EPX Signs Lightbridge

MA-based Lightbridge has signed an agreement with Electronic Payment Exchange to utilize EPX’s payment processing and settlement services in its prepaid and postpaid mobile business solutions. Through the agreement with EPX, Lightbridge will extend its subscriber payment options to support most forms of payment for wireless services and mobile transactions, including credit cards (Visa, Discover, American Express, MasterCard, Diners Club International), debit cards, electronic checks, mobile wallets, JCB cards and foreign currency conversions.

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Market Jitters

Cooked books continue to haunt Wall Street as the Dow average hovers at 9000 and Nasdaq hits a five year low. Since the first of this year, the CardWeb.com 100 Index has fallen 22%, but top credit card specialists MBNA, Capital One, and American Express have held up surprisingly well. Capital One is off its 52-week high by only 16%, while MBNA and AmEx are only down 18%. Sub-prime issuers continue to be pounded though. Providian lost nearly 11% yesterday, while CompuCredit slid 8%, and Metris dropped 7.5%. There is also concern that corporate dishonesty may dampen consumer sentiment which could drive down consumer spending, the key driver of economic recovery. The CardWeb.com 100 stock index, launched January 1st, tracks the stocks of 100 highly focused credit card companies, card processors, card manufacturers, and other card-related businesses. The index is available through the CardData financial surveillance service ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CARD STOCKS
Company 7/2/02 52wkHI CHNG
MBNA $32.31 $39.45 -18%
CAP ONE $56.75 $67.25 -16%
PROVIDIAN $ 4.94 $59.95 -92%
AMEX $36.83 $44.91 -18%
HOUSEHOLD $47.60 $69.49 -32%
METRIS $ 7.77 $39.10 -80%
COMPUCREDIT $ 6.57 $15.39 -57%

Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com][2])

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

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MONEY TRANSFERS

The Industrial Bank of Korea has signed a multi-year contract with Western Union Financial Services. IBK expects to offer Western Union Money Transfer services in each of its 360 branches, bringing Western
Union’s total number of agent locations in Korea to approximately 700. There are an estimated six million Korean expatriates who continue to offer financial support to their loved ones back home. IBK specializes in providing services to small and medium-sized businesses throughout the country. It also offers consumers household lending, electronic banking, credit card services, and money transfer.

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Default Proof Hires Big Gun

Miami-based Default Proof Credit Card System has retained Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro to enforce its patents on the dispensing of prepaid debit cards through merchants, POS terminals, and ATM machines. The 28-attorney, Chicago, IL-based law firm specializes in intellectual property law and has a broad client base that includes Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Raymond P. Niro is the senior partner of the law firm and the attorney who will lead Default Proof’s legal team.

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Target Rating

Standard & Poor’s has assigned a preliminary triple-‘A’ rating to the class A asset-backed certificates of Target’s upcoming $750 million credit card securitization. The preliminary rating reflects a sufficient credit enhancement level; the credit risk associated with the overall quality of the collateral loan pool; the historical portfolio performance; the effectiveness of the single-waterfall payment structure, including subordinating class B entitlements to finance charge and principal collections; and a sound legal structure.

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I-WEALTHVIEW CERTIFIED

Vancouver-based Fincentric announced that Microsoft has certified the i-Wealthview Banking system for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. As the only core-banking platform currently Datacenter certified, i-Wealthview provides exceptionally high levels of availability, fault tolerance and transaction processing throughput. Along with its achievements in Advanced Server and Datacenter certification, Fincentric has also received Microsoft Gold Partner designation for its success in delivering Microsoft technologies through its award-winning wealth management software solutions to financial institutions around the world. Fincentric’s i-Wealthview Banking is a customer-centric front-to-back office banking system for financial institutions. It offers comprehensive applications for deposits, payments, and consumer lending with integration across multiple delivery channels, including, branch, ATM, telephone and Internet banking. i-Wealthview Banking features Customer Value Management capabilities that enable the institution to analyze the value of each member, formulate strategies to maximize their value, and improve retention levels of their membership.

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Paytrust Acquisition

Marshall & Ilsley’s Metavante Corporation announced this morning it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all the assets of a privately held online bill management company based in Lawrenceville, N.J. Paytrust has successfully deployed private-label electronic bill centers for 23 clients, including such premier financial service providers as American Express, Citibank, E*TRADE, and Capital One. The company also has developed proprietary technology including SmartBills, a bill aggregation tool now for 33 direct biller web sites, representing 50 electronic billers; and SmartBalance, an online check register now connected to more than 200 financial institutions. Through the acquisition of Paytrust, Metavante plans to consolidate its consumer service provider operations onto one technology platform. Integration costs, primarily related to operating duplicate platforms for a limited period of time, are anticipated to be approximately $6 million after tax, and will be incurred over approximately nine months following the transaction.

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CA Firm Settles FTC Charges

Canoga Park, CA-based D.C. Credit Services, Inc. has agreed to pay a $300,000 civil penalty as part of a settlement of FTC charges of violating the FCRA and FDCPA. The settlement also would require the defendants to notify consumer reporting agencies to delete all adverse information the defendants previously had furnished to them over the past seven years. The consent decree would permit the defendants to re-report such adverse information only if, upon proper examination, they determine that the adverse information is accurate and reportable.

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RBA & DEBIT

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to issue a working group document this month to propose changes to fees associated with the EFT/POS network. The RBA report will also touch on fees associated with VISA debit cards, according to some sources. VISA has about three million debit cards in the country. The EFT/POS network report comes on the heels of proposed changes to the interchange fees for credit cards. The
RBA credit card proposal involves changes to what are known as four-party payment systems such as MasterCard, Bankcard and VISA. Three-party payment systems such as American Express and Diner’s Club, which typically carry higher fees than four-party systems, are excluded from the proposal. Under the terms of the proposals unveiled on December 14, 2001, the RBA would regulate three key areas of four-party credit card systems: the setting of interchange fees, surcharging, and who can join the system. VISA and MasterCard say the proposal would significantly reduce interchange fees with the result that credit card issuers would be forced either to raise fees or reduce services to cardholders.

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