Variable APRs Rise 102 bps in 06

The gap between variable rate credit cards and fixed rate credit cards has widened to 188 basis points. Variable (go-to) rate cards have also saturated the market, now making up 86% of all cards-in-force. Less than five years ago, the number of fixed rate cards outnumbered variable rate cards, according to CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][1]). Today, variable rate cards carry an average go-to interest rate of 16.55% versus 14.67% for the average fixed rate cards. In January, the average go-to variable interest rate was 15.53% versus 14.08% for fixed rate cards. (The averages do not include introductory or punitive interest rates.) During 2006 the prime rate increased 75 basis points.

CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATES
Month Prime Fixed Variable
Jan 06 7.50% 14.08% 15.53%
Feb 06 7.50% 14.11% 15.75%
Mar 06 7.75% 14.15% 15.81%
Apr 06 7.75% 14.19% 15.99%
May 06 8.00% 14.23% 16.02%
Jun 06 8.00% 14.32% 16.10%
Jul 06 8.25% 14.42% 16.27%
Aug 06 8.25% 14.55% 16.34%
Sep 06: 8.25% 14.58% 16.40%
Oct 06: 8.25% 14.63% 16.46%
Nov 06: 8.25% 14.66% 16.51%
Dec 06: 8.25% 14.67% 16.55%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Wooha Launches Commerce Site

Wooha, the online marketing place offering a wide range of consumer
products, has been implemented for the first time in China with ATG
(Art Technology Group) technology. ATG will allow consumers multiple
avenues of payment options on the site. This is important because,
although e-commerce growth has huge potential in China, only 1/3 of
online purchases are made using a credit card in the country.
ATG powers more of the top 300 Internet retailers than any other vendor.

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Verifone Expands MX Payment Platform

VeriFone has announced two new members of the MX Solutions payment platform, the “MX830” and “MX850”. The MX830 is a consumer-activated payment device with core features and optional touchscreen and signature capture. The MX850 provides a multi-lane payment system. The MX830 and MX850 are global payment products designed to meet PCI PED, EMV Level 1 and 2 approvals, and Interac certification. Both meet RoHS and WEEE requirements. The systems will be available for certification testing this month, with general availability scheduled for March.

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Experian Become CIFAS Member

Experian has achieved an industry first by becoming an accredited CIFAS member. The company is one of just 14 out of 255 members with this accreditation following three separate compliance reviews by CIFAS over three years. To attain the accreditation, the fraud team had to demonstrate best practice in all areas, with all its procedures being thoroughly examined by independent consultants employed by CIFAS. The review also covered staff training and the handling of complaints.

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DRV Capital Buys Credit Card Portfolios

Debt Resolve’s subsidiary DRV Capital has purchased its first two portfolios of distressed debt with a face value of $8 million. The portfolios purchased include a credit card portfolio sourced to college students and a payday loan portfolio. Debt Resolve provides lenders, collection agencies, debt buyers and any holder of consumer accounts receivables an online bidding platform and a suite of tools for the resolution and settlement of consumer debt.

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Mellon Introduces Gift Cards

Mellon technologies announced the availability of gift cards for retail
customers earlier this week. The new cards are expected to be effective
for maintaining customer loyalty and generating revenue. The gift card is
used just as a credit card and provides a simple solution for gift giving.
Mellon Technologies is one of the largest Greek IT companies with a leading
role in the electronic transactions market.

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First Data, Microsoft and HP POS System

First Data, Microsoft and HP have combined forces to develop management software programs and retail-ready computer hardware in a small business point of sale solution with features that until recently were only available to large retailers. The First Data “POS Value Exchange” replaces a cash register and traditional point of sale terminal with a computer-based system that offers a complete store management solution with greater information security, speed of transactions and more flexible payment options for customers. POS Value Exchange is designed for smaller retailers, typically with a single store location with up to five lanes.

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STORM UPT9000

A new “Unattended Payment Terminal” has been introduced that predicts
your next purchase and screens video content or high resolution graphics
to promote that purchase. A drive up restaurant chain is planning to use
the payment card device to offer active video content to reinforce its
television advertising campaign and to promote the purchase of ice cream
and other up-sell products. The new “UPT9000” from Storm Interface is
intended specifically for use in unattended or outdoor locations. It
features an armored interactive video screen and brightly colored
illuminated push buttons. Chicago- and London-based Storm said the
terminal could also be used to check-in to your hotel as it asks if you
would like show tickets for the evening. At the same time, it screens
highlights from the show. When you check out, it asks if you would like
to pre-pay for a cab to the airport and have flowers sent to your spouse.

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MiCash and Provitel Offer Pre-Paid VISA

MiCash has joined with Provitel to offer the MiCash VISA Prepaid Debit Card to its new and existing clients via a strategic Spanish outbound telemarketing campaigns. MiCash Corporation is a provider of prepaid debit cards with remittance capability for America’s underserved markets. Based in the Dominican Republic, Provitel is a leader in customer care, telemarketing, technical support and other call center services.

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Lloyds TSB Launches Pre-Paid Travel Money Card

Lloyds TSB has introduced a pre-paid “VISA Travel Money Card.”
The new card can be pre-loaded, with between GBP150 and GBP3,000 in either Euros or US Dollars and costs GBP7.50. The card can be topped up with a minimum of GBP50 over the phone while travelers are overseas.
The card is valid for two years allowing travelers to save unused cash
from one trip for their next holiday. At the end of the two years any
unused funds can be transferred to a new card or sent back to the
customer.

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