Global Cash Access Tops 130 U.K. Casinos

The Rank Group, one of the U.K.’s leading gaming and entertainment companies, has signed a multi-year agreement to use the products and services of Global Cash Access. Thirty-six Rank Group properties will utilize GCA’s QuikCash cash advance kiosks, customer-activated, touch screen terminals that provide casino patrons with POS debit and credit card cash advance transaction options. Las Vegas-based Global Cash Access, Inc. is a provider of cash access products and related services to approximately 960 gaming properties and other clients in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean.

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Wells Fargo and California Merchants Settle

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay between $19 million and $34 million to settle a lawsuit over card processing fees charged to merchants. The settlement covers about 96,000 California businesses that may have been overcharged between 1999 and 2003. The lawsuit alleged that Wells Fargo Merchant Services failed to properly disclose or explain all fees connected to processing card payments. Wells Fargo said last week that it has always made full disclosures to merchants.

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FSV Payment Systems and Meta Launch GiftIT

FSV Payment Systems and Meta Payment Systems have teamed to launch “GiftIT”, a turnkey gift card solution. The GiftIT program allows financial institutions to sell loadable Visa or MasterCard-branded debit cards to their customers for year-round gift-giving. FSV Payment Systems offers host-based FSA,gift, payroll card, and other MarketReady stored-value ePayments solutions as a strategic business partner of Fiserv, Inc. Meta Payment Systems, a division of MetaBank, offers card issuing and program support.

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Meijer Stores Accepts PayPass and Launches a MC

Meijer Stores is set to become the first super center chain in the U.S. to accept MasterCard “PayPass” as a contactless payment option at all of its 171 locations. Meijer also expects to have all of its gas pumps equipped for “PayPass” this fall. In conjunction with GE Consumer Finance, Meijer is planning to launch a PayPass-enabled “Meijer Platinum MasterCard” soon. Cardholders will accrue two points for each dollar spent in-store and one point for each dollar spent elsewhere. Cardholders can also earn additional points through special seasonal offers and fuel purchases. “PayPass” is currently accepted at participating McDonald’s, 7-Eleven stores, CVS, Ritz Camera Centers, Boater’s World Marine Centers, Sheetz and Regal Entertainment Group theatres. Meijer Stores are located in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.

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Intelius Expands “IDWatch” Monitoring

Washington-based Intelius has expanded its “IDWatch” service to monitor public forums, chat rooms, Web sites and other sources to detect the use, sale and trade of identity-related data. Intelius has already identified more than two million compromised credit and debit cards and is adding thousands of new cards to its database every day. Intelius provides instant, innovative and affordable research services and background information for personal safety.

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Variable Card Rates Jump Ahead of Fixed Rates

Less than twelve months ago variable interest rate credit cards were almost a full percentage point lower than their fixed rate counterparts. However, during the same period, the prime rate, which most variable rate credit cards are based on, has climbed from 4.50% to 6.50%. Today, variable rate cards carry an average go-to interest rate of 14.24% versus 13.76% for the average fixed rate cards. In August 2004, the average go-to variable interest rate was 11.89% versus 12.85% for fixed rate cards. (The averages do not include introductory or punitive interest rates.) Due to the rapid rise in the prime rate, many top issuers have abandoned their fixed rate offers, switching back to variable rates, according to CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com][1]). In 2001, slightly more than half of all credit cards carried fixed interest rates. Today, nearly three-quarters carry variable interest rates.

CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATES
Month Prime Fixed Variable
Aug 04 4.50% 12.85% 11.89%
Sep 04 4.75% 12.88% 12.11%
Oct 04 4.75% 13.00% 12.19%
Nov 04 5.00% 13.04% 12.37%
Dec 04 5.25% 13.09% 12.49%
Jan 05 5.25% 13.22% 12.67%
Feb 05 5.50% 13.25% 12.84%
Mar 05 5.75% 13.32% 13.08%
Apr 05 5.75% 13.39% 13.17%
May 05 6.00% 13.48% 13.45%
Jun 05 6.00% 13.59% 13.61%
Jul 05 6.25% 13.64% 13.84%
Aug 05 6.50% 13.76% 14.24%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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A Spyware Keylogger Targets Online Banking

Florida-based Sunbelt Software has uncovered a spyware keylogger that secretly steals data from users’ Internet sessions, including logins and passwords from online banking sessions, eBay, PayPal and other programs that use html forms to collect personal information. It is a new variant of a family of existing trojans generally known as “Dumaru” or “Nibu.” The spyware keylogger has been named “Srv.SSA-KeyLogger.” The Company is offering a free detection and removal tool.

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Credit Card PDV Up 11% in Q2 to $285 Billion

Purchase dollar volume on VISA and MasterCard U.S. credit cards increased 11% in the second quarter, compared to one year ago. While significant, the pace is about half the annual growth rate of signature debit card PDV during 2Q/05. Among the two card associations, VISA credit card PDV is growing slightly faster. VISA posted $139.4 billion in consumer credit card PDV and $28.0 billion in business credit card PDV. One-year ago VISA reported $151.1 billion in credit card PDV. MasterCard had $117.6 billion in second quarter credit card PDV, compared to $106.7 billion for 2Q/04. Based on the current growth rate, credit card purchase volume for VISA and MasterCard should exceed $1160 billion for full-year 2005, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

U.S. V/MC CREDIT CARD HISTORICAL
(Purchase Volume Only)
2Q/03: $231.5 billion
3Q/03: $243.5 billion
4Q/03: $259.6 billion
1Q/04: $237.3 billion
2Q/04: $257.8 billion
3Q/04: $266.3 billion
4Q/04: $283.8 billion
1Q/05: $254.3 billion
2Q/05: $285.0 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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KDB Indicates LG Card May Be Sold Very Soon

Korea Development Bank says LG Card creditors are planning to sell LG Card starting in September instead of December. LG Card has about 9.5 million cardholders and produced nearly $500 million in net income for the second quarter. Reportedly, Hana Bank, Woori Financial Group, and Shinhan Financial Group are interested in acquiring LG Card.
LG Card has a current market value of 3.9 trillion won (US$3.6 billion). LG lost about 81.6 billion won (US$81 million) last year, compared to the 2003 loss of 5.59 trillion won (US$5.6 billion).

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HSBC Modifies its Polaris StarCard Contract

Polaris Industries has signed a new private label credit card contract for its “Polaris StarCard” with HSBC Bank Nevada that removes all credit and funding risk to Polaris and eliminates the need for Polaris to maintain a retail credit cash deposit with HSBC. The new agreement provides for income to be paid to Polaris based on a percentage of the volume of retail credit business generated. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs),Victory motorcycles and the Polaris RANGER for recreational and utility use, with reported 2004 annual sales of $1.8 billion. HSBC Retail Services is an issuer of private label, merchant branded, credit cards in the United States.

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