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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Best Western and MC Launch Soccer Sweepstakes

Best Western International and MasterCard International have teamed up to send one lucky fan and a guest to Germany this summer for the 2006 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, and a special meeting with Hall of Fame superstar, Pele. The grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to Munich, including tickets to the Opening Ceremonies and Opening Match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, courtesy of MasterCard International. Rounding out the package are complimentary airfare, Best Western accommodations for five nights, a $500 (USD) MasterCard Gift Card and a congratulatory dinner, along with ground transportation and local sightseeing opportunities. Best Western International operates 4,200 hotels in 80 countries.

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Over 100,000 Bankruptcy Filers in 2005

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy has reported 101,192
Canadians filed a bankruptcy or proposal in 2005, the first time in
Canadian history that more than 100,000 people have filed.
Statistically, 4 out of every 1,000 adults declared themselves to be
insolvent last year. In Canada, consumer bankruptcies and proposals
increased by 1.2% in 2005 and by 3.1% in Ontario.

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