American Signature Home Portfolio

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has signed a five-year agreement with Schottenstein Stores Corporation to provide private label services for home furnishings retailer American Signature Home. Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will provide private label credit card services including: account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; and customer service functions.

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E-PAY-PAD TERMINAL

Dublin-based FreeStar Technologies says it will launch its “ePayPad” card swipe terminal by September 1st. The new generation of “ePayPad” features an ISO7816-1/2/3 compatible smart card interface and supports CPU-based cards with T=0 and T=1 protocol, as well as an RS-232 or USB interface to a personal computer with a simple command structure. Unlike the former version of the “ePayPad” which was designed with a serial port PC interface that is typically not available on today’s popular laptop computers, the new ePayPad will permit universal use on all desktop and laptop computers. FreeStar Technologies also has offices in New York City and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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NPC IST/MAS

Toronto-based Oasis Technology announced that National Processing Company has selected Oasis’ IST/Merchant Accounting System product as a component in its new merchant payment processing and settlement system. IST/MAS provides merchant processors a comprehensive solution for processing merchant credit and debit card transactions. NPC is a leading provider of merchant credit card processing, supporting over 645,000 merchant locations – representing one out of every five VISA and MasterCard transactions processed in the United States. MAS provides processors the flexibility to manage an unlimited number of merchant business models with highly specific service requirements and processing fee relationships. In addition to financial processing charges for sales, authorizations and chargebacks, MAS provides the flexibility to price transactions according to non-financial services such as point-of-sale terminal rentals, as well as seasonal fees and discount rates. The flexibility of tiered transaction pricing also lets processors price transactions according to volume, and increase or decrease service charges in accordance with volume fluctuations. To facilitate revenue tracking, MAS also interfaces to general ledger systems so merchants can better track revenue and accounting processes. To provide flexible support for a wide range of payment methods, MAS supports ACH and FEDWIRE.

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SCARAB SYSTEMS

Vancouver-based iRV Inc., a/k/a Scarab Systems, and Merchant Wired Global have signed a deal for Scarab Systems to be the sole independent distributor of MWG products and services. The agreement covers credit card, automated check processing and smart cards. The MWG suite of services also feature a unique fraud control and risk management toolset. MWG is headquartered in Antigua B.W.I., with sales channels in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and the Caribbean.

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Credit Rebound

Driving by historically low credit card rates, Americans use of credit is slowly returning to normal patterns. During June, consumers added nearly $4 billion to revolving credit at annual growth rate of 6.5%. During June 2001, U.S. consumer credit increased by $1.3 billion for a 2.1% annual growth rate. The seesaw pattern over the past twelve months appears to validate the recession. Consumer credit began to soften in June 2001 with little growth, or negative growth, until November. Following an unexpected November surge, the credit retreat resumed through March. Since the first of this year consumer credit has grown by $22.5 billion. According to figures released Wednesday afternoon by the Federal Reserve, revolving consumer credit now stands at $714.9 billion. At the end of June 2002, American consumers were $1.713 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
($billions)
Jun 02 May 02 Apr 02 Mar 02 Feb 02 Jan 02 Dec 01
GRWTH: 6.5% 4.1 8.0 4.8 2.2 1.8 -9.7
$OWED: $714.9 711.1 708.7 705.4 705.0 702.4 692.4

Nov 01 Oct 01 Sep 01 Aug 01 Jul 01 Jun 01 May 01
GRWTH: 12.7% -7.1 0.6 -2.2 -3.7 2.1 4.5
$OWED: $698.0 686.4 692.7 693.5b 698.1 700.3 699.0

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 08/07/02;
For complete historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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CUSTOMIZED CARDS

Competition in the UK credit card market has become increasingly intense over the last five years. One result of this trend has been the emergence of flexible card issuers such as Virgin, Accucard and Cahoot who allow customers to determine the features of their credit card from the color to the interest rate. However, flexible credit cards are not unique to the UK and different forms have been launched in markets such as Belgium and Canada. Datamonitor has released a new report which analyses the key market trends in the UK credit card market over the last few years and the strategies and product offerings of the companies that have issued flexible credit cards in the UK, Belgium, Canada and South Africa.

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VISA DPS Milestone

Within six years of operation, VISA Debit Processing Service has hit the 11 billionth transaction mark. VISA DPS said this morning it processes over a billion debit transactions every 60 days. VISA DPS has also become the largest volume check card processor in the U.S., providing support for over 43 million check cards. VISA DPS is integrated with VISA’s global product development resources, and provides processing support for “Verified by Visa,” “Host-Based Stored Value” products, and the “Visa POS Check Service.” Visa DPS provides processing support for four of the six largest VISA check card issuers, including Bank of America, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, and Bank One. VISA DPS also provides processing support for 24 of the Top 100 credit unions in the country, including Navy Federal Credit Union, State Employees Credit Union, United Airlines Federal Credit Union, and Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union.

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LINK CERTIFICATION

Wincor AutoTell has received formal notice of certification for two ATM applications from the UK’s Link Interchange Network. The two applications are AT LINK, Wincor AutoTell’s dial-up Triton emulation, and Wincor Nixdorf’s ProCash NDC with Wincor AutoTell’s Dial-Up Extensions, both running on a “ProCash 1500.” These are the first LINK certifications to be issued for the “ProCash 1500” ATM. Massachusetts-based Wincor AutoTell, a majority-owned subsidiary of Wincor Nixdorf, specializes in the development of applications and complementary management tools for the domestic and international self-service industries.

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Midwest MasterCard

Juniper Bank announced this morning the acquisition of the Midwest Express Airlines co-branded credit card portfolio from US Bank. The deal will double Juniper’s credit card account base to about 600,000. Juniper will continue to issue the Midwest Express MasterCard exclusively. Juniper says the deal is an example of its commitment to building a long-term market presence. Indeed airline portfolios are among the most lucrative segments in the credit card business since they generate exceptionally high charge volume and balances coupled with low attrition and defaults. This profitable mix of such products is largely attributed to the underlying loyalty of the airline brand. Midwest Express Airlines is currently the top-rated airline in the nation, offering jet and turboprop travel to 50 U.S. cities. The credit card portfolio acquisition is expected to close in November. At the end of 2001, Juniper had approximately $425 million in credit card outstandings and 130,000 active accounts, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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