Firewall Supports Consumer Protection Week

This is “National Consumer Protection Week” and this year Hollywood has joined in. This weekend the action thriller “Firewall” will show the personal impact of identity theft. Security specialist Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) works for the Seattle-based Landrock Pacific Bank. A trusted top-ranking executive, he has built his career and reputation on designing the most effective anti-theft computer systems in the industry, protecting the bank’s financial holdings from the constant threat of increasingly sophisticated Internet hackers with his complex network of tracers, access codes and firewalls. Jack’s position affords a comfortable life for him, his architect wife Beth (Virginia Madsen) and their two young children – a standard of living that includes a beautiful home in a residential community just outside the city. But there’s a vulnerability in Jack’s system that he has not accounted for: himself. It’s a vulnerability that very ruthless and resourceful thief is poised to exploit. Jack discovers that a thief has stolen his identity while reviewing his Equifax credit report.

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Columbus Data Services Goes TNS ATMLink

Columbus Data Services has signed a three-year contract renewal with Transaction Network Services for the “ATMLink” solution to support its wireless ATM program. CDS has installed over 1,000 wireless ATMLink units nationwide in 2005, a significant landmark for the new Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology. TNS’ ATMLink wireless technology to CDS’ current systems allows for rapid installation and flexible placement of the ATMs. TNS designs and implements multiple data networks designed specifically for the transport of transaction-oriented data.

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ADS Acquires TargetSource & TargetMail

Alliance Data has reached an agreement to acquire Canada’s ICOM Information and Communication, a provider of targeted list, marketing data and communication solutions for the direct response, consumer packaged goods and over-the-counter pharmaceutical industries in North America. These include the AIR MILES Reward Program, Canada’s premiere coalition loyalty marketing program, Epsilon, a leading provider of integrated direct marketing solutions and COLLOQUY, a leading provider of loyalty-marketing publishing, research, educational and consulting services. ICOM will remain a distinct business within Alliance Data. Alliance Data is a provider of transaction, credit and marketing services.

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GPN Signs a Signature Card Services Deal

Atlanta-based Global Payments has inked a multi-year processing agreement with Los Angeles-based Signature Card Services for authorization, capture, and settlement, as well as BIN sponsorship for credit, debit, and EBT card processing. Global Payments offers a comprehensive line of processing solutions for credit and debit cards, business-to-business purchasing cards, gift cards, electronic check conversion and check guarantee, check verification and recovery and terminal management.

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MasterIndex Forecasts 67.5MM Travelers in A/P

MasterCard’s “MasterIndex of Travel” forecasts that Malaysia and Philippines will produce the strongest year-on-year growth for outbound travel. Strong growth is also expected from Australia (9.5%),
China (9.0%), Japan (8.0%) and Korea (7.8%). An increasing number of
the respondents polled (84%) named destinations in Asia/Pacific as their
top choice for personal travel, above those in Europe (34%) and the
United States (17%). For business travelers, 86% traveled for business
within the Asia/Pacific region, a 25% increase from a year ago. The
results also highlight the growing trend of women travelers as Asia’s
new spending powerhouse. Females (40%) are traveling more than males
(34%) for personal trips and skewed towards older respondents.

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Corillian Revenues Rise 16% in 4Q/05

Online payments specialist Corillian posted a 16% increase in fourth quarter revenues to $13.8 million. Net loss for the quarter was $39,000, compared to a net loss of $60,000 for the prior quarter. During the quarter Corillian acquired nine new customers, including six online banking and bill payment customers and sold upgrades and additional products to several existing customers, including products it began selling in August with the close of the InteliData and qbt acquisitions. Wachovia recently converted to the Corillian “Voyager” platform and “Consumer Banking” application. For complete details on Corillian’s fourth quarter results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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QANTAS AMEX CARDS

Qantas Airways has teamed with long-time partner American Express to issue a suite of new credit cards for consumers. Cardholders will receive up to 2.5 “Frequent Flyer” points for every dollar spent with Qantas and a minimum of between 1.0 and 1.5 “Frequent Flyer” points per dollar spent on other purchases. Cardholders will also receive a bonus of 2,500 or 5,000 points after the first spend on the card, and another 2,500 bonus points when they first spend with Qantas in Australia on Qantas services. The three new co-branded cards include the: “Qantas American Express Card”; “Qantas American Express Premium Card” and “Qantas American Express Ultimate Card.” In 2003 Qantas launched a co-brand corporate card with American Express.

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AmEx & Qantas Expand into Consumer Cards

Qantas Airways has teamed with long-time partner American Express to issue a suite of new credit cards for Australian consumers. Cardholders will receive up to 2.5 “Frequent Flyer” points for every dollar spent with Qantas and a minimum of between 1.0 and 1.5 “Frequent Flyer” points per dollar spent on other purchases. Cardholders will also receive a bonus of 2,500 or 5,000 points after the first spend on the card and another 2,500 bonus points when they first spend with Qantas in Australia on Qantas services. The three new co-branded cards include the: “Qantas American Express Card”; “Qantas American Express Premium Card” and “Qantas American Express Ultimate Card.” In 2003 Qantas launched a co-brand corporate card with American Express, according to CardFlash International.

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2006 Winter Games Implement ASK Contactless Cards

Sophia-Antipolis-based ASK reports its “TanGO-based CT4002” contactless smart cards and “C.ticket” contactless paper tickets will be used by Gruppo Torinese Trasporti and Societa Italiana Traforo Autostrade del Frejus for ticketing and fare collection system and entertainment purchases during the “20th Winter Olympic Games” in Torino, Italy. ASK is a supplier of contactless cards, tickets, RFID tags and readers to the mass transit, access control, banking, ID, supply chain and logistics markets.

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Credit Card Over-Limit Fees Gain 3% in 2005

The growth in fees for exceeding credit card limits slowed down again in 2005 as the average crossed the $31 milestone. Last year, the average over-limit fee increased 2.9%, compared to 3.8% in 2004 and 32.3% in 1997, according to CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][1]). Between 1994 and 1999, over-limit fees grew 96%, from $12.75 to $24.96. During 2005, the most common over-limit fee among major issuers was $35, although some issuers charge $39 for accounts with higher balances.

OVER-LIMIT FEE HISTORICAL
Year Average Y/Y CNHG
1994: $12.75 + 2.6%
1995: $13.20 + 3.5%
1996: $13.94 + 5.6%
1997: $18.44 +32.3%
1998: $21.14 +14.4%
1999: $24.96 +18.1%
2000: $25.99 + 4.1%
2001: $26.88 + 3.4%
2002: $27.89 + 3.8%
2003: $29.23 + 4.8%
2004: $30.35 + 3.8%
2005: $31.22 + 2.9%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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AmEx Affluent GDV Rises Despite Competition

American Express said yesterday that its facts and analytics show that VISA’s claim that its affluent “Signature” product is outpacing all other payment brands does not make sense. AmEx says if VISA were actually outpacing all others in the affluent category, VISA’s share would be increasing and spending among AmEx premium cardholders would be slowing but this is not happening. AmEx says that over the past three years its spending per consumer “Centurion” account is up $75,000; “OPEN” charge cardholder spending is up $16,000; Starwood cobrand cardholder spending is up almost $10,000; and consumer “Platinum” cardholder spending is up more than $7,000 annually. AmEx noted that across its full product line, the number of consumer and small business accounts spending more than $50,000 per year has increased by 78%. AmEx says one thing is clear; that the alleged growth by VISA among affluent cardholders is not coming at its expense.

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Tier/OPC Hires Prepaid Card Expert

Virginia-based Tier Technologies has hired Armen Khachadourian, formerly with JPMorgan Chase and VISA USA, as VP/Strategic Programs to drive the prepaid debit card market for its Official Payments Corp. subsidiary. At JPMorgan Chase, he served as global prepaid product manager for JPMorgan Chase Treasury Services. In this role, he expanded cash digitization products worldwide and developed new acquisition channels. He also developed the legal and functional infrastructure in the U.K. to issue and market euro denominated prepaid and debit cards. Additionally, he issued prepaid cards for over 10 U.S. Treasury agencies and a multi-purpose payroll card to the U.S. Navy, thus streamlining payroll functions and eliminating cash on board ships.

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