U.S. Bank’s PowerTrack Makes an Acquisition

U.S. Bank’s “PowerTrack” portfolio is acquiring Schneider Payment Services on July 1st making it the world’s largest provider of freight payments. The acquisition adds in excess of $7 billion in freight payments to the PowerTrack portfolio. In addition, Schneider Logistics will utilize U.S. Bank Freight Payment Services and PowerTrack as the payment provider for its customers in North America. A $3.5 billion company, Schneider National is a provider of truckload, logistics and intermodal services. PowerTrack processes more than 25 million electronic freight documents annually with more than 25,000 registered users from 3,300 locations worldwide.

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MS 2Q/06

Morgan Stanley reported that credit card outstandings for its British MasterCards during the quarter ended May 31st rose by more than $200 million since the prior quarter to $4.4 billion. During the quarter MS added approximately 300,000 net new accounts for its “Classic,” “Gold,” “Platinum,” “buy & fly!” and “Goldfish” card programs. The quarter included the performance of $1.5 billion of managed loans associated with the acquisition of the Lloyds TSB “Goldfish” credit card business in the U.K., which closed on February 17th. There are approximately 1.1 million “Goldfish” credit card accounts. MS, which issues the “Discover” card in the U.S. paid a 22% premium for the “Goldfish” portfolio. The Company has been aggressively promoting the “Goldfish” brand. MS introduced its first credit card in the U.K. in 1999. Overall, MS posted another record quarter for its credit card business as pre-tax profits hit $541 million for 2Q/06, more than double the level one-year ago. Global managed outstandings of $48.5 billion increased 4% over year-ago levels. For complete details on Morgan Stanley’s latest performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Cash Technologies Invests in UK’s BIPS

Los Angeles-based Cash Technologies has take a 10% stake in London-based payment processor Business Intelligent Processing Systems for $2 million. BIPS is a distributor of Cash Tech’s prepaid debit card, marketed under the brand name Greenback Card. Prepaid debit cards are new to the European market, where cross border money transfers, e-wallet functionality and other advanced features of Cash Tech’s prepaid cards can be of significant value to cardholders and merchants. Business Intelligent Processing Systems, Limited develops and manages commercial payment systems and risk management solutions. Cash Technologies, Inc. develops and markets data processing solutions in the healthcare and financial services industries.

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FFIEC Authentication Alternative Offered

A Redwood City, CA firm has introduced an authentication solution that does not require an enrollment process and an “out of wallet question/answer challenge” approach. Business Signatures says its nomaly “Detection with Real-Time Customer Notifications” solution has been deemed consistent with FFIEC guidance. The solution is based on the Company’s “Real-Time e-Fraud Detector” and “e-FraudMart” products. The solution identifies anomalies in online account access or behavior patterns in real time, based on server streams or server logs; notifies the customer in real time using an outbound call or messaging, giving the customer the opportunity to approve or deny the suspicious pattern through an automated system; provides offline reversal or suspension of suspicious transactions and can also support risk based authentication; and works with any Web application.

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Senate Interchange Hearing is Postponed

“POSTPONED–Credit Card Interchange Rates: Antitrust Concerns? ”
Senate Judiciary Committee
Full Committee

——————————————————————————–

DATE: June 28, 2006
TIME: 09:30 AM
ROOM: SD-226
OFFICIAL HEARING NOTICE / WITNESS LIST:

June 19, 2006

NOTICE OF FULL COMMITTEE HEARING POSTPONEMENT

The a hearing on “Credit Card Interchange Rates: Antitrust Concerns?”
scheduled by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for Wednesday, June
28, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226 has
been postponed.

By order of the Chairman

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TransitCenter to Launch a Prepaid Card

NY-based TransitCenter is adding a pre-paid card to its product suite in August in a continuing effort to replace its 20 year old paper “TransitChek Voucher.” The new “TransitChek Card” is anonymous, reloadable and permits employees to set aside up to $105 a month of their pre-tax earnings to pay for transit commuting costs and up to $205 a month for commuter parking. More than 11,000 employers and 500,000 employees, mostly in the New York City metro area, currently participate in the employer-sponsored “TransitChek” program. The Company is an independent nonprofit corporation and the only specialized provider of tax-free commuter benefits, transit information and assistance. The new card is available in a broader choice of dollar values, including $76 and $105 denominations. Employees can check their card balances through TransitCenter’s Web site and employees can transfer remaining balances from an old card to a new card. TransitCenter currently offers paper “TransitChek Vouchers,” “TransitChek MetroCards” and the “TransitChek QuickPay” debit card.

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VISA/MasterCard Credit Card Gap Narrows

The horse race between VISA and MasterCard is tightening in the U.S. credit card arena as the gap narrowed from 44 millions cards in the fourth quarter to 20 million cards in the first quarter. VISA briefly lost its lead position to MasterCard in the second half of 2002 but pulled ahead by the second quarter of 2003. However, both networks have slowed considerably as the total number of cards-in-force for each network rose by a mere one million in the 1Q/06 compared to 1Q/05. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), VISA and MasterCard had 577.8 million credit cards at the end of the first quarter compared to 575.7 million one-year ago. At year-end 2005 VISA reported 321 million credit cards which dropped to 299 million for the first quarter. MasterCard reported 277 million at year-end 2005 which increased to 279 million for 1Q/06.

Q1 U.S. Credit Cards
(cards in millions)
VISA MC
2002: 259 239
2003: 263 265
2004: 284 262
2005: 298 278
2006: 299 279
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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UK Intl Payment Card Fraud Hits 6-Year Low

Payment card fraud committed abroad on UK cards fell to $151.4 million in 2005, a six-year low. About 40% of card fraud abroad took place in three countries including the USA (14%), France (14%) and Spain (12%). APACS, the industry association representing plastic card issuers in Great Britain, says UK-issued cardholders used their cards to spend $38 billion abroad last year. APACS also released a new consumer guide about using credit and debit cards abroad offering simple advice on avoiding problems. The decline in fraud is mainly attributable to improved fraud detection systems that enable card companies to spot unusual spending patterns most often associated with the fraudulent use of cards. Foreign fraud peaked in 2001 when it hit $253 million according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International.

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Wickes Selects S1 Postilion Payment Solution

Home improvement retailer Wickes has implemented S1’s “Postilion”
payments processing solution in all Wickes stores in the UK.
Postilion processes all payments, including EMV Chip and PIN
transactions, made at 1,300 tills throughout 178 UK Wickes outlets, as
well as linking into the Certegy Transax system for check clearing.
Additionally, the solution offers automatic bank settlement file
submission without the need for end-of- day polling. In addition to
processing chip and PIN transactions, the flexible architecture of
Postilion gives Wickes the ability to process sales from other channels,
whether in-store, web-based, from kiosks, or over the telephone. S1
Corporation is a provider of customer interaction software solutions for
financial services.

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Merchant Services Network & SSA Partner

The Merchant Services Network has become a Self Storage Association “Partner” obtaining access and visibility to SSA’s 6,000 member companies. By bundling benefits, SSA sponsorship programs are a more convenient approach for vendors than the fragmented model of past years. SSA Partner sponsorships are limited to eight (8) companies; the Partner program is for a two-year period and is business category exclusive. Merchant Services Network is a full service, ISO/MSP of First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE, a member bank of the Visa & MasterCard Association.

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Doha Bank Launches Dream Card Program

Doha Bank has re-launched its credit card business under the brand name
“Dream” and has launched the “Dream Rewards Program” and “Dream Card
Acquiring Service”. Through the “Dream Rewards Program”, Doha Bank
customers will earn “Dream Reward Points” for every rial spent through
their credit cards. The “Dream Points” earned by the customers can be
redeemed for purchases at the member merchant outlets apart from the
“cash-back option” and customer’s card account will be credited with the
value of points earned. Under the ‘Dream Rewards Program’, cardholders
will earn 1 point for every QR 4 spent on their card. Accumulated
points can be redeemed at the member merchant outlets and at Doha Bank.

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Western Union to Load for SouthernLINC

SouthernLINC Wireless has teamed with Western Union to permit its prepaid customers to replenish their accounts at Western Union agent locations nationwide. Western Union Agent locations include supermarkets, convenience stores, check-cashers and other locations where consumers already do business every day. SouthernLINC Wireless customers can visit www.westernunion.com or call 1-800-CALL-CASH to find the most convenient location. SouthernLINC Wireless, a Southern Company is an Atlanta-based regional wireless carrier covering the major metro and rural areas in Alabama, Georgia, southeastern Mississippi and northwest Florida.

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