CARD VOLUME

Gross dollar volume on credit and debit cards is now growing at a 4.4% annual rate, based on April’s activity. London-based Credit Card Research Group reports £10.0 billion in April card spending. CCRG says the services segment continues to grow strongly with the value of card transactions up 13.5% on April 2002, to £8.4 billion. This includes a rebound for the travel industry after a slow month in March, with spending up 9.8% year-on-year.

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ECHO Headquarters

CA-based Electronic Clearing House is moving its headquarters in August from Agoura Hills to Camarillo. The new headquarters is 20,030 square feet of a 40,000 square foot office building located within the Camarillo Business Center. Of ECHO’s 194 total employees nationwide, approximately 125 will be relocated from the current headquarters in Agoura Hills, California to the new location in Camarillo, a distance of 20 miles. The move is scheduled for August 2003.

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EASY-FUEL

Rosh Pina-based On Track Innovations Ltd has commercially launched its wireless solution for petroleum payment management and loyalty programs for oil companies, commercial transport and transportation fleets, and private motorists. “EasyFuel” is targeted for the U.S. and European markets, but is currently deployed in Africa and South America. The fleet product has been operating in Africa via BP and Exel under the brand name “FuelMaster,” and currently includes approximately 500 gas stations and 40,000 vehicles. OTI recently announced that ABSA Bank, the largest commercial bank in South Africa, had joined the “FuelMaster Express” program, geared toward private motorists, providing access to over 400,000 motorists in ABSA’s fuel card
program. BP and Repsol have adopted OTI’s solution for petroleum payment and fleet management in Africa, South America, and Europe.

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Marketshare 1Q/03

Gross dollar volume on credit and off-line debit cards increased 9.7% to $477.1 billion in the first three months of this year, compared to one year ago. Among the four major U.S. payment card networks, only MasterCard’s market share, based on total transaction dollars, increased. The market share of American Express declined 20 basis to 12.3% between the first quarter of 2002 and the first quarter of 2003. VISA and Discover both remained level at 51.4% and 5.5%, respectively. MasterCard’s market share increased from 30.6% one year ago to 30.7% this year. During the first quarter of 2003, Americans charged $245.4 billion to VISA-branded cards, $146.7 billion to MasterCard-branded cards, $58.9 billion to American Express cards, and $26.1 billion to Discover cards. (The Discover figure covers the months of December, January and February while the others cover January, February, and March.) VISA remains the dominate player in the USA, as Americans racked up more than $1 trillion in VISA transactions in the twelve-month period ending March 31st, 2003.

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eONE Acquires IVR Firm

eONE Global’s govONE Solutions unit has acquired the assets of Frank Solutions, an IVR specialist for the government, court, utility, insurance and higher education marketplaces. Frank Solutions will operate as a unit of GovConnect, a govONE Solutions subsidiary, which specializes in digital service delivery solutions, professional services and payment processing for government agencies. govONE Solutions already serves more than two million taxpayers, processing 40 million payments valued at $1 trillion annually. Frank Solutions will remain headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, where govONE Solutions and First Data Corp. also are based.

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ScanGuard

Boston-based Arthur Blank & Company has introduced a gift card management solution that uses a unique software and monitoring solution to verify card serial numbers, lot sequencing, dollar value, and corresponding barcode and mag stripe matching. “ScanGuard” is designed to eliminate concerns about duplicate and missing cards, order and distribution tracking, and card issuing and redemption errors. As each card is manufactured and then electronically inspected, card tracking numbers are matched to a master database, ensuring each card number is accurate and unique. All card information is then maintained in Arthur Blank’s “ScanGuard” database to avoid any duplicate orders. Should there be a lost or stolen shipment, individual cards, sleeves, cartons, or pallets can be eliminated from the retailer’s gift card system.

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PowerSwipe

Motorola, Nextel, and Creditel have partnered to launch a new solution to enable businesses to turn their Nextel phones into POS devices. The solution employs Creditel’s “PowerSwipe” device and “PowerPay J2ME” application running on Nextel’s national packet data network. Chase Merchant Services, provides merchant processing services for the “PowerPay” solution. “PowerSwipe” physically connects to the Nextel phone for unobstructed use, weighs 3.1 ounces, and incorporates a magnetic stripe reader, infrared printing port, and pass-through connector for charging the handset battery. The device will work on Motorola “i50sx,” “i55sr,” “i58sr,” “i85s” and “i88s” handsets for Nextel. Motorola will distribute the Creditel POS solution in the United States and Canada through its Motorola authorized two-way radio and reseller channels. Nextel will distribute it through its direct and indirect sales channels.

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Blue for Save The Music

American Express and Infinity Broadcasting have teamed to launch a new nationwide fundraising and awareness tour to support music education programs in U.S. public schools. Boyd Tinsley, the violinist for Dave Matthews Band, will serve as official spokesperson for the year-long Blue for Save the Music campaign, a collaboration between Blue from American Express and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. Blue from American Express and the Save the Music Foundation launched Blue for Save the Music in February 2003 to bring greater attention to the lifelong benefits of music education and to help restore music education in America’s public schools. Blue from American Express pledged to raise at least $1 million this year toward restoring public school music education programs, and is contributing significant visibility via promotions, special events and advertising.

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BEETLE Chips

TX-based Wincor Nixdorf is now offering the Intel “Pentium III 1.26GHz” and Intel “Celeron 1.2GHz” processors to the standard list of options for its “BEETLE” family of POS systems. The new processors offer retailers maximum performance for their point-of-sale systems. The new models are based on the BEETLE One architecture, which includes a common motherboard based on an Intel embedded chip set, a choice of Intel processors, a full complement of industry-standard peripheral interfaces, and a wide range of storage, expansion, and display options.

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First Data & GE

First Data has signed a five-year extension of its long-term agreement to provide transaction processing services for GE Consumer Finance-Americas. First Data is actively converting GE Consumer Finance-Americas portfolios to the First Data system, which processes bankcard and private-label credit card transactions. Transaction processing entails a host of services, including posting of transactions, account management and statementing of accounts. The conversions are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2004.

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Photo Expressions

TN-based Internet Pictures Corporation has launched a new service to enable Bank of America cardholders to customize their credit cards with personal scanned images. Under the “Photo Expressions” option, cardholders transmit, via the Internet, an electronic image of their choice, such as a photo of their pet or recent vacation. Cardholders can then make minor adjustments to that image and then, preview exactly what their new, personalized credit card design will look like before accepting. The option is exclusively available to existing Bank of America “Classic,” “Gold” or “Platinum” consumer credit cardholders. iPIX is the largest online image management and distribution company in the world serving over a billion image views and two million image submissions daily for customers such as eBay, Homestore and the Los Angeles Times.

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