Rewards Battle

Since the onslaught of co-branded cards in 1992, the industry has gone through a number of phases in regard to credit cards offering rewards. After a pull-back over the past three years, the rewards segment is now entering a re-birth. Providian and American Express are the most recent issuers to enter the rewards battle. Providian began testing three new rewards cards in August. Providian’s new suite of cards includes “Providian Airpoints,” “Providian Smart Rewards,” and “Providian Real Cash Rewards.” AmEx rolled out its new “Rewards Green,” “Rewards Gold,” “Preferred Rewards Green,” and “Preferred Rewards Gold” cards in late September. All the AmEx programs have the “Membership Rewards” program as a core feature. (CF Library 9/23/02)

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APAC 3Q/02

IL-based APAC Customer Services reported third quarter net earnings before special charges of $1.8 million. Third quarter revenue of $85.0 million declined in comparison to the prior year and the second quarter due to cutbacks by financial services clients including credit card issuers. The Company also reported Thursday it signed a multi-year contract to continue providing services to UPS. APAC Customer Services is a leading provider of customer interaction solutions for market leaders in financial services, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare and logistics. For complete details on APAC’s third quarter results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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DECT Terminal

SchlumbergerSema launched a new portable POS terminal that communicates via the “Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications” network. “DECT” is the digital wireless standard in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The “MagIC X1000 DECT” terminal enables both off and on-line card payments to be transacted more than 100 meters away from its docking station. The new terminal is EMV approved and compliant with the latest PIN entry security standards. It also has TCP/IP capabilities for secure payment.

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Employment Data

As the payment industry continues to deal with declining transaction volume in the midst of a weak economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate of 5.7% was un-changed in October. During October, manufacturing employment declined by 49,000, employment in the construction industry decreased by 27,000, and employment in business services fell sharply (-44,000). However, finance, insurance, and real estate added 34,000 jobs in October. After little change in the first half of the year, the financial services industry has added 70,000 jobs since June.

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Counseling Consolidation

The growing consolidation in the consumer credit counseling industry continues to pick up speed. Yesterday, the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Baton Rouge announced its merger with Houston-based Money Management International. CCCS of Baton Rouge has 15 offices throughout much of Louisiana and has operated for 38 years. The Baton Rouge merger is the sixth agency since 2000 to merge with MMI. Previous mergers include agencies in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia. MMI is now the largest full-service non-profit credit counseling organization in the USA with over 75 branch offices in nine states.

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DATAWAVE & MAC

Vancouver-based DataWave Systems has signed an agreement making it the
exclusive supplier of POS activation technology for both long distance and
wireless phone card products in all 265 western Mac’s convenience stores.
The DataWave System is accessible through small free-standing terminals or
may be incorporated into the cash register system of most major retail
chains. Mac’s Convenience Stores is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Alimentation Couche-Tard. The Company operates a network of 2,245
convenience stores in Canada and the Midwestern United States.

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