Cetelem to Expand its MasterCard Relationship

Consumer credit provider, Cetelem, has inked a license to use
MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus brands on a global basis. Cetelem, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has already issued 3.9 million co-branded MasterCards in seven countries. Cetelem is established in 20 countries and expects to issue MasterCards in Poland, Slovakia and Belgium. The company currently is developing MasterCard programs in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, and Morocco. Cetelem’s relationship with MasterCard dates back to 1997.

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Official Payments Expands MN Services

The Minnesota Department of Revenue has expanded its payment processing contract with Official Payments to enable businesses to make multiple types of business tax payments electronically through OPC’s credit and debit card systems. OPC currently accepts payments for Minnesota individual income taxes, estimated income taxes, and extension income taxes and has now added certain business taxes including sales and use, withholding, special and petroleum taxes. OPC charges a convenience fee for the service. Official Payments provides electronic payment services for the IRS, 25 states, the District of Columbia and more than 1,700 local government clients nationwide.

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PRE Solutions Sues Dynamic Telecard

Atlanta-based PRE Solutions has filed a lawsuit against Dynamic Telecard, alleging breach of its “Transaction Processing Agreement” including the soliciting of PRE’s customers. PRE had previously served a cease and desist letter on Dynamic for soliciting PRE’s customers in breach of the agreement. Additionally, PRE’s suit alleges that Dynamic did not honor its commitment to use PRE’s systems to process merchants with whom Dynamic has distribution agreements. PRE Holdings, Inc. along with its subsidiaries PRE Solutions, Inc. and ITC Financial Services, LLC, is a provider of prepaid transaction processing solutions to more than 60,000 retail locations.

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Options MasterCard Lifts CTFS Card Loans

Canadian Tire Financial Services reported that its net managed credit card receivables for the first quarter increased 20.5% year-over-year to C$2.82 billion. The average credit card balance in the first quarter hit C$1609, up 19% from one-year ago, largely driven by its “Options MasterCard” product. For the prior quarter, the average credit card balance came in at C$1525. First quarter pre-tax earnings for CTFS were flat at C$25.8 million. Canadian Tire’s MasterCard receivables represent approximately 91% of CTFS’ total managed portfolio. CTFS’ retail credit card and personal loan receivables make up the remaining nine percent of the portfolio. The average number of accounts with a balance decreased year-over-year due to the sale of Canadian Tire’s commercial MasterCard account portfolio to BMO Bank of Montreal in June 2004. CTFS, in conjunction with BMO Bank of Montreal, markets the “Commercial Link MasterCard” while the receivables are owned and managed by BMO Bank of Montreal. CTFS says it plans to increase gross credit card outstandings to C$3.1 billion by the end of 2005. For complete details on Canadian Tire Financial Services’ first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Senate Committee to Explore Card Disclosures

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on credit card disclosures this week with Federal Reserve Governor Edward Gramlich testifying tomorrow on the “Truth in Lending Act.” The Committee will meet in an open session to conduct a hearing on “Examining the Current Legal and Regulatory Requirements and Industry Practices for Credit Card Issuers With Respect to Consumer Disclosures and Marketing Efforts.”

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JCB Launches the Love Mom Card Option

JCB has launched a new credit card option offering exclusive offers, support services, and discounts to help mothers. The new “Love Mom” service can be added to any JCB card and costs 850 yen per year. One major feature is a chance to win an invitation to a members-only parent and child party with Disney characters at Tokyo Disney Resort. JCB “Love Mom” cardholders also receive a free gift on “Mother’s Day” supplied by participating merchants, members-only opportunities to earn double “Oki Doki” loyalty points, and an exclusive selection of merchandise available for point redemption. JCB’s most successful product launches in the past few years include the “JCB Linda Card” for young working women in their 20s and 30s, and the “JCB E-Go Card” for young men. The “Love Mom” option is available for JCB cards issued by JCB and its 75 franchise issuers in Japan.

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Intelli-Check Post a Flat First Quarter

New York-based Intelli-Check reports flat first quarter revenues, but a 27.5% increase in year-over-year sales bookings. Revenues for the first three months of 2005 remained relatively unchanged at $296,832 compared to $298,259 for the same period in 2004. Intelli-Check, Inc. ID-CHECK technology instantly reads, analyzes, and verifies the encoded data in magnetic stripes and barcodes on government-issue IDs from approximately 60 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada.

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Avg Monthly Payment Rates Head South

The historical high level of monthly payment rates hit the brakes in April, dropping to its lowest level in more than a year. The average monthly payment rate of 16.67% is 130 basis points lower than the prior month, and 136 basis points off the peak set last October. Since 2000, the lowest MPR average occurred in October 2001 when it dipped to 14.89%, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). MBNA recently reported that high payment volumes have adversely impacted its yield on managed loans. (CF Library 4/21/05)

MONTHLY PAYMENT RATES
May 04: 17.15%
Jun 04: 17.03%
Jul 04: 17.33%
Aug 04: 17.65%
Sep 04: 17.94%
Oct 04: 18.03%
Nov 04: 17.85%
Dec 04: 17.62%
Jan 05: 17.98%
Feb 05: 17.51%
Mar 05: 17.97%
Apr 05: 16.67%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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TNS Signs Town and Country Food Stores

Town and Country Food Stores has selected TNS to provide network connectivity and data communications services for credit card, ATM and check authorizations at its more than 140 convenience stores throughout Texas and New Mexico. T & C has purchased TNS’ FusionPoint, a data communications solution that enables all technical applications to flow through one broadband pipe, simplifying the connectivity and saving in time and maintenance costs. TNS provides transaction delivery platforms that enable transaction authorization and processing.

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Liberty Bank Selects NEC’s Server Platform

Connecticut-based Liberty Bank has chosen NEC’s “Express5800/320Lb” fault tolerant server to support its ATM applications and its new ATM software platform, “Postilion”. Liberty Bank is now able to remotely monitor, analyze and manage its server and the IT staff has added the capability to swap out any component and replace modules without causing any ATM downtime. Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual savings bank, with more than $2.2 billion in assets and 35 banking offices. NEC Solutions Inc. is a provider of integrated solutions to wide range of markets, including the health care and public safety, financial services, cinema, retail and manufacturing markets.

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Some Banks Ease Credit Card Standards

The April “Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices” has found that 10% of banks, on net, indicated that they had eased standards on credit cards and non-credit-card consumer loans over the past three months. Those institutions that had eased their lending standards and terms over the past three months cited more-aggressive competition from other banks or non-bank lenders and half of those respondents cited a more-favorable or less-uncertain economic outlook as a reason for their move toward less-stringent lending.

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Operation STOP IT Hits 1,400 Web Sites

MasterCard last week reported it shut down nearly 1,400 phishing sites and more than 750 sites that potentially sell illegal credit card information as part of its anti-phishing and anti-identity theft campaign. “Operation STOP IT” was launched in June 2004. NameProtect, the company with which MasterCard partnered to launch the fraud fighting program, is now offering “NameProtection,” an expanded version of the program to MasterCard customer financial institutions. At an exclusive reduced rate, MasterCard customer financial institutions can access a new suite of technology and services to help prevent phishing attacks and other fraud. MasterCard also noted that it discovered and protected more than 35,000 MasterCard account numbers that were in jeopardy of being compromised.

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