Maxis Expects M-money To be profitable

Maxis Communications and Maybank expect the new M-money service
to be successful. The service is a mobile money service in Malaysia that
enables customers to securely spend and send money anytime,
anywhere locally using a mobile phone. Each transaction costs 50 sen
and the limit per transaction is RM500. This is the latest development
in m-Commerce and is parallel with the government promotion of cashless
transactions in the future. The joint venture between Maxis and Maybank
is expected to generate RM 500 million worth of transactions by 2010.
Also, one million customers are expected to use the service within the
first
12 months.

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Al Rajhi Bank to Buy Optimum Terminals

Hypercom has announced that Al Rajhi Bank has purchased 4,000
Optimum card payment terminals. Among the terminals purchased is
the “Optimum M2100” wireless terminal which is portable, battery-
operated and allows for secure point-of-sale transactions. Purchase
orders were also made for dial-up card payment terminals. Al
Rajhi Bank has over 500 branches, 1600 ATMs, and 1200 installed
points of sale. The bank has capital of SR 13,500,000,000.
Hypercom provides secure payment solutions in over 100 countries.

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Blackhawk Network Lands a FDC Executive

CA-based prepaid card specialist, Blackhawk Network, has hired Mari Ellis, former chief operations officer for the prepaid services group at First Data, as SVP Ellis joins Blackhawk Network with over thirty years of experience leading financial services companies. Prior to joining First Data, Ellis was a pioneer of stored value products and technology with American Express, a leading global payments, network and travel company. Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway Inc., is a prepaid and payments network, a market leader in card-based financial solutions and the largest provider of third-party prepaid cards.

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UTI Bank Launches New Rewards Program

UTI Bank has introduced the “UTI Bank Spice Rewards” merchant
supported rewards program. The program will provide promotional
marketing features to merchants and cardholders through Welcome
Real-time software. This merchant-centric promotional marketing
program is unique in that most points-based rewards programs are
operated by other banks. “UTI Bank Spice Rewards” will be available
to the 150,000 UTI Bank Credit Cards and all 6 million debit cards of
the Bank.

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European Prepaid Card Spending to Hit $164B by 2010

A new report predicts that spending on prepaid payment cards
in Europe will reach $164 billion within three years. The U.K. will emerge as Europe’s largest single market and the fourth largest in the world with a projected prepaid spend of $34 billion by 2010. The U.K. is closely followed by Italy where total spending is estimated to hit $33
billion and France, with an estimated total spend of $27 billion. The research by Boston Consulting Group and commissioned by MasterCard Europe, also projects that in Eastern Europe prepaid spending is set to make the biggest impact as a proportion of total payment card spend. In Poland, total prepaid spend is estimated to reach $11 billion and in Russia, the anticipated total prepaid spend is $23 billion by 2010.
The research also shows that one of the main drivers of prepaid spending in the upcoming future will be through Government programs. Prepaid cards help the public sector reduce welfare benefit fraud by driving cash out of the system and ensuring that payments reach those they are intended for.

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Chockstone Hires a Former TRM Executive

Loyalty marketer Chockstone has named Dan Tierney, previously in sales with TRM, as SVP of Sales. Tierney spent the past twelve years at TRM, where he directed sales, customer service and marketing for the $235 million provider of ATMs and self-service copiers installed in more than 40,000 convenience stores, grocery stores, and other retail locations throughout North America and Europe. Under Tierney’s diversification leadership, TRM became the largest non-bank provider of ATMs in the UK, and one of the largest non-bank ATM providers in the US. Tierney is a patent holder and degreed engineer from the University of California, Berkeley. He received his MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Santa Clara. Chockstone provides personalization, loyalty marketing, gift card and stored value solutions.

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ABnote Acquires Arthur Blank & Company

NJ-based American Banknote has acquired Boston-based Arthur Blank & Company for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock. The acquisition of the oldest and largest plastic card companies nearly doubles ABnote’s U.S. operations. Stuart and Eric Blank will assume responsibility for ABnote’s entire North American plastic card operations, including the ongoing management of Arthur Blank’s existing operations. ABnote Group is a major secure document, systems, and fulfillment company. The combination represents sales of more than 2 billion cards annually. Arthur Blank has the capacity to print up to 1.4 billion cards per year. Blank is also a leader in green technologies, such as its corn-based cards and its recycled cards. During the first quarter Blank unveiled the “MirrorCard” and the”Scratch ‘N’ Sniff Card.” (CF Library 2/16/07; 3/21/07)

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Ambassador Bridge Takes the Comdata Card

TN-based Comdata Corporation has announced the “Comdata Card” is now accepted at the Ambassador Bridge. The international crossing located between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario. Drivers can now swipe a Comdata Card to pay for tolls. Comdata provides custom solutions for a wide range of industries such as transportation, retail, government services, aviation, construction, service businesses, restaurants and hospitality. Comdata’s platforms support both its proprietary and branded card networks, as well as card processing for all card types. Ceridian Corporation is an information services company. In 2006 The Ambassador Bridge serviced more than 9.4 million vehicles, 3.5 million of which were trucks.

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Online Resources Q1 Revenues Soar by 85%

VA-based Online Resources Corporation reported revenue for the first quarter of $30.8 million, up 85% from the first quarter 2006. Net loss for the quarter was $9.5 million, compared to net income of $800,000 in 1Q/06. On the bank and credit union side of its business, billpay transactions grew 8% sequentially. On the e-commerce side of its business, payment transactions grew 17% sequentially, for an average of 9% total payments growth across the Company. Additionally, unique users of the Company’s services grew 8% sequentially, driven largely by an increase in users of biller-direct payments. During the first quarter the Company completed its debt refinancing and achieved the cost synergies it had targeted from the Princeton acquisition. ORCC serves over 9 million end-users and processes $100 billion in bill payments annually. For complete details on ORCC’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Global Cash Access Q1 Revenues Rise 15%

Las Vegas-based Global Cash Access reported a 15% increase in first quarter revenues to a record $148.7 million. The Company says same store surcharge revenue was up 9.9%, cash advance dollars disbursed rose 14.1%, and ATM transaction volume climbed 13.1%, compared to 1Q/06. Revenues from the “Arriva Card” in the first quarter were $600,000 and the operating loss from “Arriva” operations was $1.0 million. The “Arriva Card” now has 5,234 accounts and $21.5 million in transaction volume since its launch. “Arriva” charge-offs to date is $200,000 and the first quarter average cash advance transaction on the card was $871 versus $630 on non-“Arriva” cards. GCA also reported that “3-in-1 Enabled QuickJack Plus Redemption Kiosk” installations reached 467 at the end of the quarter. Additionally, the number of ATM transactions increased 13.1% from 16.7 million to 18.9 million. For complete details on GCA’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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New Bankruptcy Act Likely to Be Revised

The TowerGroup has released a new report, “Consumer Bankruptcy Reforms of 2005: Promises Kept, Unintended Consequences” indicating that “The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005” is not effective and expects the new Congress to review BAPCPA and revise the Act. While a reduction in total bankruptcy petitions since its passage in 2005 offers evidence of the Act’s success, TowerGroup found that initial optimism may need to be tempered in the face of growing criticism. While bankruptcy filings are down, recent bankruptcy volumes and consumer delinquencies are back on the rise. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys met with legislators in February 2007 to share its point of view that BAPCPA is not working. Critics of BAPCPA point to the Act’s unintended negative consequences including higher costs to administer the bankruptcy process, longer time frames to resolve bankruptcy proceedings, and higher costs for consumers. TowerGroup is a research and advisory services firm focused exclusively on the financial services industry.

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