ARM M&A Activity On Course for a Record Year

The “Accounts Receivable Management” industry is on course to set a M&A deal value record this year of about $3.5 billion. In the third quarter, activity was characterized by international deals with 22 deals closed— five in Australia, three in the U.K., and one each in Canada and India. The estimated total deal value for completed transactions in the quarter is $536 million according to Kaulkin Ginsberg, However, there are over $1.6 billion in deal value represented in several pending transactions, which are slated to close this year. A notable third quarter deal was National Bank Financial’s acquisition of a majority stake in Credigy Solutions.

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PAYPASS TRIAL

The Royal Bank of Scotland has begun a trial using dual interface EMV debit cards from Giesecke & Devrient. The new “RBS PayPass MasterCard” has been issued to staff members. During the trial, RBS employees are using the cards to make purchases worth up to GBP 10 on the Bank’s premises in Gogarburn, near Edinburgh. The dual interface cards being supplied by G&D are not only able to communicate with card readers over the air, but they can also transfer data conventionally via the contacts on the EMV chip if the transaction value is high or where no contactless reader is available.

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MasterCard Beefs-Up ATM Locator Service

MasterCard has launched a service to help cardholders locate an ATM via a cell phone SMS text message. Customers simply call 1-877-FIND-ATM, and state their coordinates to request the location of the nearest MasterCard ATM. They can then choose to have a text message sent to their cell phone detailing the location of the nearest teller. The new service, which works will all major mobile carriers in the U.S. is provided by MasterCard to cardholders free of charge (carrier text message rates may apply). Each year, two million cardholders contact MasterCard via either telephone or the Web site specifically to find the location of nearby ATMs; some 70% of inquiries are received from international travelers venturing outside their home country. The voice-activated ATM Locator application is provided by Convergys Corporation.

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Yields Slowly But Surely Rebound in 2006

After hitting bottom at 13.18% in February, credit card yield has rebounded to 14.24% in September. Portfolio yield, which is determined by dividing the sum of gross interest and non-interest revenue by the average managed card outstandings and then annualizing, also shows that 2006 levels are hovering at levels not seen in seven years. According to CardData, portfolio yields rose four basis points in September and is up 24 basis points since last year. Among credit card-backed bonds yield increased 23 basis points last month and is four basis points below year-ago levels, according to FitchRatings.

PORTFOLIO YIELDS
2002: 17.50%
2003: 16.72%
2004: 15.82%
2005: 14.01%
2006: 14.24%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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PrivaCash Gets a Debit Card Patent

OH-based PrivaCash has received a U.S. patent for instant issue debit cards. PrivaCash(R) pioneered the distribution of association branded instant issue debit cards sold at banks as well as retail and other locations. Instant issue prepaid debit cards have rapidly grown in popularity as consumers that do not have a credit card or wish to reduce the risk of identity theft, discover the convenience, security and privacy of managing their money on a debit card they can instantly purchase at over 6,000 bank and retail locations. PrivaCash, Inc. continues to develop new prepaid debit card products and has recently introduced an innovative instant issue direct deposit debit card program.

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Lightspeed Buys the Ultimate Consumer Panel

NJ-based Lightspeed Research has acquired Forrester’s “Ultimate Consumer Panel” business for an undisclosed figure. Forrester Research launched the single-source, opt-in panel in 2004 which electronically captures online and offline behavior from a representative group of more than 10,000 U.S. households. The “Ultimate Consumer Panel” captures three types of data from its panelists including 24,000 electronic monthly statements, online behavior/activities, and survey data. The monthly statements include more than 8,000 credit card statements, 2,800 bank account statements, and 2,500 wireless and 3,700 residential phone bills. As part of the acquisition, members of the “Panel” business team including SVP Gregory Flemming, and Business Development Director, Melissa Hurley Lynch will join Lightspeed and will continue to manage the “Panel” operation and work with the online market research experts at Lightspeed Research. Lightspeed Research provides access to household members across 34 countries in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. (CF Library 7/28/04)

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Chase Card Launches a Hispanic Campaign

Chase Card Services has launched a multimillion-dollar Hispanic advertising campaign with a tagline of: “Confia en Ti. Confia en Chase” (“Have Confidence/Believe in yourself, Have Confidence/Believe in Chase”). Television and internet advertising and corporate sponsorships are some of the marketing channels that Chase is utilizing for the widespread campaign. Chase has worked closely with Lapiz, one of the top Hispanic advertising agencies in the U.S., to create television advertising, and with award-winning T3 (The Think Tank) to develop online advertising and strategy. Lapiz (www.lapiz-advertising.com) ranks as one of the top Hispanic advertising agencies in the country, working with such clients as Brown-Forman, JPMorgan Chase, Coca-Cola, GM Goodwrench, and Sara Lee. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $1.3 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries.

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NFC Forum Releases Smart Poster Tags Spec

The NFC Forum has released its fifth specification, the “SmartPoster Record Type Definition” which provides the technical details to create records for smart poster “tags,” integrated circuits that store data that can be read by NFC-enabled devices. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions among electronic devices, allowing consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content and connect devices with a single touch. The NFC Forum was launched as a non-profit industry association in 2004 by leading mobile communications, semiconductor and consumer electronics companies.

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Green Dot NASCAR VISA Wins an Award

Green Dot Corporation has won the “2006 Best New Product- General Merchandise” award by “Convenience Store News” for its reloadable prepaid NASCAR-licensed VISA card. Now in its 10th year, the CSN Best New Product Award is a prestigious and highly coveted honor sought by hundreds of convenience store suppliers. CSN, the leading publication for the more than 110,000 c-store retailers nationwide, evaluates thousands of products based on a variety of criteria, including product innovation and creativity, product packaging and graphics for the c-store retailer. Green Dot Corporation is America’s first and largest provider of retailer- sold prepaid debit cards with over 45,000 purchase locations nationwide, including Rite Aid, CVS Pharmacy, RadioShack, Walgreens, Eckerd, Sunoco, and many more. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR), which began in 1948, is the sanctioning body for one of America’s premier sports.

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US Hispanics to Have $1.1T in Disposable Income

A new report finds that the U.S. Hispanic community could balloon to $1.1 trillion in disposable income by 2010. There are currently 42.7 million Hispanics currently residing in the U.S., according to market research publisher Packaged Facts. The report says understanding the different cultural characteristics, geographic origins and cultural backgrounds, the varying incomes, ages, and degrees of acculturation are the keys to effectively targeting and marketing to Hispanics. Packaged Facts says marketers need to think outside of the “one size fits all” mentality if they wish to effectively penetrate the Hispanic purse. Packaged Facts is a division of MarketResearch.com.

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Oberthur Dominates Government ID Cards

Oberthur Card Systems has taken the lead on supplying dual interface ID cards to the federal government with more than half of the Federal Government cabinet agencies. The company’s TotalIDOne offer is a dual interface smart card and personalization solution that is being supplied to more than half of the cabinet level agencies in the federal government. Oberthur Card Systems is the only U.S. Company offering an identification ID solution that includes smart card manufacturing, personalization, fulfillment and activation services, as well as the exclusive rights to the card software applets. Oberthur Card Systems is one of the world’s leading providers of card-based solutions, software and applications including SIM and multi-application smart cards as well as services ranging from consulting to personalization.

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