Pipeline Data Closes Charge.com Acquisition

Massachusetts-based Pipeline Data has completed a $15 million debt financing arrangement facilitating its acquisition of Charge.com and retiring some Laurus debt. The purchase price for Charge.com was $7.5 million in cash and $9.5 million in shares of Pipeline common stock. Charge.com generated $2.3 million in pretax income for the year ended December 31, 2004 and $1.9 million in pretax income for the nine months ended September 30, 2005. Pipeline Data Inc. provides integrated transaction processing services for all major credit cards. Charge.com owns and operates a comprehensive Internet-based sales organization engaged in online transaction processing from its Web site, www.charge.com.

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DNB NOR GIFT MC

DnB NOR has introduced the first PIN-secured general purpose gift card
in Norway. The new “DnB NOR Prepaid MasterCard” joins other prepaid
MasterCards launched in Europe including the “Cash2Go,” “Cashplus,”
“Western Union” and “Bullring” cards in the UK and the “MyCash” and
“Intesa Flash” cards in Italy. In May, International Currency Exchange
launched “Cash2Go,” a PIN-secured, prepaid “Maestro” debit card. In
September, Advanced Payment Solutions launched “Cashplus” in Britain. In
October, Western Union and Prepay Technologies launched a
PIN-secured travel cash card, available in Euros, US dollars and
sterling. In November, Bullring, Birmingham’s shopping and leisure
center, announced the launch of its own branded electronic gift card on
the “MasterCard/Maestro” platform. Meanwhile, in Italy, Banca Nazionale
del Lavoro launched “MyCash”, a prepaid “Maestro” debit card and Banca
Intesa launched “Intesa Flash,” a prepaid “Maestro” debit card designed
especially for young people.

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PassMark Security Lands a Top Engineer

PassMark Security has hired Kim MacPherson, formerly with Securify and Intuit, as VP of engineering. For the past five years, MacPherson was vice president of engineering at Securify, where she built network security platforms deployed in ultra-high-security environments in the federal government’s military and espionage agencies. Previously, she built secure financial services applications at Intuit, including electronic tax filing systems. PassMark Security develops strong mutual authentication solutions for consumer ecommerce.

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U.S. Bank Launches a Waterfowl U.S.A VISA

U.S. Bank and Waterfowl U.S.A. have teamed to launch a waterfowl conservationist VISA card targeting 60,000 members. The card generates support for the association each time a new card is activated and repeatedly thereafter each time the card is used. The Waterfowl U.S.A. Visa credit card carries the organization’s logo and depicts two ducks about to make a water landing. The card holder enjoys benefits including no annual fee, a low introductory rate (APR) and a choice of rewards including cash back or points redeemable for merchandise, travel, gift certificates or virtually any reward with the Choose Your Own Reward option. Waterfowl U.S.A. is the only national non-profit, conservation organization, dedicated to using funds in the areas in which they are raised for local and state waterfowl projects.

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GPN’s Fourth Quarter Profits Rise 33%

Atlanta-based Global Payments Inc. reported that revenues for the quarter ending November 30th increased 17% to $219.7 million. Net income for the quarter jumped 33% to $31.3 million. GPN says the growth was driven by its North American direct merchant channels, re-pricing initiatives in Canada, ISO growth in the USA and a favorable Canadian currency exchange rate. GPN also notes that the performance of its consumer money transfer channel and Central and Eastern European operations is solid. During the quarter, the Company agreed to create a joint venture with HSBC to provide payment processing services to merchants in the Asia-Pacific region. GPN also sealed a deal with Philadelphia-based Alpha Card Services to provide a comprehensive suite of merchant card processing solutions, including authorization, capture, settlement and BIN sponsorship. The company also raised its annual revenue guidance. For GPN’s 2006 fiscal year, annual revenue is expected to fall between $877 million and $892 million or up 12% to 14% over its 2005 fiscal year. For complete details on Global Payments latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 9/8/05; 10/3/05)

GPN HISTORICAL
PERIOD REVENUES NET INCOME
4Q/04: $188.5mm $23.6mm
1Q/05: $195.5mm $21.6mm
2Q/05: $207.7mm $25.9mm
3Q/05: $224.5mm $31.3mm
4Q/05: $219.7mm $31.3mm
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Two-Month Snap Back in Economic Indicators

The “Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators” increased 0.5% in November, following a 1.0% increase in October and a 0.7% decline in September. The Conference Board says the two-month snap back raises the probability of the coincident economic index remaining on a moderate rising trend through early spring. The “Coincident Index” increased 0.2% in November, following a 0.2% increase in October and a 0.2% increase in September. The “Lagging Index” rose 0.6% in November, following a 0.7% increase in October, and a 0.1% increase in September. The ratio of consumer installment credit to personal income also held steady in November.

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FDC’s Money Transfer Service Tops 250K Locations

First Data’s Western Union Financial Services has signed an agreement for money transfer services with the fourth largest drugstore chain in North America. Brooks Eckerd drugstores will implement the service throughout 2006, making it available to consumers at up to 1,850 Brooks Eckerd locations nationwide. First Data also reports that its Western Union agent network, combined with its subsidiary Orlandi Valuta, now exceeds 250,000 locations in more than 200 countries. Significant Agent signings this year include Kenya Commercial Bank in Kenya, Taishin International Bank in Taiwan and Bank of the Philippine Islands in the Philippines. The Payments Services division of First Data, which includes Western Union, contributes nearly 40% of the company’s revenues.

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Fitch Knocks Down First Data’s Rating Outlook

Fitch has moved its “Rating Outlook” for $4.9 billion of First Data debt from “Stable” to “Negative” due to shareholder pressure and rising debt levels. The Negative Outlook reflects the pressure the company faces to unlock shareholder value, as evidenced by recent comments from senior management that shareholders are the top priority, and what Fitch believes may be a reduced commitment to current rating levels. The Negative Outlook also considers rising absolute debt levels which have increased approximately 36% (used for acquisitions and share repurchases) over the past two years. This has started to strain credit protection measures for the current rating levels.

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GZS and Bayern Card-Services Target Savings Banks

GZS Gesellschaft fur Zahlungssysteme mbH (GZS) and Bayern Card-Services
(BCS) have entered into a joint venture to provide services for savings
banks. The aim is to significantly boost market share within the Savings
Banks Finance Group. In the framework of the joint venture, GZS will
be charged with handling the technical processing of the supported
savings bank clients, while BCS will be responsible for customer
services such as bank- and cardholder support as well as assisting the
banks in building sales. GZS is guarantor for the professional
processing of cashless and card-based payments. Bayern Card-Services
GmbH is the competence centre for the credit-card business of the
Bavarian savings banks and Bavarian Regional Bank.

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AmEx Gauges Small Business Owners

A recent study by American Express looked at the experiences and
realities of 500 Canadian small business owners. Most are strongly
inspired by internal drivers like pride of achievement and personal
satisfaction (87%) and say the reward for all their worries, hard work
and time away from their family is rooted in being able to make a living
doing something that gets them charged everyday. They do so because
they believe they have a valuable set of skills (83%) that can be put to
better use if they’re calling the shots as opposed to placing it in the
hands of someone else. AmEx found that most Canadian small business owners put in an average of 55 hours per week.

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LG Card Sales Pushed Back to 2Q/06

Officials of Korea Development Bank have reportedly indicated
the sale of LG Card may be delayed until after the first quarter of next year. According to the Korea Herald, creditors are also likely to sell the credit card issuer to domestic lenders rather than foreign
financial institutions. Last month, HSBC expressed interest in making an offer for LG Card. HSBC previously approached the KDB about a possible deal for LG Card. KDB turned down the offer earlier this year. JP Morgan Chase has been retained to find a buyer for LG. KDB and other creditors are seeking to unload their combined 51% stake in LG Card by the end of this year. The expected sale price is expected to be in the 5 trillion won range. LG Card has posted four consecutive quarters of solid profitability. In the third quarter of 2004, the issuer reported a 46.8 billion won loss. Since then, LG Card has earned 1.47 trillion won. In the first quarter of this year, the issuer earned 479.8 billion won. For complete details on LG Card’s latest performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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