U.S. Bank’s NOVA/euroConex Acquires CCA

U.S. Bank’s NOVA Information Systems has inked an agreement to acquire Citibank Card Acceptance, a major European card acquirer and a part of Citigroup. The deal, via NOVA’s European affiliate, euroConex, is the largest to-date and involves approximately 100,000 merchant locations in more than 31 countries and CCA operations based in the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium. This deal raises euroConex’s total portfolio to more than 200,000 merchant locations. Approximately 160 CCA employees will be employed by euroConex to continue to serve its customers from existing operations centers. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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CANNEX Rates Credit Card Issuers

The bi-annual CANNEX credit card star ratings report has been released.
The report examines over 70 credit cards in New Zealand. The most
notable events since the last CANNEX credit card star ratings
report have been the introduction of more premium cards. CANNEX
encourages consumers to do their homework and to pick a credit
card based on their spending and repayment profile; so that they get the
best value from their credit card. CANNEX has developed four profiles:
“everyday”, “impulse”, “habitual” and “big spender” so consumers can use
the report to help them select an appropriate card.

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Sig Debit Pace Picks Up, Driven by VISA

Signature debit card purchase volume in the USA is now growing at an annual pace of 23%, compared to 21% in the prior quarter. During the third quarter, consumers and businesses charged $141.7 billion to their off-line debit cards for purchases. Year-over-year, MasterCard’s signature debit card purchase volume is growing at a 28% clip, compared to VISA’s 22%. However, VISA’s debit momentum picked up in the third quarter as the annual growth rate for the second quarter was 20%. VISA posted $112.1 billion in third quarter signature debit card purchase volume, with $104.3 billion coming from consumer debit cards. MasterCard reported $29.6 billion in off-line PDV for 3Q/05. For complete current and historical statistics on the U.S. signature debit card market, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

U.S. SIGNATURE DEBIT SNAPSHOT
(Purchase Volume Only)
3Q/04 3Q/05 Y/Y CHANGE
VISA $91.9b $112.1b +22%
MasterCard $23.2b $ 29.6b +28%
TOTAL $115.1b $141.7b +23%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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euroConex to Acquire Citibank Card Acceptance

Citibank Card Acceptance, a major European card acquirer and a part of
Citigroup has agreed to be acquired by U.S. Bank’s NOVA Information
Systems via its European affiliate, euroConex. The deal is the largest
to-date and involves approximately 100,000 merchant locations in more
than 31 countries and CCA operations based in the United Kingdom,
Germany and Belgium. This deal raises euroConex’s total portfolio to
more than 200,000 merchant locations. Approximately 160 CCA employees
will be employed by euroConex to continue to serve its customers from
existing operations centers. The acquisition is expected to be completed
by the end of the year.

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CO-OP Signs 7-Eleven for Surcharge-Free ATMs

CO-OP Network and 7-Eleven have signed an agreement to provide ATM access for Network members in 7-Eleven stores across the USA. Approximately 5,300 7-Eleven stores in 30 states will offer surcharge-free ATM access to 24 million credit union cardholders carrying the Network logo beginning December 1st. CO-OP Network has 1,848 member credit unions. Credit union members currently have surcharge-free access to 25,000 Network ATM terminals across 50 states and throughout Canada.

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Q Comm to Process the Poni PIN Card

Utah-based Q Comm International has signed a deal with American Cash Exchange to process sales of the “Poni PIN Card.” Poni PIN Cards enable international remitters living in the United States to purchase and instantly transfer money to Mexico. The recipient uses a Poni Cash Card to withdraw Peso transfers from over 26,000 ATM machines in Mexico. No bank account is required to transfer the funds and the Poni PIN Card also includes a free call to Mexico to communicate the secret PIN number found under a scratch-off. Q Comm International is a prepaid transaction processor that electronically distributes prepaid products from service providers to the point of sale.

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NYC to Test Parking Meters & Credit Cards

New York City is launching a six-month pilot of parking meters offering a payment card option. The 200 meters in Manhattan’s theater district will be activated on Monday, November 21st. The New York City Department of Transportation has been upgrading “Muni-Meters” with wireless communication technology in the theater district since May, at a cost of about $84,000. “Muni-Meters” are installed at intervals along the sidewalk and can increase the number of parking spaces along the curbside by as much as 15%. They generally control as many as eight parking slots. “Muni-Meters” accept quarters, dollar coins and payments made with “NYC Parking Cards,” which can be purchased in $20 and $50 denominations through the DOT website, by mail and at City Store locations. Earlier this year, the City introduced 1,100 single space parking meters in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens with the capability to accept payments made with the NYC “Pre-Paid Parking Card.”

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CLARIFICATION – Chase & PayPass

CLARIFICATION: Re: PayPass Momentum CF 11/17/05. While Chase “blink” cards offer “PayPass” acceptance they also offer “VISA Contactless” acceptance. Therefore, Chase does not issue “Paypass” cards but rather “blink” cards which offer both VISA and MasterCard acceptance. Considering that VISA and MasterCard do not issue credit cards, the impact of five million Chase “blink” cards has been the real energizer in the U.S. market for contactless payments.

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VISA Launches an Online Game for the Olympics

VISA International has launched its first online game in conjunction with its sponsorship of the Olympics. The new “VISA Championships-Torino 2006” game pits players from 23 countries in an international competition. Each national winner will go to the “Olympic Winter Games” in Torino for a chance to be crowned global champion. The contest began November 15th and runs through December 15th. The online game challenges players to master three Olympic Winter Sports online: Bobsleigh, Giant Slalom (Alpine Skiing), and Snowboard Cross (Snowboarding). Players must progress through multiple preliminary rounds and then compete in the national competition. In each country, the player with the lowest combined time across all three sports in the national competition will travel to Torino, Italy, as a guest of VISA to attend the “Olympic Winter Games” and compete head-to-head against the other country winners on February 15th. To play contestants must use Windows and Internet Explorer and install “ActiveX.”

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New Java Card Global Platform

GlobalPlatform and Sun Microsystems have announced an alliance to ensure
their respective specifications are compatible for the next generation
of Java Card development. The next generation “GlobalPlatform Card
Specification” explicitly defines how contactless cards, chip and card
reader, communicate through wireless self-powered induction technology,
and the relevant architecture required to support them in a
multi-application environment. The specification supports dual interface
contact/contactless cards, explaining how to load and manage
applications in both environments. The next generation “Java Card” is
designed to update the specifications in a number of ways, to help
facilitate the development of secure and interoperable smart card
services, particularly for contactless cards. GlobalPlatform is an
international association, focused on establishing, maintaining and
driving the adoption of standards to enable an open and interoperable
infrastructure for smart cards, devices and systems that simplifies and
accelerates development, deployment and management of applications
across industries. To date, more than one billion Java Cards have been
issued.

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Bankruptcy Filings Impact AmEx Q4 Significantly

American Express said yesterday that it expects total managed writeoffs in the U.S. consumer and small business portfolios to be $175 to $250 million higher than the third quarter due to the bankruptcy surge in late September and early October. AmEx says this means higher total managed writeoffs of $200 to $275 million when compared against the fourth quarter of last year. AmEx says it fully writes off account balances upon notification of a valid bankruptcy filing and therefore the Company does not expect a material bankruptcy tail following it into January. AmEx says it believes bankruptcy trends will return to more historical levels once the pipeline is cleared by courts and it has already seen that new law filings are down substantially.

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