SMART SWITCH MAESTRO

Switch announced it will launch a smart card pilot in Northampton that will eventually reach 30 million “Switch” and “Solo” cardholders. Meanwhile, the migration of “Switch” cards to “Maestro” cards continues in the UK as more cards now display the “Maestro” symbol on the front of the card rather than on the back. MasterCard and Switch reached an agreement in August 2002 to migrate the “Switch” debit card brand to the “Maestro” brand in the UK. The migration will be completed by mid-2007. Also, as part of the deal, Switch has outsourced its transaction processing to MasterCard using EPS-Net, the telecommunications and data processing arm for MasterCard and Maestro transactions in Europe. EPS-Net will be responsible for the processing of all inter-member transactions performed domestically in the UK. Switch process 1.3 billion transactions a year and an annual spend of over £45 billion. The “Maestro” brand mark now appears on over 505 million cards worldwide and is accepted for purchases at over seven million merchant terminals in 93 countries and territories.

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EN-TOUCH DEPLOYMENT

Ingenico’s “eN-Touch 1000” touch-screen and signature terminals have been deployed in approximately 5,300 7-Eleven convenience stores in the USA. In addition, 7-Eleven has installed “eN-Concert Store” and “eN-Concert Insight” at all USA locations. This software helps manage store-level transactions and prompts customers for their PIN when a check card is tendered. Also included in the agreement is customer software development and “TotalCARE” services, which cover ongoing maintenance.

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Intelli-Check Loses Arbitration

Intelli-Check announced that an arbitration panel has ruled against the Company in a dispute over a financial advisory and investment banking agreement involving an award of $920,000.  Intelli-Check, Inc. is a developer and marketer of an advanced state-of-the-art document verification system for authenticating the validity of U.S. and Canadian driver licenses, state-issued identification cards and military IDs that comply with accepted standards used as proof of identity.

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PRICELESS GAME

MasterCard is airing a new “Priceless” TV commercial, entitled “The Game,” in Japan. The new commercial depicts the excitement and anxiety that university graduates experience during the traditional hiring season in spring when corporations hire en masse. The storyline depicts real purchases that these new graduates will need as they enter the business world. The Priceless line, “The start of a dream and an adventure: priceless,” taps into the insight that this is a key turning point in these graduates lives as they enter a new world of business and new responsibilities. MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign, launched in October 1997, has appeared in 98 countries and 46 languages.

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Diners iDine

FL-basediDine Rewards Network and Citicorp Diners Club have signed an agreement for iDine to begin providing the “Diners Club Restaurant Savings Program” to Diners Club personal and participating corporate cardholders in the USA. In November, Diners Club announced it was discontinuing its “Restaurant Savings Program” after terminating its relationship with Chicago-based Clever Ideas. Clever Ideas launched a charge-card-based dining savings program in 1990 under the “LeCard” name. The “LeCard” program replaced Clever’s paper-based “Dining Dollars” program launched in 1977. Miami-based iDine Rewards Network offers its members a variety of dining savings and rewards programs at more than 10,300 restaurants throughout the USA. The Company currently has 17.9 million credit cards registered through 13.3 million enrolled accounts. (CF Library 11/6/02)

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Korean Fallout

South Korea’s LG Electronics has confirmed it unloaded all of its shares in LG Card Co. this week because it does not want to participate in LG Card’s upcoming rights offering or subordinated bonds issue. LG Card plans to raise KRW500 billion in a rights offer by June 30th, and another KRW500 billion via a subordinated bond issue in the third quarter. The capital raising action is in response to orders from the Financial Supervisory Service for all card issuers to raise cash to offset mounting losses in South Korea. The FSS recently reported that card payments, 30+ days overdue, increased 23% to $6.3 billion in January from $5.1 billion in December. The FSS wants credit card issuers in South Korea to raise $8 billion to cover the losses. LG Electronics held a 0.5% stake in credit card affiliate LG Card Co. (CF Library 3/14/03; 4/8/03)

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GE 1Q/03

GE reported that its credit card profits dropped 13% in the first quarter to $181 million, compared to $209 million one year ago. Revenues for GE’s credit card business were also down, slightly, from $903 million for 1Q/02 to $893 million for 1Q/03. However, GE’s global consumer finance business more than offset the decline in the credit card business. GE’s Consumer Finance division had total revenues of $2.8 billion and profits of $546 million for the first quarter. Revenues were up 16% and profits increased 10% over last year. During the first quarter GE inked a deal to buy Conseco’s retail sales finance business and launched a new private-label credit card program with Meijer Stores. For complete details on GE’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Paystar ATM Partnership

PayStar Corporation this week announced the signing of a shared-revenue agreement with a major branded player in ATM machine management under for the installation, placement and operation of ATMs in PayStar marketed hospitality locations nationwide.  PayStar marketed hospitality and retail clients will enjoy the convenience of having a recognized ATM on the premises, while increasing revenues through increased traffic and transaction fees.

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