RENMINBI CREDIT CARD

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and First Sino Bank are teaming to issue the first renminbi-denominated credit card in mainland China. However, the new card is primarily targeted at Taiwan business people in the China. First Sino Bank, an affiliate of Taiwan’s Bank SinoPac, is also owned by Hong Kong-based Lotus Worldwide and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Earlier this year, Citigroup acquired a 5% interest in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank in an effort to enter the Chinese credit card market, with plans to issue a co-branded local currency card later this year. In March, Citigroup received permission to carry out foreign currency transactions, enabling it to expand its consumer operations. Citigroup first launched consumer banking operations in China in 2001. Only 20 million consumers carry credit cards in China.

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January Rebound

Consumer revolving credit was up sharply in January compared to last January and the previous two months. Revised figures issued Friday by the Federal Reserve also showed that total consumer revolving credit ended 2002 at $712.9 billion, a 1.6% gain over 2001. However, in January, consumers added $4.5 billion to revolving credit, a 7.6% annual gain. The strong January gain was preceded by a 1.4% drop in November and a 6.5% decline in December. In January 2002, revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 1.8%. Bank credit card debt at the end of the fourth quarter was $660.9 billion or roughly 93% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). According to the government figures released Friday, American consumers were $1.739 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages during January. Overall, consumer credit increased 9.1% in January.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
($billions)
Jan 03 Dec 02 Nov 02 Oct 02 Sep 02 Aug 02 Jul 02
GRWTH: 7.6% -6.5 -1.4% 1.6 3.0 6.2 8.9
$OWED: $717.4 712.9 716.8 717.9 721.3 719.5 717.4

Jun 02 May 02 Apr02 Mar 02 Feb 02 Jan 02 Dec 01
GRWTH: 6.0% 4.1 8.0 4.8 2.2 1.8 -9.7
$OWED: $715.6 712.1 708.7 705.4 705.0 702.4 692.4

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 03/07/03; For complete historical data visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

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

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MC ASIA/PACIFIC

MasterCard says Asia/Pacific is its fastest growing region in terms of
merchant acceptance. MasterCard now has 16.5 million merchant locations in
Asia/Pacific, a 54% increase over 2001. Globally, MasterCard acceptance is
up nearly 27% to 30 million locations. Meanwhile, gross dollar volume in
the Asia/Pacific region rose 10.6% last year, to nearly US$223.2 billion.
In the fourth quarter, Asia/Pacific GDV was up 5.2% to US$57.4 billion. The
number of cards issued in the region rose 11.0% to 112.5 million.
MasterCard has 102.4 million card accounts in Asia/Pacific. By country, GDV
was up 23% in Korea, up 15% in Australia, and up 10% in Japan. With over
188.5 million Maestro cards, Asia/Pacific was the second largest Maestro
region at EOY 2002. The number of Maestro cards in the region rose 32.6%
over year-end 2001. MasterCard is also an official sponsor of the 2002 FIFA
World Cup in Japan and Korea. More than 2,300 members leveraged the event,
and the number of World Cup-related affinity cards issued rose 25% compared
with the 1998 games in France.

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DataWave CFO

Vancouver-based DataWave Systems says its CFO/Director Marc Belsky has resigned and has been replaced by John Gunn, General Manager, North American Operations. He has been appointed Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Gunn was DataWave’s CFO prior to Mr. Belsky joining the Company. He has been with the Company for more than five years and has extensive financial and operations management experience.

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Cyberflex Access Award

SchlumbergerSema has received the “Product of the Year Award” from BiometriTech for its “Cyberflex Access” smart cards.  The system authenticates the user by matching the fingerprint to one digitally stored on the SchlumbergerSema smart card. Since this sensitive data is computed directly on the card without the need to rely on the availability or speed of a network for validation, the risk of the information being compromised is substantially eliminated.

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Corillian Promotes Hughes

Corillian has promoted Bill Hughes as EVP of operations. Hughes served as vice president of quality assurance and customer service. As executive vice president of operations, Hughes will manage the development and deployment of all of Corillian’s products and services and oversee engineering, professional services, hosting, customer service and engagement management. Hughes will continue to report to Alex Hart, Corillian’s president and CEO.

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MasterCard Asia/Pacific

MasterCard says Asia/Pacific is its fastest growing region in terms of merchant acceptance. MasterCard now has 16.5 million merchant locations in Asia/Pacific, a 54% increase over 2001. Globally, MasterCard acceptance is up nearly 27% to 30 million locations. Meanwhile, gross dollar volume in the Asia/Pacific region rose 10.6% last year, to nearly US$223.2 billion. In the fourth quarter, Asia/Pacific GDV was up 5.2% to US$57.4 billion. The number of cards issued in the region rose 11.0% to 112.5 million. MasterCard has 102.4 million card accounts in Asia/Pacific. By country, GDV was up 23% in Korea, up 15% in Australia, and up 10% in Japan.

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Smart Golf Card

Toronto-based KESM Transaction Solutions is launching a smart card loyalty program for golf using a Catuity loyalty application and Banksys POS terminals.  The program also allows accumulated “yards” to be redeemed for merchandise, refreshments, supplies or facility use. Additionally, members receive a weekly email with Divot Deals, offers like “double yards” at specific courses or invitations to local tournaments, as two examples. Members can access their program details for each of the 18 courses at a secure link on the Fore! Honors web site.

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Sears Commercial Cards

Sears has signed a long-term processing agreement with TSYS to service the company’s commercial cards becoming the first client to use TSYS’ “TS2” platform’s Invoice Billing functionality.  Corporations can remit payment for specific transactions on their bill versus a balance or portion of a balance.  Invoice Billing is also a significant benefit to the retailer because it essentially provides them with an invoice-level billing system for their commercial retail customer.

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COF Heat

Capital One is taking some heat this morning after a published report revealed that the card issuer told a select group of investors about the insider-trading probe of its CFO, before publicly disclosing the news. The Wall Street Journal reported that Capital One held a confidential briefing last weekend in advance of its news release on March 3rd. Some of the attendees with advance knowledge included investors of Capital One’s asset-backed securities. Capital One maintains its actions were appropriate. One week ago today, Capital One confirmed that its CFO, David Willey received a notice from the SEC alleging personal trading in the company’s stock while in possession of material nonpublic information. The news drove Cap One’s stock down by nearly 11% before closing down 9%. The stock closed Friday at $27.48. The stock was being bid at $26.50 in pre-market trading this morning. Cap One’s stock traded as high as $66 per share and as low as $24 over the past year. (CF Library 7/22/02; 3/4/03)

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Chinese Credit Card

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and First Sino Bank are teaming to issue the first renminbi-denominated credit card in mainland China. However, the new card is primarily targeted at Taiwan business people in the China, according to The RAM Report (www.ramreport.com). First Sino Bank, an affiliate of Taiwan’s Bank SinoPac, is also owned by Hong Kong-based Lotus Worldwide and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. Earlier this year, Citigroup acquired a 5% interest in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank in an effort to enter the Chinese credit card market, with plans to issue a co-branded local currency card later this year. In March, Citigroup received permission to carry out foreign currency transactions, enabling it to expand its consumer operations. Citigroup first launched consumer banking operations in China in 2001. Only 20 million consumers carry credit cards in China.

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BofA Punitive Rates

Disclosure in regard to the application of punitive interest rates is improving. This week, Bank of America is notifying cardholders that its 23.99% punitive rate will be applied if the cardholder is reported 60 days past due by any creditor or if a lien or judgement appears on the cardholder’s credit report. BofA currently applies the punitive rate to accounts that have three late payments or three over-limit infractions within twelve consecutive billing cycles. Since the introduction of punitive interest rates in 1995, most of the top issuers have provided little disclosure on punitive interest rate policies. Many issuers simply stated in the T&C that any change in credit worthiness may affect the cardholder’s interest rate. In the wake of lawsuits challenging bank credit card pricing practices, issuers are beginning to detail the trigger events of their punitive pricing policies. Several issuers state that two defaults in a twelve month period will trigger the punitive interest rate.

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