Charter One Introduces Free MasterCard Gift Card

Cleveland-based Charter One Bank has launched the first “MasterCard Gift Card” that features no upfront fees for the card or for processing. The new stored-value, personalized card is available in 25 designs and in denominations from $25 to $500. Customers who request express processing are charged $50, but the usual turn-around time is 7 to 10 business days. Charter One charges a $2 fee for each ATM withdrawal or cash advance and a $1 fee for each PIN POS transaction. The card is good for six months. Other fees include a $10 expired card fee, $10 refund processing fee, and a $2.50 monthly inactivity fee if the card remains inactive after six months. Bank of America, the largest issuer of bank gift cards, charges a $5.95 fee for new cards with up to $300 in value, and a $7.95 fee for values between $300 and $600. BofA also charges a $1.50 for each ATM transaction on its network plus any surcharges from other institutions, a $2.50 monthly maintenance fee after six months, a $7.50 reissuance fee, a $15 check issuance fee, and a $25 fee for use of the card in excess of the amount stored.

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E-BAY MASTERCARD

eBay and MBNA have launched a new MasterCard credit card that allows Canadians to earn “eBay Anything Points” with every retail purchase. For retail purchases charged on the eBay credit card, cardholders will earn a special eBay currency worth $.01 USD for each point, which can be spent on eBay sites. eBay “Anything Points” can also be used to pay eBay sellers in Canadian Dollars, U.S. Dollars, Pounds Sterling, or Euros. The new credit card is the latest expansion of the “eBay Anything Points” program, launched in May 2003. eBay launched a similar credit card in the U.S. in early October. Cardholders must be registered eBay users and enrolled in the “eBay Anything Points” program to begin spending points earned from using this credit card. Once enrolled in the program, members’ points are accumulated in their PayPal accounts. In Canada, eBay was visited by more than 7.9 million Canadians in September.

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Micropayments Conference Scheduled Next week

Micropayments specialist, Peppercoin, is holding a micropayments conference next week in New York City featuring speakers from VISA and PayPal, among others. The conference, hosted by Peppercoin, a micropayments company that enables profitable, new business models for low-priced digital content and physical goods, will focus on the potential of micropayments in today’s business climate and how micropayments will fundamentally change business models in music, gaming and other industries. Peppercoin is a micropayments company that enables profitable, new business models for low-priced digital content and physical goods. Only Peppercoin helps merchants build market adoption quickly through a consumer-friendly, pay-as-you-go approach that eliminates prepayments.

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Datec Group to Represent Diebold in South Pacific

Edmonton-based Datec Group has signed an agreement to represent Diebold throughout the country of Papua New Guinea. Datec is also in discussions with Diebold to secure a similar agreement for other South Pacific countries where Datec has a presence. Additionally, Datec announced a CN$4 million three-year contract has been entered into with Bank South Pacific to supply and install approximately one hundred Diebold ATMs, replacing the Bank South Pacific’s entire ATM network.

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Oberthur Delivers 13 Million Smart Payment Cards in 3Q

Oberthur Card Systems reported Tuesday it delivered a record 33 million microprocessor cards during the third quarter. For the payment smart card market, the Company delivered 13.4 million cards during the quarter, a 14.9% gain over the prior quarter. Smart payment card revenues for the third quarter were $26 million, a 6.6% gain over one year ago. The growth in payment cards was driven by EMV migration programs both in Benelux and the United Kingdom where Oberthur recently signed an exclusive three-year contract with the retailer Marks & Spencer for the supply of credit cards. Obethur says sales of banking magnetic stripe cards, loyalty cards, scratch cards and memory cards totalled $19 million, a decline of 6.2% over the second quarter. Magnetic stripe cards activity is globally stable (-1% versus the second quarter) with an increase in Europe and a decline in the US due to a low seasonality quarter. Oberthur says the overall decrease for this segment comes from the continued withdrawal from memory cards activity. For complete details on Oberthur’s 3Q/03 results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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XPSN Transaction Volume Tops $20 Billion

Xign Corporation reported Tuesday that more than 10,000 suppliers now are active in the “Xign Payment Services Network,” and that total transaction volume has exceeded $20 billion. The rapid increase in the number of shared suppliers and transaction volume confirms that both buyers and their suppliers are deriving clear benefits and cost savings from electronic payables processing and, in particular, from Xign’s buyer-centric electronic invoice and payments service. Xign studies of corporate finance organizations have shown that ePayables solutions save businesses millions of dollars a year with savings resulting from operational cost reductions of 50 percent or more and from substantial increases in the number of early payment discounts captured. Xign is the leading provider of ePayables solutions used by business and government to automate the financial settlement of business-to-business commerce.

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Advanta Profits Up, But Card Profits Down

Business card specialist, Advanta, reported net income for the third quarter of $6.9 million, an increase of 9.5% over 3Q/02. However, profits for its card business fell 17%, from $10.2 million to $8.5 million. The issuer ended the quarter with managed receivables of $2,876,619,000, a 27.7% gain over 3Q/02. Card volume for the third quarter increased 34.7% over 3Q/02, to $1,816,195,000. Business Card results for the third quarter include a 66 basis point decline in net principal charge-offs on managed receivables to 8.27% on an annualized basis as compared to 8.93% for the quarter ended September 30, 2002. Over 30 day delinquencies on managed receivables declined 51 basis points to 6.15% and over 90 day delinquencies on managed receivables decreased 14 basis points to 2.85% as compared to third quarter 2002. For complete details on Advanta’s 3Q/03 performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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First American Payment Systems Buys CMS

Fort Worth, TX-based First American Payment Systems has acquired the assets and merchant agreements of TX-based Certified Merchant Services. In January, CMS settled with the FTC over charges that it defrauded merchants to whom it sold credit card processing services. FAPS says CMS provides customer support functions to its 31,300 small and medium-sized merchants. CMS currently has approximately 175 sales personnel producing 1,600 to 1,800 new merchant accounts per month. With the acquisition First American will process approximately $4 billion in VISA/MasterCard transaction volume this year and will provide services for more than 63,000 merchants throughout the USA. First American also provides debit/EBT card processing, “Secur-Chex” check services, “FirstPay.Net” e-Commerce payment gateway, national ATM deployment, and Merimac Capital point-of-sale equipment and ATM leasing. (CF Library 1/3/03)

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EURONET 3Q/03

Budapest-based Euronet Worldwide reported third quarter revenues of $53.1 million, nearly tripling its revenues compared to the third quarter of 2002. Net income for the third quarter was $1.4 million, compared to a net loss of $2.5 million one-year ago. The EFT Processing Segment posted third quarter revenues of $12.9 million, compared to revenues of $13.8 million for 3Q/02. The period-over-period decrease in revenues was attributable to the January 2003 sale of the U.K. ATM network, partially offset by growth in the segment; the increase in operating income resulted from business growth and expense management over the past year, partially offset by the effects of the U.K. ATM network sale. The EFT unit processed 31.0 million transactions in the third quarter compared to 22.3 million transactions for the same period last year. The EFT business completed the quarter with 3,254 ATMs owned and/or operated as compared to 2,951 ATMs at the end of the third quarter 2002. Euronet owns and/or operates ATMs in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the U.K., Greece, Kosovo, Slovakia, Egypt and India. The Prepaid Processing Segment reported third quarter revenues of $36.5 million. Total transactions processed in the third quarter were 26.3 million. The Prepaid unit processes electronic prepaid transactions at approximately 75,000 point-of-sale terminals located in 29,000 retail locations in the U.K., Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Poland, Ireland and the United States.

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Proprietary Virtual Money Transmitter Service Launched

Los Angeles-based Direct Response Financial Services says it has begun marketing its “Personal Advantage Transmitter Card”. Global Money Online will allow its customers to move money in an open system using the Global Money Online financial portal. Customers will also have access to the DCS Personal Advantage Transmitter Card which when tied into Global Money Online will allow for the movement of money from bank to bank anywhere in the world. Direct Response Financial Services, Inc. makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card, electronic check at the POS, or over the Internet.

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Sony and NTT DoCoMo Form Joint Venture to Expand FeliCa Technology

Sony and NTT DoCoMo are joining forces to create a joint venture to develop new services based on mobile phones equipped with Sony’s contactless IC Card technology “FeliCa.” The new company, to be named FeliCa Networks, Inc., should be up and running in January. The joint venture will develop the technology for a new IC chip, tentatively named “mobile FeliCa IC”, that will integrate mobile phones with the “FeliCa” technology. Sony began developing “FeliCa” in 1988, and business use of the technology became widespread following the deployment of the technology in Hong Kong transport systems in 1997. “FeliCa” is now used in JR East’s “Suica” system, as well as in a number of transport systems around the world. Other applications include the “Edy” electronic money service, the “eLIO” online credit service and various company/organizational ID security systems. At present, 38 million cards using FeliCa chips have been issued worldwide. DoCoMo launched its mobile Internet service “i-mode” in 1999, and has gained approximately 40 million subscribers to date.

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Matricula Card Opens 250,000 Wells Fargo Accounts

Wells Fargo reported yesterday that the number of accounts opened using the Mexican matricula card has now surpassed 250,000. Wells Fargo, the first financial services company in the country to accept the matricula card as valid identification for account openings, requires prospective customers to have two pieces of identification in addition to a U.S. Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number. Six years ago, Wells Fargo was the first major financial services provider with a program specifically for Latino business owners, establishing a public lending goal of $1 billion. To date, Wells Fargo has lent more than $2.2 billion to Latino-owned businesses nationwide. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $391 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance from more than 5,800 stores, the Internet ( wellsfargo.com ) and other distribution channels across North America and elsewhere internationally.

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