Card Express International Launches

Card Express is spinning off its technology and processing functions under a new name, Card Express International, reflecting the company’s focus on global transaction processing for financial institutions, independent sales organizations (ISOs) and other resellers. CardEx’s processing platform supports prepaid card ordering, fulfillment, tracking, transaction processing, reporting, risk management and customer service functions. Card Express and the remaining services, including the corporate direct sales of prepaid products, are now regrouped under Prepaid Direct. Card Express International is a global processor of prepaid debit card products and services utilizing the VISA and MasterCard platforms.

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Zebra Mobile Printers Meet PCI Standards

IL-based Zebra Technologies has announced that its mobile printers satisfy the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Version 1.1 for wireless payment card processing. One of the biggest changes in Version 1.1, which was released in fall 2006, is required support for WPA or WPA2 wireless security standards. WPA and WPA2 security is supported throughout Zebra’s wireless product line, including the QL Plus, RW and MZ series of mobile printers, which are used by retailers worldwide for portable point-of-sale (POS), line-busting and many other customer service, pricing and shelf management applications. Merchants who accept cards issued by PCI members must comply with PCI Data Security Standards. Zebra Technologies Corporation is a provider of printing solutions for business improvement and security applications in 100 countries around the world.

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66% Use an ATM Not Owned by Their Bank

A recent survey of 403 Canadians reflected that two-thirds of consumers
use ATMs not owned by their bank at least once a month. If consumers
were given the option of paying an ATM fee or having less ATMs at their
disposal, 50% of those polled would choose the ATM fees and are not
interested in trading fees for convenience. Furthermore, according to the study conducted by Advanis, more than 25% of those polled use a competitive or out-of-network ATM three or more times a month.

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PMI Indicates Near Stagnate Retail Sales

The “Retail Purchasing Managers’ Index” has indicated a very
stagnate retail market in “The Bloomberg Eurozone” (Italy, Germany, and
France). The “Index,” released by Bloomberg Media, is currently 49.8,
below the critical level of 50 which indicates absolutely no-change in
the market. This index score, however, is an improvement from January
when the “PMI” hit a 23-month low of 47.9. While the German and Italian
Markets are struggling, France has seen an increase to a four-month high
of 54.7 “PMI.” Strongest sales were seen in the toiletries & cosmetics
markets, followed by household goods, then food & drink.
Targets,however, were missed in all sectors, with the biggest
disappointment seen in the automobile market. Bloomberg’s media services
include the global BLOOMBERG NEWS service with more than 2,000
professionals in 126 bureaus worldwide.

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Target’s Card Profits Jump 41% in Q4

Target reported that its pre-tax credit card profits for the quarter ending February 3rd increased 41% over the year-ago quarter. Credit card outstandings for the quarter increased 9.7% year-on-year, remaining well above $6.0 billion. Target’s fourth calendar quarter pre-tax credit card profits were $187 million, compared to $176 million in the prior quarter and $133 million one-year ago. Target reported that its total credit card receivables, which include its VISA and “Guest” cards, were $6.711 billion as of February 3rd, compared to $6.148 billion for 3Q/06 and $6.117 billion one-year ago. Delinquency (90 days+) for 4Q/06 decreased to 3.5%, compared to 3.9% in the prior quarter and 2.8% one-year ago. Charge-offs rose to 6.1% for 4Q/06 compared to 5.5% in the prior quarter and 6.5% one-year ago. Target’s credit card unit had revenues of $305 million in 4Q/06, an 18% increase over 4Q/05. For complete details on Target’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

TARGET CARD LOAN HISTORICAL
(Excludes Mervyn’s & Marshall Field’s)
4Q/05: $6.177 billion
1Q/06: $5.844 billion
2Q/06: $6.041 billion
3Q/06: $6.148 billion
4Q/06: $6.711 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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TNS Revenues Up 13.4% in 4Q/06

Data communication provider TNS reported fourth quarter and full-year 2006 results. The Q4 2006 total revenue increased 13.4% to $74.4 million from Q4 2005 revenue of $65.6 million. Revenue from the International Services Division increased 23.3% to $29.3 million from $23.7 million. Revenue from the Financial Services Division increased 12.2% to $9.3 million from $8.3 million. Revenue from the Telecommunication Services Division increased 12.0% to $15.1 million from $13.4 million. Revenue from the POS Division increased 3.2% to $20.8 million on 1.5 billion transactions from $20.2 million on 1.4 billion transactions in Q4 2005. Total 2006 revenue increased 10.5% to $286.2 million from 2005 revenues of $258.9 million. TNS is a provider of business-critical, cost-effective data communications services for transaction-oriented applications.

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Elan Acquires 83 Card Portfolios in 06

U.S. Bank’s Elan Financial Services reported that it acquired 83 credit card portfolios with $324.6 million in combined outstanding balances. Elan says this is a 53% jump over the prior year. Elan notes that while service and product needs were the primary concerns, 2006 saw the rising cost of funds and other issues, such as fraud risk, which was what truly opened the door to discussions on portfolio sales and ensuing outsourcing partnerships. Elan has more than 1,600 financial institution partnerships in place to-date.

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CyberMonday Funds Online Retail Careers

Shop.org announced that its CyberMonday.com website raised more than $107,000 during the holiday season for the Ray M. Greenly Scholarship Fund to promote careers in online retail. To date, the Fund has collected more than $120,000 since it was created in January 2006. According to Mall Networks, which powers the website, consumers spent $3.2 million through CyberMonday.com during the holidays. Shop.org is the network for retailers online with 600 members. Its programs and activities include benchmarking research, events and networking communities.

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Card Surcharge Bill Debated in Texas

A bill was introduced in the Financial Institutions Committee in the Texas State House of Representatives that would permit Texas retailers to pass the cost of electronic transactions onto consumers who choose to pay with payment cards. “HB 1236” would amend current Texas statute which prevents merchants from surcharging customers who choose to pay for their purchases with credit cards. “HB 1236” would allow merchants to surcharge consumers who choose to pay with credit cards for purchases not exceeding $10. The Washington, DC-based Americans for Consumer Education and Competition says similar legislation was popping up in state legislatures around the country last year and we are seeing a similar pattern emerge as the 2007 sessions begin.

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GCA Signs Three More ATM & Arriva Card Deals

Global Cash Access, has signed a multi-year extension to its current agreements with Virgin River Casino, Oasis Casino and Casablanca Casino. Under the agreement the three Nevada based casinos will take advantage of GCA’s latest products and services, including CasinoCash Plus 3-in-1 ATM, QuikCash Plus(QCP) Web, Arriva Card, and QuikCash cash advance terminals. The Arriva Card, issued by CIT Bank, is the first credit card specifically designed for use in casinos and has many features not typically available with most traditional credit cards, including potentially better rates and terms on cash advances and an exclusive loyalty program. Arriva also benefits casino operators by providing their guests with a new source of credit, at no risk to the casino operator.

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VISA to Fund Entrepreneurs via the NFIB

VISA USA will distribute a $300,000 grant to the National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in students. VISA will sponsor the “Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom program”, a three-module curriculum designed to bring real life stories of entrepreneurship into the classroom; “Take Time to Teach Mentoring”, a program designed to familiarize teachers with the subjects of small business and entrepreneurship in which NFIB-member entrepreneurs serve as mentors to educators and offer real-world advice and expertise on starting and running a business and an online game, “Johnny Money,” designed to enhance a students’ exploration of the risks and rewards of small-business ownership. The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting the importance of small business and free enterprise.

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Cap One Brings No-Hassle to Cash-Back

Capital One has launched a cash-back credit card building on its popular “No Hassle Rewards” product line. The new “No Hassle Cash Rewards” card offers one percent cash back on all purchases, plus a 25% annual bonus on the total cash back earned. The card has no rewards expiration date, no minimum cash redemption levels, no limit to earning amounts, no spending minimums and customers can redeem for cash, statement credit, or gift card at any time. Cap One had U.S. managed card outstandings of $53.6 billion for 4Q/06 and 37.6 million accounts as of December 31st, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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