Debit & Prepaid Cards Soar in Latin America

VISA International reports that debit and prepaid card sales volume has
risen sharply in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Also, the
number of debit and prepaid cards crossed the 150 million card milestone
in 2005. VISA has 63 million credit cards in the region. Debit and
prepaid card sales volume rose 50% during 2005, while credit card sales
volume rose 39%. Total volume at the POS was $83 billion with more than
2.6 billion transactions.

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LG Card Goes on Sale April 12th

After much wrangling among creditors, LG Card is finally going on the selling block. Korea Development Bank , working with JP Morgan, says the bidding will start on April 12th and will end on April 19th. The creditors are looking to sell at least 51% of South Korea’s largest card issuer. The deal is expected to fetch at least US$4 billion. Woori Financial, Hana Financial, HSBC, and Citibank are rumored to be interested in the portfolio. LG Card has posted four consecutive quarters of solid profitability. In the third quarter of 2004, the issuer reported a 46.8 billion won loss. Since then, LG Card has earned 1.47 trillion won. In the first quarter of this year, the issuer earned 479.8 billion won.

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Keynote Ranks Discovercard.com as #1

Discovercard.com has been ranked number one in online customer experience in a recent study performed by Keynote Systems. The Keynote study evaluated the experience of 2,000 prospective credit card customers, using over 250 criteria to analyze the leading credit card Web sites in terms of the overall customer experience and technical service issues, such as site responsiveness and reliability. According to the study, almost two-thirds of study participants (71 percent) cited Discover as the easiest credit card company to deal with online as well as the easiest credit card to apply for online.

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NTT DoCoMo and LAWSON Partner for Wallet Phones

NTT DoCoMo and LAWSON have entered into a business alliance that will
result in customers using DoCoMo’s “Osaifu-Keita” phones with wallet
functions for a variety of practical mobile services at LAWSON convenience
stores. The deals will converge substantial business assets of the two
companies, namely DoCoMo’s more than 50 million mobile phone subscribers
and LAWSON’s some 8,300 convenience stores nationwide. In addition,
DoCoMo will acquire 2,092,000 shares of LAWSON common stock owned by
LAWSON as treasury stock, or about 2% of total issued shares, for about
nine billion yen on tentatively scheduled for April 14, 2006. LAWSON is
the one of biggest franchiser for convenience stores business in Japan.

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Triton ATM Shipments Rise 21% in 2005

Mississippi-based Triton reports it shipped a total of 20,481 ATMs worldwide last year, with 14,782 of those shipments representing U.S. sales, a 21% increase from its 2004 U.S. shipments. International sales numbers increased in several targeted markets including Asia, Australia, Canada and South Africa. Triton is a provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America.

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LG Card to Deploy Blue Coat Protection

LG Card has deployed Blue Coat’s “SG-Series” and “AV-Series” appliances to
protect its corporate network and customer database from spyware, viruses
and other security threats and to ensure the privacy and integrity of its
data. LG Card offers installment financing, consumer loans and leasing as
well as credit card services to more then 9.8 million cardholders in South
Korea. In the past, its network had experienced several security
threats, including spyware and other virus attacks that caused a slow down
in overall operations. Blue Coat secures Web communications and
accelerates business applications across the distributed enterprise.

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Simon Malls to Deploy BofA ATMs

The nation’s largest mall owner has signed a new strategic agreement with Bank of America to install more than 360 of the bank’s ATMs in 160 malls in 31 states. The installations will be largely completed by June. BofA has more than 16,700 ATMs and is the largest financial institution ATM provider in the USA. Simon, through its subsidiary partnership, currently owns or has an interest in 286 properties in the USA and a market capitalization of about $42 billion.

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Citigroup’s Global Transaction Services

Citigroup’s Global Transaction Services is expanding its commercial cards
program in Malaysia to offer a “Corporate Card” and a “Purchasing Card”. The “Corporate Card” is mainly
used for corporate expenses associated with business travel while the
“Purchasing Card” is used mainly for purchasing and payments for companies
and allows companies to move from multiple invoices to just one statement
offering a more cost-effective payment process. Clients will be able to
access information by using an array of solutions to provide more detailed
information on corporate expenditure. Citigroup’s commercial cards
business offers card programs in 39 countries used by over 1,000,000
corporate and government cardholders.

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ENCORE to Merge with the CO-OP Network

VA-based ENCORE Electronic Services Cooperative and CA-based CO-OP Network yesterday announced plans to merge. The deal is C0-OP’s seventh merger in the last decade. CO-OP has a national surcharge-free network of more than 25,000 ATMs. ENCORE, which is owned by 124 member credit unions, became a CO-OP Network member/shareholder in April 2003. ENCORE processes nearly 10 million transactions per month. ENCORE will operate as a division of CO-OP. CO-OP says the ENCORE division will provide leadership on merchant and card services. CO-OP Network has 1,835 credit union members and handles 100 million-plus monthly transactions and 24 million cardholders.

CO-OP NETWORK HISTORICAL
(# of ATMs)
1999: 3,000
2000: 4,000
2001: 6,500
2002: 15,000
2003: 18,000
2004: 19,000
2005: 25,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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EUFISERV to Become SEPA Cards Framework Compliant

The EUFISERV ATM card scheme will become compliant with the SEPA Cards
Framework (SCF). This will allow the scheme to continue to be a part of
the European payment system landscape after the launch of SEPA in 2008.
Currently, the EUFISERV ATM Card Scheme provides access to cash to over
70 million cardholders and EUFISERV branded cards are issued by over 600
participating banks and are accepted at over 60,000 EUFISERV branded ATMs
across Europe. To become SCF-compliant the EUFISERV scheme will be
separated from the processing activities of the company. Participating
banks will need only a single license for the whole of
SEPA. Support for EMV will be made mandatory and a liability shift rule
will be introduced to encourage early adoption. EUFISERV s.c.r.l. is a
card payments processor that manages the EUFISERV Network,
processing cross-border ATM cash withdrawals and point of sale
transactions between its users.

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Sovereign Signs a CardTronics ATM Deal

Philadelphia-based Sovereign Bank and Houston-based Cardtronics have signed a deal to enable Sovereign to brand nearly 900 cash dispensing ATMs in CVS/pharmacy locations across the northeastern U.S. Installations will be completed over the next few months. Sovereign will also have the opportunity to brand ATMs at any new CVS/pharmacy locations within the same footprint. In addition, all Sovereign ATMs in CVS/pharmacy stores will be surcharge-free to Sovereign customers, just like Sovereign’s on-premise ATMs. Sovereign Bancorp Inc. is the parent company of Sovereign Bank, a $64 billion financial institution.

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