Encore Capital Revenues Climb 51% in Q1

San Diego-based Encore Capital Group reported first quarter net income of $6.0 million, compared to $8.2 million for the first quarter of 2003. The first quarter of 2003 included a one-time after-tax benefit from litigation settlement of $4.4 million. The Company spent $17.2 million to purchase approximately $786.4 million in face value of portfolios during the first quarter, a blended purchase price of 2.19% of face value. The Company spent $18.8 million to purchase approximately $589.4 million in face value of portfolios during the first quarter of 2003, a blended purchase price of 3.19% of face value. During the first quarter there was 17% growth in monthly average of gross collections per average employee to $29,282 in the first quarter, from $25,001 in the first quarter of 2003. Encore Capital Group is an accounts receivable management firm that specializes in purchasing charged-off and defaulted consumer debt. For complete details on Encore’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Charge-Offs Head South in the First Quarter

Charge-offs among the top prime issuers declined 47 basis points during the first quarter, while charge-offs for sub-prime issuers declined 285 basis points, compared to the first quarter of 2003. All of the top issuers posted lower charge-offs for the first quarter except Citibank and Bank One. Capital One, now considered a prime issuer, posted the largest decline, from 7.72% one-year ago to 5.41% for the first quarter of 2004. Citibank’s charge-offs edged up from 5.74% to 6.60%, presumably due to its acquisition of the “Sears Gold MasterCard” accounts during the fourth quarter. Bank One’s charge-offs edged up from 5.29% to 5.35% between the first quarter of last year and this year. The average charge-off rate for the nation’s top seven prime issuers was 5.40%, compared to 5.87% one-year ago. The average charge-off rate for the nation’s top three sub-prime issuers was 15.79%, compared to 18.64% one-year ago. For complete details on first quarter issuer performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

1Q/04 PRIME ISSUER CHARGE-OFFS
Issuer 1Q/04 1Q/03
Citibank: 6.60% 5.74%
Bank One: 5.35% 5.29%
MBNA: 4.99% 5.47%
Chase: 5.80% 5.95%
Cap One: 5.41% 7.72%
AmEx: 4.60% 5.60%
BofA: 5.05% 5.31%
AVG 5.40% 5.87%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

1Q/04 SUB-PRIME ISSUER CHARGE-OFFS
Issuer 1Q/04 1Q/03
Providian: 13.88% 17.61%
Metris: 17.80% 18.00%
CompuCredit 15.70% 20.30%
AVG 15.79% 18.64%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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GPN Introduces Purchasing @dvantage PC Plus

Atlanta-based Global Payments has rolled-out a payment processing application which combines consumer and commercial card transactions. The new “Purchasing @dvantage PC Plus” is designed for a wide range of business segments that use a Windows-based PC for their payment processing and accept both consumer and commercial payment cards. The application serves retail, mail order/telephone order, and e-Commerce merchants, and provides businesses with “level II” and “III” commercial card processing. Critical, value-added details for purchase card transactions such as purchase order and part numbers, item description, quantities, taxes, etc. are provided, qualifying the merchant for the lowest possible interchange rate. “Purchasing @dvantage PC Plus” also offers optional IP VPN connectivity. GPN is also providing extensive implementation services including deployment, training, and customer support for the new application.

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CXR Anderson Jacobson Launches RAS Equipment for Large POS Networks

MicroTel International announced that its French subsidiary CXR Anderson Jacobson has begun shipping its newly released range of secure “Remote Access Server” equipment for large back-office POS and banking networks. The rapidly expanding market for secure transactions is moving away from ISDN towards DSL and wireless as the prime carriers. CXR-AJ has an established market leading position in the transmission of credit card verification using X.25 protocols over ISDN. It has now reinforced this position with the introduction of its new range of DSL secure RAS equipment. CXR currently enjoys a market leading position in the secure X.25 transmission of credit card validation over ISDN.

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PKO BP to Use ACI for ATM Mobile Top-Up Functionality

PKO Bank Polski has chosen ACI software to support the addition of mobile top-up functionality to its ATM network. PKO BP will use ACI software to manage the online authorization of mobile top-up payments at the ATM to increase revenue and improve cash flow. ACI is also supporting PKO BP’s implementation of Triple DES, the ATM security standard mandated by the major card networks. In addition, PKO BP will implement ACI’s Automated Key Distribution System and the enhanced services architecture of ACI’s Transaction Security Services. PKO BP already uses ACI’s “BASE24-atm” software to authorize, route and switch transactions across its network of nearly 1,800 ATMs. PKO BP will deploy ACI’s TSS module to help prepare its ATM network for Triple DES compliance.

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NACM April Index Posts a Record Gain

The National Association of Credit Management’s “Credit Manager’s Index” for April showed a record gain of 210 basis points. The CMI survey asks credit managers to rate favorable and unfavorable factors in their monthly business cycle. Favorable factors include sales, new credit applications, dollar collections and amount of credit extended. The National Association of Credit Management (NACM), headquartered in Columbia, Maryland supports more than 25,000 business credit and financial professionals worldwide with premier industry services, tools and information.

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MASTERCARD 1Q/04

MasterCard International reported first quarter worldwide gross dollar
volume (purchases + cash ) of $331.9 billion, an increase of 8.4% over the
first quarter of 2003. Total purchases on MasterCard credit and debit cards
rose 13.6% in the first quarter, with each region reporting double-digit
growth. Purchase volume in South Asia/Middle East/Africa increased 25% and
Latin America rose 24%. In Europe purchase volume rose 16%, compared to 13%
in the USA and Canada. In Asia-Pacific, where total gross dollar volume
declined 3%, purchase volume was up nearly 11%. GDV for worldwide credit
and charge programs grew 8.9% to $270.1 billion, and GDV for offline debit
programs rose 6.7% to $61.7 billion over the same period in 2003. Gross
transactions for credit and offline debit programs increased by 10% in 2004
compared to the first quarter in 2003. MasterCard’s almost 25,000 customer
financial institutions around the world had issued more than 627.5 million
MasterCard-branded cards, a 6.6% increase over first quarter 2003.

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Florida Firm Pleads Guilty to Laundering Transactions

Fort Lauderdale-based Connections USA, a/k/a iServe.com, pleaded guilty yesterday to processing credit card payments for an international child pornography ring. Before being raided by the FBI last year, the company processed about $1 million in monthly payment volume. The firm collected an 11% commission for the transactions. Connections USA laundered the proceeds from the sales of memberships to Web sites containing child pornography on behalf of Belarus-based Regpay. The money was laundered by transmitting it to accounts in Latvia. Four of Regpay’s principals have been picked up so far.

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Bank One Supports Southwest Airlines’ Philly Launch

Bank One renamed historic South Street in Philadelphia to Southwest Street as part of the kick-off Southwest Airline new service to the city. Bank One, the issuer of the co-branded “Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards VISA,” also organized a day of special retail and marketing promotions surrounding the card. The SWA VISA card offers one “Reward Dollar” for every dollar in purchases. One “Rapid Rewards Credit” is issued for every 1,200 “Reward Dollars” earned. After earning 16 credits in 12 consecutive months, cardholders receive an automatic roundtrip award valid to any of the destinations Southwest Airlines serves. Southwest Airlines will begin service to and from Philadelphia International Airport May 9th,

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1st Financial Payroll Card Launched

ICM Telecommunications has launched a “1st Financial Payroll Card” program. The company said experience shows it will be of substantial benefit to both employers and their employees. There are equally compelling advantages for employees, the CEO said, including funds immediately available on payday, the elimination of check cashing fees and long lines to cash checks. Greater safety is also offered since the employee does not need to carry large sums of money, and has the security of a PIN-protected card. ICM Telecommunications Inc. is the exclusive distributor of debit instruments for 1st Financial Solutions Inc., which is in partnership with Sutton Bank.

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