Eurozone Retail Sales Rise Sharply from May

The latest Bloomberg “Eurozone Retail Purchasing Managers Index”
indicates that Eurozone retail sales rose sharply from one
month earlier in May. The survey tracks changes in retail sales,
performance against sales targets, inventories, prices, employment and
other key indicators. The seasonally adjusted “Eurozone Retail PMI”
remained above the no-change mark of 50.0 in May, signaling further
month-on-month growth of Eurozone retail sector sales. Germany and
France registered increased sales in May compared to last
month, 60.4 and 56.9 respectively. The index questions more than 1,000
retail executives in Germany, France and Italy. These countries together
represent approximately 75% of total Eurozone retail sales.

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Are You Credit Wise? Reaches 375K Students

MasterCard this week held a money management seminar for Capitol Hill student interns and reports that its “Are You Credit Wise?” consumer education program has reached 375,000 students at nearly 50 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. In its seventh year, the “Are You Credit Wise?” program employs a peer-to-peer teaching model designed to increase the program’s effectiveness by attracting students who are more inclined to listen and act upon information coming from their peers than from parents, teachers or counselors.

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Precidia to Power Shell Oil CoolBand Initiative

Precidia Technologies has been chosen by Netifice
Communications to provide network connectivity to serial equipment
as part of Shell Oil Products U.S. “CoolBand”
initiative. This innovative program consolidates a wide range of
convenience store/petroleum equipment, from payment processing such as
Ruby(TM)terminals, to tank monitors and video surveillance, onto a single
broadband network infrastructure, replacing a VSAT connection. Precidia
is working with Netifice to offer this broadband connectivity
option to operators of 10,000 retail site locations. The “iPocket232”
was customized to the needs of Shell’s operators. Precidia Technologies
designs and manufactures of IP access devices. Netifice Communications
is a provider of flexible IP VPN solutions.

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CyberSource Intros Payment Data Management

CyberSource has launched a new service enabling eCommerce merchants to process electronic payments without the risk of storing or even handling sensitive account information. With CyberSource’s Payment Data Management, CyberSource, not the merchant, manages sensitive customer information such as credit card numbers and related transaction data. CyberSource handles and stores all payment data on behalf of the merchant in security-certified processing centers that connect directly with the banking network.

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Purchasing Card Bill Passes the Senate

The Senate has unanimously passed the “Purchase Card Waste Elimination Act.” “S.457” requires the Federal government to ensure small business participation in government credit card purchases that are not subject to competitive bidding. U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Chair of the “Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship,” says the amendment directs the OMB to better track Federal government credit card purchases and meet a 23% small businesses participation goal for purchases up to $2,500. Senator Snowe’s amendment applies the “Strategic Sourcing Guidance” of the OMB to Federal credit card orders, which will require that small business participation be a necessary part of the government’s strategic approach to purchasing. It is estimated that Federal agencies spend $16 billion each year through credit card orders that are not subject to Federal competitive requirements. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., sponsored the bill.

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PULSE Renews Security Service FCU Contract

Texas-based Security Service FCU, with more than 590,000 members, has extended its signature debit card agreement with the PULSE EFT Association. Under the terms of the agreement, PULSE will continue to provide signature debit support services to the San Antonio, Texas-based credit union, which operates 20 branches in Texas and eight in Colorado. Security Service Federal Credit Union is a $3.9 billion institution with more than 590,000 members.

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VISA LAC 1Q/06

VISA’s purchase volume for debit cards in the Latin America and Caribbean Region increased 51% for the four quarters ending March 31st. Prepaid products doubled to 3.3 million cards during the same period. There are now more than 150 million debit cards in the region. VISA says consumers are using debit and prepaid cards for recurring payments, such as utilities and bills, in addition to everyday purchases, such as groceries, gas and dining. This is especially true in key markets, including Brazil with a 64% purchase volume increase, Puerto Rico with 48%, Costa Rica with 43%, Chile with 41% and Mexico with 37%.

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Ecount Issues Cavalier Refer-A-Friend Card

Cavalier Telephone, a provider of voice and high speed Internet service throughout the mid-Atlantic, announced the launch of its “Refer-A-Friend” card via PA-based Ecount. The Refer-A-Friend Program will reward current and new Cavalier customers with a $25 reward, loaded onto an Ecount Card, for every referral that joins the Cavalier network. Ecount provides customized prepaid programs for corporations.

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First Data Healthcare Signs PayFlex

Nebraska-based PayFlex Systems USA has selected and completed integration with First Data Healthcare Services. First Data will deliver healthcare card services, including a state-of-the-art transaction card processing solution that provides a convenient and secure vehicle for members to access their fund contributions at the point of care. The PayFlex card will support enhanced features for spending accounts, including real-time pharmacy benefit management, co-pay and over-the-counter substantiation, complex purse prioritization and integration and a healthcare line of credit.PayFlex is a nationwide provider of healthcare spending account administration.

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TRM Puts Together a Refinancing Deal

OR-based TRM has completed the refinancing of its principal indebtedness to the tune of $105 million. Its terms include a six-year maturity period and a blended interest rate of approximately 5.25% over LIBOR. Therefore, TRM is no longer in forbearance of any debt or in violation of any debt covenants. Wells Fargo Foothill was the administrative agent and certain funds managed by GSO Capital Partners LP were the majority lenders. TRM recently reported that first quarter gross sales decreased 10% year-on-year and 3% sequentially to $53.0 million. The Company said the decrease reflects a net decline in unit count and cash withdrawals associated with attrition in the ACI ATM portfolio that the Company acquired from eFunds in late 2004. The first quarter net loss was $1.5 million, compared to a net loss of $13.7 million in 4Q/05 and net income of $1.7 million in 1Q/05. In January, TRM engaged Allen & Company to explore a possible sale. Last month, PricewaterhouseCoopers raised questions about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. For complete details on TRM’s first quarter results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/18/06; 5/5/06)

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

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