Wright Express to Launch a Sinclair Oil Card

Wright Express will develop and manage a joint fleet card program with Sinclair Oil and will support a Sinclair branded online product. Sinclair Oil is an independent oil company with distribution throughout the Plains and Mountain States. Wright Express Corporation provides payment processing and information management services to over 280,000 commercial and government fleets containing more than 3.9 million vehicles in the US.

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MBNA Expands Into Home Finance Loan Processing

MBNA has inked a deal to acquire MO-based Nexstar Financial Corporation. Nexstar’s platform for originating and processing home finance products will enable MBNA to offer private label and co-branded home equity loans through its more than 5,000 affinity partners. Under the agreement, MBNA will acquire all of Nexstar’s assets and the management team and all existing employees will join MBNA. The business will operate as a MBNA subsidiary and will retain the Nexstar name. MBNA is currently downsizing its credit card operations and is looking to diversify its lending operations. The Company also unleashed its first advertising campaign this year.

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Cubic Expands the TAP Smart Card Fare System

Cubic Transportation Systems will provide central computer and clearinghouse integration for the Universal Fare System, a smart card-based fare collection system to connect transportation systems across Los Angeles County. Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. is a full-service systems integrator of automated fare collection systems and has delivered over 400 projects in 40 major markets worldwide.

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VISA Says PULSE Logo is Okay on its Cards

VISA has decided to permit its members to continue using the PULSE EFT debit network. The network was acquired by Discover earlier this year. MasterCard is still reviewing its policy in regard to the use of the PULSE logo on its cards. MasterCard said it will determine whether the new “Discover/PULSE” organization may continue as a principal debit licensee and as a sponsor of financial institutions into “Debit MasterCard,” “Maestro,” and “Cirrus” programs. MasterCard will also examine whether the new entity’s network logo may continue to reside on the “Debit MasterCard” card. In November, Discover agreed to acquire the PULSE for $311 million. The merger joins “PULSE” and its 4,100 member banks, credit unions and savings institutions with the “Discover Network” and its 4 million merchant and cash access locations. (CF Library 11/15/04; 1/13/05; 1/20/05)

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U.S. Bank Launches Affinity Softball VISA Cards

The Amateur Softball Association of America has partnered with U.S. Bank to create an affinity credit card program designed to support the ASA and the sport of softball. Supporters can access a variety of cards, which include a rewards program with points that can be redeemed for gift certificates, merchandise, cash, travel and college rewards. The Amateur Softball Association was founded in 1933. U.S. Bancorp is the 6th largest financial holding company in the United States with assets of $195 billion.

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SCA Releases Paper on Mobile Phone POS Payments

A new report from the Smart Card Alliance reveals that market forces and technical advances is driving increased interest in using mobile phones for payment at point-of-sale. The report details mobile payment implementations that have been deployed worldwide and the opportunities and challenges for implementing mobile payment in the U.S. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology.

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First Data Q1 Profit Slides 23%; Revenues Up 10%

First Data reported this morning that first quarter net income nose-dived by 23% due to the cost associated with the merger of Concord EFS. However, overall 1Q/05 revenues increased 10% to $2.480 billion, compared to one-year ago. Payment Services operating profits fell 4% to $314 million during the first quarter on revenues that grew 7% to $1025 million. Revenue for the Merchant Services segment was up 26% to $935 million with operating profit of $185 million, a 20% gain over the year ago quarter. Card Issuing Services’ revenue was $603 million and operating profit was $109 million, an 8% and 11% gain, respectively. As of March 31st, accounts on file were 409 million domestic and 31 million international. Of the 441 million card accounts on file, 112 million were bank card accounts, 237 million were retail accounts and 92 million were debit accounts. For complete details on FDC’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

FDC NET INCOME
4Q/03: $401.6 million
1Q/04: $483.5 million
2Q/04: $466.0 million
3Q/04: $460.6 million
4Q/04: $465.1 million
1Q/05: $374.5 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Axalto Partners with Al Kharafi for New Plant

Axalto has teamed with Al Kharafi Group of Kuwait to build a smart card plant in Cairo by 2005. Under the deal, Axalto will contribute its know-how in smart card technology and manufacturing
process to enable MAK to manufacture the cards and run the plant in
compliance with the highest quality standards. Al Kharafi manufacturing areas cover a diverse range of products from pre-fabricated homes to brakes on mobility and plastic products. Axalto has 4,500 employees from 70 nationalities and serves customers in more than 100 countries.

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Giesecke & Devrient and Wave Systems Partner

Munich-based Giesecke & Devrient and US-based Wave Systems have
formed a strategic alliance to offer an enhanced security solution to
address the trusted computing market. The collaboration will address the organizations’ joint development activities in the fields of smart card technology and trusted computing software. The aim is to leverage the combination of smart card technology and TPM associated software to offer clients in industry and government a comprehensive, flexible and easy-to-use security solution. Both partners are members of the Trusted Computing Group.

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