I.C.E. Picks FDMS and Fleet National Bank

California-based International Card Establishment has selected First Data Merchant Services for processing and accounting functions relating to the clearing and settlement of credit card transactions and Fleet National Bank for the processing of merchant credit card transactions as an acquiring bank. This processing agreement establishes I.C.E. as a direct credit card processor and not simply an ISO selling credit card services. I.C.E. now has the ability to ultimately sell and transfer its merchant account portfolio to a third party. I.C.E.provides diversified products and services to the electronic transaction processing industry.

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SVM Selects EPS for Prepaid Debit Reload

Stored Value Marketing has signed an agreement with Express Payment Solutions to deploy the EPS cash deposit services to load funds onto its numerous prepaid debit card programs. Under this agreement, SVM will utilize the EPS proprietary depository network consisting of 12,000 nationwide bank branches representing four leading North American banks. Worldwide Financial Services, Inc., dba Express Payment Solutions was developed to provide a cash payment solution and electronic service access to underserved and subsidized housing individuals. SVM provides money transfer services to single convenience store owners, payroll providers, Internet entities and large companies.

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Non-White Households Hold More Card Debt

A new study reveals that African-American and Hispanic households are more likely to be in credit card debt than their white counterparts. The Demos report shows that the percent of cardholders carrying a balance stood at 84% for African-Americans, 75% for Hispanics, and 50% for whites. Between 1998 and 2001, Latino households saw a 19% growth in credit card balances, African Americans stood at 10% and white households saw an 11% decrease. Demos says that Hispanic and African-American families held lower credit card balances than that of white families throughout the 1990s but the growth of their credit card balances far outpaced that of white families in the latter half of the decade. Demos concludes that any meaningful attempt to explain the widening debt gap between Latino and African-American families and their white counterparts must take into account the larger social, cultural and economic forces driving credit card debt.

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Elan Inks Pacific Coast Bankers’ Bank Deal

Elan Financial Services has entered into an agreement with Pacific Coast Bankers’ Bank to provide ATM, debit, prepaid card and merchant processing services to the bank’s financial institution clients. Elan also provides the Fastbank ATM network and its surcharge-free option Fastbank Free, which has over 3,700 locations in 38 states. Pacific Coast Bankers’ Bank has over 114 shareholder banks and has relationships with over 70% of the community banks located in the western United States. Elan Financial Services supports more than 7,700 ATMs, 15 million ATM/POS cards, and 2 million credit cardholders.

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BPO Zenta Acquired by H-Cube

Mumbai-based Zenta, the sixth largest business process outsourcing company in the country, has been acquired by Dallas-based H-Cube. Zenta’s current services include credit card servicing. H-Cube was formed in January by GTCR Golder Rauner in partnership with Henry Hortenstine, the former EVP Affiliated Computer Services. GTCR plans to invest up to $100 million in equity capital in H-Cube’s expansion. Zenta, with 2,600 employees in Pennsylvania and India, is H-Cube’s first acquisition. Priya Hiranandani, the founder of Zenta, will continue to serve as CEO. GTCR also has investments in TNS, VeriFone, Syniverse, TransFirst and Retriever Payment Systems.

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MasterCard Expands its Debit Team

MasterCard has named three SVPs to lead its global debit and prepaid programs. Nik Banerjee, formerly with Charles Schwab, has been named SVP for Debit in the Americas. Scott Galit, formerly with First Data, has been named SVP Global Prepaid Programs. Laura Kelly, formerly with Southwest Business Corporation, has been named SVP for Debit Product Management and Administration. MasterCard’s signature debit card business jumped 29% in the first quarter, compared to 1Q/04, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 5/3/05)

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

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RBS Lynk OneLynk Alliance Expands

RBS Lynk has signed Foremost Business Systems as the newest member of the “OneLynk Alliance.” Foremost is the largest reseller of Radiant Systems’ Aloha POS solutions and supplies Aloha systems to restaurant clients. RBS Lynk’s electronic payment processing integrates with Aloha POS software, eliminating the expense of separate restaurant management equipment and payment terminals. RBS Lynk is a single-source provider of electronic payment processing services and is a member of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

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7-Eleven Joins VISA Contactless

7-Eleven has agreed to accept “VISA Contactless” payments. The c-store chain will install contactless card readers at all of its 5,300 U.S. stores. VISA’s contactless payment platform became operationally ready for the U.S. market in February. MasterCard launched its “PayPass” pilot in Orlando during January 2003. In August of last year, McDonald’s inked a deal to accept MasterCard “PayPass” nationwide. American Express first piloted its “ExpressPay” program in early 2003 in Phoenix. In December 2004, AmEx inked a deal with the CVS pharmacy chain for a full roll-out of “ExpressPay” for 5,300 stores by mid-year. (CF Library 2/25/05; 5/14/03; 7-17-03)

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CATHAY PACIFIC VISA

Royal Bank of Canada and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific have teamed to launch a co-branded VISA card. Under the program, “RBC Cathay Pacific VISA Platinum” cardholders will earn one “Asia Mile” for each Canadian dollar spent on the card. Cardholders will also receive 5,000 bonus miles upon enrollment. Additionally, cardholders earn two “Asia Miles” for every Canadian dollar spent on flights booked online. RBC and Cathay Pacific are also awarding a free companion ticket with the purchase of a qualifying round-trip Cathay Pacific business class ticket from Canada to Southeast Asia. Plus, cardholders receive complimentary Green membership to Cathay Pacific’s “Marco Polo Club,” and enjoy special benefits like preferred check-in and access to a 24-hour toll-free member services center. “Asia Miles” has more than 230 partners and more than 2.3 million members worldwide.

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Winslet Joins the AmEx Ad Campaign

Actress Kate Winslet has joined the American Express “My life. My card.” ad campaign with a 60-second TV spot to premier on tonight’s “CSI”. Print ads shot by Annie Leibovitz will run in targeted publications this summer. Each installment of the campaign depicts a storyline that reflects personal aspects of the featured individual’s life. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, network, and financial services provider founded in 1850.

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Paymentech Lands the Gulf Oil Contract

Gulf Oil has inked a multi-year settlement processing contract with Paymentech for its $1 billion in annual card volume and approximately 46 million transactions generated from 2,000 Gulf-branded retail locations. Paymentech’s chargeback imaging system allows merchants to respond to disputed transactions via a fully automated system. Gulf Oil Limited Partnership is a wholesaler of refined petroleum products and distributes motor fuels through a network of 2000 Gulf branded stations. Paymentech, L.P. is a payment processor for businesses and processed 8.5 billion transactions and $200 billion in card volume in 14 currencies in 2004.

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VISA USA’s Q1 Purchase Volume Up 12%

VISA’s credit card and off-line debit U.S. purchase volume grew 12% during the first quarter, compared to one-year ago. Online debit purchase volume, via “Interlink” cards, more than doubled to $22.5 billion during the first three months of 2005. Overall, VISA USA’s total volume (sales and cash) for the quarter was up 16.3% to $346.3 billion. VISA said the growth was driven by debit/prepaid cards, “VISA Signature,” the small business market segment and expanded acceptance in new and emerging markets. VISA check card purchase volume grew 17.6% to $93.2 billion. VISA consumer credit card purchase volume increased 6.3% to $123.1 billion. VISA commercial credit and debit card purchase volume jumped 26.4% to $31.9 billion. VISA noted that the quick service restaurant category grew by $3.5 billion in volume during 1Q/05, a 59.3% increase over the same period a year ago. For complete details on VISA’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

PURCHASE VOLUME HISTORICAL
1Q/04: $221.1 billion
2Q/04: $242.0 billion
3Q/04: $248.5 billion
4Q/04: $266.3 billion
1Q/05: $248.2 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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