More Evidence of Jan’s Charge-Off Collapse

Fitch Ratings concurs with the findings of Moody’s Investor Services that charge-offs plunged during January. The Fitch “Credit Card Index” for January shows charge-offs, among securitized credit card outstandings, declined by 359 basis points to 3.29%. Fitch says last fall’s spike in personal bankruptcy filings has finally worked its way through U.S. credit card master trusts’ performance measures. The outlook for charge-offs is positive over the near term and master trusts should benefit from increased levels of excess spread going forward. Personal bankruptcy filings have declined significantly, with a weekly average of 6,000 filings observed since Oct. 17. The weekly average for 2005 before the new bankruptcy law went into effect was 47,000 filings, with peak volume of 315,000 filings the week of Oct. 17. Year-over-year bankruptcy filings are down 75.8% through Jan. 31.

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Info Touch Launches a Pittsburgh Pilot

Info Touch Technologies has launched a pilot in the Pittsburgh area to test its self-serve automated bill payment and financial services touch-screen terminals at Sunoco APlus convenience stores. The terminals seek to provide a convenient way for customers to pay a host of bills including wireless, utility and cable bills, to view and update their accounts, and to purchase prepaid products and services and revalue and/or activate stored value products. The first deployment will be completed in March 2006.

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KREISSPARKASSE & NCR

Kreissparkasse Bank will deploy NCR “Personas M” series ATMs as it
introduces cash deposit and cash recycling in its main branch in Koethen
this month. Recycling is popular outside of
the United States, allowing cash that is deposited in the ATM to be
immediately dispensed to customers making withdrawals.
The bank will also deploy NCR “Personas M” series ATMs in other branches
as it replaces older machines from other vendors. As part of a
three-year agreement, NCR will also provide maintenance and
services through its worldwide customer services division.

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Turkey’s Garanti Offers 9,000 Card Options

Turkey’s Garanti Bank has launched a new line of credit cards that enables cardholders to create a card with the interest rate, the reward system, the card fee and even the card design of their choice. The new “Flexi VISA” cards offers more than 9,000 different financial combination possibilities, according to this week’s CardFlash International. During the application process on the Web, applicants can manipulate over ten parameters such as the reward rate and type, interest rate, card fee, and campaign type to create their preferred combination. Customers who want a simple approach can choose to select one of the four ready made packages from the Web or from Garanti branches. Cardholders can choose from among five different color designs of “Flexi.” They can also choose a picture from the photo gallery or they can use a picture of their own. Cardholders can also choose the vertical VISA card, the first offered vertical VISA to be offered. All the software needed for the program was developed in house by Garanti’s technology company. Garanti also issues the highly successful “Bonus VISA” cards with more than four million cardholders to-date.

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AmEx/NYT 3rd Travel Show Hits a New Record

The “New York Times Travel Show,” sponsored by American Express, drew a record 26,500 visitors including 7,000 trade professionals for its recent third annual show. The supporting sponsors included Amtrak, Carnival Cruise Lines and the Greek National Tourism Organization. Contributing sponsors included Aruba Tourism, Sandals and Beaches Resorts and Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation.

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Diebold’s Fourth Quarter Results are Adjusted

OH-based Diebold’s fourth quarter results were not as rosy as earlier reported. The Company says it became aware just prior to the announcement of its fourth quarter and year-end results of a possible adjustment related to the recognition of certain election systems revenue in the fourth quarter. The Company has determined that $7.0 million in fourth quarter election systems revenue and $4.2 million in net income would need to be recognized in future periods. This adjustment reduced previously announced fourth quarter and 2005 full-year earnings per share by $0.06. Diebold says the change will have no effect on the Company’s 2006 full- year revenue and earnings per share expectations. For complete details on Diebold’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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USAT e-Port Vending Patent is Expanded

Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies reports it has received a notice of allowance from the USPTO for another patent application from its “e-Port” family of cashless, wireless vending products. Among early companies to sign a technology licensing agreement with USA Technologies is Mars Electronics (MEI), the world’s leading manufacturer of payment systems for bills and coins. The agreement allows MEI to use USA Technologies intellectual property to connect to USALive, the company’s network for e-Port(R) cashless transactions. More recently, USA Technologies has been in licensing discussions with financial institutions seeking to access its patented wireless technology and network services. USA Technologies provides networking of wireless non-cash transactions and associated financial/network services.

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Pemco Technologies Promotes Packer

Seattle-based Pemco Technologies has promoted Tanya Packer to Director of Business Development. Packer will continue in her role as manager of internal computer services projects, and will participate in steering committees and advise on development projects. Packer has 15 years of card processing experience. At First Security/Equifax, she served as a customer service representative, implementation coordinator, and customer service team leader. Packer has a bachelor’s degree in business information systems from the University of Phoenix. Pemco provides payment solutions to the financial industry.

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GECF and Lowe’s Launch a Project Card

The second-largest home improvement retailer in the world has launched a new card that gives consumers a six-month project window to make as many purchases as they like without incurring any interest or required payments. Lowe’s and GE Consumer Finance have teamed to offer the new “Project Card.” Under the program the customer opens a “project window” with a project purchase of at least $1,000. The customer can continue to make purchases during the six-month project window until the project is complete, without having to make any payments or have any interest accrue. After the six-month purchase period ends, interest accruals begin and fixed monthly payments begin. Another project window can then be opened for another project. Interest rates charged are based on credit risk and currently range from 8.49% to 18.49%. The interest rates are variable and based on the prime rate.

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