PICTURE PERFECT VISA

London-based Serverside Group Limited has launched its “Picture Perfect VISA Card”
utilizing the new VISA branding, along with card personalization
technology for Utah-based America First Credit Union. The new VISA card
design standards involve switching the VISA dove hologram from the front
of the card to the back, with the hologram integrated into the magnetic
stripe, making card counterfeiting more difficult. The updated VISA
design allows America First members increased space on front of the card
to create an edge-to-edge, custom-image product. Serverside
develops innovative software solutions for issuers, personalization
bureaus and card manufacturers. America First Credit Union
is Utah’s largest credit union with $3.1 billion in assets.

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FDC’s Labry to Oversee Domestic Enterprise Payments

First Data says Scott Betts, president of Domestic Enterprise Payments, will leave the company within the next two months and be replaced by Ed Labry, currently president of the company’s Prepaid Services unit. Prior to his appointment as president of Prepaid Services in 2005, Labry was president of Concord EFS, Inc., a high-growth processing company, acquired by First Data in 2004.

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HSBC Renews Darvin Furniture Store Card Program

Chicago-based Darvin Furniture has extended its agreement with HSBC North America to manage its private label credit card program. The new contract extends a business relationship that began in 1974 by providing private label credit financing for Darvin Furniture customers. The credit card allows cardholders to take advantage of exclusive deferred financing, low monthly payments and special sale offers. Darvin Furniture is recognized as one of the top 100 furniture stores in America.

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Barclays Takes-Off with a US Airways MasterCard

Barclays has launched a new co-branded “US Airways Dividend Miles World MasterCard” offering 15,000 bonus miles upon activation, up to 10,000 bonus miles for balance transfers and the chance to purchase fifty cent tickets to some of US Airways’ more than 200 destinations throughout the month of February. In August US Airways announced plans to switch its co-branded VISA card from Bank of America to Barclay’s Juniper Bank by 2008. After that date Barclays will have the exclusive rights to market the frequent flyer card. The change is the result of Barclays decision to invest $455 million into the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines. The agreement includes a signing bonus of $130 million, as well as a $325 million pre-purchase of air miles. The new “US Airways Dividend Miles World MasterCard” also features a 0% interest rate for the first six months on balance transfers and no annual fee for the first two years. Additionally, cardholders earn 50% more miles during their first year using the card. The card launch coincides with promotions across the country designed to give away over 150 additional free trips during the month of January. Customers who previously used America West credit cards must apply for the new MasterCard. (CF Library 8/10/05)

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NOV DEBT

Credit card outstandings continued to hover around GBP 56 billion during November. The figure is GBP 1.2 billion below year-ago levels. The Bank of England reports the increase in total net lending to individuals in November of GBP 9.6 billion was larger than in October and GBP 800 million above the previous six month average. The weakness was driven by credit card lending which was GBP 300 million lower than in October while other loans and advances were in line with October. The annual growth rate of consumer credit continued to fall, to 9.8% in November.

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iMAX Business Solutions Offers a 1.29% Merchant Fee

Denver-based iMAX Business Solutions has introduced the “Split Rate Program” allowing businesses to process credit card transactions through any credit card terminal or credit card machine for 1.29%. Regular rates outside of the Split Rate Program range from 1.74% to as high as 3.49%. iMAX Business Solutions provides transaction processing services to large and small businesses.

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VisaNet Hits a New Record on December 23rd

VISA USA reports that its “VisaNet” system processed a record 179 million transactions on December 23rd. During the busiest hour on December 23, VISA processed an average of 6,363 transaction messages each second, a 14% increase over the average of 5,546 transaction messages per second VISA processed during the peak hour on December 24, 2004. VISA says “VisaNet” can process more transactions over the course of a coffee break than all the stock exchanges of the world in an entire day. VISA recently completed a five-year project to modernize “VisaNet” with the opening of a state-of-the-art, 70,000-square foot data center, the first new data center for VISA in 15 years.

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Minnesota Hospitality Opts for Heartland Processing

The Minnesota Restaurant Association, the Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association and the Minnesota Resort & Campground Association, managed by Hospitality Minnesota, have selected Heartland Payment Systems to offer a complete suite of payment solutions. The expanded relationship includes a member benefit called Association Simplified Pricing (ASP), designed to eliminate or reduce most traditional processor fees, passes MasterCard and Visa interchange rates directly through to the merchant without adding extra costs and includes only a single monthly fee for processing based on processing volume. This program also makes it easier for merchants to read and understand their processing statements. Heartland provides credit/debit card and payroll processing services to association members, including Visa and MasterCard cards and offers gift and loyalty card programs to help merchants increase sales and generate repeat traffic. The Minnesota Restaurant, Hotel & Lodging, and Resort & Campground associations represent 2,000 hospitality businesses across Minnesota.

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CheckFree Completes $100MM PhoneCharge Acquisition

CheckFree has completed its acquisition of PhoneCharge for approximately $100 million cash. The acquisition will give billers the ability to provide a comprehensive suite of payment options to their customers from a single provider, including online, walk-in, telephone, and lockbox through accounts receivable conversion processing. CheckFree Corporation provides financial electronic commerce services and products.

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Asta Funding Lands Major Credit Card Debt

NJ-based Asta Funding has made portfolio purchases of $2.1 billion in face value for a purchase price of approximately $102 million. The portfolio acquisitions included credit card paper with judgments in excess of $150 million, telecom paper of approximately $265 million, and other typical credit card portfolios. The sales were driven by the fall bankruptcy surge. Asta Funding previously reported third calendar quarter net income of $9 million. Finance income for the quarter was $20 million, a 35% increase compared to one-year ago. For complete details on Asta’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Metavante and AdminiSource Complete Their Deal

Metavante Corporation has completed its acquisition of Texas-based AdminiSource Corp. AdminiSource is a leading provider of healthcare payment distribution services and is Metavante’s third acquisition to expand its solutions focused on the consumer-directed healthcare payments area. Metavante provides a comprehensive FSA/HSA services that include account processing, checks and debit cards, online and phone access to account information, investment options, and regulatory reporting.

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