RSB M/CHIP 4 CARDS

Russian Standard Bank is set to launch the first “MasterCard M/Chip 4(1)” smart credit/debit cards. Gemplus International delivered the new “GemShare” smart cards to RSB, in association with long term partner IVK Systems (the personalization solution) and TietoEnator (the host system.) The new cards will handle point of sale debit or credit, as well as pre-authorized debit payments, which enable secure off-line debit transactions. “M/Chip 4” is the most recent specification for debit and credit applications for smart cards set by MasterCard. This new version contains a range of features designed to tackle many of the industry’s most pressing needs and takes full advantage of the benefits brought by EMV 2000. Russian Standard Bank has issued more than 460,000 credit cards. Charge volume was 114 million rubles last versus 35 million in the previous year. RSB focuses on Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Kazan, Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Samara, Cheljabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Barnaul, Ufa, Perm and Nizhni Novgorod.

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Tyabji Rejoins eFunds’ Board This Month

eFunds Corporation announced that Hatim Tyabji, former Chairman/CEO of VeriFone, will rejoin the company’s board of directors at its meeting in May. Tyabji is executive chairman of Bytemobile, a mobile data infrastructure company; chairman of Datacard Group, a global provider of secure ID and card personalization; and ambassador-at-large for Benchmark Capital. Previously, he was founding chairman and CEO of Saraide.com; chairman and CEO of VeriFone; and president, information systems for the Sperry Corporation. eFunds Corporation is an industry leader with nearly 30 years of experience and expertise in electronic payments.

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Budweiser Launches a Visible Results Card in Guam

Anheuser-Busch Asia has launched the re-writeable “Bud Fresh Rewards Card” from KS-based Visible Results USA in Guam. Consumers 18 and older will earn one point for each beer they buy in the Bud family Budweiser, Bud Light or Bud Ice. Cardholders may win dozens of different prizes instantly, and can accumulate points for other rewards, which range from a can coolie to a BBQ grill and a fully-loaded Mazda 3s Sport Wagon.

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Barnes & Noble Deploys VeriFone EverestPlus Terminals

Barnes & Noble is deploying 6,500 VeriFone “EverestPlus” POS terminals to stores nationwide by the end of June. Designed to function as a customer-activated PINpad, the EverestPlus supports a broad range of payment capabilities including debit, credit, and EBT payments, in addition to check authorizations, loyalty, and gift card transactions. The EverestPlus can be easily connected with your new and existing POS devices, or run in a stand-beside LAN environment. The terminal’s user-friendly design helps customers move swiftly through lines. VeriFone, Inc., recognized worldwide as the trusted leader in secure electronic payment technologies, provides expertise, solutions and services for today with a smart migration strategy for tomorrow.

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ProPay Names Goodrich President and Hires Operations Exec

UT-based ProPay has added president to CEO Gary Goodrich’s titles and has added Nicholas Baxter to its board of directors and Cynthia Smith as EVP/Operations. New board member Baxter brings a wealth of experience in the electronic payments industry to the company. He is currently chairman of First National Merchant Solutions and a senior vice president and board member at First National Bank of Omaha. ProPay is a popular choice among the 13 million Americans engaged in the direct selling industry, partnering with such billion-dollar companies as Mary Kay, Nu Skin Enterprises, Herbalife and many others for retail payment needs.

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NetSpend Up for an Ernst & Young Award

TX-based NetSpend announced that company founders Roy and Bertrand Sosa have been named finalists by Ernst & Young for the “2004 Entrepreneur of the Year” award. The NetSpend founders were selected for this award based on the company s aggressive growth and track record. Through nationwide partnerships with retailers and check cashing stores, NetSpend is the largest and fastest growing prepaid debit card marketer in the country. NetSpend Corporation is the proven leader for prepaid stored value platforms, offering an end-to-end approach that is unique in the prepaid payments industry. Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to restoring the public s trust in professional services firms and in the quality of financial reporting.

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Deluxe Acquires New England Business Service

MN-based Deluxe Corporation has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire New England Business Service, a Groton, MA-based provider of products and services to small businesses. Under the terms of the agreement, Deluxe will pay $44.00 in cash for each New England Business Service share and will assume NEBS’ outstanding debt, which is estimated to total approximately $160 million at June 30, 2004. Deluxe Corporation provides personal and business checks, business forms, labels, personalized stamps, fraud prevention services and customer retention programs to banks, credit unions, financial services companies, consumers and small businesses. New England Business Service, Inc. is a leading business-to-business company with approximately 3.1 million active small business customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France.

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VISA Braces for $5MM Smarty Jones Pay-Out

VISA is bracing for a $5 million pay-out should “Smarty Jones” win the Belmont Stakes and become the 12th horse in history to win the “Triple Crown.” VISA has been holding the bonus for eight years as part of its “VISA Triple Crown Challenge Bonus.” VISA is the official card of the “Triple Crown.” Visa also has a year-round partnership with Churchill Downs, Pimlico and Belmont Park. VISA says that due in part to its brand marketing efforts, national television advertising and the $5 million bonus, thoroughbred racing has experienced an increase in popularity since it became title sponsor in 1996.

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FreeStar Acquires UniComp’s Payment Processing Unit

Finland-based FreeStar Technology has acquired UniComp’s Smokey Mountain payment processing division in Murphy, North Carolina. This division currently processes payment transactions through many of the largest processors and has the ability to be a direct processor with full settlement capabilities. FreeStar issued 10,000,000 restricted shares of common stock in exchange for the assets of the division. FreeStar Technology is an international payment processing and technology company operating a robust Northern European BASE24 credit card processing platform based in Helsinki, Finland. UniComp, Inc., founded in 1985, is a leader in interactive, automated, customer self-service wireless kiosks and transaction processing for the retail environment.

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MBNA Metrics Improve in April as Card Loans Drop

MBNA this morning reported that its credit card outstandings declined $1.1 billion during April to less than $100 billion, compared to a peak of more than $104 billion in December. However, charge-offs declined to 4.69% in April, compared to 4.78% in March, and compared to 5.02% one-year ago. Delinquency also declined to 4.19%, compared to 4.25% in March, and compared to 4.49% one-year ago. MBNA recently reported that domestic credit card loans for the first quarter were $82.9 billion. Last week, MBNA reported that cardholder fees increased nearly 29% to $163 million on its non-securitized accounts during the first quarter, and that cardholder fee income generated by securitized loans increased 14% to $733.5 million. MBNA says the fee income increase was due modified late and cash advance fee structures, and a modification of payment due dates on credit card accounts. MBNA reported that net income for the first quarter increased to $519.7 million, an increase of 21% compared to the first quarter of 2003. For complete details on MBNA’s first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 4/26/04; 5/11/04)

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MBNA 13-MO SNAPSHOT
Month Outstandings Charge-offs Delinquency
Apr 03 $93.9 b 5.02% 4.49%
May 03 $95.3 b 5.04% 4.36%
Jun 03 $96.4 b 5.01% 4.34%
Jul 03 $96.5 b 4.95% 4.35%
Aug 03 $96.8 b 4.81% 4.38%
Sep 03 $98.7 b 4.70% 4.36%
Oct 03 $98.8 b 4.61% 4.35%
Nov 03 $99.3 b 4.71% 4.44%
Dec 03 $104.2b 4.66% 4.28%
Jan 04 $103.1b 4.76% 4.32%
Feb 04 $101.3b 4.70% 4.46%
Mar 04 $100.9b 4.78% 4.25%
Apr 04 $99.8b 4.69% 4.19%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com
[2]: http://www.cardweb.com/images/m/mbna/trendline_apr04.jpg

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Global Axcess Revenues Up 14%; Posts Q1 Profit

FL-based Global Axcess reported that first quarter revenues increased 14.4% to approximately $2.8 million compared to $2.4 million reported for last year’s first quarter. The EFT processor posted a first quarter profit of $90,170 compared to a net loss of $76,863 one-year ago. Gross margins rose to 43.7% from 33.2% in the comparable quarter last year. During the quarter, the Company introduced two new programs: “ATMs-Made-Easy” and the “EasyGreen Cash Card.” Based on current available information, management estimates that year-end 2004 revenues will be in the range of $13.5 million and $14.0 million, representing an increase of more than 35% compared to year-end 2003. Net income is estimated to increase by more than 200% to approximately $1.0 million, up from $310,000 in the previous year. The Company also expects the number of ATMs in its network to expand by more than 100% in 2004 and the number of transactions processed on its network to increase by more than 50%. For complete details on Global Axcess’ first quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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