VISA LAC Purchase Volume Soars 43%

VISA’s Latin American and Caribbean Region continues leading electronic payments in the region with an overall purchase volume of US$91 billion for the year ending March. This represents a growth rate of 45%. Credit products accounted for US$61 billion of the total purchase volume while debit and prepaid volume reached US$30 billion. Among the fastest growing segments in VISA’s payment portfolio are commercial cards, which already exceeded the annual forecast of US$4 billion and experienced a 55% increase by the first quarter of calendar year 2006. The number of VISA commercial cards in the LAC region climbed to an all-time high of 2.1 million cards at the end of March.

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U.S. Consumer Confidence Holds Steady in July

Consumer confidence is apparently holding steady in July, according to the most recent results of the “RBC CASH Index.” A softening of confidence rather than an increase in negativity, which was seen across all measures of the Index, produced a slight dip in overall consumer sentiment. As a result, the “RBC CASH Index” for July stands at 80.1, compared to 84.1 in June. Expectations regarding personal financial situations held steady as 37% of Americans said they expected improvements in personal financial strength, compared to 38% cent with similar expectations in June.

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RBC Intros the No Limit Account for Debit Transactions

RBC Royal Bank has introduced a new high volume transaction account that
offers significant cost savings for those Canadians who rely upon the
convenience of debit cards for everyday transactions. For a flat monthly
fee of $11.95, the new RBC No Limit Account lets you make as many debit
card purchases in Canada as you want, including debit card purchases,
cash withdrawals at RBC banking machines, bill payments at RBC banking
machines, bill payments through online banking, funds transfers through
online banking, funds transfers through telephone banking,
pre-authorized payments, cash withdrawals, transfers, and bill payments
in branches and cheque writing.

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VISA USA to Offer Operating Regulations in Sept

VISA USA yesterday announced it is taking transparency one step further by providing its “Operating Regulations” to qualifying merchants and third party agents in the U.S. The operating regulations will be available beginning September 1st, and will be provided under a non-disclosure agreement to protect confidentiality. VISA noted it has demonstrated openness with the publication of VISA USA’s “Annual Report” and the addition of independent directors to the its board. In August 2004, MasterCard launched a special Web site for the merchant community, providing insight into its rules manual. The “MasterCard Merchant Rules Manual” includes rules covering a wide range of topics relevant to merchants, such as the steps that a merchant must follow to complete a sale, how MasterCard transactions are processed, and programs that MasterCard has put in place to reduce fraud. Regional variations of these rules are also included in the manual. (CF Library 8/13/04)

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Retail Decisions Renames its Fuel Cards

Following the decision to re-brand the Fuelserv business to ReD Fuel
Cards, Retail Decisions has unveiled new fuel card imagery and
network identification branding. Over the coming months, customers will
experience “ReD Fuel Cards” (Europe) new visual identity as it is rolled
out across its fuel cards, network identification and marketing
collateral. In addition, core fuel card products have been named “ReD
Bunker,” “ReD UK Diesel,” “ReD European Diesel” and “ReD BP PLUS Bunker”
card.

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Late Payment Fees Level-Off; Flat Sequentially

Fees for making a late payment have leveled-off over the past two years increasing by 2% per annum and remained flat during June compared to the prior month. Over the past ten years late fees have soared by 137% from $13.21 to $31.37 following a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. According to CardData, the most common late payment fee in June was $35. On June 3, 1996 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that card fees should be treated the same as interest rates when it comes to the preemption of state laws. Previously the Supreme Court ruled commercial banks may charge interest rates on credit cards subject to the limitations imposed by the bank’s home state or issuing state, not the cardholder’s state of residence. The ruling gave the same protection to fees associated with a bank credit card program. (CardTrak 1/28/05)

June Late Fees
2002: $27.44
2003: $28.33
2004: $30.01
2005: $30.71
2006: $31.37
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Asia Pay Teams with ETOP Services

Asia Payment Systems announced that its Singapore-based wholly
owned subsidiary, InterPay International Airtime, has formed a joint
venture company, ETOP Services (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (“ETOP Malaysia”),
to sell prepaid products and services in Malaysia. Asia Payments owns 60
percent of ETOP Malaysia with the other partners being Seacare Holdings
of Singapore, an investment holding company with interests in various
countries in Asia, and KC Yap, a Malaysian entrepreneur, who has
existing interests in telecommunications in Malaysia and Indonesia.
ETOP Malaysia will recruit 2,000 retailers as Authorized ETOP Dealers
who will be supplied with electronic terminals that permit the
downloading of prepaid “stock” on an on-line, real-time basis.

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