Consumers to Use Tax Refunds to Pay Card Debt

TransUnion’s TrueCredit.com commissioned Roper Public Affairs to determine how consumers planned to spend their tax refund. Forty one percent of respondents would pay credit card, mortgage or other bills, 28 percent would buy something they need and 26 percent would save the money. Only 9 percent said they would use it for “fun”. California-based TrueCredit has been a leading provider of credit management services since 1995.

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Orion Telecomm Emerges from Bankruptcy

Bayside, NY-based Orion Telecommunications has become the first and only prepaid calling card company to successfully emerge from bankruptcy protection. The emergence of OTC is driven by a $12 million dollar infusion of investment capital from The Core Value Group. Richard Roscitt, former President and COO of MCI and CEO of AT&T Solutions, will now serve as Chairman. The Company says it has embarked on 100-day “Back on Track” plan and will announce new executives and products.

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Metris’ Sub-Prime Segment Continues to Shrink

Metris Companies (Direct Merchants Bank) reports that the sub-prime segment of its portfolio declined from $4.9 billion at EOY 2003 to $4.0 billion at the end of 2004. Consumers who have a FICO credit score of 660 or less now make up 60.7% of the total credit card portfolio. Metris also says that the lowering of credit card lines, which began three years ago, has reduced average outstanding cardholder balances from $3,300 in 2003 to $3,000 last year. The issuer’s primary target FICO score now ranges between 600 and 700. Metris cardholders currently have an average household income of $45,000 and approximately 60% own their own home. Metris says that more than 90% of its existing cardholders carry a balance each month and that, on average, its cardholders utilize 50% of the assigned credit lines. Metris also noted that late, over-limit and cash advance fees, represented approximately 16% of total billed fees and finance charges last year. For complete details on Metris’ latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Thales Security Module Passes TransFort Testing

Thales announced that its 3D-Security Module has successfully completed compatibility testing with TransFort V6.0, Arcot System’s industry-leading e-Payment authentication solution for card issuers. Arcot TransFort(TM)) has been deployed by over 9,000 credit and debit card issuers and over 10,000 merchants are enabled to participate in 3D-Secure programs. Thales is an international electronics and systems group with $13 billion in revenue, serving defense, aerospace, security and services markets. Arcot Systems, Inc. is a provider of convenient and secure e-payment, digital signing and identity management solutions.

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UMB Bank Expands its ATM Presence via Walgreens

UMB Bank has reached an agreement with Walgreens to increase the bank’s presence in the Midwest. UMB ATM installation in 300 Walgreens stores will expand the number of ATMs by 62.5 percent for UMB in the major markets it serves. Missouri- based UMB Financial Corporation is a $7.8 billion multi-bank holding company. Walgreen Co. is the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2004 sales of $37.5 billion. The company operates 4,738 stores.

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Hana Bank Eyes LG Card and KEB

Hana Bank is reportedly considering the purchase of LG Card, which has a current market value of 3.9 trillion won (US$3.6 billion).
However, the new chief executive of Hana Bank, Kim Jong-yeol, says a deal can be struck if the price is lowered. Kim Jong-yeol worked at Hana for 27 years and will replace Kim Seung-yu. A consortium of creditor banks led by state-run Korea Development Bank are seeking to sell LG Card. LG lost about 81.6 billion won (US$81 million) last year, compared to the 2003 loss of 5.59 trillion won (US$5.6 billion). Hana Bank’s new CEO also said his bank is considering forming a consortium to purchase Korea Exchange Bank, 51% owned by U.S.-based investment fund Lone Star.

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Cap One Ranks as the Best Internet Experience

A new survey shows that Bank of America provides the best online banking experience for customers while Capital One did best among credit card suppliers. The Customer Respect Group says its survey also found that American Express topped the “Diversified Financials” list. The research found that Providian provided the worst online experience among credit card suppliers. The Customer Respect Group also says that 43% of surveyed firms share personal data with business partners or third parties, one of the highest industry percentages measured compared to 59% six months ago. The “Customer Respect Index” is a qualitative and quantitative in-depth analysis and independent measure of a customer’s online experience when interacting with companies via the Internet.

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Chase Sweetens Home Loans with Delta Miles

Chase has teamed with Delta Air Lines to offer up to 25,000 miles to Delta SkyMiles(R) members by opening and using a home equity loan or line of credit. SkyMiles program members can earn 3,500 miles for each $10,000 borrowed, to be deposited in the member’s account six to eight weeks after the account is funded. Chase is part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. a leading global financial services firm with assets of $1.1 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries. Delta Air Lines’ marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem frequent flier miles on more than 14,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners.

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Hana Bank May Acquire LG Card in South Korea

Hana Bank is reportedly considering the purchase of South Korea’s LG Card, which has a current market value of $3.6 billion. However, the new chief executive of Hana Bank, Kim Jong-yeol, says a deal can be struck if the price is lowered. Kim Jong-yeol worked at Hana for 27 years and will replace Kim Seung-yu. A consortium of creditor banks led by state-run Korea Development Bank are seeking to sell LG Card. LG lost about $81 million last year, compared to the 2003 loss of $5.6 billion. Hana Bank’s new CEO also said his bank is considering forming a consortium to purchase Korea Exchange Bank, 51% owned by U.S.-based investment fund Lone Star.

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Target Card-Funded School Program Tops $138MM

Minneapolis-based retailer Target has awarded $14.9 million to schools nationwide through its Take Charge of Education fund raising program. Since the program began in 1997, Target has donated more than $138 million. Families, teachers and members of the community can designate a K-12 school of their choice to receive an amount equal to 1 percent of their Target(R) Visa(R) and Target Card(R) purchases made at Target and Target.com. Target also donates 0.5 percent of all Target Visa purchases made everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Currently, more than 110,000 schools and 9 million Target guests are enrolled in the program. Target serves guests at 1,330 stores in 47 states nationwide and gives back more than $2 million a week to its local communities through grants and special programs.

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ADS to Offer the VeriFone Omni 3750 Terminal

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems Corp.,has introduced the VeriFone Omni 3750 point-of-sale (POS) Internet-enabled terminal. ADS has developed a full suite of applications for the Omni 3750 including acceptance of all major card types, check processing and value-added applications such as gift cards, fleet and electronic bill transfer (EBT) as well as provide instant age verification. The terminal will allow for faster processing and can reduce the number of devices needed to process multiple types of transactions. Alliance Data Systems is a provider of transaction, credit and marketing services, managing approximately 95 million consumer relationships.

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NOVA Offers a DCC Solution in the USA

Atlanta-based NOVA Information Systems has introduced Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) to enable international cardholders in the U.S. to instantly convert purchases into their local currency. DCC works with foreign-issued Visa and MasterCard credit cards and currently supports the Australian dollar, British pound, Canadian dollar, euro, and Japanese yen. NOVA Information Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, offers credit and debit card processing services to more than 750,000 merchant locations.

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