Bank Aval Provides Low Cost ATM Money Transfers

Bank Aval has announced that holders of payment cards issued by Bank
Aval are able to make hryvnia transfers from one card account to another
via Aval ATMs for only 1 hryvnia. The transfers may be performed between
private individuals. The funds, transferred from one card account to
another, become accessible to their receiver online immediately after
the transaction. The promotion is valid till April 30th in the Aval
ATM network throughout Ukraine.

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Mastercard Offers Financial Know How

MasterCard International has launched the “MasterCard Financial Know
How” program, a consumer education program designed to give consumers
access to free, easy-to-understand tools to help manage their personal
finances. A key component of this program is the “MasterCard Financial
Know How” interactive website, aimed at providing Taiwanese consumers
with information on personal financing. “MasterCard Financial Know How”
is a professional website that teaches consumers how to manage their
finances well. The website includes free, easy-to-use information, tips
and resources for consumers, including six smart tips for personal
financing. These tips include curbing spending; assessing one’s debt;
setting a goal; creating a plan; tracking spending and paying more than
the minimum.

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PayWi Payment Platform Makes it Debut

Portland, OR-based PayWi yesterday debuted its wireless payment platform that stores all consumer information on its servers and not in the phone. With PayWi, consumers can use their wireless phones to securely make retail purchases showing a credit or debit card, monitor and share restaurant tabs in real time and instantly pay the bill, establish family sub-accounts and monthly allowances for shared users, make secure online purchases, Transfer funds between bank accounts and make payments toward monthly bills, either automatically or manually.

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Moberge Invests in Freestar Technology

The Swedish Moberge Group announced that it has signed an
agreement to acquire a major position in Freestar Technology
Corporation, a payment
processing and technology company based in Dublin, Ireland with primary
operations in Helsinki, Finland. The investment will be in the form of
newly-issued common stock; based upon its current capital structure, the
acquisition could amount to approximately 24% of the outstanding common
stock of Freestar.

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GECF Buys Hbc Private Label Card Portfolio

The Canadian arm of GE Consumer Finance has acquired Hudson’s Bay Company credit card financial assets for about $370 million. The private label portfolio includes 3.1 million cardholders and has been on the market since October. After peaking in 2003, HBC’s credit card outstandings have been steadily declining due to lower store sales and higher customer payments. The deal also includes a 10-year alliance under which GE Money will provide credit marketing and analytic support, credit servicing and customer care for Hbc’s retail cardholders. The acquisition will also include the transfer of approximately 650 Hbc employees directly involved in Hbc’s Financial Services business to GE Money. These employees will continue to work at their current locations, at operations centers in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. GE Money currently has 600 employees at its headquarters in Mississauga and its operations center in Edmonton. (CFI Library 10/7/05)

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Datacard Acquires Card Manufacturer

Datacard Group has acquired the assets and ongoing business operations of
Ga-Vehren Engineering, a manufacturer of flexible, high speed print and
package finishing machinery used in plastic card delivery, direct mail
and commercial printing environments. The purchase brings complementary
new products to the Datacard Group portfolio, significantly enhancing
its ability to pursue growth opportunities in mobile telecom, loyalty,
gift card, direct mail,
commercial printing, and print and package finishing. Terms of the
purchase were not disclosed. Datacard Group provides secure ID and card
personalization solutions.

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Debit Cannibalizes Credit Card Share

A major new study shows that credit cards’ share of in-store payments has declined to 19% and credit cards’ share of Internet purchases has dropped to 55%. Two years ago credit cards accounted for 21% of in-store payments and 64% of Internet purchases. The research revealed that an increasing number of consumers are making debit cards their primary payment card and that the use of prepaid cards has doubled over the past two years. The study, conducted by the American Bankers Association and Boston-based Dove Consulting, found that on net, 7% of consumers who use debit cards expect their use of credit cards to decrease over the next two years. Although most consumers use both PIN and signature debit, 48% of consumers reported a preference for PIN debit, while 34% indicated a preference for signature debit (18% have no preference between the two). The ABA/Dove study found that prepaid cards’ share of consumers’ in-store payments grew from 2% in 2003 to 4% in 2005.

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VISA Selects RFI-Smart for Card Testing

RFI-Smart has the full approval from VISA to offer a one-stop test
service for contactless cards and terminals with all necessary services
from pre-qualification to security for both contact and contactless
cards at a single site. The Company says the newer contactless cards and
terminals are in high demand and quality testing is critical during the
development stages. RFI is a worldwide services company recognized
by the smart card industry as a key consulting and testing specialist in
financial services, ID & security and telecom.

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CUETS Implements Fair Isaac Products

Mastercard supplier CUETS is implementing Fair Isaac’s
“LiquidCredit” service and “Capstone Decision Accelerator” to automate
and improve its credit card application decision processes. The “LiquidCredit” and “Capstone Decision Accelerator” services are designed for new accounts
and help businesses develop and maintain the policies, practices and
procedures that define the business strategies used in account
originations. “Capstone Decision Accelerator”
leverages the power of Fair Isaac “Blaze Advisor” software to provide
companies with proven rules management technology that supports the
entire process for designing, building and maintaining rules-based
decision applications. CUETS is a national supplier and partner in the
Canadian co-operative system, providing a complete range of advanced
payment systems and services to credit unions, caisses populaires,
cardholders, merchants and other organizations.

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Logic Group Launches PCI Compliant Services

The Logic Group has announced a range
of PCI compliance consultancy services in support of the new worldwide
data security standard (PCI : DSS) being introduced by MasterCard
International and VISA International. The new standard has been created in
order to address the increasing levels of security breaches and card
fraud. The Logic Group services will help retailers and financial
services organizations obtain PCI compliance with minimal disruption and
cost and can either manage the entire compliance program
or work with in-house resources and their appointed outsourced partners.
The Logic Group manages information and transactions securely for large
and medium sized businesses across its European home market.

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Asta Funding Profits Jump 51% in Q4

NJ-based debt buyer Asta Funding posted a 51% rise in net income to $9.3 million during the fourth quarter. Revenues were $20.3 million, a 46.5% increase over the prior year’s quarter. Asta’s purchases for the quarter amounted to $2.1 billion of face value receivables for a purchase price of $102.4 million, consisting primarily of credit card portfolios with approximately 13% of the purchases during the quarter coming from telecom portfolios. Net collections from consumer receivables acquired for liquidation was $46.2 million for the quarter, up 25.5% from the prior year’s quarter. The Company recently signed a deal to acquire TX-based VATIV Recovery Solutions, which provides nationwide bankruptcy and deceased account servicing. For complete details on Asta Funding’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 2/6/06)

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

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GECF Europe Welcomes New President and CEO

GE Consumer Finance has announced the appointment of William H. Cary to
president and CEO, GE Consumer Finance-Europe, effective March 1st.
In his new role, Cary will be responsible for a region comprising
24 countries with more than 22,000 employees and approximately 20
million customers. Cary most recently served as vice
president, Corporate Investor Communications, a role he held since 2004.
Immediately previous to this role, he served as vice president for
Financial Planning and Analysis. He has extensive operating and global
experience in GE, including positions as CEO of GE Capital Vendor
Financial Services, and vice president, Capital Markets and Finance for
GE Capital in Asia. With approximately $70 billion in assets, GE
Consumer Finance-Europe earned more than $1.3 billion in net income in 2005.

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