Pier 1 Imports Mulls a Credit Card Exit

TX-based Pier 1 Imports has retained JPMorgan to assist in a potential transaction to sell the Company’s proprietary credit card business. JPMorgan will also advise management and the Board of Directors review of its store portfolio and the possible sale of other assets. Sales for the four-week period ended April 29, 2006 aggregated $111,550,000 a decrease of 8.7% from $122,218,000 last year, and comparable store sales declined 11.5%. Year-to-date sales for the two-month period amounted to $255,208,000, down 3.3% from $264,023,000 last year, and comparable store sales declined 6.5%.

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TRM’s ATM Revenue Slips 9% in 1Q/06

OR-based ATM specialist TRM reported that first quarter gross sales decreased 10% year-on-year and 3% sequentially to $53.0 million. The Company says 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. Sales for the ATM unit declined 9% to $43.8 million. The average monthly number of transacting ATMs declined 10% to 18,321. Total withdrawals decreased 7% to 17.3 million. 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)

TRM GROSS SALES
1Q/05: $58.8 million
2Q/05: $61.4 million
3Q/05: $59.2 million
4Q/05: $54.5 million
1Q/06: $53.0 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Diebold Intros OpteView Remote Services

Diebold has introduced “OpteView Remote Services” which enables remote troubleshooting and problem diagnosis for the service of ATM networks. Diebold’s new OpteView Remote Services enables remote troubleshooting and problem diagnosis for the service of ATM networks. OpteView allows Diebold to begin problem resolution within minutes of a service request by remotely accessing data.

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AACC Reviews Conservative Accounting

Asset Acceptance Capital has delayed its first quarter report until next week pending a review of “conservative” accounting. For the first quarter of 2006, the Company expects to report total cash collections of approximately $89.4 million, total operating expenses of approximately $47.6 million and net impairments of approximately $2.7 million. During the first quarter of 2006, the Company invested $26.9 million to purchase debt portfolios with a face value of $738.7 million for a blended rate of 3.64%.

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Friday is the Most Popular Fill-Up Day

PA-based Ecount reports it has hit the one millionth fuel transaction with its “Ecount Prepaid VISA” cards. The prepaid specialist also released a “Fuel Spending Trends” report that analyzes recent fuel spending trends from the millions of Ecount cardholders nationwide. The report reveals that Friday is the busiest day for gas purchases with the highest expenditure and most frequent trips to the pump in 2006. Nearly 16% of all gas transactions are made on Friday. Since January, an average of $28.15 is spent on Fridays as compared with Monday (the lowest day) at $26.47. The weekend of April 22nd had the highest at-the-pump spending for gas in the 2 years tracked. People spent an average of $32.73 at the pump, up more than 200% over 2004 expenditures.

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Advent Launches IPO

Advent International’s portfolio company CSU CardSystem S.A., has raised
R$341.0 million (US$161.3 million) in gross proceeds through the initial
public offering of its common stock on the BOVESPA. The company offered 5,571,597 common shares,
and selling shareholders, including funds managed by Advent International,
offered 13,371,324 common shares at a price of R$18.00 per share. The
offering is the second recent IPO by one of Advent’s Latin American
portfolio companies. CSU will receive R$95.0 million in net proceeds from
the IPO, which it will use to repay debt, invest in existing operating
activities and for general corporate purposes. The company’s common shares
began trading today on the Novo Mercado under the symbol “CARD3.”
Advent International is the leading global private equity firm in Latin
America with a combined enterprise value exceeding $2.8 billion.

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Ernex Integrates Loyalty Solution with VeriFone

Ernex has integrated its real-time loyalty and stored-value gift card
solutions with the VeriFone “Omni 3750”. The “Omni 3750” meets the latest
industry security standards and supports
a full range of loyalty and gift card, credit and debit electronic
payment options. The modular architecture of the “Omni 3750” ensures
“future-proof” solutions that can quickly and easily be upgraded, as
customers’ needs change. With an ATM-style interface, clam-shell printer
and large backlit display, operator training is simplified and costly
errors are minimized.

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VISA Appoints Two New Managers

VISA International has appointed Andy McCowan to the role of Senior
Business Development Manager and Sarah Eglinton as Marketing Manager.
In his new role, McCowan will support
banks in New Zealand helping them to implement new products and grow and
develop their existing VISA card issuing and acquiring portfolios. As
New Zealand Marketing Manager, Eglinton will be responsible for driving
the strategic direction of the VISA brand in New Zealand and providing a
local conduit between the brand and the major New Zealand banks. VISA
has nearly two million cards on issue and more than 100,000 merchant
acceptance locations in New Zealand.

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All AA Flights to Accept Cards Onboard

American Airlines is rolling-out in-flight credit card acceptance on all of its domestic and international flights by mid-June. This week, the nation’s largest airline began phasing in the program for onboard purchases. American will be the first U.S. airline with a global network to offer this option onboard all aircraft. AA will use wireless handheld devices that operate using “Windows Mobile” technology. Working with American Express, AA’s full-scale launch follows successful testing executed last year. AA was the first airline to accept the American Express cards in 1960 and launched a cobranded card with AmEx in 2003. Some other airlines, including United, offer onboard credit card acceptance for in-flight shopping on international flights.

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StepNexus Authentication Technology Wins Award

Hitachi’s deployment of finger vein biometric authentication technology,
powered by the StepNexus “MULTOS” smart card platform has won Card
Technology Magazine’s annual “Breakthrough Innovation” award. The advanced finger vein authentication technology developed by Hitachi
relies on clearly identifiable and unique pattern of veins in a finger.
Without physically touching a scanner, a user’s identity is verified while
dramatically increasing security and fraud detection. StepNexus MULTOS
smart cards support matching the finger vein image within the secure
confines of the smart card. The finger vein application can be issued
alongside the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) payment application of the
card issuers. MULTOS is the world’s highest security, open standard smart
card platform and the Global MULTOS Key Management Authority.
Hitachi, Ltd with total sales of 9,464.8 billion yen ($80.9 billion).
StepNexus is a joint venture between Oak Hill Venture Partners, Keycorp,
Hitachi and MasterCard International.

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Banco Itau Buys BofA’s BankBoston Local Portfolio

Banco Itau Holding Financeira and Itausa Investimentos Itau
have entered into an agreement with Bank of America Corporation for the acquisition of BankBoston in Brazil. The deal also gives the exclusive right for ITAU to acquire BKB’s operations in Chile and Uruguay. This transaction is the largest stock swap ever to be completed in the Brazilian financial services industry. BankBoston Brazil has approximately R$26 billion in assets under management.

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