MasterCard to Use PocketServer for Smart Cards

MasterCard has agreed to purchase TranSend’s “PocketServer v3.2” for issuance on its European smart cards. The purchase will be used to support two additional MasterCard member banks with pilot programs using the “OneSMART Web” package. “PocketServer” and “PocketServer Plus” have more than 4 million users, providing a convenient and secure online experience coupled with two-factor authentication. Arizona-based TranSend also offers “CardTouch,” a stored value clearinghouse platform.

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July Retail Sales Slow But Jobs Jump

U.S. retailers sales slowed in July but employers added 207,000 workers last month. Retail Metrics says its tracking showed that same-store sales rose 3.7% in July compared to one-year ago. However, that was below consensus expectations of 4.2%. In June the figure stood at 5.4%. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported that both the number of unemployed persons, 7.5 million, and the unemployment rate, 5.0%, were unchanged in July. A year earlier, the number of unemployed was 8.2 million and the jobless rate was 5.5 percent. Consensus expectations was for a job gain growth of 183,000 jobs.

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InfiCorp Does $41MM in CU Card Partnerships

Atlanta-based InfiCorp Holdings reports it has recently purchased more than $41 million in credit card outstandings from six credit unions. In each case, the CU entered into a long-term relationship with InfiCorp. Recent acquisitions include: Tucson Old Pueblo CU, Pan Am Horizons FCU, First Financial CU in Albuquerque, Royal Oakland Community CU in Michigan, Helena Community CU and Allegius FCU in Indiana. InfiCorp has partnerships with more than 100 credit union and community banks. InfiCorp Holdings is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First National of Nebraska.

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Third Kind of Authentication System Developed

Kai Corporation has acquired a basic patent for a new type of
authentication system that utilizes the memory of users themselves.
Unlike current password and biometric systems, this system is
a “third kind” of authentication system, where the task of
authentication is done not by machines or computers, but by humans.
The basic patent for “PASSMEMORY” concerns a system where users
register in advance the names of acquaintances or places they have
visited, old photos, or sounds that they remember and during the
authentication process, users choose the right answers from lists that
contain multiple “decoy answers.” Users select the required number
(which can be freely set) of “unforgettable names,” then the system
mixes these with decoy names, chosen at random, to create lists of
names. The number of lists can be freely set. For authentication, users
choose in quick succession registered names that they remember. If the
authentication uses 10 names per list (one set by the authorized user,
and nine decoys) with five lists, the probability of guessing all
answers correctly is 1/100,000. However, because authentication must be
done manually in a limited time (which can be freely set), it is
extremely difficult for anyone other than the authorized user to be
authenticated.

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ICICI KINGFISHER VISA

Kingfisher Airlines has signed a deal with ICICI Bank to
create a co-branded credit card. The “ICICI Bank-Kingfisher Airlines
VISA” credit card will offer special features such as privileged access
to lounges & restaurants at domestic airports, free refreshments, access to almost 180 golf clubs in India through special tie-ups and
special packages for golf trips across the world. The new credit card
will also offer special invitations for premium lifestyle shows and
events like fashion shows and movie premieres plus concierge service.
Kingfisher Airlines is India’s first private airline to commence
operations with a brand new fleet of aircraft. ICICI Bank is India’s
second largest bank.

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GE Buys a 43% Stake in Hyundai Card

GE has inked a deal to buy a 43% share in Hyundai Card worth approximately $390 billion. Hyundai Motor, the parent firm, indicates its stake will fall to 33% after the sale to GE. Hyundai Motor plans to use the funds for overseas expansion. For GE, the deal will give the financial giant access to the third largest credit card portfolio in the country. Full details on the agreement will be released on August 10th.

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Ecount’s Prepaid VISA Goes Blingo

The Ecount Prepaid VISA has been selected by the new search engine, Blingo, as one of the site’s promotional giveaways. Visitors to the Blingo website search for words or phrases, just like on other popular search engines, but at Blingo each search is also a chance to instantly win prizes. Throughout the day, the Blingo engine picks a winner at random and ships the prepaid VISA to the lucky searcher. Ecount provides customized prepaid programs for corporations, agencies and individuals.

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HSBC Buys Another Major US Card Portfolio

HSBC Finance, a subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings, and
Metris Companies have entered into a definitive agreement for HSBC
Finance to acquire Metris in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.594
billion. Metris, based in Minnesota, is the 11th largest issuer of
MasterCard and VISA cards in the USA with managed receivables of
approximately $5.9 billion. HSBC Holdings purchased Household
International in 2003, giving it a major foothold in the U.S. payment
card market. As of June 30th, HSBC had $22.2 billion in VISA and
MasterCard outstandings and $18.0 billion in private label credit card
accounts.

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MASTERCARD 2Q/05

Growth in MasterCard International’s gross dollar volume and purchase volume growth continued in double digits during the second quarter. Gross dollar volume of $408.4 billion was up 12.3% year-on-year while purchase volume increased 14.5% to $290.1 billion. Purchase transactions for the second quarter hit 4.12 billion compared to 3.75 billion in the prior quarter. Globally, MasterCard has 716.3 million cards-in-force linked to 615.0 million accounts. The number of acceptance locations worldwide as of June 30th was 23.3 million compared to 23.7 million for the first quarter. For complete details on MasterCard’s second quarter results, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Ascom Sells a Major Part of its Transport Revenue

Ascom has sold its Transport Revenue unit to Affiliated Computer Services for $103 million. The business unit includes fare collection, parking and the American part of toll. The Toll Europe and Asia business units will remain with Ascom until its economical situation has further improved. ACS is granted a preemption right on this residual part of the Toll business. Under terms of the deal, ACS will acquire the Transport Revenue division of Ascom with its businesses in Fare Collection and Parking with locations in Switzerland, USA, Italy, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong, Mexico and Chile as well as the North and South American
part of the Toll business unit, and has also made an irrevocable offer
for the French activities of Fare Collection and Parking. US-based ACS is a major provider of business process and information technology outsourcing solutions.

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AmEx Launches a NYC Fall into Fall Promotion

American Express has expanded its New York City hotel promotions with a new exclusive Fall rate for the Paramount Hotel in Times Square. “Fall into Fall” special rate of $279 for deluxe accommodations is available seven days a week from September 6 to December 30, 2005, and is based on availability. The Paramount Hotel offers 610 guestrooms and suites and is located in the Theater District.

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Optical Banking Card Patent Sought

U.S.-based BSI2000 has filed a patent application in South Africa for
an “Optical Banking Card.” It is designed to protect the
“MicroBanker2000” optical banking card system developed by BSI2000 for
the South African market. The firm currently has a U.S. patent for the
product. The Company recently completed a technology demonstration of
“MicroBanker2000” in the remote Limpopo province and is set to close a
teaming agreement with a South African partner bank. Its South African
joint venture company, Vhuthu Investments, which is 48% owned by
BSI2000, has co-marketing letters of intent in place with a number of
large South African black churches that have millions of members.

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