First Data to Spin-Off Western Union

First Data has decided to spin-off its Western Union consumer payments business into an independent publicly traded company. Last year, Western Union money transfer revenue grew 14% to $3.8 billion and produced an operating profit of $1.3 billion, up 18% year-on-year. FDC also announced that it will retain its domestic Card Issuing business and will organize and report its businesses after the spin-off in three primary segments: First Data Financial Institution Services, First Data Commercial Services and First Data International. First Data Financial Institution Services, with annual revenues of $1.9 billion, will include Card Issuing, Debit, REMITCO and Output Services units and will be led by David Bailis. First Data Commercial Services, with annual revenues of $3.8 billion, will include the Merchant Domestic, Merchant Debit, TeleCheck and Prepaid units, will be led by Ed Labry. The Western Union business, which includes Orlandi Valuta and the recently acquired Vigo business, will continue to be led by Christina Gold. Gold will become CEO of the Western Union spin-off.

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VISA Survey Reveals Security Top Concern of Consumers

A global survey of consumer attitudes released by VISA International
reveals that the theft or loss of personal and financial information is
the No. 1 concern of consumers worldwide (64%), surpassing environmental
degradation (62%) and terrorism (58 %). Additionally, 62% of online
shoppers are more discriminate about the sites at which they make
purchases with 24% reporting shopping less online and 26 percent less via
the telephone.

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Asian Banks Poised Explosive Growth

A new report shows huge new opportunities for Asian banks to grow over
the next decade as some Asian economies are expected to more than double
in size in the next ten years. The latest MasterCard “Insights Report”
concludes that the secular growth in loan demand is likely to be strong
particularly in countries with favorable demographics, such as Malaysia,
where higher rates of household formation will raise the demand for
mortgages and other retail loans. In consumer banking, the prospect for
growth is especially striking in China, India and Indonesia. According
to some estimates, demand for loans from poor but creditworthy people in
India, for example, could amount to $40 billion, or 40 times the current
supply. Islamic banking is another emerging trend that will be fast
growing in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

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First Data Profit Falls 14% in Q4

First Data reported this morning that fourth quarter net income dropped by 14% to $398 million even though total revenues increased 3% to nearly $2.8 billion, compared to one-year ago. Payment Services generated revenue of $1.2 billion, a 13% increase from 4Q/04 and an operating profit of $375 million, up 24% year-over-year. Merchant Services reported Q4 revenue of $1.1 billion and an operating profit of $283 million. Transactions were up 13%. Card Issuing Services revenue was $568 million, down 7% and operating profit was $112 million, down 8%. North America merchant transactions were up 13% to 6.35 billion while issuer transaction rose 8% to nearly two billion for the fourth quarter. As of December 31st, accounts on file were 415.3 million domestic and 45 million international. Of the 460.3 million card accounts on file, 89.5 million were bank card accounts, 258.4 million were retail accounts and 112.4 million were debit accounts. For complete details on FDC’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

FDC NET INCOME
4Q/04: $465.1 million
1Q/05: $374.5 million
2Q/05: $391.9 million
3Q/05: $421.5 million
4Q/05: $397.9 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Wells to Issue ABC Appliance Store Card

Iowa-based Wells Fargo Financial Retail Services is providing a new private label credit card program to Michigan’s ABC Appliance and its four chains with 60 retail stores in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.The programs include a dedicated, revolving line of credit for qualified customers, enabling them to make larger item purchases without tying up other lines of credit or reducing their cash flow. A menu of special-terms promotions, including no interest option plans with and without payments, gives customers purchasing convenience and flexibility to make their initial purchase and defer or make minimum monthly payments. Retailers will experience include fast, easy customer application and transaction processing, quick funding, one-on-one account management and customized marketing materials. Wells Fargo Financial Retail Services specializes in providing private label and dual-line credit card programs to retailers in North America.

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Advanta Biz Card Loans Up 14% in Q4

Business card specialist Advanta posted a 14% rise in managed outstandings during the fourth quarter to nearly $3.8 billion. However, net income for its business card unit during the fourth quarter was flat at $13.2 million, compared to the year-ago period. During the fourth quarter Advanta opened 64,206 business card accounts and ended the quarter with 877,114 gross accounts. About 71% of the accounts were active. Transaction volume increased 22% to $2.7 billion during the fourth quarter. There was a 64 basis point increase in net principal charge-offs on average managed receivables to 6.68% on an annualized basis, as compared to 6.04% for 4Q/04. But charge-offs rose 153 basis points from the prior quarter. Over 30 day delinquencies on managed receivables declined 116 basis points to 2.96% and over 90 day delinquencies on managed receivables decreased 60 basis points to 1.36%, each as compared to the fourth quarter of last year. For complete details on Advanta’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

ADVANTA’S CARD PORTFOLIO SNAPSHOT
Period Card Loans
4Q/04: $3.29 billion
1Q/05: $3.35 billion
2Q/05: $3.51 billion
3Q/05: $3.60 billion
4Q/05: $3.76 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Euronet Signs ATM Agreement with PSRB

Euronet Worldwide has entered the Chinese market with an ATM
outsourcing agreement with Postal Savings and Remittance Bureau (PSRB),
the fifth largest financial institution in China. Under the outsourcing
agreement, Euronet China will initially deploy a
total of 90 ATMs for PSRB in Beijing, Shanghai and the Guangdong
province in a pilot project and provide all of the day-to-day
outsourcing services. Following success of the pilot project, the
agreement provides that Euronet China will, at the bank’s request, take
over existing ATMs and install new ATMs. The company has already set up
a state-of-the-art data processing center in Beijing from which it will
drive PSRB’s ATMs. PSRB is part of the China State Postal Bureau and
provides basic deposit and remittance services, serving 270 million
customers through 30,000 branches, over 6,000 ATMs and has Yuan deposits
in excess of US $121 billion. Euronet Worldwide is a processor of secure
electronic financial transactions.

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IRI and Acxiom Combine Databases

Chicago-based Information Resources and AR-based Acxiom have agreed to combines the IRI “Consumer Network Household Panel” information with Acxiom’s “InfoBase” data and “Personicx” consumer segmentation solution. The solution is aimed at providing a deeper, more complete understanding of life stages, brand preferences and the behaviors of today’s consumers and shoppers and to act on that information, resulting in a higher return on investment (ROI) associated with marketing strategy, media planning, and direct marketing activity. The suite provides a series of reports that include in-depth descriptions of key clusters in terms of life stage, lifestyle, product purchase behavior, opinions and attitudes, interests and hobbies and media usage habits. The IRI Consumer Network Household Panel is comprised of 70,000 U.S. ScanKeys. Acxiom Corporation integrates data, services and technology.

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OK Dentists Join RBS OneLynk Program

The Oklahoma Dental Association Services Company has joined the RBS Lynk “OneLynk Alliance program”. RBS Lynk provides OneLynk partners competitive rates and a complete range of products to fulfill their members’ individual processing needs, including credit, debit, EBT, check processing, e-commerce solutions, gift card and loyalty programs. The Oklahoma Dental Association has more than 1,400 member dentists.

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Data Security Concerns Outweigh Terroris

A global survey of consumer attitudes shows that data security is the biggest concern among consumers today. The research, conducted by Harris Interactive for VISA International, revealed that data security issues surpassed environmental degradation, terrorism, job loss, disease or epidemics and natural disasters. About 47% of those polled believe the protection of personal and financial data to be an international issue. The research also found that 63% of consumers say they are more careful when disposing of financial statements; 50% look at the privacy policies of companies with which they do business; 62% of online shoppers are more discriminate about the sites at which they make purchases; and 24% report shopping less online and 26% less via the telephone.

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Global Links Card Services Goes Public

Las Vegas-based Global Links Card Services has now become a public entity d/b/a PTS Card Solutions. All of PTS Inc.’s operations in the marketing and distribution of stored value cards, currently conducted through its wholly owned subsidiary, Global Links Card Services Inc. (GLCS), will be transferred to this new entity, PTCD. PTS Card Solutions expects to raise funds for marketing, and sales of stored valued prepaid debit cards through the sale of its common stock. PTS Inc. will retain controlling interest in PTS Card Solutions Inc.

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