Providian Building Blocks Launched

San Francisco-based Providian Financial has launched a new employee program called “Providian Building Blocks”. The employees then work with the organization to plan a volunteer Saturday, where employees come together to complete projects–such as painting, landscaping, minor construction, and general spruce up–that will have a lasting effect on the organization, and the community as a whole. Providian Building Blocks events kick off in Oakland, California with a work day at the Lincoln Child Center on June 5. Providian ([www.providian.com][1]) is a leading provider of credit cards to mainstream American consumers throughout the United States.

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

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CyberSource Adds PIN-less Debit to Online Payments

CyberSource has announced the immediate support of “PIN-less debit” transactions-transactions made over the Internet or via IVR systems where consumers can use their ATM cards but are not required to enter a PIN. Any organization that qualifies to accept this payment method may be eligible for significantly lower processing costs. CyberSource is the only major payment gateway provider to support PIN-less debit transactions and the company is adding the option to both its hosted payment services and its enterprise software platforms. CyberSource Corporation is a leading provider of electronic payment and risk management solutions.

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VISA Takes Magic Minutes Promotion to Singapore

VISA has launched its first magic minute sweepstakes in Singapore. The “Win What You Buy” cardholder shopping program will run through August 15th or until S$500,000 is redeemed. If the computerized date and time stamp on the cardholder’s charge slip match the day’s selected “magic minute”, the cardholder just needs to present the VISA charge slip to “Win What You Buy” redemption counter within the designated period, whatever the purchase is will be free of charge. The amount will be credited to the cardholder’s VISA card account and shown on the next statement. There is no minimum purchase amount required or lucky draw involved. VISA is also running a similar “Win What You Buy” promotion at Changi Airport through June 25th in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. CardFlash International also reported this week that credit card losses for April in Singapore declined nearly 4% compared to one-year ago, and more than 27% compared to December’s record losses of S$21.8 million. Banks reported total loses of S$15.9 million for April compared to S$16.3 million in the previous month, and S$16.5 million one-year ago. ([www.cardflashinternational.com][1])

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

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Symbol Technologies Settles DOJ & SEC Complaints

Symbol Technologies has resolved the investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office by executing a non-prosecution agreement. The Company also reached an agreement with the SEC regarding the settlement of allegations against Symbol that have been under investigation since May 2001. As a result, no criminal complaint will be filed against the Company. The agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and SEC call for Symbol to pay $37 million in cash to a restitution fund for members of the class consisting of purchasers or acquirers of Symbol stock from February 15, 2000, to October 17, 2002, and $3 million to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Consumer Fraud Fund. Also, as part of its settlement of private shareholder litigation, brought separately against the Company by this class, which is subject to court approval, Symbol will pay an additional $98 million, composed of $1.75 million in cash and $96.25 million in stock, to the class.

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Pay By Touch Closes $25MM Second Tier Funding

Pay By Touch announced a $25 million soft closing in its ongoing second investment round, led by Mobius Venture Capital and including the Gordon Getty Family Trust, bringing total invested capital in the biometric authentication and payment solutions company to $37 million. Pay By Touch is the pioneer of end-to-end biometric authentication and payment processing services, and boasts patented front-end biometric payment system. The Gordon P. Getty Family Trust is one of several private Getty family trusts that are successors to a trust created by Sarah C. Getty for her son, J. Paul Getty, and his descendants in 1934. Pay By Touch offers patented biometric payment processing services, including a free consumer payment service that allows shoppers to pay for purchases using a finger scan to access their financial accounts and loyalty programs.

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Wausau Optima ImageRPS Expands Functionality

Wausau Financial Systems has expanded functionality with their “Optima ImageRPS” platform by supporting wholesale in addition to retail, whole-tail, and ATM balancing functions. This additional functionality will provide a single transaction system enabling remittance processors to achieve lower cost of ownership, increased workflow functions, labor savings, and reduced maintenance and upgrade costs. Wausau Financial Systems is a recognized leader in the development and implementation of knowledge-based products for the payment and transaction processing industry. WFS provides transaction-processing applications for all size companies ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to independent local financial institutions and commercial businesses worldwide.

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ABS Metrics Improve But Yield Stagnates at 17%

Delinquency and charge-offs among credit card-backed bonds headed south in April, dropping 20 basis points each. Yields continued to deteriorate as the monthly payment rate has remained solidly in the 17% to 18% range for the past two years. According to Standard & Poor’s latest “Credit Card Quality Index,” the April delinquency average was 4.5%, compared to 4.7% in the previous month, and 5.2% one-year ago. Charge-offs declined to 6.8%, compared to 7.0% in March, and 7.5% one-year ago. After reporting the highest payment rate in four years in March, the payment rate for April decreased by 30 bps to 17.1%. Overall, the payment rate continues to exhibit relative consistency and strength. On a comparative basis, the payment rate of 17.1% reported during April and the 16.8% average payment rate for 2004 (year-to-date through April), are respectively 90 bps and 60 bps higher than the 2003 average of 16.2%. While expectations are that interest rates will begin to trend upward, it is anticipated that any subsequent increase in card yield will lag due to industry competitive pressures and the use of introductory rates by obligors. After reporting a 110-basis point increase over the prior two-month period, yield decreased by 70 bps to 17.1% during April.

ABS CREDIT CARD INDEX
4/03 4/04
Outstandings: $406.2b $421.3b
Delinquencies: 5.2% 4.5%
Charge-Offs: 7.5% 6.8%
Yield: 17.3% 17.1%
Payment Rate: 15.7% 17.1%
SOURCE: Standard & Poor’s Credit Card Quality Index

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North County Vending Goes e-Port

North County Vending has selected USA Technologies’ “e-Port” cashless transaction solution to immediately convert several hundred vending machines to accept credit cards instead of cash. The first 300 machines converted to cashless are being installed in some of the biggest hotel chains in the US, including Sheraton, Marriott, Wyndham, Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza, AmeriSuites and Motel Super 8. USA Technologies recently announced a record quarter for the shipment of its e-Port Intelligent Vending(TM) solutions, to 19 soft drink bottlers and vending operators across the country. USA Technologies is a leader in the networking of distributed assets, wireless non-cash transactions, associated financial/network services and energy management.

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Cardtronics Doubles Network with E*Trade Deal

E*TRADE has inked a deal to sell substantially all of the assets of its ATM operations subsidiary to Houston-based Cardtronics for $106 million cash, producing a projected pre-tax gain of approximately $55 million upon closing. The agreement will propel Cardtronics to the top of the heap in the ATM network market with more than 25,000 ATMs nationwide, from 4,000 ATMs four years ago. The transaction includes approximately 13,100 active ATMs and related placement agreements, of which 2,300 are owned and 10,800 are managed. It is the largest acquisition by Cardtronics to-date. E*TRADE says it will continue to offer its banking customers surcharge-free ATM access by refunding ATM fees incurred at any ATM worldwide and is exploring deposit taking options at E*TRADE FINANCIAL Centers as well as directly from customer homes and places of business. Under the terms of the asset sale of E*TRADE Access, E*TRADE FINANCIAL will retain certain branding rights through an agreement with Cardtronics. Cardtronics major retail and petroleum merchant-clients include Amerada Hess, Circle K, Duane Reade, ExxonMobil, Mills Malls, Sunoco, Walgreens and Winn Dixie. Cardtronics recently renewed its agreement with First Data’s Star Systems. (CF Library 5/25/04)

CARDTRONICS HISTORICAL
2000: 4,000 ATMs
2001: 6,500 ATMs
2002: 9,000 ATMs
2003: 12,000 ATMs
2004: 25,000 ATMs
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Sunoco Sells Private Label Card Portfolio to Citigroup

Sunoco has sold its private label consumer and commercial card accounts and receivables to Citigroup for $94 million. The companies also signed a multi-year agreement for the operation and servicing of the Sunoco private label credit card program. Sunoco already has a co-branding bank credit card relationship with Citi. CA-based R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers assisted Sunoco in the deal. The transition to Citi will be completed by October. Sunoco, headquartered in Philadelphia, has more than 4,500 retail sites selling gasoline and convenience items.

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Advantex Marketing International Explores Merger or Sale

Toronto-based Advantex Marketing International confirmed it is exploring alternatives to maximize shareholder value, including a strategic partnership, merger and/or a sale of the firm. The Company had revenues in 2003 of more than CDN$90 million. Advantex has long-term loyalty marketing contracts with major brand-rich organizations including CIBC and The New York Times. Recently acquired loyalty marketing agreements include United Airlines, Bank of America, U.S. Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Alaska Airlines. Totally, the agreements provide the gateway to more than 75 million consumers and the currencies they collect. Advantex offers a wide range of loyalty program platforms including, branded transaction cards, embedded benefits in auto-enrolled credit cards, and online shopping malls.

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FSI to Offer Genpass EFT Services

Financial Services, Inc. has signed a deal to promote Genpass EFT services as an option to their clients. This new partnership will benefit FSI clients, which include many of the leading financial institutions in the Northeast corridor by providing high-quality online EFT services directly to the FSI Data Center through a Kirchman Software interface. Genpass, Inc., with headquarters in Pennsylvania, manages the MoneyPass(R), EFT network through its Irving, Texas-based subsidiary Genpass Technologies, LLC. Financials Services, Inc. (FSI) has been providing turnkey solutions to its customers for over fifty years.

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