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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Card Awards

The International Card Manufacturers Association recently recognized five winners and ten finalists for “Outstanding Card Design,” “Technical Achievement” and “People’s Choice” at the “Sixth Annual Élan Awards for Card Manufacturing Excellence” held in Vancouver. Winners included Drexler’s Canadian Permanent Residential Card for “Best Non-Financial Card Design” and “Technical Achievement”; Discover’s 2GO card for “Best Financial Card Design” and “People’s Choice”; and, Continental Plastic Card Co.’s “Think” (Outside the Box) for “Best Phone Card Design.” The ICMA also awarded its “Spiritus Award” to Giesecke & Devrient Systems Canada and to Allegheny Printed Plastics.

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ICMA AWARDS

The International Card Manufacturers Association recently recognized five
winners and ten finalists for “Outstanding Card Design,” “Technical
Achievement” and “People’s Choice” at the “Sixth Annual Élan Awards for
Card Manufacturing Excellence” held in Vancouver. Winners included
Drexler’s Canadian Permanent Residential Card for “Best Non-Financial Card
Design” and “Technical Achievement”; Discover’s 2GO card for “Best
Financial Card Design” and “People’s Choice”; and, Continental Plastic Card
Co.’s “Think” (Outside the Box) for “Best Phone Card Design.” Judges of the
Élan Awards were Annich McIntosh, editor, C&M Publications; Joseph
Naujokas, ICMA’s official standards representative, Naujokas and
Associates; and Fredy Yiap, editor, CardsNow!Asia magazine.

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AMEX CUTS

American Express says it will cut up to 100 employees as a result of the
merger with the Company’s consumer card and personal financial services
businesses. The credit quality of the Hong Kong consumer market has been
deteriorating this year with record bankruptcies and losses. Charge-offs
have risen nearly 50% this year, and by year’s end, the number of
bankruptcies in 2002 is expected to more than double, compared to 2001. The
AmEx cuts represent 12% of the Company’s Hong Kong work force. There are
nearly ten million credit cards in-force in the country.

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Coinstar 3Q/02

WA-based Coinstar reported third quarter revenues of $42.9 million and net income of $8.8 million compared to third quarter of 2001 revenues of $35.2 million and net income of $1.6 million. Over the past year, Coinstar added an estimated 2.8 million new users, as trial usage increased to 17.5%, up 2.8 percentage points from the third quarter of 2001. Coinstar noted this morning it as narrowed its estimate of the viable universe of high-traffic supermarkets in the USA from 15,000 to 13,000. Earlier this month, Coinstar and Prizm Technology announced a pilot to test consumer acceptance of a service that will allow prepaid wireless phone users to recharge their account balances at Coinstar Centers. Coinstar Inc. owns and operates the only nationwide network of 10,000 supermarket-based machines that offer coin counting and other electronic services. For complete details on Coinstar’s latest quarterly performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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