Credit Bureau Lawsuit

TransUnion and Equifax have agreed to reach a settlement in a class-action lawsuit involving bankruptcy notations made in consumer credit files. Experian has already finalized a settlement. The lawsuit grew from South Carolina case wherein a consumer was unable to get a car loan because of a bankruptcy notation in his credit file. The man had co-signed a loan for his son-in-law, who later filed for bankruptcy. The case was heard on January 17th, at which time Experian offered its settlement. U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour has set a preliminary settlement conference for next Tuesday.

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Choice Hotels Promotion

Choice Hotels International is launching a triple miles promotion for Feb 15th thru Apr 30th for members of American Airlines “AAdvantage,” Delta Air Lines “SkyMiles,” Northwest Airlines “WorldPerks,” United “Mileage Plus,” US Airways “Dividend Miles,” and, Southwest Airlines “Rapid Rewards.” The triple miles/credit promotion is supported by a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to air on cable networks and throughout the NCAA “March Madness” tournament, airing March 15 through April 5 on CBS. Print advertisements are slated to run in national publications such as USA TODAY.

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Desert Schools FCU & Voyager 3.0

AZ-based Desert Schools Federal Credit Union has expanded its relationship with Corillian by licensing the latest version of Corillian’s “Voyager” Internet banking platform, “Corillian Voyager 3.0”. Corillian Voyager 3.0 will provide Desert Schools’ more than 225,000 members with enhanced Internet banking, bill payment capabilities and a new look and feel to Desert Schools’ “ePAL” online banking service at https://epal.desertschools.org/. Desert Schools also licensed the Corillian Business Finance Suite to provide innovative Internet banking services to its small business banking members.

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Algonquin Travel & UATP

Universal Air Travel Plan confimed the successful launch of its
pilot program which allows direct acceptance of UATP accounts by travel
agencies. Ottawa-based Algonquin Travel is the pilot program’s first
participant. Algonquin began accepting and processing UATP transactions
in December. UATP is working with a limited number of corporate agencies
around the world to launch the program and plans aggressive expansion
throughout 2003. Universal Air Travel Plan, formerly known as “Air Travel Card,” is the
world’s first corporate travel payment system. The plan has more than US$7
billion in annual billings.

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eFunds Executives

AZ-based eFunds has hired Kevin Reager, formerly with Bank of America, as SVP/Division Executive, eFunds ATM Solutions; Mike Feliciano, formerly with NYCE, as SVP/Division Executive, eFunds EFT Solutions; and, Tommy Andrews, formerly with FleetCor, SVP, eFunds Corporate Development. These appointments complete eFunds’ reorganization to a business division model around eFunds’ four core lines of business, EFT Solutions, ATM Solutions, Risk Management Solutions and Outsourcing Solutions, which began in December 2002.

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ADS & 7-Eleven

7-Eleven and Alliance Data Systems have teamed to launch two stored-value programs. ADS will provide stored value and loyalty marketing services for 7-Eleven’s “Vcom” card and the “7-Eleven Convenience Card.” Vcom is 7-Eleven stores’ proprietary, self-service machine that offers ATM capabilities, enabling customers to conduct ATM transactions, purchase money orders and money transfers, and, cash checks. 7-Eleven plans to install Vcom kiosks in 1,000 of its stores by the end of May and, based upon the kiosks’ performance, the company could deploy an additional 2,500 kiosks in its stores starting in late 2003. Under a six-year agreement, ADS will support the prepaid “Vcom” card which allows customers to use the stored value for most purchases within the store and at the gasoline pump. In a separate three-year agreement, ADS will provide stored-value services for the new “7-Eleven Convenience Card” for sale beginning this month at participating 7-Eleven stores around the country. The “Convenience Card” is re-loadable and includes a corresponding key-chain card.

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PSO CARDS

Pakistan State Oil has launched two new credit cards, the “Fleet
Card” and the “Corporate Card.” The new cards, the first of its kind in
Pakistan, will join PSO’s card portfolio which also includes the “Loyalty
Card” launched in 2002. The new “PSO Fleet Card” is vehicle-specific, while
the “PSO Corporate Card” is employee-specific. The “PSO Fleet Card” enables
companies to set limits on individual fleet vehicle spending, and comes
embossed with the vehicle registration number along with the company or
fleet name. The “PSO Corporate Card” is a personalized credit card with
pre-approved fuel limit. The “Corporate Card” carries an annual membership
fee per card of Rs.100. There is also a 1.65% monthly service charge on
each bill. PSO launched its “Loyalty Card” in July 2002. The card entitles
customers to earn “PSO Loyalty Points” on every purchase of fuel or
lubricant. The points accumulated can be later redeemed from PSO’s
“Merchant-Consortium.” The card is free and is valid for a year. It also
offers a discount at a number of other merchants and restaurants in
Pakistan. In December, PSO signed an agreement with ABN Amro and Orix
Leasing to interface the “PSO Loyalty Card” and the “ABN-AMRO Debit Card.”
The interface entails an arrangement under which the magnetically encoded
loyalty card and debit card are transacted through Orix’s POS terminal and
the PSO network. The “PSO Loyalty Card” was distributed free-of-charge to
all ABN Amro debit cardholders in December and January.

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LendingTree 4Q/02

NC-based LendingTree reported this morning that it handled 51,182 credit card applications during the fourth quarter and closed 9.2% of the requests. The online loan referral service says its credit card activity produced revenues of $327,000 for the quarter. LendingTree closed a total of 7,264 credit card related requests during 4Q/02 for six total card issuers. Overall, during the quarter, the Company earned $5.6 million on posted revenue of $34.7 million. Revenue was up 12% over the same year ago period. LendingTree had 197 participating lenders at the end of 2002, representing an increase of 36% over last year. Loans available via the LendingTree Exchange include home mortgage, home equity, automobile, personal, debt consolidation, and credit cards. For complete details on LendingTree’s 4Q/02 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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VISA POS Check Service

One of the first processors to pilot the VISA “POS Check Service” in 2001 has renewed its contract. First National Merchant Solutions has renewed its contract with Electronic Clearing House. VISA’s “POS Check Services” program allows merchants to receive immediate online authorization for paper checks, by converting them into electronic transactions. Checks drawn against participating member banks in the program are processed and settled electronically by VISA. Checks drawn on non-participating banks, VISA routes to ECHO, the selected third-party processor for First National merchants, and the checks are processed and settled by ECHO. First National has branded and marketed the service under the “CompletePay” name. First National, a wholly-owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha, is estimating four times the growth of “Complete Pay” in 2003.

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Credit Standards

A survey of 59 U.S. banks has found that 15% have tighten standards on credit cards over the past three months. The “January 2003 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices” found that financial institutions continue to tighten lending standards and terms for commercial and industrial loans. There is also evidence that some banks are beginning to tighten standards on home mortgages. The share of banks tightening standards on residential mortgage loans edged up to 11% in January from 10% percent in the October survey. Notably, these were the first two indications of any noticeable tightening in over a decade. The net fraction of respondents that reported stronger demand for mortgages to purchase homes over the past three months dropped to 7% in January from 40% in the previous survey. Moreover, the share of banks reporting substantially stronger demand fell from 14% in October to 2% in the current survey.

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DIEBOLD ATM DEALS

Diebold says that during the fourth quarter it signed $8 million in ATM
deals with several financial institutions in India, more than $4 million
from financial institutions in Brazil, $3.2 million from a financial
institution in Indonesia, orders for more than $3.2 million from two
financial institutions in China, and, more than $2 million from a large
financial institution in Canada. Diebold’s fourth quarter profits were
$21.9 million on revenues of $525.8 million. However, ATM-related revenues
decreased 5.2% from $413.8 million for 4Q/01 to $392.5 million for 4Q/02.
The results included a one-time charge for the cost of settling a tax
dispute with the IRS. Diebold expects first quarter revenues to increase in
the mid-single digit range vs. prior year.

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