Chex Services to Expand Overseas

Minnesota-based Chex Services has signed a marketing agreement with Basinco Holdings to offer Chex’s full line of cash access products and services in Europe, Asia and Africa. Chex Services, Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of FastFunds Financial Corporation and specializes in full booth operations to Native American casinos and has developed a suite of cash access products for use in the traditional gaming and retail markets.

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Key Offers Agent Banks MoneyPass Access

Cleveland-based KeyCorp has inked a deal to offer its agent bank clients the option of including “MoneyPass” ATMs as part of their surcharge-free access. Key’s agent bank clients now have the option of providing their cardholders with access to an additional 12,000 ATMs through the “MoneyPass” network. The deal is non-reciprocal, which means Key’s current and future agent bank clients are not required to add their ATMs to the “MoneyPass” network and customers who bank with Key do not gain surcharge-free access to “MoneyPass” ATMs. Under Key’s current agent bank program, financial services companies provide their customers and members surcharge-free or surcharge-reduced access to Key’s 2,200 ATM network.

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Bankruptcy Filings Set Another Record

Americans filed a record 170,130 bankruptcy petitions in April as the clock began to tick on new laws to take effect on October 17th. In April 2004, a total of 145,543 were made. The 16.0% gain for April is the second month in a row that filings have moved up sharply after a steady two-year decline. Bankruptcy filings declined about 4% for the full-year of 2004. In January filings dropped 13%, and during February filings dived by 17% year-over-year. The steep rise in March and April is expected to continue through the fall of the year.

Monthly Filings Historical
Apr 04: 145,543
May 04: 136,509
Jun 04: 127,742
Jul 04: 133,390
Aug 04: 125,783
Sep 04: 127,664
Oct 04: 133,404
Nov 04: 116,952
Dec 04: 113,957
Jan 05: 99,705
Feb 05: 103,457
Mar 05: 165,459
Apr 05: 170,130
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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TNB Offers FDC’s Debit/ATM Solution

Dallas-based TNB Card Services is converting its debit card credit union clients to the First Data/STAR Network platform. TNB will offer the First Data suite of debit services to both its debit and credit card clients. With the suite, credit unions can integrate PIN and signature into one platform and save time, improve efficiency, enjoy greater flexibility and reduce the burden of back-office tasks involved with debit and ATM transactions. The STAR Network offers PIN-secured debit acceptance at 1.6 million ATM and retail locations nationwide. TNB provides full-service credit and debit card processing, as well as an agent issuing solution for credit unions nationwide. The firm serves more than 450 financial institutions and manages more than 1.6 million cards.

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Chase Expands United’s Card Fleet

Chase and United Airlines added another card to their fleet of cobranded “Mileage Plus” credit cards. The new “United Mileage Plus Platinum Class Signature VISA,” which carries a $140 annual fee, offers all cardholders, regardless of their United status, the ability to earn unlimited miles from purchases. Before today’s launch, United/Chase credit cards typically carried a 60,000 mile annual cap from purchases except for United customers who flew at least 25,000 miles annually. Under the program for the “United Mileage Plus Platinum Class Signature VISA,” new cardholders earn 15,000 bonus miles after the first use of their card and 5,000 of those miles will also count toward “Mileage Plus” elite status. Cardholders also have the opportunity to earn an additional 5,000 qualifying miles toward elite status, for making purchases with the card over a designated amount during the year. For tickets purchased on united.com, cardholders can also earn up to 5,000 “Elite Qualifying Miles.” A special anniversary companion ticket will also be provided to cardholders annually. Double miles are also awarded on both United and Star Alliance purchases and for specific everyday spending purchases. The new card is the sixth cobranded “Mileage Plus” card issued by Chase.

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Juniper Snags a Chase Card Executive

Barclay’s Juniper Bank has hired Kevin Sullivan, former SVP/National Sales at Chase Card Services, as senior director of business development for the bank’s financial services. With more than 16 years of card industry experience, Sullivan will play a vital role in developing Juniper Bank’s business. He served most recently as senior vice president of national sales at Chase Card Services and has also worked at MasterCard International and American Express Co. Juniper Financial Corporation is a leading full-service credit card issuer.

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VISA’s Q1 Commercial Sales Volume Up 26%

VISA USA’s commercial card sales volume rose more than 26% in the first quarter to $31.9 billion. As of March 31st, VISA had 24.3 million commercial cards-in-force, a 14% increase over one-year ago. The average sales ticket for a commercial card transaction is now $159.50 compared to $54.08 for a consumer card transaction, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Of the $31.9 billion in sales volume, about $25.4 billion was on credit cards. A recent VISA survey on small business found that nearly 30% use business debit cards for core services and 20% report using business credit cards. For travel and entertainment expenditures, 82% of businesses use credit cards and 53% use debit cards. (CF Library 5/12/05)

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

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Credit Card Volume to Hit $1.8T in 05

Based on first quarter data, general purpose credit card gross dollar volume may hit $1.8 trillion this year. During the first quarter, VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover posted $412.5 billion in GDV, a 7.2% gain over 1Q/04. Combined, VISA and MasterCard credit cards produced $307.0 billion in GDV, a 5.7% gain over one-year ago. American Express and Discover reported $105.5 billion in GDV, an 11.9% gain over 1Q/04. For the first quarter of 2004 credit card activity for the four networks increased 10.7%, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Historically, the first quarter delivers 23% of annual GDV.

CREDIT CARD Q1 GDV HISTORICAL
(VISA, MasterCard, AmEx & Discover)
2002: $322.6 billion
2003: $347.4 billion
2004: $384.7 billion
2005: $412.5 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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TransFirst Hops on the EAN Partner Program

Dallas-based TransFirst has joined the Ecometry Alliance Network to provide payment processing products and services to multi-channel retailers. TransFirst will have the opportunity to successfully market its customized processing programs to Ecometry’s clients. TransFirst currently processes approximately $20 billion in annual sales volume for more than 160,000 merchants and more than 760 financial institutions. Ecometry Corporation provider software solutions for multi-channel retailers.

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LaserCard Revenues Weaken & Losses Widen

California-based LaserCard posted an 8% decline in revenue for the first quarter as its net loss widened to $3 million, compared to $363,000 one-year ago. Revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 were $5.8 million,compared with $6.3 million in the prior quarter and $6.3 million in the same quarter a year ago. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005, LaserCard reported revenues of $28.5 million, an $11.6 million increase from prior fiscal year revenues of $17.0 million. LaserCard Corporation manufactures and markets LaserCard optical memory cards, chip-ready Optical/Smart cards and other advanced-technology secure identification cards.

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First Cobranded blink Card Launched

PA-based convenience store chain Sheetz has become the first retailer to launch a cobranded contactless credit card. The new “Sheetz MasterCard with blink” features the “Sheetz Rewards” program, which includes the ability to earn free gas with every purchase. The “Sheetz MasterCard” rewards program also offers cardholders a variety of other rewards, including free Sheetz food, a 10% rebate on Sheetz purchases for the first 60 days and three percent thereafter. In January, Sheetz became the first retailer in the nation to adopt acceptance of MasterCard “PayPass.” Additionally, Sheetz has rolled out American Express’ “ExpressPay” in all of its 305 c-stores nationwide. (CF Library 3/23/05)

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