HSBC to Purchase OfficeMax Portfolio

HSBC North America Holdings’ Business Solutions Group has signed a deal to acquire the consumer and commercial credit receivables of OfficeMax. Financial details were not disclosed. OfficeMax has 950 stores. HSBC Retail Services has more than 60 active merchant relationships in the USA, including Best Buy, Levitz Furniture, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bon-Ton, Liz Claiborne, and Gardner-White Furniture. HSBC is currently in the process of acquiring sub-prime specialist Metris Companies. (CF Library 8/4/05)

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Phoenix to Power Alaskan ATMs

Ontario-based Phoenix Interactive has been selected by Alaska USA FCU for the ATM software replacement project of its entire network of NCR ATMs. The Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in the state of Alaska and counts one of every three Alaskans as members. Phoenix Interactive Design, Inc. provides a Windows-based multi-vendor ATM operating software to the financial services industry.

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PayPal Expands Nebraska Ops Center

PayPal is expanding its La Vista, Nebraska operations center, adding a new building and about 600 employees. The new building is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2006 and will total more than 125,000 square feet. PayPal’s current facility opened in 2003 with about 500 employees. Today, PayPal has grown to well over 1,000 employees in La Vista in customer service, risk operations, payment processing and sales and will add additional employees for merchant support specialists, risk management experts and experienced sales agents. PayPal was recently named one of the top five best places to work in Omaha for 2005, by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. PayPal, an eBay company, enables any individual or business with an email address to send and receive payments online securely, easily and quickly.with more than 86 million accounts and is available to users in 55 markets around the world.

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First Sports-Affinity Debit Card Planned

Los Angeles-based Next Estate Communications has inked a licensing deal with NASCAR to introduce the “NASCAR Prepaid VISA.” It is the first sports-affinity debit card. With the purchase of the card, fans will also receive a premium NASCAR-licensed gift and enjoy a free trial membership in the “Official NASCAR Members Club,” which launches in February. The card is expected to roll-out in the first quarter of 2006. The cards will be issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Company. Next Estate distributes its prepaid products in 50,000 retail locations nationwide. It is also the operator of the Green Dot Financial Network, a retail-based financial network providing cash acceptance services including prepaid card reloading and remittance cash collection. The company also offers the “Green Dot Everyday Card,” the “Green Dot Uso Diario Card” and, the “Green Dot Student Card” nationwide. (CF Library 3/28/05)

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Fiserv Processing/Services Revenues Up 10%

WI-based Fiserv reports that processing and services revenues rose 10% in the third quarter to $925.3 million. Net income for 3Q/05 was $112.9 million, compared to $92.4 million for the year-ago quarter. During the quarter Fiserv acquired BillMatrix, J.W. Hutton and VerticalPoint. Also during the third quarter, Fiserv signed deals with Toyota Credit Canada, Putnam Investments, HSBC Australia, Arab National Bank of Riyadh, Viewpointe Archive Services, Sterling Financial, mBank, Capital Bank, Penn Security Bank & Trust and Progressive Bank. Fiserv has updated its revenue outlook and now expects full year processing and services revenues to be approximately $3.66 billion to $3.68 billion, For complete details on Fiserv’s third quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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GECF and Shenzhen Development Bank Partner

Shenzhen Development Bank and GE Consumer Finance have entered into a
strategic cooperation agreement to develop consumer finance opportunities
in China. As part of the agreement, GECF will acquire newly issued shares
in SDB valued at US$100 million. In association with the equity
investment, GECF will agree to cooperate with SDB to provide expertise in
retail consumer finance, including management expertise, risk processes,
product development and systems. The transaction is subject to approval by
Chinese regulatory authorities as well as SDB’s shareholders. The consumer
credit industry is in its infancy, currently representing only 15% of the
total lending market in China. SDB has 237 branches and sub-branches nationwide.

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SCA Releases a Contactless Position Paper

The Smart Card Alliance Contactless Payments Council has released a new position paper titled “The What, Who and Why of Contactless Payments” . The paper provides an overview of market developments and explores the technology, benefits and security features of contactless payments. It also explains and defines the correct use of terms to foster a more accurate discussion about the features of contactless technology. The Contactless Payments Council was formed by the Smart Card Alliance to facilitate the adoption of contactless payments in the U.S. through education programs for consumers, merchants and issuers.

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Major Near Field Technology Pilot Launches

The world’s first large scale trial of Royal Philips’ “Near Field Communication” technology is underway in the city of Caen in Normandy, France. According to yesterday’s issue of CardFlash International, a group of 200 Caen residents will use “Samsung D500” mobile phones with an embedded Philips “NFC” chip as a means of secure payment in selected retail stores, parking facilities and famous tourist sites around town in a six-month trial. Philips is working with France Telecom R&D, Orange, Samsung and retailers Groupe LaSer and Vinci Park during the trial. “NFC” was jointly developed by Philips and Sony and is a combination of contactless identification and interconnection technologies that enables wireless short-range communication between mobile devices, consumer electronics, PCs and smart objects.

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GE Money and Doubleday Launch a MasterCard

GE Money Canada and Doubleday Canada have launched a new credit card offering special rewards that can be used toward future book club purchases. The new “Readers Rewards MasterCard” will be offered exclusively to members of Doubleday Canada’s 25 book clubs. Cardholders earn three “Readers Rewards” points for every dollar spent at any of Doubleday’s book clubs and one point for every dollar spent everywhere else MasterCard cards are accepted for payment. For every 1,000 points earned, cardholders will receive a $10 “Readers Rewards” certificate redeemable on any future book club purchase. Cardholders also receive free shipping and handling on every book club order over $39.

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Two More Housewarming AmEx Cards Launched

Boise-based CSMJ Inc., an American Express Incentive Services authorized distributor, launched a new version of its prepaid American Express card that recognizes above-average performance by real estate agents. The “Agent Reward Card” offers recipients rewards from their choice of 90 name-brand retail and travel merchants. CMSJ also introduced “The Rebate Edition Card,” which is designed to incent home buyers and sellers. Both cards are available through theHousewarmingCard.com. In June the “Housewarming Card Platinum Edition” card was introduced, which offers luxury homebuyers access to all of Williams-Sonoma’s stores and catalogs. CMSJ and AmEx previously launched a “Classic” and “Gold” version of the “Housewarming Card.” The “Gold” edition was introduced in December and offers access to more than 180 select merchants. (CF 12/17/04; 6/15/05)

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Get Smart About Credit Day a Success

More than 1,000 volunteer bankers across the country visited colleges, high schools, youth groups and continuing education classes yesterday as part of the American Bankers Association’s “Get Smart About Credit Day” On Get Smart About Credit Day, more than 1,000 volunteer bankers across the country will visit colleges, high schools, youth groups, and continuing education classes to teach students how to budget, use credit cards responsibly and build a positive payment history. This year U.S. Treasury officials are joining bankers in nine cities to teach Get Smart About Credit lessons. The Get Smart About Credit program is sponsored by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation, a non-profit committed to developing and providing education programs that lead to financial literacy.

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