Discover Network Adds Another Card Issuer

MO-based Heartland Bank has become the newest issuer of “Discover Network Cards.” The new card will feature Discover’s new “Perks Everyday” points-based rewards program. In honor of Heartland Bank’s 120th anniversary, cardholders will also receive one entry into the “120-Year Celebration Promotion” with each purchase made with their Heartland Bank Discover Network Card during the remainder of 2007. One lucky winner will win 120,000 “Heartland Discover Network Rewards Points” to be credited to their account. Other Discover network issuers include: Alliance Data, First Bank & Trust, Morgan Beaumont, West Suburban Bancorp, Palm Desert National Bank, HSBC Bank Nevada, affiliates of GE Consumer Finance, and CompuCredit. Discover Card has more than 50 million cardholders and over 4 million merchant and cash access locations in the USA. (CF Library 6/14/06)

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28% of Small Merchants Offer Gift Cards

New research shows that gift card penetration among retail stores, mail/telephone orders, hotels and restaurants in the U.S. and Canada has surged from 2% in 2003 to 28% this year. The research, based on merchants with less than $10 million in annual sales, showed that use of closed loop or single purpose gift cards was most prevalent in restaurants. In the U.S. 57% of restaurants offer gift cards, compared to only 13% of retail stores in the same peer group. The study by First Annapolis found that in Canada 29% of the peer group retail stores offered gift cards. About 20% of hotels offered such cards in the U.S., compared to 13% in Canada.

CLOSED LOOP GIFT CARDS
(Merchants less than $10MM in Annual Sales)
U.S. CANADA
Retail 13% 29%
MOTO 25% 9%
Hotels 20% 13%
Restaurants 57% 53%
Source: First Annapolis

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SafePay Plans to Acquire Digital 440

SafePay Solutions Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of CA-based Digital 440 Corporation, developers of software programs that enables retailers to dynamically configure and distribute a wide array of consumer electronics to specific customer orders. SafePay Solutions enables anyone with an e-mail address to send and receive payments; and merchant and corporate clients can conduct business with SafePay’s vast array of financial management tools.

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AmEx and The Boston Celtics Team

American Express and The Boston Celtics have announced a sponsorship program to provide special incentives for purchasing season tickets. American Express Cardmembers are eligible for special events throughout the season, including the chance to attend a Celtics practice and take part in a question and answer session with Celtics legends, as well as autograph sessions with Celtics players; exclusive access to a block of lower level tickets for all Celtics home games; the chance to purchase Celtics single game tickets before the general public and special ticket offers to select games. The Celtics will also create a special ticket package for American Express Cardmembers as well as a priority waiting list for Cardmembers who wish to purchase season tickets.

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CheckFree Attracts Shareholder Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of shareholders of Checkfree, alleging that the Company failed to disclose material adverse facts. The Class Period is from April 4, 2006 through August 1, 2006 inclusive. They include: that the Company was experiencing a drastic downturn in its transaction growth; that the Company lacked adequate internal and financial controls; and that, as a result of the foregoing, the Company’s financial and operational projections were lacking in a reasonable basis when made.Prior to and throughout the Class Period, CheckFree relayed to investors and analysts that the Company would maintain its consistent financial performance and impressive growth. It was projected that the Company would realize 25 percent annual transaction growth for the foreseeable future. Citing Company statements, financial analysts projected that shares of the Company’s stock would reach over $60 per share in the near future. However, on August 1, 2006, the Company shocked investors and financial analysts when it disclosed that its quarterly results for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006 were vastly below their forecasted projections for the quarter. On this news, shares of CheckFree declined $5.93 per share, or 13.75 percent, to close on August 2, 2006 at $37.20 per share, on unusually heavy trading volume. Class members are represented by the law firm of PA-based Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler.

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MEI Acquires Currency Specialist VTI

MEI Conlux has acquired the assets of Las Vegas-based VTI, a provider of currency validation products. The acquisition adds the “VTI Vector” and “Matrix” products to the existing MEI “Conlux” product portfolio provided to the retail, transportation, amusement, vending and gaming markets. These two products complement existing technologies and enable MEI Conlux to offer a broader range of solutions to both existing and new customers. ValTech International designs and manufactures professional currency validation products. MEI Conlux holds the world’s largest installed base of unattended payment systems, handling over 2 billion transactions per week in 90 countries.

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Chase Paymentech Expands Globally

Dallas-based Chase Paymentech announced a major European expansion to tap into the market opportunities arising from the formation of an internal market for payments in Europe such as the “Single Euro Payments Area” initiative. To lead the expansion the Company has hired Shane Fitzpatrick as managing director. Fitzpatrick had served as AOL’s director and general manager for European operations and also chaired a number of boards at Time Warner International. He is co-founder and chairman of the European Direct Response Forum, founded in 2003 for ecommerce merchants to share knowledge in the consumer payments, service and fulfillment areas. The Euro-DRF is sponsored by Chase Paymentech. Chase Paymentech established its European operation in 2002, after having processed payment transactions in the region for more than 13 years. The Company also announced that John Shirey, group manager, will undertake a new assignment to further develop Chase Paymentech’s expansion in the Asia Pacific region. For more information on the Chase Paymentech expansion visit CardFlash International ([www.cardflashinternational.com][1])

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

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MasterCard U.S. Q1 GDV Gains Momentum

MasterCard reported that the gross dollar volume for its debit programs in the U.S. rose 41% in the first quarter to $90 billion compared to 1Q/06, and is up 6% sequentially. U.S. credit and charge card GDV grew 4% year-on-year to $148 billion for 1Q/07, compared to a 3% gain for the fourth quarter. Globally, MasterCard’s credit and charge card programs are up about 13% in 1Q/07. Purchase dollar volume for U.S. credit/charge cards rose 8%, while debit programs soared by 45%. At the end of the first quarter, MasterCard had 217 million accounts and 267 million cards for its U.S. credit and charge card products. One-year ago, MasterCard has 210 million accounts and 257 million cards for its U.S. credit and charge card products. As of March 31st, MasterCard had 98 million accounts and 103 million cards for its U.S. debit programs, compared to 80 million accounts and 86 million cards at the end of March 31st, 2006.

U.S. Gross Dollar Volume
1Q/06: $205 billion
2Q/06: $232 billion
3Q/06: $238 billion
4Q/06: $244 billion
1Q/07: $237 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Gemalto Q1 Transactions Revenue Up 7%

Smart card specialist Gemalto reports that first quarter revenue declined 7% to $491 million due lower revenue in Mobile Communication and Public Telephony offset by solid growth on the back of higher microprocessor card volumes delivered for payment and pay-TV applications. The Secure Transactions unit which includes Financial Services and pay-TV rose 7% to $130 million. Deliveries of microprocessor cards were up by 16%, driven by on-going EMV deployment, primarily in Europe and certain Latin America countries. Average selling prices decreased due to more intense competition in certain high growth markets which are migrating to EMV and to a greater share of modules in total deliveries on the back of rapid development in North Asia. The contactless payment market confirms its strong potential with initial launches in North Asia and the United Kingdom, and new deployments in the USA. Gemalto is currently participating in about 20 mobile contactless payment pilots throughout the world. For complete details on Gemalto’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Wright Express Q1 Revenues Rise 11%

Fuel card specialist Wright Express reported revenue for the first quarter of $72 million a year-on-year increase of 11%. However, net income for the first quarter was $8 million, compared with a $11 million in 4Q/05. Total fuel transactions processed increased 3% from one-year ago to 59.9 million. Payment processing transactions increased 16% to 50.6 million, and transaction processing transactions decreased 36% to 9.4 million. The average expenditure per payment processing transaction was up 1% to $49.32 from $48.63 for the same period last year. Total MasterCard purchase volume grew 43% to $385.9 million, from 1Q/06. For the second quarter, revenue is expected to be in the range of $78 million to $83 million. For complete details on Wright Express’ first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Ceridian Hires Small Business Leader

Ceridian has named Vincent Mottola, formerly global solutions leader for MasterCard Advisors, as SVP of Ceridian Small Business. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of development for GE’s Partnership Marketing Group. With Ceridian, Mottola will lead sales and operations for Ceridian’s HR/payroll, tax filing, benefits administration and other employer services offerings to the national small business market. Mottola is a graduate of City University of New York. Ceridian provides managed human resource solutions that include payroll and compensation, staffing, compliance, HR administration and employee effectiveness.

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