KEB Suspends Cash Advances as LG Card Bidding is Underway

Korea Exchange Bank announced yesterday it has suspended cash advance services on its credit cards due to a cash shortage. Last week, LG Card, which is currently up for sale with bidding to close December 30th, also limited its credit card cash advances until emergency loans were provided. Kookmin, Woori Bank and Nonghyup provided LG Card with 300 billion won in short-term loans to tide the issuer over till the end of this month. KEB Credit Service, now controlled by US-based Lone Star, has used up 350 billion won in new capital provided last month. Samsung Card also reported a cash shortage last week and is looking for a capital infusion of more than one trillion won from its parent company, Samsung Electronics. The Financial Supervisory Service reported earlier this month that overall credit card delinquency increased during October to 11.74%, compared to 6.6% at the end of 2002. LG Card had a 11.40% delinquency rate.

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Cashcard Australia is being Purchased by First Data Corporation

Cashcard Australia Limited is in the process of being acquired by First Data. Cashcard currently serves more than 50 member financial institutions, several thousand merchants, and has processed around 2.5 billion EFT payments since 1993. The company, founded in 1983 by Australian Building Societies, offers ATM, EFTPOS, Direct Entry and BPay, telephone and Internet payment services. FDC says the acquisition will create new opportunities for clients of both companies by expanding the delivery of services such as credit and debit POS processing, deployment of merchant ATMs, check authorization and money transfers. Pacific Road Corporate Finance of Sydney advised First Data on the transaction. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs JB Were are advising Cashcard on the transaction. Details on the transaction were not disclosed but it is expected to close during the first quarter.

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CSFI and Paragon are Testing ATM EMV

FL-based CSF International says it is currently testing EMV support for “ConfigBuilder,” the ATM configuration and screen design component of Paragon’s “WorkSmart ATM Suite”. The partnership between Paragon and CSFi formed in 1995, when CSFi began distributing ConfigBuilder to complement its line of ATM/POS applications. CSFi now distributes all the components of the WorkSmart ATM Suite, including ATMulator for desktop ATM simulation and FASTest for automated transaction testing and message verification. Paragon and CSFi now have 34 mutual customers. CSF International is a leading provider of ATM/POS terminal driving and transaction switching software. Paragon, a premier source of ATM development and testing tools, and CSFi, a leading provider of open systems software to the financial services industry worldwide, have enjoyed a long, successful working relationship and are committed to providing EMV development and testing capabilities to their mutual customers.

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CPI Card Hires Sales Exec & Retires Two

CPI Card Group has hired Jay Schwisow, formerly of Teraco, as a National Accounts Manager, while Jim Roberts and Jerry Romano retire. Jay brings 11 years of high level card industry experience and a wealth of information to our company. He has pioneered some industry standards, and has a strong understanding of the card manufacturing process, including relationships with equipment and material suppliers. CPI Card Group, a world leader in plastic card manufacturing for over 20 years, offers a single source for plastic cards-from foil cards and holograms, to translucent and smart cards-with services that include card design, manufacturing, personalization, fulfillment and mailing.

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VISA Retail Volume Running 8% Above Last Year

VISA USA reported that retail spending on VISA credit and debit cards is now running 8.3% above one-year ago. The dollar volume on VISA debit cards at retail stores last week was up 13.7% over the same week of 2002, to the tune of $4.3 billion. More than $7 billion was spent at retail outlets last week on VISA credit cards. Since the start of this holiday season, “Black Friday” remains VISA’s highest-volume retail day, with $1.98 billion spent at retailers. However, Saturday, December 20th sales came in a close second, accounting for $1.95 billion in retail spending on VISA cards. VISA cards used for e-commerce purchases continued to grow significantly during this holiday season. More than 25 million online transactions were made with VISA cards last week, reflecting a 41.8% increase over the same period last year. Total VISA e-commerce sales volume reached more than $1.9 billion. Consumers have used their VISA cards to spend more than $109 billion so far this holiday season, up 13% over the same period last year. VISA retail volume for the holiday season reached nearly $46 billion, up 8.1% from the same period last year.

VISA VOLUME
(Week Ending 12/21/03)

Home & Garden $1.4 billion +11%
Speciality Stores $2.2 billion +10%
Discount Stores $1.7 billion +10%
Personal Entertainment $1.8 billion + 7%
Department Stores $4.2 billion + 7%
Source: VISA SpendTrak

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VISA USA Getting a New General Counsel

After 12 years of service, Paul Allen is retiring from VISA USA as General Counsel. VISA USA announced Tuesday that Joshua Floum will take over in January as EVP, General Counsel and Secretary. Floum currently serves as Chair of the California litigation practice for the Denver based law firm of Holmes, Roberts & Owen where he specializes in antitrust and competition law, intellectual property, bankcard and banking practices, and telecommunications law. Prior to this time, Floum was a partner in the San Francisco based law firms of Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe and Legal Strategies Group.

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Card Problems Grow in South Korea

Korea Exchange Bank announced yesterday it has suspended cash advance services on its credit cards due to a cash shortage. Last week, LG Card, which is currently up for sale with bidding to close December 30th, also limited its credit card cash advances until emergency loans were provided. Kookmin, Woori Bank and Nonghyup provided LG Card with 300 billion won in short-term loans to tide the issuer over till the end of this month. KEB Credit Service, now controlled by US-based Lone Star, has used up 350 billion won in new capital provided last month, according to CardFlash International ([www.cardflashinternational.com][1]). Samsung Card also reported a cash shortage last week and is looking for a capital infusion of more than one trillion won from its parent company, Samsung Electronics. The Financial Supervisory Service reported earlier this month that overall credit card delinquency increased during October to 11.74%, compared to 6.6% at the end of 2002. LG Card had a 11.40% delinquency rate.

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

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Remittance Check Payments to Decline 7% Annually

NC-based PayStream Advisors has released a new research report that indicates consumers’ use of checks for non-point-of-sale payments will decline 6.6% annually over the next five years as electronic payment options gain in popularity. This report is an excellent way for corporate billing, collections, marketing, and customer service managers to find out how they can optimize their organizations’ consumer payment strategies in light of this trend. PayStream Advisors is a technology research and consulting firm that improves the way organizations plan, evaluate, and select financial automation technologies to achieve their business objectives. Fort Knox National Company’s affiliates include Military Assistance Company ( ), the largest processor of automatic payroll deductions for U.S. military and federal civil service employees, and Fort Knox National Bank, the nation’s 23rd largest ACH originating depository financial institution.

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AMDS Hits Fifth Straight Record Month

Memphis-based ISO, American Merchant Data Services, says December will surpass its projections for the fifth consecutive month in both revenue growth and new accounts. With seven full selling days remaining in December, AMDS will surpass its projections for the fifth consecutive month for both revenue growth and new accounts, leading into the first quarter of 2004 with strong momentum for continued record growth. American Merchant Data Service is a “value added” independent sales organization engaged in the commercial electronic processing industry. AMDS manages their client’s electronic transactions, including debit, credit, check verification, and electronic benefits transactions Prepaid Master Card, Gift and Loyalty.

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Business Express Centers to Expand in Florida

Orlando-based 11th Hour Business Centers is expanding its offering of USA Technologies’ credit card-activated “Business Express” centers to Central Florida and eventually, nationwide. 11th Hour Business Centers provide automated business center offerings to the hospitality industry through the use of USA Technologies’ Business Express offerings. USA Technologies is a leader in the networking of distributed assets, wireless non-cash and m-commerce transactions, associated financial/network services and interactive media technology and energy management. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash/mobile commerce systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries.

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