Austin Ventures Creditcards.com Cited for Growth

Austin-based CreditCards.com was selected to receive the “Outstanding Corporate Growth and Emerging Company” award from the Central Texas Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. The company received the award for businesses with annual revenues in 2006 between $25 million and $100 million. The prestigious award recognizes excellence in sustained corporate growth and financial performance. CreditCards.com, which enables consumers to search, compare and apply for cards online, has experienced over a ten-fold growth in revenue since its startup in 2003. CreditCards.com is an online credit card marketplace. In 2006, over 11 million unique visitors used CreditCards.com to search for their next credit card.

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TSYS and CUP Process for China’s Huaxia Bank

TSYS’ joint venture with China UnionPay has begun providing processing services for Huaxia Bank. Huaxia Bank has a strategic partnership with Deutsche Bank, one of the world’s largest financial institutions. CUP Data now provides processing services for three of the four largest issuing banks in China that use outsourced services to support their payment programs. CUP Data is China’s largest third-party processor of bankcard accounts, providing transaction processing, disaster recovery and other services for issuing banks in China. TSYS owns a 44.5-percent equity stake in CUP Data, and is the only payments network sanctioned by the People’s Bank of China. TSYS is one of the world’s largest companies for outsourced payment services.

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New York State Bans Universal Default

Both houses of the New York State Legislature yesterday approved legislation to ban the practice of “universal default.” The legislation (S.2969B/A.5325C) would prohibit credit card companies that do business in New York from enforcing universal default provisions against New York cardholders. The legislation was led by State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) and Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera (D-Bronx). It was introduced in February. There are approximately 30 million credit cards issued to New York residents. The legislation is now being sent to New York Governor Spitzer for final approval.

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Oberthur to Shut-Down its Illinois Factory

Oberthur Card Systems announced a industrial reorganization in order to achieve economies of scale while maintaining geographical proximity to its customers. Card personalization centers in the U.S. will be reorganized into two centers instead of three. The business of the Illinois site, which employs 124 people, will be transferred to the Los Angeles and the Virginia sites. In order to maintain production in France in a sustainable way, Oberthur says the production of high added value SIM cards and manufacturing, currently taking place in Caen, will be kept in France and reorganized alongside the manufacture of bank cards at the single site in Vitre. Every one of the 163 employees at Caen will be offered employment at Vitre or elsewhere within the company. Also, the production of SIM cards with low added value will take place in existing sites outside Europe.

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InComm Drops Monthly Fees from Prepaid Cards

Atlanta-based InComm has dropped the monthly fees attached to its “Mio Money Prepaid MasterCard” and “Mio Now Card.” The move is part of Company’s new “Advantage Rate Plan” which it says is so competitive that the company is moving all of its existing cardholders on the “Value” and “Fee Based” rate plans to the new plan. “Mio Cards” are available for purchase at Pilot Travel Centers, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Fred’s Discount Stores, Village Pantry Convenience Stores, Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Cash America International and others. The “Mio Money MasterCard” is issued by SD-based BankFirst. Meanwhile, Brooks Smith, InComm Founder, President and CEO, has been awarded the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur Of The Year 2007 Award” in the “Consumer Products” category for Alabama/Georgia/Tennessee.

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Experian & PlaNet Explore Microfinance

Experian has signed agreements with PlaNet to promote credit bureau
projects in countries with developed microfinance. This development is
intent on providing microfinance institutions with clear consumer history
and spending habits. This will contribute to the growth of the economy
by extending spending power to low-risk consumers. Experian has the
software tools PlaNet Finance seeks to build credit bureau capabilities
to serve the microfinance sectors in these respective countries.

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New AmEx Reorganization Shakes Up Executives

American Express announced a reorganization of the company into two distinct customer-focused groups and promoted two top executives to lead the way. Alfred Kelly has been promoted to president of American Express and will head the Global Consumer Group. Kelly joined AmEx in 1987 and previously served as Group President, Consumer, Small Business and Merchant Services. Edward Gilligan has been promoted to vice chairman of AmEx and he will head the Global Business-to-Business Group. Gilligan joined AmEx in 1980 and previously served as Group President, AmEx International and Global Corporate Services. Also, as part of this new organization structure, Judson Linville has been promoted to president and CEO of the U.S. Consumer business. Additionally, William Glenn was named president of the Global Establishment Services Group and Douglas Buckminster was named president, International Consumer Business. The Company also announced an Operating Committee that will be responsible for developing the company’s strategic direction and policies.

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Vesta Launches a Top-Up Service for O2 Ireland

Vesta has launched a top-up service for O2 Ireland allowing prepaid
customers to top up anytime from their phone by dialing “1749”. This
partnership also allows customers to refill someone else’s prepaid cell
phone strengthening Vesta’s foothold in Europe. Vesta is one of the 500
fastest growing companies in the world and has relationships with such
companies as AT&T Mobility, AT&T Long Distance, alphyra group ltd.,
China Mobile, China Unicom, Ericsson, Meteor Mobile Communications,
Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

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ViVOtech and mFoundry Partner for M-Banking

ViVOtech and mobile platform provider mFoundry announced a partnership to provide mobile financial services. mFoundry’s and ViVOtech’s combined technologies will give consumers a simple new way to use their mobile phone for contactless payments, banking and commerce. mFoundry’s “Spotlight Financial Platform” is a mobile financial platform that serves the needs of both operators and financial institutions, and has been designed to immediately accommodate nearly any type of financial transaction. ViVOtech’s innovative solutions include over-the-air (OTA) provisioning infrastructure software for cards and promotions, Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile phone payment, and transaction management software.

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FTC Expands the ChoicePoint Claim Campaign

The FTC is sending reimbursement claims to consumers who may have been identity theft victims due to the ChoicePoint data breaches. The Federal Trade Commission has mailed reimbursement claim forms to more than 2,400 consumers. In December 2006, the Commission mailed claim forms to 1,400 consumers who were identified with the assistance of law enforcement, with instructions on how to file a claim. In April 2007, 1,500 consumers were identified and contacted. The FTC also has created a Web site – http://www.ftc.gov/choicepoint – where consumers who do not receive a letter can download a claim form and obtain information about the claims process. In 2005, ChoicePoint, which compiles and sells personal information, announced that it had sold information about many consumers to people who turned out to be identity thieves. The FTC and ChoicePoint reached a settlement requiring the company to pay $5 million to be used to reimburse consumers for expenses due to identity theft caused by ChoicePoint’s security breach.

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First Data Intl Inks PC Vendor Lenovo

First Data International has signed a three-year merchant processing agreement with PC vendor Lenovo. Under the terms of the agreement, First Data will handle all e-commerce payment processing for Lenovo. All transactions and authorizations will route through First Data’s global merchant processing platform. ABN AMRO will serve as the major acquiring bank, and will provide Lenovo its full suite of transaction banking solutions, including payments, treasury and investment management and trade services. First Data International, part of First Data Corp., is a provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses worldwide. ABN AMRO is a leading international bank with total assets of EUR 1,054.60 bln.

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