SmartPay and China Unicom Introduce Agent Toll Stations

SmartPay and China Unicom have announced a partnership for the
implementation
of electronic payment services including SMS, web, IVR based top-up
services
and “Agent Toll Stations”, in a trial phase since June of 2005. These
“Toll Stations”,
using SmartPay’s mobile technology, will consist of a network of retail
and recharging
sales points. This will allow agents to add money to any Unicom user’s
mobile phone
using SmartPay’s technology and bank relationships. SmartPay provides a
variety of
mobile payment services throughout China.

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Discover Renames Platinum & Gas Credit Cards

Discover has renamed two of its most popular credit cards. The “Discover Platinum Card” is now the “Discover More Card” and and the “Discover Gas Card” is now the “Discover Open Road Card.” The redesigned cards offer different rewards accelerators. The “Discover More Card” offers the “Cashback Bonus” program plus the “5% Cashback Bonus Get More” program, which allows cardholders to earn more rewards in popular categories that change four times a year like gas, travel, home, apparel, restaurants, movies and more. The “Discover Open Road Card” carries the same core benefits plus cardholders receive a full “5% Cashback Bonus” on their first $1,200 in annual gas and auto maintenance purchases and up to 1% unlimited “Cashback Bonus” on all other purchases. Both cards remain annual fee free.

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Commission Drops Action Against HSBC

The Commerce Commission, composed of seven retailers, has dropped
allegations against HSBC for price fixing and credit card interchange fees.
These are fees charged by credit card companies to retailers as part of
the fees
they pay to banks that result in higher retail prices. Proceedings
against the
bank were initiated in November, however the Commission recently agreed
with the banks’ claim that it had limited involvement and released the
institution
of the allegations, seeking no financial penalty. The seven retailers
that make
the Commission include Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises plus Dick
Smith Electronics, Farmers, Noel Leeming, Whitcoulls and Mississippi.
The Commerce Act provides for penalties for price-fixing of up to $NZ10
million ($A8.89 million) per breach, three times the commercial gain
resulting from the breach, or 10 per cent of a company’s turnover.

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Prepaid FSA Cards Produce High Satisfaction

A recent survey commissioned by the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association found that 81% of consumers with prepaid health care cards were far more satisfied with being able to pay for eligible health care expenses from their flexible spending account (FSA). An FSA is an IRS-approved employee benefit provided by an employer. It allows employees to set aside part of their pre-tax wages to pay for eligible medical expenses not covered by insurance such as co-payments, eyeglasses and dental care. Prepaid health care cards carry a major brand logo (American Express, Discover, MasterCard or VISA). The funds are automatically deducted from the FSA and paid to the health care provider or store. The NBPCA is a non-profit, inter-industry trade association created in 2005 to advance the success of network branded prepaid cards.

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Innova Card Announces EMV Level 1 Approval

Innova Card’s USIP platform solution has been given EMV Level 1
type approval by T-Systems. T-Systems has given the solution a rating
certifying it to meet the requirements needed to comply with PCI PED
security standards. In doing so, Innova offers debugging and support
services to
customers who seek easy design and are concerned with quickly
receiving the EMV Level 1 Type Approval of their terminals. The company
also offers software development tools, security, and professional
services for PCI
PED and EMV certifications.

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BofA Warms Up to Promote Extra Bases Cards

Bank of America is launching its first full season of the “MLB Extra Bases” credit card program. Under the program, cardholders can redeem rewards points for tickets to regular season games as well as Major League Baseball “Jewel Events” including the “2007 All-Star Game” and 2007 post-season games, VIP all-access tours of select ballparks or a spectrum of unique rewards that only MLB and its 30 Clubs can deliver, many of which are exclusive to this program. Cardholders can choose a card design bearing the Major League Baseball silhouetted batter or the logo of their favorite Club. Each time they use their card, fans earn one point for every net retail dollar spent. BofA has national sponsorship agreements with the Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, Little League Baseball and Softball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The “MLB Extra Bases MasterCard” was launched in conjunction with the “2006 All-Star Week” in Pittsburgh last summer. (CF Library 7/10/06)

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New Citi Mobile Launches in California

Citibank has joined the mobile banking speed train with the launch of an m-banking application that can be quickly downloaded onto cell phones. The new “Citi Mobile” service is compatible with more than 100 popular mobile devices including the “Blackberry,” across major U.S. wireless carriers. “Citi Mobile” is scheduled to launch in California this week and by mid-year, all Citibank clients will be able to enroll in the service. Later this year, a Spanish language version of “Citi Mobile” will be released. Under the program Citi clients will be able to sign up online and in the near future via Citibank branches and by phone. Once enrolled, one click is all it takes to download “Citi Mobile”-a small application that takes just a minute or two to install. Once installed, clients simply select the Citi icon on their phone to access their accounts. The new service offers access to real-time balances; account activity; bill payment; payment scheduling; money transfers; ATM locations; and a contact mechanism to reach bank reps. In the U.K., Citi recently purchased Egg Banking and launched a Vodafone-branded mobile-based international money transfer service.

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Plastag and UV Color Agree to Merge

Plastag Holdings has reached an agreement to merge with Minneapolis/St.Paul-based UV Color, a manufacturer of gift cards, prepaid phone cards, secured card packaging, and collectible, trading and game cards. The consolidated organization will operate under the Plastag Holdings, LLC name. Dan Frederickson, UV Color’s current CEO, will lead the combined entity, serving as CEO of Plastag Holdings. Plastag is a manufacturer of printed plastic products.

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Global Payments 1Q/07 Revenues Rise 16%

Atlanta-based Global Payments reported that revenues for the quarter ended February 28th increased 16% to $260.4 million. Net income for the quarter jumped 14% to $34.3 million. GPN says the growth was driven by expansion in its domestic ISO channel, the Asia-Pacific joint venture with HSBC and card association incentives in Canada. However, GPN acknowledges that its consumer money transfer segment continues to reflect the unfavorable impact of a competitive domestic pricing environment. During the quarter, GPN extended its alliance relationship with Comerica Bank through January 2014; signed several agreements with casinos to provide its “VIP LightSpeed” cash access products and services; and in cooperation with the Czech Republic retail chain Globus, Global Payments Europe launched GP mobile. Also during the quarter Institutional Investor named Global Payments’ Chairman, President and CEO, Paul Garcia, one of “The Best CEOs in America” for the third year in a row. GPN updated its annual fiscal 2007 revenue guidance to a range of $1,050 million to $1,057 million or an expected 16% growth rate over fiscal 2006. For complete details on Global Payments latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 2/14/07; 2/21/07; 2/23/07)

GPN HISTORICAL
PERIOD REVENUES NET INCOME
1Q/06: $225.2mm $30.1mm
2Q/06: $238.8mm $34.1mm
3Q/06: $260.3mm $44.2mm
4Q/06: $260.7mm $34.0mm
1Q/07: $260.4mm $34.3mm
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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