FOREIGN FRAUD

A new study has found that Turkey tops the list for
overseas fraud on UK cards, closely followed by France, Spain and the
United States. The analysis showed that these four countries accounted for over 56% of all foreign fraud. The study was conducted by Barclaycard by analyzing its 11 million+ card portfolio. The issuer found that Italy, China, Thailand, Ireland, India and the Netherlands.
were also among the top ten fraud hotspots. Barclaycard uses its “FALCON” fraud detection system to monitor spend on both Barclaycard and Barclays debit cards at foreign retailers and ATMs.

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Privaris Names a New CEO

VA-based Privaris has hired the former CEO of Tridium as its new CEO. John Petze will focus on the creation of strategic partnerships and sales channels to deploy Privaris’ new products into the market as quickly as possible. Mr. Petze has also been elected a member of the Board of Directors. Petze served since 2003 as CEO at Tridium, a global software products and services company providing a technology platform to control smart devices. Privaris Inc. focuses its technology expertise on the intersection of high security biometric applications and an individual’s right to personal privacy.

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Explosives Detection & Ticket Vending Integrate

The first real-world operational test of an automatic public transit ticket vending machine with integrated early warning explosives detection and supporting faregate capability has been completed. Cubic and GE’s Security business jointly-developed the system deploying it in a Baltimore MTA subway station throughout the month of June. The system is designed to detect explosives residue on passengers as they select their ticket before boarding a train. If such residue is detected, the system activates further capabilities to alert security or law enforcement. The “Baltimore Rail Security Study” was a cooperative effort of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology unit, the Maryland Transit Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation, with technical support provided by Cubic and GE Security.

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NJ’s KeyBank Tests MasterCard PayPass

NJ-based KeyBank has installed a contactless POS system in its corporate cafeteria for employees to use their KeyBank “MasterCard PayPass” debit cards or other “MasterCard PayPass” cards. Employees simply tap their KeyBank MasterCard(R) PayPass(TM) debit cards or other MasterCard PayPass cards on the specially equipped merchant terminals and the payment is completed in seconds. MasterCard PayPass is a new “contactless” payment feature that provides a fast and convenient alternative to cash for everyday small purchases. Installed by Cash Register Sales, Service and Supply of Oakwood Village, OH, the KeyBank Contactless Solution consists of a Sharp UP-700 point of sale system and a MasterCard PayPass reader, which is connected to the NOVA merchant network.

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MASTERCARD & EU

MasterCard has blasted the European Commission over its ignorance of the cards payments business. The EU states that interchange fees are “unnecessary” but MasterCard says there is a fundamental
misunderstanding of the way payment systems actually operate and that interchange fees, which are central to the operation of four-party card
programs, balances costs and is a proven and necessary mechanism that has led to plastic payments being one of the most innovative industries in the world. MasterCard says this is why the Office of Fair Trading recently withdraw its decision against MasterCard’s UK interchange fees.
The EU has issued an “Interim Report” on interchange fees but MasterCard says making the four-party program more expensive to consumers will simply lead to more cash and check transactions and to greater reliance on store cards and three-party cards. In the long run, even merchants will be less well off too, since these alternatives usually end up being more expensive. Smaller merchants would suffer the most because they tend to have the highest cash handling costs and, unlike their larger
competitors, can’t offer their own proprietary cards. It is expected that the EU Commission will issue a final report before the
end of the year.

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Citi’s U.S. Card Profits Rise 91% in Q2

Citigroup reported that 2Q/06 profits for its U.S. Cards unit rose 19% year-on-year to $878 million driven by lower bankruptcy filings and a favorable credit environment. However, total revenues for the U.S. card unit were flat at $3.25 billion compared to the year-ago quarter. Citi says the lackluster growth in average managed loans and a 12% increase in purchase sales were offset by higher payment rates and net interest margin compression. Bank credit card outstandings for the U.S. were also flat at $111.3 billion compared to $111.9 billion one-year ago. But, private label card outstandings increased 27% to $29.4 billion. Citi says the growth in managed loans reflected a shift from traditional card products to higher reward and private label card balances, including the addition of Federated card receivables. Purchase volume increased to $77.9 billion for the second quarter. Citi’s account base at the end of the second quarter rose 18% to 144.4 million accounts. Citi’s charge-offs for bankcard and private label cards rose to 4.11% compared to 3.90% in the prior quarter, and 5.58% one-year ago. Overall delinquency (90+ days) dipped slightly from 1.74% for 1Q/06 to 1.58% for the second quarter 2006. For complete details on Citigroup’s 2Q/06 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CITIGROUP
U.S. Credit Card Net Income
2Q/05: $ 735 million
3Q/05: $ 797 million
4Q/05: $ 444 million
1Q/06: $ 926 million
2Q/06: $ 878 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com

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

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GE Card Profits Rise 20%; Revenues Up 7%

GE reported that profit for its Consumer Finance unit climbed 20% in the second quarter to $880 million as GECF produced a 7% increase in revenues of $5.3 billion compared to one-year ago. During the first half GECF launched the “Dillard’s American Express Card,” becoming the seventh U.S. partner for American Express. GECF also agreed to make a strategic investment in Cosmos Bank, a major banking and consumer finance player in Taiwan, forming a strategic alliance to acquire a 10% stake. Additionally, GECF awarded a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to VeriFone to supply as many as 20,000 units annually of its “Vx Solutions” payment systems. In the second quarter recreational vehicle specialist BRP has renewed its contract with GE Consumer Finance to provide revolving and installment financing to customers at BRP dealerships including the “BRP Card.” For complete details on GE’s second quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/23/06; 2/24/06; 3/21/06; 5/8/06)

GE CONSUMER FINANCIAL TRACK RECORD
Income Revenues
2Q/05: $735 million $4928 million
3Q/05: $810 million $4913 million
4Q/05: $770 million $4886 million
1Q/06: $836 million $5090 million
2Q/06: $880 million $5268 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com

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

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ePayments Acquires CollectACheck

Denver-based ePayments has acquired Ypsilanti, MI-based CollectACheck, adding more than 1,000 clients to its RCK business. ePayments specializes in working with companies of all sizes who handle payments in the form of check and credit card transactions. ePayments offers a complete range of merchant check and credit card payment processing and support services to help businesses who receive non-cash payment transactions to reduce their risk while increasing cash flow.

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Amtrak Expands Credit Card Acceptance

Amtrak’s has introduced wireless electronic credit card processing terminals in all “Acela Express” cafe cars. Previously, attendants needed to hand write ticket and passenger information on paper forms for credit card acceptance. Amtrak says customers who use a credit card to pay for food and beverages in cafe cars typically spend an average of $12 per purchase. Amtrak notes that during the pilot, use of the new electronic devices improved efficiency as most transactions were completed in 15 to 20 seconds. Plans are under way to place terminals on all Northeast Corridor Regional trains between Washington, DC and Boston by the beginning of October and future plans call for expansion of wireless credit card processing terminals in all of the dining cars on Amtrak’s long distance trains from coast-to-coast within the next year.

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Extensity Releases Expense Software v6.6

Extensity has released “Version 6.6” of its expense management software which now automatically itemizes hotel folio details from American Express, VISA, and MasterCard. Users of Expense Management 6.6 and a corporate credit card will have access to a far broader set of data for each transaction, often required for expense reports but not detailed on traditional corporate card statements. This data includes everything from flight destinations and hotel room taxes to mini bar charges and parking fees. Extensity is the leading financial performance management company focusing exclusively on the comprehensive needs of finance professionals.

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NCR Promotes an Exec to be HR SVP

NCR has promoted Bridie Fanning to SVP/Human Resources, effective September 5th, to replace Chris Wallace, who was named to SVP/Worldwide Customer Services Division earlier this year. Fanning, who will report to NCR President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Nuti, joins NCR from GE where she is vice president of Human Resources for GE Retail Consumer Finance, a leading provider of credit services to consumers. NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR) is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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Aetna Intros a Prepaid Debit Card

CT-based Aetna has launched a new program that provides consumers with discounts of 10% to 50% off the cost of routine health care expenses such as doctor visits and certain health care services, discounts of 10% to 40% off the average wholesale price of prescription medications, and a unique pre-paid debit card feature. The new program, called “Vital Savings on Health,” will be available to employers of all sizes on September 1st in Denver, and Southern N.J., and on October 1st, in Tampa and Raleigh, with additional markets being added in 2007. Aeta serves 23.8 million consumers.

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