PING Insurance Plans to Offer Credit Cards in 2007

PING Insurance Group is planning to become the first insurer in the country to enter the consumer lending business. Ping recently won a bid to buy 89% of Shenzhen Commercial Bank for $613 million gaining 46 branches in the southern Chinese city in Guangdong Province. It also picked up a credit-card license. Chinese insurers were formerly prohibited from venturing into other business areas, but have received unprecedented government support since last year to diversify into other sectors.

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FTC Clears NCO Group for its Merger

PA-based NCO Group has received notice from the FTC that early termination of the waiting period under the “Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976” has been granted. Under the terms of the merger agreement, NCO shareholders will receive $27.50 in cash for each share of NCO common stock they hold as of the effective date of the merger. This proposed merger remains subject to the receipt of shareholder approval (including the approval of the non-management participants, voting as a separate class), closing of the debt financing and other regulatory approvals, as well as the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. NCO Group, Inc. is a global provider of business process outsourcing services, primarily focused on accounts receivable management and customer relationship management.

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Virgin Says its South African MC is a Smash

Virgin Money South Africa says it has signed up more than 50,000 cardholders in the first seven weeks. The card issuer says it received 12,000 phone inquiries in the first two days. In June Virgin Money formed a joint venture with Absa to issue the “Virgin Money” credit card in South Africa. The new MasterCard is the first in the country to offer a combination of no fees and an interest rate of 0% for the first three months with an ongoing APR of 15.75% thereafter. Virgin Money also issues credit cards in the UK and Australia. The Company currently has about two million cardholders worldwide.

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Fair Isaac Hires a New Managing Director

Fair has named J.Y. Pook as vice president and managing director, Asia-Pacific. Mr. Pook will support the expansion of the company’s Enterprise Decision Management applications and technologies.
He also will be responsible for establishing and growing
successful relationships with the company’s local clients and strategic
partners, as well as leading all aspects of the company’s operations and
staff based in the region.

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MC’s 2006 Product Forum Attracts 400

More than 400 executives from the payments industry across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa met in Hong Kong at the “MasterCard Product Forum and Technology Fair 2006” to discuss major trends emerging in the region and exchange key insights into the future of payment solutions. The region is seeing a GDV growth rate in excess of 10% and a 16% growth rate on purchase volume, with the use of cash steadily declining. MasterCard has developed many payments innovations in the region that were on display at the “Forum,” including: “Chip Combo Cards,” full-function cards including prepaid, debit and credit, layered with MasterCard “PayPass” contactless functionality. Factors such as the increasing demand for convenience, the broadening of bank’s portfolios and products, and higher awareness of data security coupled with the requirement to strengthen relationships have propelled the concept of a single card with multiple functionality.

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BP & CITIBANK

BP Australia and Citibank have teamed up to launch a co-branded
MasterCard. The “BP-Citibank MasterCard” offers a 5% discount on every product at every BP service station across the country. In addition to saving money at BP, cardholders are entitled to a 1% rebate on everything they purchase using the card, anywhere in the world. There are nearly 1,400 BP service stations across the country.

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OTI Revenues Jump 32% over 2Q/05

Contactless specialist, On Track Innovations, reported second quarter revenues of $10.3 million, a 32% jump over 2Q/05. The Company’s net loss dropped to $2.0 million for the second quarter, compared to $3.0 million in the year ago period. During the quarter, MasterCard, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Citibank announced the beginning of a six-month contactless payment trial in select New York City subway stations with pre-selected Citi credit card and Citibank customers. The new payment tags leverages technology from OTI. Also, Chinatrust Commercial Bank, one of the largest credit card issuers in Taiwan, LAKS, a well-known Austrian watchmaker and OTI are supplying payment watches as part of “2006 FIFA World Cup” promotion for MasterCard “PayPass.” OTI says it expects total revenue in the second half to be slightly higher or about the same as the first half, owing to a slight delay in the banks’ roll-out schedule for their internal reasons, which will affect OTI’s payments business. For complete details on OTI’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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ICBC Places a $2.5MM Follow-On Order with Lipman

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has signed a deal with Lipman for a $2.5 million follow-on contract for “NURIT 8320”
and “NURIT 8000” POS terminals and “NURIT 222” PIN Pads. CNPC will be using these additional terminals to extend the project from the initial 8,000 petrol stations to more than 14,000 stations, resulting in one of the largest POS terminal deployments in China to date.

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