euro 6.15 billion last year.

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ACI to use Brixlogic IFX Simulator

ACI has licensed the Brixlogic “IFX Simulator” software for development of its new IFX-based ATM & POS solutions. The Brixlogic IFX Simulator software will allow ACI’s software developers to quickly prototype and test IFX messaging between ATM terminals or POS devices and driving hosts at the messaging content level. Brixlogic provides multi-channel integration solutions based on interoperable financial messaging standards. ACI was founded in 1975 and pioneered the development of applications and networking software for online transaction processing. Today more than 500 customers in 74 countries use ACI supplied software.

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FRB Adds Model Notices for Reg V

The Federal Reserve Board yesterday issued amendments to “Regulation V,” which implements the FCRA, that would add model notices for financial institutions to use if they furnish negative information to consumer reporting agencies. The amendments also provide guidance to financial institutions regarding the use of the model notices. The “FACT Act” provides that if any financial institution extends credit and regularly and in the ordinary course of business furnishes information to a nationwide consumer reporting agency; and furnishes negative information to such an agency regarding credit extended to a customer, the institution must provide a clear and conspicuous notice about furnishing negative information, in writing, to the customer. “Negative information” includes customer’s delinquencies, late payments, insolvency, or any form of default.

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VISA Beefs-Up its Prepaid Travel Card

VISA beefed-up its prepaid travel card offering instant issuance or a personalized embossed card, reloadable or disposable, and the option of linking multiple cards to one account. VISA has also added its “Purchase Security,” “Travel and Emergency Assistance,” and, “Zero Liability” programs to “VISA TravelMoney.” The enhanced prepaid card product is currently offered by AAA and soon, via OH-based National City. The card was first introduced in 1996 as way to access funds in local currency via VISA and “PLUS” ATMs. VISA added POS functionality to the “TravelMoney” prepaid product in April. AAA has 47 million members. (CF Library 4/27/04)

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