Riyad Bank Converts to FDC’s VisionPLUS Platform

Riyad Bank has converted its credit card portfolio to First Data’s “VisionPLUS” processing platform. FDC and Riyad Bank have worked in partnership since 1994, and the conversion project is underpinned by the renewal of FDC’s processing contract with Riyad Bank for more than five additional years. During this period, First Data will process both VISA and MasterCard credit card portfolios for Riyad Bank, as well as provide secure PIN print and mail services to the bank’s customer base. Plans are also underway to support a new Islamic card product.

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Smart Card Market to Hit $315 million by 2011

The Brazilian Smart Card Market hit $125.9 million in 2005 and is now estimated to reach $314.9 million by 2011. According to Frost & Sullivan GSM and the transit markets account for more than 85% of the total smart card unit shipments. The smart cards market in Brazil is strongly price oriented with usually lower prices than the rest of Latin America, given the country’s high volumes. High costs of smart card technology implementation compared to other alternative automatic identification data captures technologies that are the main barrier to the massive adoption of the product across all markets.

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Build Your Business Sweepstakes to Launch

MasterCard will launch its “Build Your Business” sweepstakes tomorrow. U.S. small businesses that use “MasterCard BusinessCard” and “Debit MasterCard BusinessCards” will have a chance to win one of two $50,000 cash prices to be spent to better their business, however they see fit. Small business owners who use their “MasterCard PayPass BusinessCard” or “MasterCard PayPass Debit BusinessCards” will receive two entries each time they use their cards. They can also receive double entries when they use their “MasterCard Business Card” and “Debit MasterCard Business Card” at Staples. MasterCard will also launch the new MasterCardBusiness.com site, where small business owners can find further information about the “Build Your Business” promotion and zero liability protections, as well as tips on how to manage employee benefits, ways to market their businesses on a budget, and helpful money management advice. The new site will also feature podcast interviews with small business owners.

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OFT Challenges Payment Protection Insurance

The OFT says the claims ratios for payment protection insurance
are low compared with other insurance products. The OFT says this suggests that gross profits are high in the UK PPI sector, and implies customers are receiving poor value. The business survey of underwriters shows that the median claims ratio in 2005 were highest for first charge mortgage PPI (35%), 18% for unsecured personal loans, but just 11% for retail credit, motor finance and credit card PPI, and only 10% for secured loan PPI. This represents a median claims ratio of 17% for all PPI policies. Over 50% of underwriter profits appear to be earned from unsecured personal loans (over 70% in 2005). The OFT found that for a GBP 5000 unsecured loan over five years monthly PPI repayments for an accident sickness and unemployment policy (ASU) range from GBP 16 for the cheapest to GBP 40 for the most expensive with very little obvious difference in the coverage provided.

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EUFISERV Opens More Cash Machines for Chinese Visitors

EUFISERV has opened 720 ATMs for China UnionPay cardholders in Switzerland. This follows last December’s opening of ATMs in Belgium, Germany, Spain, France and Luxembourg that are connected to EUFISERV’s network. The EUFISERV CUP gateway offers online and real-time transaction authorization services as well as clearing and settlement of the financial transactions.

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Hudson’s Bay Renews ADS AIR MILES Program

Hudson’s Bay Company has signed a renewal agreement as a national sponsor in Alliance Data’s Canadian “AIR MILES Reward Program.” Additionally, Hbc will now become a rewards supplier in the program. A
top-15 “AIR MILES” sponsor, Hbc operates more than 570 stores across every province in Canada. Approximately two-thirds of Canadian households actively collect reward miles.

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TeacherDollar Cards Launched in Connecticut

Hartford Public Schools has launched a pilot of the “TeacherDollars” debit card. In cooperation with The Robert & Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation and card technology from Evolution Benefits the school district wants to give teachers special purpose debit cards to buy instructional and motivational supplies for their classrooms. A total of 78 teachers plus the principals and family resource aides from two Hartford area schools have received “TeacherDollar Cards” in the pilot. Each teacher will have $300 on their card to buy needed instructional and motivational materials for their students in the classroom during the school year. Principals and family resource aides will have $1,000 on their cards to buy necessary supplies. A program coordinator will manage the program on-site at each school.

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YeePay Lands Another Round of Funding

YeePay announced the completion of a round of financing led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ Dragon and joined by Intel Capital China, WR Hambrecht and several other institutional investors. YeePay also announced the addition of two board members, Tony Luh, Managing Director of DFJ Dragon, and Lee S. Ting, Managing Director of WR Hambrecht and an
independent board member of the Lenovo Group. YeePay is the first company to provide integrated multi-channel payment solutions that not only support online transactions over the Internet, but also facilitate offline payments based on mobile phone or landline, which cover a much broader user base and can be applied to a greater number of traditional businesses in China.

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VCT & AMEX

American Express has reached a licensing arrangement with Versatile Card Technology for production of clear payment cards. AmEx issued the world’s first truly clear, transparent card, “Blue” in Australia in July 2001 and then introduced the first truly clear, transparent card product in the U.S. in 2002 with “Blue.” American Express currently is using the technology for “Blue,” “Blue Cash” from American Express and several other card products. AmEx is the owner of numerous patents covering such cards and the processes and components necessary for producing them. VCT is licensed under the American Express patents to produce cards for other card issuers that are truly clear and transparent, using the same patented technology incorporated in American Express’s own card products.

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FDC Hires a New Head of Debit Processing

First Data has rehired Todd Strubbe, who was a key member of its leadership team from 1995 to 2000, as president of First Data Debit Services. Strubbe joins First Data from West Corporation, where he has served as president of West Interactive Corp., which delivers outsourced interactive voice response and advanced speech recognition applications for Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to joining First Data, Strubbe was an engagement manager with the strategic consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. First Data Corp. (NYSE:FDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide.

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i-mode Mastermind Joins Market Platform Dynamics

MA-based Market Platform Dynamics has hired Carl Atsushi Hirano, regarded as the mastermind behind NTT DoCoMo’s “i-mode” alliance and payment strategy, to devise profitable mobile and Internet-based payment and content strategies for its clients. From 1999 until 2006, Carl led DoCoMo’s i-mode Alliances of the Multimedia Service Department and was Managing Director of DoCoMo.com, Inc., a corporate venture capital and consulting firm on mobile content, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of DoCoMo. Prior to joining DoCoMo, Carl worked for the Investment Bank Division of the Industrial Bank of Japan, Ltd (IBJ). Market Platform Dynamics (MPD) is a management consulting firm that designs smart strategies for platform-based businesses.

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