Finpago Introduces New FSA Card Products

PA-based Finpago has released the “FSAok Debit Substantiation” service including Finpago’s “FSAok Real-Time Eligibility Engine” for FSA debit card use. For most retailers to accept FSA Debit Cards for OTC and pharmacy purchases, the IRS has ruled that each line item of the purchase must be confirmed as “eligible” before the money is spent. Finpago provides FSAok, the first independent clearinghouse solution for automating in-store health care purchases. WageWorks is the nation’s leading provider of tax advantaged consumer spending and savings programs, including flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, commuter benefits and COBRA.

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GE Money Third Quarter Profits Climb 13%

GE reported that profit for its Consumer Finance unit, now known as GE Money, climbed 13% in the third quarter to $913 million as revenues rose 14% $5.6 billion, compared to one-year ago. During the third quarter Wachovia inked a partnership with GE Money’s Corporate Payment Services to provide commercial and purchasing cards to its wholesale and treasury services customers and Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya agreed to give GE Money a 25% interest for $600 million. Also, Los Angeles-based PeachDirect, a direct-to-consumer retailer launched the “PD Platinum Card with GE Money’s Retail Sales Finance unit and ValueVision Media inked a multi-year deal for a cobranded credit card and for enhancements to its current private label credit card. In staff changes GE Money promoted Glenn Marino to President & CEO, Retail Sales Finance, GE Money, Americas; named Robert Green as SVP/CFO; and promoted Thomas Gentile to head its worldwide marketing. For complete details on GE’s third quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 8/8/06; 8/11/06; 9/12/06; 9/25/06; 9/26/06; 9/28/06)

GE CONSUMER FINANCIAL TRACK RECORD
Income Revenues
3Q/05: $810 million $4913 million
4Q/05: $770 million $4886 million
1Q/06: $836 million $5090 million
2Q/06: $880 million $5268 million
3Q/06: $916 million $5590 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com

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

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Pacific Financial Names a New President

Pacific Financial Solutions has named John Cutillo as its new President. Previously, Mr. Cutillo was National Director of Sales at GlobeNet which was involved in high growth sectors of the international telecom market. In the 90’s, Mr. Cutillo also served as Senior Vice President of US WATS, Inc., a publicly traded domestic communications carrier. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Pacific Financial Solutions Inc., a premier global distributor of financial services and products, provides its customers with a wide array of affinity and prepaid stored-value cards and kiosk enabling devices.

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SCA Issues a Contactless White Paper

The Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council has released a white paper entitled: “Transit and Contactless Financial Payments: New Opportunities for Collaboration and Convergence.” The report says the pilots in New York and Utah are pushing the envelope for fare payment in public transport. The white paper looks at new financial industry directions and transit industry requirements to assess how the two industries might collaborate to combine the best of both worlds. The report also examines possible alternative implementation models that could leverage the capabilities of multi-application smart cards and contactless payment enabled mobile phones. Meanwhile, the SCA announced its seven-member 2006-2007 executive committee will include: Greg Garback, executive officer of finance and program development for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ; Wendy Humphrey, VP/Transaction Devices, First Data; Francine Dubois, director of marketing, financial products & services, Oberthur Card Systems; Carey Miller, senior manager, BearingPoint’s Security and Identity Management Practice; Bryan Ichikawa, identification solutions architect, Unisys; Robert Wilberger, senior manager, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Gerald Hubbard, government business development manager, Datacard Group.

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Green Dot Selects Vormetric for PCI

Green Dot has selected Vormetric’s “Data Protection Products” for PCI compliance. The PCI Data Security Standard is a multifaceted security standard that includes requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other critical protective measures. This comprehensive standard is intended to help organizations proactively protect customer account data. Green Dot Corporation is America’s first and largest provider of prepaid cards sold at tens of thousands of locations across the United States, including Rite Aid, CVS Pharmacy, RadioShack, and Walgreens. Vormetric is a leading provider of solutions for protecting enterprise information from unauthorized access or theft.

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Fair Issac Files a VantageScore Lawsuit

Fair Isaac has sued all three national credit reporting agencies over their launch and marketing of the “VantageScore” credit scoring model. Fair Isaac alleges that Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and VantageScore Solutions are jointly engaging in unfair and anti-competitive practices that harm the “FICO” credit score brand and goodwill that Fair Isaac has spent 50 years creating. Fair Isaac also says the “VantageScore” initiative is causing confusion for consumers seeking to understand and manage their credit. Currently, the credit reporting agencies sell and distribute “FICO” scores directly to lenders. These agencies also own the consumer data on which scores are created, and they have the ability in most cases to set the price a lender pays for both a “FICO” score and the score now offered through “VantageScore.” Citing anti-trust concerns, Fair Isaac believes that this situation allows the agencies to unfairly manipulate the credit score price, sales, and distribution process to promote adoption of their “VantageScore” product at the expense of fair competition from the FICO score or other credit scoring products.

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Equifax Says VantageScore is More Objective

Equifax said yesterday it believes that Fair Isaac’s lawsuit is without merit and the company plans to vigorously defend itself and VantageScore Solutions. Equifax says the creation of “VantageScore” is a direct result of customer demand for a more consistent, objective and better performing approach to credit scoring across all three national credit reporting companies. Equifax also says “VantageScore” creates more competition in the marketplace. Additionally, Equifax says it has received extremely positive feedback from its customers who believe that “VantageScore” offers a more consistent and better performing scoring system that will be a great benefit to the credit system as well as to consumers.

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VISA BUSINESS CARDS

The amount spent on credit cards in the U.K. last year is up by a measly 1% to GBP 124.1 billion as the number of transactions fell by 1% to 2.1 billion. Meanwhile, debit card spending in retail outlets exceeded cash spending for the first time ever. The figures show debit card spending at 37% (GBP 89 billion) of the total GBP 240 billion spent, against cash at 34% (GBP 81 billion). APACS also reports that
the number of cardholders who repay their credit card in full each month has grown to 59% from 56% in 2004. Additionally, more cardholders are making repayments by direct debit. The figures reveal consumers spend five times more on their plastic cards through the Internet than they did just five years ago, with e-commerce accounting for 5% of all personal card payments. This figure is rising and by 2015 Internet purchases are projected to account for over 20% of personal credit card payments within the UK.

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Auriemma Consulting & ID Insight Partner

Auriemma Consulting Group and ID Insight have teamed to help companies meet compliance with “FACT Act” “Sections 114 and 315”. Through a combined effort, ID Insight and ACG will address what these new provisions will mean for financial institutions and what will constitute best practice in terms of compliance activities. ACG has offered comprehensive, high-quality management consulting to the financial services industry. ID Insight has quickly established itself as a knowledge leader in identity fraud prevention.

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PayPal Expands 35% and Adds 10 Currencies

PayPal now has nearly 117 million accounts worldwide, expanding by 35% over one-year ago. The firm, an eBay company, now supports payments in 10 new currencies, allowing customers to send, receive and hold funds in a total of 17 currencies worldwide. The new currencies are the Czech Koruna, Danish Krone, Hong Kong Dollar, Hungarian Forint, New Zealand Dollar, Norwegian Krone, Polish Zloty, Singapore Dollar, Swedish Krona, and Swiss Franc. These new currencies add to those already available to PayPal customers, including US Dollars, Australian Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling, Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen and Chinese RMB. PayPal also announced this week that residents in 48 new markets can now use PayPal in their local markets to send money online. These new markets include Indonesia, the Philippines, Croatia, Fiji, Vietnam and Jordan.

PAYPAL ACCOUNT HISTORICAL
3Q/04: 56.7 million
4Q/04: 63.8 million
1Q/05: 71.6 million
2Q/05: 78.9 million
3Q/05: 86.6 million
4Q/05: 96.2 million
1Q/06: 105.0 million
2Q/06: 113.7 million
3Q/06: 116.6 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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TransUnion Explores Holiday Financing Offers

TransUnion’s TrueCredit.com and Roper Public Affairs released a survey on consumer attitudes about upcoming holiday financing offers. The survey also found that 95% of those age 65 or older say they are unlikely to take advantage of such offers; 25% of those with household incomes of $50,000 or more say they are very or somewhat likely to take advantage of an offer, vs. 15 percent of those with household incomes less than $50,000; and 81% of those with household incomes of $50,000 or more say they would pay off the whole purchase before interest is due, vs. 64 percent of those with household incomes less than $50,000. TransUnion’s TrueCredit.com has been a leading provider of consumer credit management products since 1995. Dedicated to its “Manage your credit. Manage your life.” brand promise, TrueCredit.com helps millions of consumers protect and improve their credit through a suite of secure and easy-to-use products.

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Comdata Consolidates its Branding

TN-based Comdata has launched a new brand identity, consolidating all of its business units. The new brand identity campaign includes a new logo; an enhanced Web site; a national print and television advertising campaign that launches in 2007; plus an international advertising campaign that launches in 2007; and new sales materials and targeted communications with employees, customers and prospects. Comdata’s electronic payment solutions range from credit and debit cards, gift and loyalty cards, fleet, fuel, payroll, purchasing to T&E.

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