AmEx’s Flatow Heads to Sara Lee

Sara Lee Corporation has hired Michael Flatow, former VP of marketing for American Express Company’s Travel Products division, as VP and chief customer officer for Sara Lee Branded Apparel North America. Flatow joined Sara Lee more than 15 years ago as director of marketing for the L’eggs brand. Prior to joining Sara Lee, Flatow was vice president of marketing for American Express Company’s Travel Products division and a group brand manager for Clairol Inc. Flatow earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Queens College, City University of New York, and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University.

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M.D. On-Line Selects NPC’s HealthePay Solution

M.D. On-Line, Inc. has inked a deal with National Processing Company to utilize NPC’s global payment platform “HealthePay” to expand their existing service offering so that they can provide automated ACH payment capabilities, payment consolidation and electronic remittance advice reporting to their payers and providers. Founded in 1995, M.D. On-Line is a healthcare technology company that is characterized as both a developer and supplier of software and browser-based utilities that enhances the efficient exchange of information between payers and providers. Also, M.D. On-Line eases the burden of information management by executing and delivering the technical capability necessary to quickly enable provider offices with Electronic Data Interchange capabilities.

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ABA Says Card Delinquency Steady as Other Delinquency Rises

Based on total dollars past-due, credit card delinquency is holding steady compared to year-ago levels and has declined since the end of 2002. However, based on the number of accounts past-due, delinquency is up from 3.88% one year ago to 4.07%. In 2001, the first quarter delinquency rate, based on accounts past-due, was 2.99%. According to data gathered by the American Bankers Association, 1Q/03 credit card delinquency was 4.51%, compared to 4.63% for the last quarter of 2002, and 4.50% for 1Q/02. The ABA also reported yesterday that personal loan delinquencies rose to 3.13% in 1Q/03 from 3.04% in the previous quarter. Mobile home loan delinquencies rose from 5.52% in the fourth quarter 2002 to 6.16% in the first quarter. Late payments on home equity loans, based on the number of accounts, rose to 2.02% from 1.64%.

1Q CREDIT CARD DELINQUENCY HISTORY (based on total dollars outstanding)

2002: 4.50% 1998: 5.42% 1994: 3.51% 1990: 3.29% 1986: 4.92% 1982: 3.33%
2001: 4.13% 1997: 5.43% 1993: 3.98% 1989: 3.39% 1985: 3.10% 1981: 3.16%
2000: 3.94% 1996: 4.62% 1992: 4.31% 1988: 3.71% 1984: 2.84% 1980: 3.00%
1999: 4.44% 1995: 3.50% 1991: 4.55% 1987: 3.71% 1983: 3.06%

Source: American Bankers Association Delinquency Bulletin

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Payment Option Solutions Offers Fast Check Debit Processing

Cost-effective, real-time check debit processing has been taken to new level by Westbury, NY-based Payment Option Solutions. POS inked a deal this month to use Ingenico’s “eN-Check 3000” reader with its “Paid on Signing” product. The combined solution enables merchants to scan their customer’s check through the Ingenico check reader and within 9 seconds the system verifies that there are sufficient funds in the account. Guaranteed funds are then deposited into the merchant’s account within 48 hours. Also in June, Lipman USA certified its “2085,” “3000,” “3010,” and “3020” point-of-sale terminals for check debit processing through Payment Option Solutions. The certification enables retailers to utilize most MICR check readers on NURIT terminals to take advantage of POS’ “Paid on Signing” product. Payment Option Solutions uses SafeCHECK for real-time check verification and check debit processing. SafeCHECK uses the ATM networks to access real-time account information that virtually eliminates all risks normally associated with accepting checks. Funds can also be debited immediately, in which case, the customer gets back a cancelled check at the time of the transaction.

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SCA Acquires Card Portfolio of a High-End Women’s Apparel Retailer

NJ-based Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. has acquired the private label credit card receivables of Coplon’s, a seven-store, high-end women’s apparel retailer, and will now manage all facets of the private label program on an ongoing basis. Under terms of the agreement, SCA acquired the receivables in the Naples, Fla.-based chain’s portfolio and will manage all facets of the private label program on an ongoing basis. Coplon’s card currently accounts for in excess of 30% of total sales. SCA is a division of Hudson United Bank is ranked among the nation’s largest private label credit card companies.

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MasterCard to Offer Exclusive Dining Packages

MasterCard has partnered with iSeatz.com to provide cardholders with dining packages to some of the top restaurants in the country and to enable member issuers to develop exclusives for their markets such as special statement inserts. MasterCard also revealed it will work with its global travel partners, including Travelocity and Site59, to develop an expanding number of special travel and destination packages inclusive of travel, lodging and dining available exclusively to MasterCard cardholders. iSeatz.com and MasterCard have created special offers available immediately at restaurants coast-to-coast. MasterCard cardholders will benefit with exclusive dining packages and valuable benefits at more than 1,000 of the top restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

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Speedpay Links to NYCE Debit Cards

First Data’s E Commerce Group says its “Speedpay” electronic bill payment technology now enables billers to accept ATM and debit card payments from customers using NYCE-branded debit cards. Now that cardholders have debit card capabilities, participating financial institutions have the convenience of paying electricity, water, credit card and mortgage bills electronically by direct debit from their savings or checking account. Speedpay technology allows companies to receive, process and integrate bill payments from multiple sources including call centers, automated voice response units and the Internet. Speedpay is currently being used by over 1,200 of the nation’s leading billers in the utilities, telecommunications, financial services and retail industries.

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MAESTRO EUROPE

MasterCard Europe announced that Allied Irish Bank in Ireland and Danske Bank in Denmark will launch cards branded with “Maestro.” AIB is rolling out “Maestro” on its existing and future “Laser” cards and will eventually appear on all AIB cards by the time their EMV chip roll out is complete in 2005. Ninety percent of all merchants within Ireland have upgraded their terminals to EMV and opened for Maestro, with a decal marketing program for over 8,000 merchants in the larger towns and cities already underway. Danske Bank expects to roll-out 30,000 Maestro cards this year. Until recently Denmark has only had a domestic debit offering. Danske is targeting the 15-17 year old market who frequently travel independently.

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VISA and MasterCard Split the “E” in EMVCo

EMVCo, LLC is now equally owned by VISA and MasterCard, and is gearing up to increase communication within the payments industry after establishing a new structure and expanding its charter. As a result of the recent Europay/MasterCard merger, MasterCard International and VISA International each acquired 50% of Europay International’s interest in EMVCo and now co-own the company with equal shareholding. The firm, which maintains the “EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications for Payment Systems,” has also established a new Executive Committee that will include global and regional senior management representation from both MasterCard and VISA. EMVCo has also created a “Common Core Requirements Working Group” that will deal with the complexity of EMV implementation caused by differing scheme and domestic requirements.

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AMEX CARD CHIEF

American Express announced that Ed Gilligan, group president of Global Corporate Services, will take on the additional responsibility for leading the international consumer card business and International Operations. AmEx also announced that Jim Cracchiolo, group president of Global Financial Services will focus on growing the Company’s financial services business. The shakeup will take effect on July 14th. The changes come in advance of the Company’s acquisition of Threadneedle Asset Management Holding Ltd. from Zurich Financial Services Group AG. Threadneedle, a major UK fund manager, manages about $75 billion. Threadneedle will report directly to Cracchiolo when the transaction closes.

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JCB Hires UFJ Card Executive as CEO

Tokyo-based JCB has named Hiroya Nobuhara, former President and CEO of UFJ Card, as President and CEO, according to today’s weekly issue of The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]). He succeeds Isao Nakanishi who has served as JCB’s President and CEO for the past 5 years. Nakanishi also served as Chairman of the Japan Credit Card Association from 2002-2003. Nakanishi will continue with the company as special advisor. JCB International also named Nobuhara Chairman and CEO. Additionally, JCBI named Kunio Yoshizawa, formerly Deputy President, as President and COO, succeeding Atsushi Niimura who is retiring after 15 years with JCB. JCB’s merchant network includes 10.43 million merchants. The company has 42 million cardholders in 18 countries.

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

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DEUTSCHE BASE24-ES

Deutsche Bank S.p.A has licensed ACI Worldwide’s “BASE24-es for Enhanced Authorization.” Deutsche Bank in Italy includes a business division, named BankAmericard, which specializes in electronic payments and credit cards. BankAmericard is the second largest card issuer in Italy with more than three million cards issued and a 20% market share. “BASE24-es for Enhanced Authorization” enables Deutsche Bank to quickly change authorization parameters for transactions received from regions targeted by fraud. It also permits the bank to consolidate authorization processing on a single ACI platform. Also, operating costs can be reduced to improve profitability. Bank staff can modify processing logic through scripts defined in an easy-to-use syntax similar to JavaScript. As new versions of product software are released by ACI, scripted rules can be applied to the updated version without costly or time-consuming retrofits.

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