First Premier Shows Sub-Prime Market is OK

Despite the overall downturn in the sub-prime market, SD-based First Premier Bank continues to churn-out a solid performance. During the first quarter the issuer reported it added more than 100,000 cards to its portfolio. Outstandings rose 10% to $760,897,788, compared to 1Q/06. First quarter volume was up 8% to $319,939,641. First Premier’s account based increased from 4,003,282 in the fourth quarter to 4,142,265 for 1Q/07. According to FitchRatings, charge-offs for sub-prime portfolios decreased to 8.73% in March from 9.53% in February. The monthly payment rate decreased 69 bps to 9.89% from 10.58% in February. However, gross yield for sub-prime portfolios decreased 239 bps to 24.15% in March from 26.54% in February.

FIRST PREMIER ACCOUNT HISTORICAL
1Q/06: 3,755,000
2Q/06: 3,849,000
3Q/06: 3,958,000
4Q/06: 4,003,000
1Q/07: 4,112,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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VideoKall Money Transfer Service is Launched

CA-based VideoKall says it has been working in stealth mode for some time with strategic partners on a video payphone-based EFT service called “VideoKall” for personal use and for migrant workers who have no bank accounts. The “VideoKall” service will provide public video payphones in shopping malls in several states where Mexican, Filipino and Indian migrant workers are frequent visitors. The service allows both sender and recipient to see each other on a video payphone before and during the money transfer. Workers in the U.S. will purchase smart cards to the value of the remittance they wish to send abroad, and then SMS text message their relatives abroad to let them know the mall location plus the phone number of the video payphone and the date and time they will call. The incentive for both parties to visit a mall, at a predetermined time to make the transfer.

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Ukrops Expands Savings Spot to Virginia

Ukrop’s Super Markets announced that its “Savings Spot” loyalty card program has expanded to all Ukrop’s Super Markets in Virginia. “Savings Spot”is a 1-to-1 shopper program delivering personalized offers and messages to shoppers at the start of their shopping trips. Shoppers scan their Ukrop’s Valued Customer Card (UVC Card) at the Savings Spot dispenser located near the store entrance and within seconds receive a sheet of up to eight offers and messages selected just for them based on their shopping history. Ukrop’s was the first retailer to pilot this system with its creator, Entry Point Communications (EPC) and joins Price Chopper based in Schenectady, NY in EPC’s growing retail media network of Entry Marketing dispensers. Ukrop’s Super Markets operates 28 retail food stores.

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Partnership Formed to Develop a GPS Terminal

Targeting the fast food and delivery markets, Worldscout Corporation
& BNA have announced a collaboration for developing a GPS, wireless,
credit/debit payment terminal. The GPS feature will enhance security by
allowing the processing corporations to be aware of the device location
at all times. It will also let the company know where delivery drivers are
and verify delivery times. Also offered with the solution is a “Panic
Button”
feature for the drivers’ safety in the event of a robbery or disablement.
Worldscout is a developer of global positioning technology. BNA is a
provider of Banksys Point-of-sale terminals.

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Credit Card Spending is Headed Upward

After three months of declining confidence, the latest measurement has found that consumers are much more positive about current conditions but less optimistic about their future prospects. Also, Americans’ ratings of their current personal finances strengthened in May, with 31% of consumers saying their personal finances are strong, up from 26% in April. In addition, consumers indicated greater comfort with making major purchases. As a result of these mixed attitudes, the “RBC CASH Index” rose to 87.1 for May, slightly above April’s 85.4 level. RBC says consumers remain relatively positive about their current conditions, likely due to the rising stock market and income gains. The “RBC CASH Index” is a monthly national survey of consumer attitudes on the current and future state of local economies, personal finance situations, savings and confidence to make large investments. The “Index” is composed of four sub-indices: “RBC Current Conditions Index;” “RBC Expectations Index;” “RBC Investment Index;” and “RBC Jobs Index.”

RBC INDEX HISTORICAL
May 06: 67.1
Jun 06: 84.1
Jul 06: 80.1
Aug 06: 74.8
Sep 06: 93.7
Oct 06: 83.1
Nov 06: 92.4
Dec 06: 86.9
Jan 07: 95.3
Feb 07: 103.0
Mar 07: 92.3
Apr 07: 85.4
May 07: 87.1
Source: RBC Financial Group

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Aeroplan Revenues Rise 13% in 1Q/07

Aeroplan has reported an increase since last year reflecting growth
in consumer spending and credit and charge card usage translating
into increased volume from the credit and charge card accumulation
partners. Gross billing for 1Q07 was reported at $228.0 million, an
increase of $26.5 million since 1Q06. This increase is primarily
attributable to an increase of 1.9 billion, or 11.5%, Aeroplan Miles
sold as a result of higher sales to accumulation partners. Cost of
rewards amounted to $155.1 million for 1Q07, compared to $124.9
million in 1Q06, an increase of 24.2%. Aeroplan’s members
earn Aeroplan Miles with its network of more than 60 partners and
representing more than 100 brands in the financial, retail and travel
sectors. Miles earned may be redeemed for Aeroplan’s industry-leading
ClassicFlight Rewards, innovative ClassicPlus Flight Rewards and global
Star Alliance Flight Rewards, offering travel to more than 850 destinations
worldwide. In 2006 more than 1.4 million round-trip flight rewards were
issued. Aeroplan’s rewards include more than 400 specialty, merchandise
and experiential rewards, as well as hotel and car rental rewards.

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Cardtronics Juices its Credit Agreement

Houston-based Cardtronics has completed a recent amendment to its existing “Credit Agreement” which reduces the current margin paid by the Company on certain types of advances and increases the Company’s annual authorized capital expenditure levels from $50 million to $60 million. Cardtronics is the world’s largest non-bank owner/operator of ATMs with more than 25,000 locations

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Canadian Tire’s Credit Cards Profitable For 1Q/07

Canadian Tire Corporation Limited has reported 1Q07 earnings of $64.5
million, an increase of 35.5% since 1Q06. Of the Corporations four
businesses, The Canadian Tire Financial Services, which markets a range
of branded credit cards, had a total managed portfolio at the end of 1Q07
of $3,473.5 million, an increase of 5.4% since 1Q06. The overall adjusted
earnings, before income taxes increased by 15.1% from $42.2 million in
1Q06 to 48.5 million in 1Q07. Reflecting growth of the division, Financial
Services’ total ending credit card loans receivable reached $3.3
billion, up
8.7% from $3 billion in 1Q06, thanks in large part to the “Gas Advantage
MasterCard” in Ontario. Growth in the credit card loan portfolio was also
due to a 5.6 % increase in the average account balance to $1,829 from
$1,731 in 1Q06. The net write-off rate for the credit card portfolio
improved during the year to 5.82% from 6.19 % in 1Q06. The results
reflect growth in the credit card loan portfolio, lower than planned
write-off
and allowance costs, and a reduction in the operating expense ratio,
partially offset by ongoing expenses related to the retail banking
initiative of
$4.8 million as compared to $0.2 million in the first quarter of 2006.
Financial
Services markets a range of Canadian Tire-branded credit cards including
the
Canadian Tire Options MasterCard, Commercial Link MasterCard and Gas
Advantage MasterCard.

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HALIFAX ONE CARD

Halifax has announced that it has launched the “One Card” with new
features and benefits. This includes online protection for Internet
transactions,
0% for 9 months on both balance transfers and purchases, 0% for 6 months
on new balance transfers made from the start of the calendar month
following
the 1st year anniversary of the card, and an APR of 13.9%. Customers can
apply for the card over the phone, the Internet, or at a Halifax Bank
branch
and is available in Black, Pink and Red.

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PayPal Adds 87 More International Markets

PayPal has added 87 new markets bringing its total global base to 190 markets. With more than 143 million accounts globally, PayPal users can now move money to places like Benin, Comoros, Kiribati, Nauru, Sao Tome and Tuvalu. Additionally, customers using PayPal.com can also view the site in Spanish, French and simplified Chinese. The eBay Company now offers customers in 46 markets the ability to transact in their native language, making domestic and cross border trading secure and simple for millions of customers around the globe. In the first three months of this year, PayPal’s total payment volume was an astounding $11 billion.

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