VISA to be Official Hong Kong Disneyland Card

VISA will become the official card of Hong Kong Disneyland. The park is expected to open in September. It is the first Disney theme park in China and is expected to attract 5.6 million visitors annually. The deal is part of existing global alliance between Disney and VISA that began in 2002. Under the alliance, an integrated marketing arrangement for Hong Kong Disneyland will be launched in the Asia-Pacific region. There are 7.3 million VISA cardholders in Hong Kong.

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MC Board Increases Acceptance-Side Representation

MasterCard Canada’s Board has named three new directors from the acceptance side of the business. James Baumgartner, President and CEO of Moneris Solutions, Drew Brown, President of Paymentech Canada, and, Jordan Cohen, President of Global Payments Canada all join the MasterCard Canada Board effective immediately. Also joining the Board of Directors are Amolak Grewal, COO, ATB Financial, and Stephen Stewart, SVP/Operations, President’s Choice Bank. Kathryn Silmser, SVP/Cardholder Services, BMO Bank of Montreal, and Martin Parizeau, Senior Executive VP, MBNA Canada Bank, will continue as chair and vice chair, respectively.

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ICMA Adds Three New Principal Members

The International Card Manufacturers Association has added three new principal members and one personalizer member. New principal members include Africard (Pty) Ltd. of Cleveland, South Africa; American Bank Note Company of Trevose, Pennsylvania, USA); and, Emirates National Plastic Industries a/k/a/ Future Card of Sharja, UAE. The new personalizer member is Yoonison B.V. of Holland, Netherlands. Based in Princeton Junction, NJ, ICMA has more than 220 members globally.

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Stargazer Beneficiary of GLCS Rebates

Global Links Card Services will designate Stargazer as the default beneficiary of 35% of the merchant rebates generated by the use of the FastMax Rewards VISA debit card, powered by Alliance Card’s rebate technology. The Stargazer Foundation is a U.S. tax exempt, nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to using technology for social good. Alliance Card Inc. develops and deploys an electronic debit card transaction-processing platform, supported by (POS) electronic card readers. GLCS is a subsidiary of PTS.

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No Borders Processing Now Open

No Borders has opened No Borders Processing LLC to consolidate all of its processing operations to reduce costs and charge lower transaction fees while increasing profitability. NB has completed its proprietary software for its Stored Value Card Platform. The software integrates remittance transactions and other products and services with stored value card functionalities. No Borders offers a debit and stored value card to residents of developing countries and immigrants who reside in the US and send money back home.

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Feb Bankruptcy is 17% Lower Than Last Years

Consumer bankruptcy filings during February fell 17% over year-ago levels. Over the past year, bankruptcy is tracking nearly 4% below 2003 levels, ironically at a time when bankruptcy reform will likely be on the President’s desk later this month. During February, 103,457 consumer Chapter 7 and 11 filings were made, compared to 124,719 for February 2004. During the fourth quarter, there were 364,313 consumer bankruptcy filings, compared to 393,348 for 4Q/03. Year-to-date bankruptcy filings were 1,552,967 through December 2004. The decline for full-year 2004 is the first drop in consumer bankruptcy filings since full-year 2000.

Monthly Filings Historical
Jan 04: 114,737
Feb 04: 124,719
Mar 04: 152,567
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
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Canada Gift Card Penetration Among Retailers Up 27%

In Canada, gift card penetration among large retailers increased more than 27% last year. About 68% of major stores offered gift cards during the 2004 Christmas holiday season, compared with 53% the year before. Among their peers, department stores, home electronics and appliance stores, furniture stores and other general merchandise stores had the highest gift card penetration rates in the last two years, according to Statistics Canada. Not included are paper gift certificates of any kind, plastic phone cards or gift cards sold by shopping centers or credit card companies.

Gift Card Penetration Rates
Category of large retailers 2003 2004
Department stores 100% 100%
Home electronics and appliance stores 92% 93%
Furniture stores 84% 85%
Other general merchandise stores 72% 81%
Other stores 54% 80%
Supermarkets 57% 71%
Clothing and accessories stores 36% 54%
Total: Large retailers 53% 68%
Source: Statistics Canada

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Amisys to Continue BPO for PacifiCare

Amisys Synertech Inc. and PacifiCare Health Systems have agreed to a two-and-a-half-year contract extension for business process outsourcing (BPO) services to support PacifiCare’s Self Directed Health Plan in western states through June 2007. ASI provides in-depth software products and advanced outsourcing and claims processing services for healthcare payers. PacifiCare serves more than 3 million health plan members and approximately 9 million specialty plan members nationwide with revenues of $11 billion.

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LaGarde’s ASP Storefront Now Available

LaGarde has introduced Online SalesPro(TM), an ASP version of its StoreFront 6 e-commerce software. Online SalesPro is an online sales solution enabling retailers, without installing software, to launch web stores quickly and with nominal investment and offers 24/7 live support. LaGarde is a leading global provider of e-business solutions.StoreFront software products power nearly 50,000 Web stores in over 70 countries.

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New Report Details Ways to Reap Travel Rewards

The American Small Business Travelers Alliance has complied ways in which small business travelers can earn and redeem frequent flier miles. Small business owners are invited to visit the ASBTA website to learn more. Registration is free until December 1, 2005. ASBTA is a national,non-profit organization serving small business travelers by providing information and technology designed to improve and enhance travel.

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ICMA Adds Three New Principal Members

The International Card Manufacturers Association has added three new principal members and one personalizer member. New principal members include Africard (Pty) Ltd. of Cleveland, South Africa; American Bank Note Company of Trevose, Pennsylvania, USA); and, Emirates National Plastic Industries a/k/a/ Future Card of Sharja, UAE. The new personalizer member is Yoonison B.V. of Holland, Netherlands. Based in Princeton Junction, NJ, ICMA has more than 220 members globally.

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Poder de Compra Buys 50K Debit Cards

Direct Response Financial Services, in conjunction with Optimum Pay USA, has entered into a purchase and sale agreement for delivery of 50,000 ATM/debit cards to Poder de Compra, Mexico, S.A. for an initial purchase price of $250,000 plus ongoing revenue share from card activity. The Poder de Compra debit card will feature the “ATMSafe” program among other valuable cardholder benefits. Direct Response Financial Services, Inc. is a provider of payment card systems, including a variety of branded and co-branded stored value cards and provides payment solutions for the un-banked and under-banked Latino market. Optimum Pay USA, Inc. offers a simpler, less-expensive alternative to traditional payment process using the Internet to move payments and financial records quickly and cost-effectively.

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