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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Trycera and Catwalk Intro the Model MasterCard

Trycera Financial and Catwalk Distribution have teamed to launch the “Model Prepaid MasterCard” The contest is an educational program that encourages young women to explore their dreams to be a model, while teaching them what it takes to be successful. The Trycera card platform enables a cardholder to pre-fund money on the card for shopping at millions of merchant locations worldwide where Debit MasterCard is accepted, and for withdrawing cash via ATMs and is a flexible and multi-functional financial tool for individuals learning important principles about fiscal management. Trycera Financial specializes in customized and turnkey prepaid programs and partnerships that serve the needs of self-banked consumers.

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OTI to Help the MBTA Project to Get Smart

New Jersey-based On Track Innovations has signed a deal to provide smart card technology to Scheidt & Bachmann for their Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority project wherein a new mass transit ticketing solution is scheduled to go online next year. The MBTA is America’s first subway system and one of the largest in the nation with over 1.1 million riders each day. OTI will supply readers and support software to be integrated into Scheidt & Bachmann’s front end systems consisting of 3,000 fare boxes, ticket vending machines, point-of-sales devices and fare gates. Under the new agreement, the system will be installed in all Boston subway stations, Commuter Rail lines and dedicated Retail Sales offices. The solution allows the transit card to be used for loyalty programs and tiered fare structures while providing security and transaction speed. OTI is a provider of secure contactless microprocessor-based smart card technology to address the needs of a wide variety of markets. Scheidt & Bachmann produce and market systems for car park and leisure center installations, protection of railway crossings, fare collection technology and gas stations.

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Hypercom’s NETSET Awarded ISO9001:2000

Hypercom announced that its NETSET
multi-technical services organization has been awarded the
International Organization for Standardization ISO9001:2000
certification for quality assurance in Brazil. The certification
indicates that NETSET adheres to stringent quality management
standards for products and services established by the International
Organization for Standardization to serve as a guide for
organizations that want to better serve their clients. Hypercom’s
NETSET Services Division serves more than 450,000 customers in the
retail, financial and healthcare sectors through several authorized
service centers all over the country and more than 1,200 field
technicians capable of handling more than 80,000 calls per month.

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Consumer Spending to Rise 3.1% in 2006

A new forecast suggests that the Fed will increase the funds rate to 4.75% by March and will hold that rate steady throughout the rest of 2006. Despite a housing price slowdown, higher oil prices and Fed rate increases, Wells Fargo’s senior economists forecast steady economic growth next year. However, the main risk for the economy next year is the extent to which the housing market downturn could dampen consumer spending, credit quality and job creation. Nevertheless, Wells Fargo forecasts a 3.1% growth rate in consumer spending next year, down from 3.6% in 2005.

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