Pay By Touch Names a Chief Security Officer

Pay By Touch has named Larry Hollowood chief security officer. Hollowood brings more than 25 years of experience in the technology and security industries. Previously, he worked with Bank of America as SVP, Corporate Information Security and managed information security at Mellon Bank. Hollowood earned a B.S. Summa Cum Laude in Mathematics from Temple University. Pay By Touch is a biometric payment service free to consumers that allow shoppers to use a finger scan for identification.

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Citi Card Profits Up 9% as Growth Downshifts

Citigroup reported that first quarter profits for its credit card business in North America grew 9% to $911 million. However, credit card outstandings for North America inched up by a modest 2% over 1Q/04 to $140.5 billion, which includes $24.7 billion in private label card outstandings. Charge volume increased 6% year-on-year, to $71.7 billion. Citi’s account base at the end of the first quarter declined by more than one million accounts from the prior quarter and was down 2% from one-year ago. At the end of 1Q/05, Citi had 118.9 million accounts in North America. Citi’s charge-offs dropped from 5.59% in the fourth quarter, to 5.50% for 1Q/05. Charge-offs for bank credit cards declined to 5.20%, compared to 5.22%% in the fourth quarter, and 6.60% one-year ago. Charge-offs for private label credit cards dropped, from 7.24% in the fourth quarter to 6.91% for 1Q/05. Charge-offs for private label cards remain well below year ago levels by 179 basis points. Delinquency (90+ days) declined slightly from 1.80% for 4Q/04 to 1.76% for the first quarter 2005. Delinquency for bank credit cards was declined sequentially at 1.55%, and down 28 basis points from the year-ago level. For complete details on Citigroup’s 1Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CITIGROUP
North American Credit Card Net Revenues
1Q/04: $832 million
2Q/04: $850 million
3Q/04: $1067 million
4Q/04: $1190 million
1Q/05: $911 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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La Quinta Introduces the Returns Loyalty Card

Dallas-based La Quinta Corporation has launched a combined enhanced guest loyalty program, “Returns”, allowing guests of the La Quinta family of hotels the opportunity to earn points that can be redeemed for airline miles/credits, free night certificates and gift certificates. La Quinta Corporation is the owner/operator of more than 590 limited-service hotels.

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BofA Card Loans Up 8% as Profits Hit $750MM

Bank of America’s credit card loans grew 7.8% in the first quarter ending with $57.9 billion. The issuer opened 1.3 million new credit card accounts during the quarter as pre-tax card income hit $750 million. First quarter charge-offs were 6.17%, compared to 5.90% in the prior quarter, and 5.05% one year ago. BofA says that card charge-offs grew as a result of the Fleet acquisition, card portfolio growth and seasoning and increases in minimum payment requirements as compared to the first quarter of 2004. The managed 30+ day delinquency was 4.20%, compared to 4.37% in the fourth quarter and 3.75% for 1Q/04. Managed 90+ day delinquency was 2.10%, compared to 2.13% in the fourth quarter, and 1.81% for 1Q/04. BofA also reported that its merchant acquiring business handled $75.8 billion in processing volume during the first quarter on total transactions of 1.6 billion. The issuer also noted that active online banking users increased to 13.1 million, while online bill payers reached 6.3 million in the first quarter of 2005. For complete details on Bank of America’s 1Q/05 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

BOFA CARD LOAN HISTORICAL
1Q/03 $29.1 billion
2Q/03: $30.8 billion
3Q/03: $33.6 billion
4Q/03: $36.6 billion
1Q/04: $37.3 billion
2Q/04: $52.0 billion
3Q/04: $55.4 billion
4Q/04: $58.6 billion
1Q/05: $57.9 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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UBS Plans to Launch a VISA-AmEx Rewards Program

UBS will launch a dual-card program late this year offering a consolidated rewards program for an American Express-branded charge card and a “VISA Signature” credit card. Barclays Group’s Juniper Bank will issue both cards to UBS’ wealthy clients. The program effectively gives UBS clients access to charge card, credit card and ATM services through their UBS “Resource Management Account.” The points will be redeemable for a broad range of rewards categories, including travel, gift cards and certificates, specialty merchandise and unique experiences. The cards will also be customized with high value benefits and distinctive rewards.

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GECF’s First Quarter Revenues Soar by 31%

GE reported that profit for its Consumer Finance unit climbed 22% in the first quarter to $735 million. First quarter revenues hit a record $4.7 billion, a 31% increase over 1Q/04. GECF posted fourth quarter revenues of $4.3 billion. During the quarter, GECF brought the “Dual Card” to Thailand by teaming up with Central Retail Group to launch the “Central MasterCard” and launched an unsecured personal loan product in Singapore called “ezyCash” through a co-operation agreement with the Singapore Post Office, one of the first of its kind in Asia, which makes full use of the Post Office’s extensive network in Singapore. The Company also launched GE Money Care Credit in Australia to finance discretionary procedures such as dental care, laser eye surgery and veterinary care, a $6 billion segment not covered by government programs or insurance. In the USA, GECF launched the “Wal-Mart Dual Card,” which offers cash back, gasoline discounts and low rates to Wal-Mart shoppers and which is accepted at more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations on the Discover Network. Also, GECF signed a seven-year extension of its private-label credit card agreement with SAM’S CLUB and launched “SAM’S CLUB Dual Cards” for consumers and businesses, with the business card being the first such card ever offered on the Discover Network. For complete details on GE’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

GE CONSUMER FINANCIAL TRACK RECORD
Income Revenues
1Q/04: $602 million $3589 million
2Q/04: $600 million $3830 million
3Q/04: $681 million $4011 million
4Q/04: $637 million $4304 million
1Q/05: $735 million $4689 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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iBill Settles With First Data Merchant Services

Interactive Brand Development, Inc.subsidiary, Internet Billing Company (iBill) will pay $41.6 million to all former and current clients for transactions processed up to February 28, 2005. The iBill Payout is a structured settlement and all participating merchants will receive full payment on funds owed through a combination of cash and term note payment. The cash portion will be paid immediately subject to clients entering into agreements verifying their balances. IBDI processes online credit card payments and manages consumer databases.

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Power Rewards Platinum VISA Re-Launched

Bank of America has launched no annual fee Power Rewards Platinum card. Small businesses and consumers earn one point for each dollar spent on the card with no limit to the number of points cardmembers can earn and redeem each year, and can be redeemed starting at 2,500 points. Bank of America serves 33 million consumer relationships with more than 5,800 retail banking offices, more than 16,500 ATMs and 11 million online users.

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uWink Ordering System Hits the Market

uWink has announced plans to market the uWink Ordering System, a touch-screen order entry system for restaurants that allows customers to place their orders and use ATM and credit cards via touch-screen terminals, providing a cashless ordering system. uWink, Inc. is a technology-based entertainment company focused on the emerging medium of interactive mass-market digital entertainment.

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CLEAR CARD

The Co-operative Bank has introduced the “Clear VISA Card”. The card carries a variable rate of 8.9% for both purchases and cash advances. Unlike many other cards, there is no fee for cash advances. There is also no annual fee and the minimum credit line is GBP 500. The card is available in two colors, black or white. Co-operative says the card does not offer a 0% teaser promotional rate because most consumers want a straightforward rate. They cite the “Lloyds TSB Classic” card, which has a standard rate of 17.9% and balance transfer rate 0% for six months, as a card with higher costs.

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Another Breach Surfaces at Polo Ralph Lauren

HSBC, f/k/a Household International, has informed more than 180,000 cardholders that made purchases at Polo Ralph Lauren that their card information may have been compromised. HSBC has more than six million General Motors MasterCards in circulation, the most popular co-branded general purpose credit card in the USA. VISA and MasterCard indicated they are aware of the issue and are working with authorities. The news comes on the heels of other recent security breaches at ChoicePoint, LexisNexis, DSW Shoe Warehouse, and PayMaxx. Yesterday, FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras told the Senate Judiciary Committee that despite the fact that data brokers may provide a valuable service both to business and government entities, there are concerns about the aggregation of sensitive consumer information and whether this information is protected adequately from misuse and unauthorized disclosure.

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