Rodopi Software Offers a PCI Solution

San Diego-based Rodopi Software has launched a new program to address the company’s role in assisting customer compliance with the requirements of the VISA/MC PCI data security standards. Rodopi’s Card Security Program will enable customers to encrypt stored credit card data and log access. Rodopi Software designs web-based automation and back office applications that provide comprehensive provisioning, billing, and automated customer care solutions.

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Oberthur Lands the Turkey Smart Card Deal

The Turkish Armed Forces will soon issue multi-application dual interface smart cards from Oberthur Card Systems. Oberthur was chosen by OYAK Bank, which is in charge of implementing the program for the Turkish General Staff. The contract calls for the delivery of several million cards, starting with an initial roll out of two million cards in 2005, according to CardFlash International. The dual interface multi-application cards will include several applications including e-purse, access control, digital signature and health care. Oberthur had sales of $550 million last year.

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Card Issuer Web Sites Are Not Up to Snuff

A new study shows that the vast majority of credit card sites do not adequately inform prospects as to how rewards can be redeemed or how to compare competing card offers. Change Sciences Group says its benchmarking research is based on the “Typifi” technology which quantifies what online customers experience as they use a site, across all meaningful dimensions, including look and feel, ease of use, content, trust and effort. CSG says the top five Web sites that currently provide a best-of-class customer experience include National City, Fifth Third Bank, Capital One, Bank of America and Wachovia.

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Kintera Wins the Most Innovative Award

San Diego-based Kintera, which offers online giving via payment cards to nonprofit organizations, was named the winner of the “Stevie Award” for the “Most Innovative Company” category. The Stevie Awards are conferred in three programs: The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards and The Stevie Awards for Women Entrepreneurs. Kintera(R), Inc. provides an online solution to more than 15,000 accounts in the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors to help nonprofit organizations.

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USA Technologies Adds Another Patent

Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies, a specialist in wireless non-cash transactions, has been granted a patent for certain technology within its new versions of “VendingMiser” and “CoolerMiser. Both are devices that conserve electricity when installed in vending machines and refrigerated coolers. USA Technologies provides networking of distributed assets, wireless non-cash transactions, associated financial/network services and energy management.

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Mexicana Airlines VISA Promotion Kicked-Off

Bank of America and Mexicana Airlines have kicked-off a promotion for the “Mexicana Airlines VISA Platinum,” offering a free companion ticket after a first purchase and a $99 companion ticket coupon annually afterwards. This is the first airline card to offer this type of reward and the first Mexicana Airlines card in the US. Bank of America serves 33 million consumer relationships and serves clients in 150 countries. Mexicana Airlines is Mexico’s airline and flies to more than 50 destinations in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

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CO-OP Network Gets a New Board Chairman

David Maus, the President/CEO of Colorado’s Public Service CU, has been elected CO-OP Network Chairman of the Board. Maus is the past Chairman of the Credit Union National Association (1999-2001) and past Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. He received a gubernatorial appointment in 1993 to serve on the Division of Financial Services Board (the regulatory agency in Colorado overseeing state chartered credit unions and savings and loans) and he’s the current Chairman of CU Direct Connect, the Colorado Credit Union Indirect Lending Association. CO-OP Network is wholly-owned by its credit union shareholders with more than 1,770 credit union members and 20 million cardholders.

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Colorado the Next Market to Get Blinked

Chase confirmed that Colorado is next metro area slated for its new contactless credit card called “blink.” Chase has started delivery of the new cards with “blink” to more than 500,000 Colorado cardholders. There are more than 400 merchant locations in 63 cities across Colorado, including Arby’s, 7-Eleven, Regal Cinema’s and Walgreen’s that will honor “blink.” Colorado will be the first state west of the Mississippi to receive the new blink technology. To support the effort, Chase will launch an integrated statewide marketing campaign, including print, broadcast and billboard advertising.

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49MM Wealthy Gen Xers in the U.S. Market

A new American Express survey has found that there are now 49 million wealthy members of “Gen X”, compared to 78 million wealthy members of “Baby Boomers.” Overall, the wealthy members of “Gen X” have an average income of $213,000 and spend 18% more than the “Boomers” on luxury goods annually. AmEx says the difference is made more significant by the fact that the average income of wealthy “Baby Boomers,” $222,900, is similar to “Gen X.” However, “Gen X” spending far exceeds the “Baby Boomers” in beauty products, fashion accessories, clothing, and liquor.

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Encore Capital Acquires Jefferson Capital

Encore Capital Group has acquired the assets from Jefferson Capital, a subsidiary of CompuCredit for $142.8 million in cash. The deal includes a portfolio of charged-off consumer credit card debt with a face value of approximately $2.9 billion and an agreement to purchase an additional $3.25 billion in face value of fresh, credit card charge-offs from Jefferson Capital over the next five years at a fixed price. Encore also picks up a new collection site in St. Cloud, Minnesota with approximately 120 employees. To facilitate the transaction, Encore inked a new three-year, $150 million revolving credit facility with JPMorgan Chase.

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Revolving Debt Does its April Dip Again

Revolving consumer credit slipped a bit in April, dropping a tad below $796 billion. Americans shaved off $500 million in revolving credit during April compared to $2.6 billion one-year ago. Monthly payment rates continue to dampen growth in credit card debt. The higher payment rates are a combination of low interest rates for mortgages/home equity, improved consumer credit score knowledge and rising debit card usage. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owed $795.9 billion in revolving credit at the end of April, compared to $796.9 billion for January. One-year ago revolving credit stood at approximately $740.9 billion. The annual growth rate is now a negative 0.6%, compared to a negative 0.9% in the previous month and -5.3% one-year ago. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the first quarter was about $659 billion, or roughly 83% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). At the end of April, Americans were $2130.5 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Apr 05 Mar 05 Feb 05 Jan 05 Dec 04 Nov 04 Apr 04
GRWTH: -0.6% -0.9 1.9 6.3 3.8 0.9 -5.3
$OWED: $795.9 796.4 796.9 796.9 793.0 784.0 740.9
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 6/07/05;
For complete historical data, visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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