VISA EU

Europeans generated 8.2 billion VISA POS transactions last year with volume of $538 billion, an increase of 13.3% and 14.3%, respectively. Including cash withdrawals, VISA’s 2002 gross volume in Europe hit $844 billion in 11.2 billion transactions, a 14.8% increase. Retail sales using a VISA card now account for almost 9% of personal consumer expenditure in Europe. The number of VISA cards issued in Europe increased 8.8% to 211.7 million, including 34.7 million EMV smart cards. Debit transactions at POS grew to euro 304.8 billion, a 13.8% increase. VISA also noted that e-Commerce sales in the last quarter of 2002 were up over 100% compared to the previous year-end.

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Intelli-Check Funding

Intelli-Check, Inc. announced that it has completed a $3 million private placement consisting of 30,000 shares of 8% Convertible Preferred Stock at $100 per share to Gryphon Master Fund LP of Dallas, Texas. Frank Mandelbaum, Chairman and CEO of Intelli-Check, said the financing was completed on favorable terms for the Company and its shareholders, with total potential dilution of approximately 6%.

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MBNA Fees

MBNA reported Friday that its customers paid 30% more in credit card fees, and that its interchange or merchant fee income increased 19% last year. MBNA also said it will increase the required minimum monthly payment amounts for its credit card accounts in the USA during the fourth quarter. Credit card fees collected by the nation’s second largest issuer, topped $385 million, compared to $295 million for 2001, and $290 million for 2000. MBNA says the increase in cardholder fees would have been nearly 36% if the change in the estimated value of accrued interest and fees is excluded. Credit card fees include annual, late, over-limit, returned check, cash advance, express payment, and other miscellaneous fees. Meanwhile, interchange income increased $56.5 million to $357.4 million in 2002 from 2001. Interchange income increased $14.8 million to $301.0 million in 2001 from 2000. Interchange is a fee paid by a merchant bank to the card-issuing bank through the VISA and MasterCard interchange network as compensation for risk, grace period, and other operating costs. MBNA says the increase in interchange income was directly related to the increase in credit card volume. MBNA’s volume increased from $142 billion to $160 billion in 2002, or 12.7%, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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CHIP VENDOR AWARD

VISA’s EU and CEMEA regions have awarded Hypercom the “VISA Chip Vendor of the Year Award” for 2003. Visa EU and CEMEA cited the Hypercom “Crypto Processo” module which allows some of the fastest EMV transactions. Last year, Hypercom became the first card payment vendor to achieve EMV Level 2 certification and the first to certify three card payment terminals to Level 2. Additionally, the company three years ago remotely upgraded its installed base of card payment terminals in the UK with the latest EMV-certified
software applications.

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DISCOVER & BANAMEX

Grupo Financiero Banamex has signed an agreement to expand acceptance of
the “Discover Card” in Mexico. Banamex will activate merchants, initially
in Mexico’s tourist destinations and border crossings, and eventually
throughout all Mexico to take the “Discover Card.” Banamex provides card
acceptance services for more than 20,000 merchants in Mexico. Discover has
more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations in the USA.

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Non-Prime Consolidators

A new survey has found that non-prime consumers are actively taking steps to repair their credit rating and are using home equity loans for debt consolidation. The study of more than 7,000 consumers by PA-based American Business Financial Services, found that among individuals seeking loans, 86% use credit cards, and 45% have more than three credit cards in their name. The majority of these individuals were attempting to lower their debt service costs on credit cards via a single consolidation loan. Of the non-prime consumers who responded to the survey, only 24% have ever worked with a credit counselor. ABFI says it estimates that non-prime borrowers have pumped more than $1 trillion into the economy over the past decade.

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SMART CARD PATENT

The Karauchi International Patent Office of Tokyo announced that Smart Chip Technologies has received approval of its gateway patent that covers the basic business process of storing and redeeming loyalty, rewards, or incentives on any smart card or consumer electronic device. With prior-art dating to 1994, the technology-independent Japanese Patent (7-520773) is based on U.S. Patent 5,806,045 and corresponding patents issued in Australia (703349), Mexico (96/03161), and pending in Canada. SCTN markets its smart card expertise and end-to-end loyalty solution globally to banks, retailers, OEMs, and system integrators. Its products include “e-llegiance” a multi-platform smart chip loyalty application engineered for EMV, Global Platform, and MULTOS compliance to simplify credit/debit card integration.

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GPN & INTESA-BCI

IntesaBci Canada has inked a deal with Global Payments to offer its clients a complete suite of card acceptance services, POS products, credit card processing and account settlement. IntesaBci Canada is a fully owned subsidiary of Milan-based Banca Intesa S.p.A. and has been operating in Canada since 1981. Global Payments is the largest publicly traded, independent VISA and MasterCard acquirer in Canada.

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Discover Mexico

The largest proprietary credit card network in the USA is heading south of the border. Citigroups’s Banamex has inked an agreement to offer Discover Card acceptance throughout Mexico. Initially, Banamex will activate merchants in Mexico’s tourist destinations and border crossings, and eventually throughout the country. Grupo Financiero Banamex currently provides card acceptance services for more than 20,000 merchants in Mexico. Discover currently has more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations in the USA. The issuer says the deal is in response to cardholder requests who want to use their Discover Cards when travelling to Mexico. Banamex has a distribution network of more than 1,400 branches and 4,400 ATM’s located throughout Mexico. Discover is also accepted in some travel related merchants in Canada and the Caribbean.

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