Comdata Adds the Midas Touch to its Fuel Cards

Midas, with 1,600 automotive service shops in the U.S., has become an approved vendor partner of fleet card specialist, Comdata, to provide automotive repair and maintenance services to certain Comdata fuel card customers. Franchisees operating more than 90 percent of the U.S. shops have now signed their agreements enabling Midas to launch a consistent nationwide fleet program. Midas is one of the world’s largest providers of automotive service, with more than 2,600 franchised, licensed and company-owned Midas shops in 19 countries, including nearly 1,800 in the United States and Canada. Comdata Corporation, based in Brentwood, Tenn., is a leading business-to-business processor of payment cards, primarily in the retail and transportation industries.

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Chase Card Profits Up 31% Despite High MPR

J.P. Morgan Chase reported this morning that third quarter credit card profits rose 31% from one-year ago to $711 million, however the figure was $164 million lower than the prior quarter and $190 million lower than the first quarter’s record of $901 million. Managed card loans were up 4.5% to $143.8 billion year-on-year and up 3.2% sequentially. Compared with the prior year, both average managed and end-of-period managed loans continued to be affected negatively by higher customer payment rates. Chase says it believes that contributing to the higher payment rates are the new minimum payment rules and a higher proportion of customers in rewards-based programs. The managed net charge-off rate for the quarter was 3.58%, down from 4.70% in the prior year, but up from 3.28% in the prior quarter. The 30-day managed delinquency rate was 3.17%, down from 3.39% in the prior year, but up slightly from 3.14% in the prior quarter. During the quarter Chase opened 4.2 million new accounts. Charge volume was up 15% to $87.5 billion, compared to the year ago quarter. Merchant processing volume for the quarter rose 18% to $168.7 billion. For complete details on Chase’s third quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

JPM CHASE HISTORICAL ($billions)
3Q/05 4Q/05 1Q/06 2Q/06 3Q/06
EOP Outstandings: $137.6 142.3 134.3 139.3 143.8
Charge Volume: $ 76.4 79.6 74.3 84.4 87.5
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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VISA Posts Interchange Schedules Online

A week after announcing plans to go public VISA USA has quietly posted interchange rates on its Web site. Last month MasterCard announced plans to make its pricing schedules public. MasterCard will publish its U.S. interchange rate schedule on its Web site on or before November 1st. More than 40 interchange lawsuits against VISA and MasterCard have been filed by merchants since 2004. The first major lawsuit by merchants to take on U.S. interchange fees was filed in October 2004, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear VISA and MasterCard appeals in the “Wal-Mart” debit card lawsuit. MasterCard was also the first in the industry to publish its merchant rules and procedures on its Web site. Last June MasterCard opened its rules free of charge or restrictions to any merchant who wants to access them. Member Service Providers previously only had access to abridged rules through their sponsoring acquirers, at a cost to the acquirer. (CF Library 6/03/05; 10/05/05; 11/05/05; 9/6/06)

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Pink All-Access VISA is Launched

NetSpend and ACE Cash Express have launched the “Pink All-Access VISA” prepaid card to support breast cancer research and education. The card will be issued by MetaBank. The pink All-Access Visa Prepaid Card can be used to make purchases or gain access to cash everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted worldwide. ACE Cash Express, Inc. is a leading retailer of financial services, including check cashing, short-term consumer loans, bill payment and prepaid debit card services, and the largest owner, operator and franchisor of check cashing stores in the United States. NetSpend Corporation is the leading provider of innovative, accessible prepaid debit cards that enable financial freedom and growth for self-banked consumers.

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INTERAC & FDC

First Data International has become a member of the Interac Association and will begin offering its services to the Canadian marketplace in the second quarter of next year. As an INTERAC member, FDC will have the ability to capture and process debit transactions in Canada enabling FDC merchant clients to accept the INTERAC branded card at the point of sale. Interac Association is a not-for-profit organization composed of 95 members which include: banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, technology and payment-related companies. Interac runs two shared electronic financial services: “INTERAC Direct Payment,” Canada’s national debit card service, and “INTERAC Shared Cash Dispensing Service” for cash withdrawals at “Automated Banking Machines.” Last year Interac had C$137.4 billion in direct payment gross dollar volume compared to C$124.4 billion in 2004. There were more than 51,000 ABMs in the network last year.

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First Data Joins Canada’s Interac Association

First Data International has become a member of the Interac Association and will begin offering its services to the Canadian marketplace in the second quarter of next year. As an INTERAC member, FDC will have the ability to capture and process debit transactions in Canada enabling FDC merchant clients to accept the INTERAC branded card at the point of sale. Interac Association is a not-for-profit organization composed of 95 members which include: banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, technology and payment-related companies. Interac runs two shared electronic financial services: “INTERAC Direct Payment,” Canada’s national debit card service, and “INTERAC Shared Cash Dispensing Service” for cash withdrawals at “Automated Banking Machines.” Last year Interac had C$137.4 billion in direct payment gross dollar volume compared to C$124.4 billion in 2004. There were more than 51,000 ABMs in the network last year.

INTERAC DIRECT PAYMENT VOLUME
2000: C$85.2 billion
2001: C$94.9 billion
2002: C$104.9 billion
2003: C$116.0 billion
2004: C$124.4 billion
2005: C$137.4 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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IDT Introduces TuYo Mobile in Los Angeles

NJ-based IDT Telecom has launched “TuYo Mobile” reloadable cards in Los Angeles. TuYo Mobile provides many features and services that are important to Hispanic consumers, including direct international dialing, low rates to Latin America, state-of-the-art handsets, a fully bilingual customer experience, and country specific alerts featuring breaking regional news, Hispanic celebrity gossip, sports, politics and horoscopes. Additionally, TuYo Mobile includes a unique calling card feature allowing international calling from any phone using a TuYo Mobile account balance. TuYo Mobile is a prepaid cellular service that does not require a contract or a credit check and has no hidden charges. IDT Corporation is an innovative and opportunistic multinational holding company with operations that span various industries.

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63% of Finance Execs to Expand Card Usage

A new survey shows that 63% of the financial executives and cash managers surveyed plan to increase their use of corporate payment cards. The VISA USA survey also shows that 44% said they utilize cards for receiving commercial payments, up from 27% last year. About 53% of respondents report using corporate payment cards to make payments, up from 41% in 2005. VISA noted that 92% of respondents said reduction of back office payment processing costs is influential in encouraging their company to make greater use of corporate payment cards. Other findings include: 93% have integrated corporate payment cards with their e-procurement and ERP processes, with 71% using cards for at least 25% of their total transactions. The top three reasons for integrating corporate payment cards with e-procurement and ERP processes were: process streamlining leading to cost reduction; automating expense reconciliation processes; and availability of transaction data for spend analysis.

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TransFirst Promotes Palmquist to ISS

Dallas-based TransFirst has promoted Dan Palmquist to western region vice president of business development for its Independent Sales Services division. Prior to joining the ISS Division of TransFirst, Palmquist successfully led the company’s Government Services Division (GSD) of TransFirst. In 2004, Palmquist joined the company as a direct sales account executive for GSD, where he built a successful direct sales portfolio. TransFirst offers a first-rate suite of products and services and customized processing programs uniquely tailored for the special business needs of financial institutions, independent sales organizations and agents and its referral and reseller partners.

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Online Bill Payments Share to Double by 2010

A new report predicts that the share of payments made online at banks’ or billers’ Web sites will rise from 14% in 2006 to 28% by 2010. The research suggests that banks should embrace alternative channels such as e-mail and mobile phones instead of letting billers lead the charge. The Aite Group report also says that the largest growth opportunities for online bill payment processors that are beyond their core consumer bill payment service, including walk-in bill payment, expedited bill payment, small-business bill payment, and bill presentment.

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