Chase Becomes the Official Six Flags Card

NY-based Six Flags Amusement Parks and Chase Card Services have entered into a marketing and sponsorship relationship. Chase will become a “SixFlags Corporate Alliance” partner, collaborating on innovative in-park marketing and promotional initiatives and the Official Credit Card Issuer of Six Flags for all its U.S. parks. Chase will also become the first official sponsor of Six Flags’ “Read to Succeed” literary initiative, which promotes reading to over 1.5 million students in nearly 18,000 participating schools nationwide. JPMorgan Chase has more than 140 million credit cards issued. Six Flags is the world’s largest regional theme park company.

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Intersections’ 4Q/06 Revenue Stays Flat

VA-based Intersections reported that revenue for the fourth quarter was $54.7 million compared to $55.3 million for the third quarter and $43.2 million for the year ago quarter. Net income for the quarter was $639,000, compared to $2.6 million for the third quarter and $4.0 million for 4Q/05. The Company says earnings were impacted by approximately $1.2 million in previously announced severance payments to former senior executives, plus an additional $300,000 related to organizational consulting services related to these changes. Also, Intersections experienced an increase in the rate of credit card declines at one of their clients due to changes in the manner in which the client administers third party products, which resulted in a negative impact of approximately $1.4 million to pre-tax income. Total subscribers increased to approximately 4.63 million as of December 31st, compared to approximately 3.66 million as of year-end 2005. For more information on Intersection’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Citi and Obopay to Launch a P2P Pilot

Citi has inked an agreement with Obopay to pilot a P2P payments service later this year. The service will be offered to new and existing Citi credit and debit card customers. The new “Citi-Obopay Mobile P2P” service will allow pilot participants to send and receive money instantly via any mobile phone. Participants will be able to remotely track and manage their mobile payment accounts by checking balances, viewing payment histories, and adding funds directly from their mobile phone. Funds received via the service can also be accessed with a debit card provided with the service.

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Credit Manager’s Index Continues to Weaken

The “Credit Manager’s Index” slipped in February to 56.6, the sixth decline in seven months. The latest “Index” was impacted by sharp decreases in new credit applications. The National Association of Credit Management also notes that businesses are curtailing their spending in anticipation of an economic slowdown, a notion confirmed by January’s durable goods orders report, which showed that business orders for items meant to last more than a year dropped sharply last month. The NACM says there is continued economic momentum accompanied by stubborn signs of deterioration as median housing prices have fallen for six consecutive months and the U.S. Treasury yield curve has become increasingly negative. The seasonally adjusted “CMI” dropped 0.6% from 57.2 in January. One-year ago the “Index” stood at 57.3. On a year-over-year basis, the overall “CMI” fell 0.7%, as the drop in the services component of 2.6% more than outweighed the manufacturing component’s rise of 1.3%.

Credit Manager’s Index
Feb 06: 57.3
Mar 06: 58.1
Apr 06: 57.5
May 06: 54.9
Jun 06: 57.2
Jul 06: 57.6
Aug 06: 57.3
Sep 06: 57.1
Oct 06: 55.3
Nov 06: 55.2
Dec 06: 54.7
Jan 07: 57.2
Feb 07: 56.6
Source: National Association of Credit Management

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WESTERN UNION MILESTONE

The Western Union Company has topped 300,000 locations around the
globe after nailing big deals in India. In 2003, Western Union had
151,000 locations and hit 271,000 last year. The latest opening is in
Chandigarh. Western Union has more than 36,000 agent locations in India
across more than 4,000 cities, towns and villages. This includes over
8,500 post offices, over 14,000 branches of leading banks and over
14,000 locations of leading public-and private-sector companies. Its
newest agent location is run by Paul Merchants Limited, a principal
agent for Western Union in India since 1998. PML commenced Money
Exchange business in 1995 and at the moment is one of the leading
players in Money Exchange arena and is rated amongst top ten sellers of
“American Express Travelers Cheques” in India.

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7-Eleven Expands VISA’s ReadyLink Footprint

VISA USA has signed an agreement with c-store giant 7-Eleven to introduce the “ReadyLink” prepaid load network to its U.S. stores. Cardholders will be able to load funds onto participating VISA reloadable prepaid cards at 7-Eleven stores later this year. Earlier this week, VISA USA announced it landed 20 “ReadyLink” participants to-date. VISA “ReadyLink” issuers now include BankFirst, U.S. Bank, Bank of America, MetaBank, National City Bank and West Suburban Bank. Partners in the process of adopting the service include ADP Employer Services, FSV Payment Systems, Money Network, PreCash and Skylight Financial. “ReadyLink” processors include: Galileo, Metavante, Alliance Data and eFunds Prepaid Solutions. Acquiring financial institutions include Fifth Third and Fiserv. (CF Library 2/28/07)

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Direct Mail Up 3% for the Top 5 U.S. Issuers

The top five issuers mailed out nearly six billion direct mail credit card offers to consumers last year, about 3% more than 2005. Totally, the credit card industry sent out 9.2 billion direct mail pieces in 2006, an increase of 6% over the prior year. Chase was the top mailer for the year, sending out more than 1.7 billion acquisition direct mail pieces, a 4% decline from 2005. Mintel Comperemedia reports that Discover increased its card mail by 29% last year, mailing out 626 million offers. Capital One posted at 13% gain over 2005 in their direct mail activity, the biggest gain of the top five. In 2005, Cap One mailed out 1.1 billion pieces, a 24% drop over the prior year. HSBC increased its direct mail acquisition activity by 25% last year, according to Comperemedia.

TOP CARD MAILERS
(pieces in millions)
ISSUER 2006 2005
Chase 1711 1809
Cap One 1192 1055
AmEx 1099 999
Citi 990 905
BofA 985 1052
HSBC 839 671
Disc 626 485
Source: Mintel Comperemedia

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Asset Acceptance Revenues Up 14% in 4Q/06

Charged-off debt specialist Asset Acceptance Capital reported that fourth quarter revenues increased 14.3% to $61.5 million, compared to 4Q/05. However, net income for the year decreased 11% to $45.5 million. The Company’s investments in purchased receivables were $62.2 million in the fourth quarter alone. During the fourth quarter, the Company invested a record $62.2 million to purchase charged-off consumer debt portfolios with a face value of $2.5 billion, representing a blended rate of 2.46% of face value. The Company also announced that its offices in Maryland will cease to be in service in the third quarter and the Michigan office in the fourth quarter. For complete details on AACC’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Wincor NixDorf & Cisco Launch SecurePOS

Wincor NixDorf International and Cisco Systems are developing a solution
called “SecurePOS”. “SecurePOS” will enhance the security of cashless
payment transaction data and help retailers address some of the Payment
Card Industry’s data security (PCI) standard requirement. In doing so, the
new solution will protect the data traffic passing from
point-of-sale(POS) terminals to the central systems in retailing
enterprises by using data encryption. The data is encrypted before being
dispatched to the data center.

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Canadian Cross-Border Debit TXs Up 34% in 06

NYCE Payments Network reports it logged three million Canadian cross-border debit transactions during the most recent holiday shopping season. Since the launch of cross-border debit, Canadian cardholders’ average transaction amount on the NYCE Network has outpaced the U.S. figure by 34%. This has helped deliver additional purchase value to retailers, while also generally reducing payment expenses compared with credit cards. While the U.S. figure averages $47 per purchase, the Canadian average sits ahead at $63. Through NYCE, Canadians can make PIN debit purchases at more than 1.5 million U.S. retailer locations participating in the NYCE Network.

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DOCOMO & MCDONALDS

Tokyo-based NTT DoCoMo and McDonald’s have teamed to jointly
promote e-marketing based on DoCoMo’s “Osaifu-Keitai” e-wallet services. Both firms have formed a joint venture company to meet the goal by July with paid-in capital of 300 million yen, 70% coming from McDonald’s and 30% from DoCoMo. The JV will aim to quickly launch services by
integrating the customer bases comprised of McDonald’s 1.4 billion
annual customers and DoCoMo’s 52 million mobile phone subscribers. Mobile services for iD credit-card payments and ToruCa information capture will be introduced in McDonald’s stores throughout Japan beginning in October.

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