FDC/KKR Merger Receives Regulatory Approval

First Data has received all domestic and international regulatory approvals to close the pending merger with an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. On July 31, First Data shareholders approved the merger agreement. Of the shares that were voted, over 98% were cast in favor of the merger. Upon the closing of the merger, the Company’s shareholders will be entitled to receive $34.00 in cash, without interest, for each share of First Data common stock held. First Data is a provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses worldwide.

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ONE4ALL CARD

TSYS Europe reports it has issued more than 1.7 million
instant-issuance, non-personalized cards for The Gift Voucher Shop.
GVS launched its “One4all Gift Card” in five major Irish Post Offices in Dublin and on its Web site. The product is VISA supported, although the card does not carry the logo, and is restricted to acceptance within a GVS-defined network of more than 200 UK retailers. The new gift cards will be offered in a growing number of Post Offices throughout Ireland and the UK later this year. TSYS now processes multiple prepaid portfolios for major banks across Europe, including Bank of Ireland, Royal Bank of Scotland, Norwich Union, Santander and LloydsTSB.

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Card Delinquency Heads North in July

Delinquencies for managed credit card outstandings headed north in July after falling for three consecutive months. Despite the recent credit meltdown, credit card delinquency has remained steady this year but will likely rise through the fourth quarter as more consumers get squeezed with higher interest rates. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), delinquency (30+ days) for July inched up to 4.64% of managed outstandings, versus 4.62% in the prior month and 4.18% one-year ago. Chase reported that the second quarter 30-day managed delinquency rate was 3.00%, down from 3.14% in the prior year and 3.07% in the prior quarter. BofA said its managed 30+ day delinquency ratio for the second quarter declined to 5.24%, compared to 5.44% in the first quarter and 4.73% for 2Q/06. Citi reported that overall delinquency (90+ days) declined slightly from 1.57% for 1Q/07 to 1.47% for the second quarter 2007.

DELINQUENCY 2007
Jul 06: 4.18%
Aug 06: 4.22%
Sep 06: 4.27%
Oct 06: 4.32%
Nov 06: 4.40%
Dec 06: 4.44%
Jan 07: 4.56%
Feb 07: 4.63%
Mar 07: 4.66%
Apr 07: 4.72%
May 07: 4.67%
Jun 07: 4.62%
Jul 07: 4.64%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Internet Merchant Adds the Assurz Guarantee

Assurz will partner with MA-based Internet Merchant to offer the “100% Satisfaction Guarantee” to Internet Merchant’s 1000 e-commerce retailers. If for any reason a shopper is unhappy with his or her purchase within the first 90 days after delivery, Assurz will refund the price of the item including tax and shipping fees and provide packaging materials as needed. Assurz does not charge merchant restocking fees and even pays the return shipping fee for the customer. Merchandise is liquidated in secondary channels to avoid competing with participating merchants. Internet Merchant’s active merchant outlets can now offer the Assurz guarantee as an optional add-on fee paid by the customer during checkout, or cover all consumer purchases and assume the fee as part of their customer service costs. Internet Merchant is provider of merchant services ranging from shopping cart integrations to credit card processing. Assurz provides a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee to consumers who shop online for general merchandise.

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Business Bankruptcies to Rise 50% in 07

A new report predicts that business bankruptcies will total 30,000 this year after dropping off to less than 20,000 last year. Business bankruptcy rose 38% in the second quarter with 6,705 filings. MD-based Euler Hermes ACI says this represents a 7% increase over the first quarter and a 45% increase for the first half of 2007 in comparison to the first half of 2006. Euler Hermes ACI says the most serious issues facing businesses is the effect of increased energy, raw material, and labor costs; the effects of monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve in 2004-2006; and the decimated housing market and its effects on consumers and businesses.

BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY FILINGS
2000: 35,472
2001: 40,099
2002: 38,540
2003: 35,037
2004: 34,317
2005: 39,201
2006: 19,695
Source: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

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Barclay’s Launches the BJ’s Club VISA

BJ’s Wholesale Club’s general purpose credit card has been enhanced and upgraded to contactless. The new “BJ’s VISA Card” now offers two points for every dollar spent on BJ’s purchases; one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases; and 1,000 bonus points after the first card purchase. For every 2,000 points accumulated, the cardholder automatically will receive with their monthly statement a $20 “BJ’s Bucks” check, which can be used for BJ’s purchases. The new card also offers “Visa payWave” and cardholders have the option to use their “BJ’s VISA Card” as their “BJ’s Membership Card.” The new card is being issued by Barclays. Barclays also plans to issue a business credit card for “BJ’s Business Members” beginning in January. First USA relaunched the “BJ’s MasterCard” in June 2002. In 1995, BJ’s first teamed with Beneficial National Bank to issue a co-branded MasterCard. (CF Library 3/13/02)

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Ukraine Bank Expands Hypercom Deployment

Ukraine’s PrivatBank has purchased 11,000 “Optimum T2100” and “M2100” card payment terminals from Hypercom. PrivatBank chose the terminals based on the extensive technical support provided by Servus Systems Integration, Hypercom’s distributor. PrivatBank’s servicing network consists of 2,475 branches throughout Ukraine, has nearly 12 million personal accounts and has 12.5 million issued cards. This latest purchase follows the more than 4,000 units order of the same terminals delivered early in 2007, and increases to 15,000 the total number of GSM/GPRS Hypercom “Optimum” terminals purchased by PrivatBank.

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North Carolina Implements a Gift Card Law

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has signed into law Senate Bill 1517 to prohibits retailers and others who issue gift cards from charging any maintenance fees for a year following the cards’ purchase date. The new law makes sure gift cards purchased from retailers in North Carolina keep their full value for at least a year and require stores to clearly disclose any fees at the time of purchase. Failure to disclose any fees or charge maintenance fees within the first year will be considered an unfair trade practice under state law and subject the violator to civil penalties.

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Start-Up Launches a Tax Payment Credit Card

AR-based Nick-Lynn Technologies has introduced the “US Liberty Card”, a tax payment credit card that enables consumers and businesses to clear their tax responsibilities and shift the collection efforts away from the federal government Low interest rates and negotiated payment arrangements allow individuals and businesses to avoid bankruptcy and reputation damage, and use their previous government-payment cash flow to stimulate business growth or personal spending revenues while the US Liberty Card pays the government in full. The government shortfall, ‘tax gap’ is estimated to be around $450 billion and growing by at least a billion yearly. The cardholder agreement makes the card exempt from bankruptcy filing and does not charge the government processing fees as this function is included and handled through a partner company, Data Pay. The US Liberty Card is a fully collateralized card with a low interest rate and is tax-payment-only card and can be used to pay any tax collected by any participating agency.

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U.S. Bank Rescues the Linux VISA Program

The credit card that generates funds for “Free and Open Source Software” projects like “Blender,” “FreeGeek” and the “WikiMedia Foundation” is back. The “Linux Fund VISA” has been juiced-up and now has a new program for College students and another program where the cardholder and The Linux Fund share the rewards. The card was formerly issued by MBNA. However, Bank of America, which acquired MBNA canceled the card program earlier this year. U.S. Bank has taken over the affinity card program. The Linux Fund says the card program generates about $100,000 per year which it gives out in grants to “Free and Open Source Software” projects. The Linux Fund has also donated to new ideas and teams who maintain things like Debian.

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NCR’s Teradata Names a New CFO

NCR’s Teradata has appointed Stephen (Steve) Scheppmann, previously EVP and CFO of Per-Se Technologies to the position of EVP/CFO. Scheppmann joins Teradata with 20 years of experience as a CFO and more than 10 years in public accounting. He is a member of the board of directors of eResearch Technology, Inc., a publicly-traded biotechnical services and technology company, where he also serves as the chair of its audit committee. Previously, he was executive vice president and CFO for NOVA Information Systems, Inc. from 2000 to 2006 and senior vice president and CFO for Larson-Juhl, Inc. from 1988 to 2000. He held senior auditing positions with Arthur Andersen & Company from 1978 through 1988. Scheppmann is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Teradata is a provider of enterprise data warehousing, analytic applications and data warehousing services.

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Dollar Rewards Members with an AEIS Card

Dollar Rent A Car Dollar Dividends members will earn quadruple points for car rental bookings of three days or more and travel agents will will receive a personalized American Express Incentive Services reward card. Once agents have earned 25 points, they will receive a the AEIS reward card that can be used anywhere the American Express card is welcome. One point is equivalent to $1 of purchasing power. Points accrued upon the completion of qualifying rentals of three days or more will be added to the card balance on a daily basis. Once the AEIS rewards card is issued, DOLLAR will update point balances daily with new transactions. Dollar has more than 535 worldwide locations in 48 countries. AEIS is a joint venture between American Express Travel Related Services Company Inc. and Maritz Inc., provides business-to-business reward solutions including prepaid cards, American Express Gift Cheques and a Web-based reward management tool.

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