Card Balances Top $30B as Dec Volume Tops $16B

Total credit card balances exceeded A$30 billion for first time during December. Also, gross dollar volume for purchases on credit card and charge cards in December soared by more than 17% from the prior month. Over the past twelve months, credit card balances have increased more than 14%. Based on historical data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, revolving balances topped $A20 billion for the first time during December. The latest data show that revolving balances increased to A$20,224,000,000 during December, up 12% from one-year ago. During December, Australians charged A$15.1 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards compared to A$13.7 billion one-year ago. At the end of December, consumers owed A$30.2 billion on credit cards versus A$26.5 billion for December 2003. Card credit limits reached A$78.0 billion at the end of December, compared to A$69.4 billion for December 2003. There are 11.6 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 10.9 million one-year ago.

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MasterCard Jazzes-Up its World MasterCard

MasterCard has added more flexibility and customization options to its “World MasterCard” card program. Currently, there are more than 10 major issuers offering World MasterCard to cardholders in the U.S., giving them the opportunity to use their World MasterCard card at more than 24 million locations around the world. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. Juniper, a member of the Barclays Group, is a leading U.S. credit card issuer.

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Small Ticket Volume Soars Nearly 50% in 04

While many merchants shun payment card transactions of $10 or less, small ticket credit/debit card purchases have grown by a factor of more than six times this decade. Last year, Americans racked up more than $35 billion in small ticket purchases, led by quick service restaurant credit/debit card purchases. Between 2003 and 2004, small ticket sales increased nearly 50% from $23.7 billion. Fast food sales in 2004 hit $22.5 billion, wherein the average ticket hovers around $11 per transaction. Credit/debit card sales of transactions that $5 or less, grew from $10.8 billion to $13.5 billion last year.

<$10 Card Transactions Historical 2000: $ 5.7 billion 2001: $ 9.7 billion 2002: $14.0 billion 2003: $23.7 billion 2004: $35.5 billion Source: CardData Diamond (www.carddata.com)

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iPayment’s Q4 Volume Rise 88% Over 4Q/03

Nashville-based iPayment reported that fourth quarter revenues jumped 56% to $101.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2003. Net income for the quarter was $7.6 million compared to $10.3 million one-year ago. iPayment says charge volume increased to $3.47 billion in the fourth quarter from $1.85 billion in the fourth quarter of 2003. The processor also reports that processing costs per transaction averaged $0.18 for 2004, down from $0.21 for 2003. iPayment provides credit and debit card-based payment processing services to over 125,000 small U.S. merchants. For complete details on iPayment’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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DUETTO VISA

RBC Royal Bank has introduced the “Starbucks Duetto VISA,” the first
card that combines the re-loadable stored-value “Starbucks Card” with a general purpose credit card. Bank One introduced a U.S. version of the same card in October 2003. When cardholders use the VISA account of their “Duetto Card,” they earn one per cent of their purchase back in “Duetto Dollars” which are loaded into a “Duetto Dollars” account at the end of each billing cycle. New cardholders also receive a one-time pre-load of $10 to their “Starbucks Card” account after their first “Duetto Card VISA” purchase. Starbucks will also contribute five dollars to Frontier College for adult and youth literacy after the first VISA purchase made on each new “Starbucks Duetto VISA.”

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OPC Inks the GA Department of Revenue

Official Payments Corp. has inked a deal with the Georgia Department of Revenue to process personal income tax payments electronically with a credit or debit card beginning this quarter. This agreement will enable Georgia citizens to make their balance due and estimated tax payments, and extension payments, conveniently and securely with a credit or debit card by visiting www.officialpayments.com or by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX(SM). Georgians will now have the additional benefit of making both federal and Georgia state tax payments through Official Payments Corp.’s telephone or Internet payment center in a single payment session. Tier is a leading provider of transaction processing and packaged software and systems integration services for public sector clients.

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Exxon Beefs-Up its Private Label Cards

ExxonMobil, in partnership with GE Consumer Finance, has re-designed the look, and added enhanced cardholder benefits to its consumer and business credit cards. The new cards will incorporate new and enhanced fraud deterrent technology, provide cardholders a choice of payment dates, and incorporate a standardized 16-digit account number. Also, the consumer card will now feature a zero credit card fraud liability. In addition to launching the upgraded cards to all existing cardholders, GECF will team up with ExxonMobil on a major integrated marketing campaign to attract new ExxonMobil credit card customers. Beginning in March and running through the end of May, new accountholders will receive a $10 statement credit after their first use of the card. GECF will issue new cards to over 7 million current ExxonMobil cardholders as a result of the upgrade.

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MetaBank Launches the Trycera Financial MC

CA-based MetaBank has launched the “Trycera Financial Prepaid MasterCard” which also features “Click N Pay,” an integrated bill payment service. Featuring a broad range of product features and functionalities, the Trycera Financial Prepaid MasterCard is an innovative tool for consumers seeking to participate in the growing cashless economy. Trycera Financial is a publicly reporting financial services company specializing in customized and turnkey prepaid programs partnerships that serve the needs of self-banked consumers. Meta Payment Systems, a division of MetaBank, offers card issuing and program support to banks, processors, and third-party program managers seeking to develop programs for stored-value cards.

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ConocoPhillips Certifies Radiant Systems

Atlanta-based Radiant Systems has been certified with the ConocoPhillips network for processing credit, debit and fleet card transactions at Conoco, Phillips and 76-branded sites throughout the USA. This certification enables marketers of ConocoPhillips, the third largest integrated energy company in the United States, to take advantage of Radiant’s more-than-10-years’ experience providing touch-screen POS for petroleum and convenience retailers. Radiant Systems, Inc. provides innovative store technology for the hospitality, petroleum and convenience store, and entertainment industries.

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CompuCredit’s Net Income Up 150% in 4Q/04

CompuCredit reported fourth quarter 2004 net income attributable to common shareholders of $27.0 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, as compared to its fourth quarter 2003 net income attributable to common shareholders of $10.8 million, or $0.23 per diluted share. These 2004 results are net of CompuCredit’s $9 million charitable contribution (which reduced net income by $0.11 per diluted share) during the fourth quarter under the 2004 CompuCredit Corporation Charitable Designation Program.

The net interest margin was 20.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, as compared to 22.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2003. The adjusted charge-off rate was 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, as compared to 7.8 percent for the fourth quarter of 2003. Also, as of December 31, 2004, the 60-plus day delinquency rate was 10.4 percent, as compared to 12.0 percent as of December 31, 2003.

CompuCredit is a specialty finance company and marketer of branded credit cards and related financial services. CompuCredit provides these services to consumers who are underserved by traditional financial institutions. Through corporate and affinity contributions focused on the underserved and un-banked communities, CompuCredit also uses its financial resources and volunteer efforts to address the numerous challenges affecting its customers.

For more information about CompuCredit’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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SCA Paper Explores Contactless Card Security

The NJ-based Smart Card Alliance has released a white paper that contrasts RFID tags and contactless smart cards for payment applications. There are two distinct technologies in the market-radio frequency identification (RFID) and contactless smart card technology. As costs come down and size shrinks, the underlying radio frequency (RF) chip technology is finding its way into cards and tokens that are used for everything from tracking animals and tagging goods for inventory control to enabling fast payment and securely identifying people. 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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Florida Supermarket Chain Opts for BEETLE POS

Grocery chain, Kash n’ Karry/Sweetbay, is installing Linux-based Wincor Nixdorf “BEETLE” POS systems in its 103 supermarkets in Florida. Sealed-chassis BEETLE /S systems running Red Hat Linux are currently being rolled out at Sweetbay Supermarkets, a new brand and store concept that is part of the Florida-based Kash n’ Karry grocery chain. The systems have already been installed at Victory Super Markets’ 19 locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Kash n’ Karry is the supermarket of choice for shoppers in Central Florida who want high quality and exceptional value. Wincor Nixdorf is one of the world’s leading suppliers of IT solutions to the retail and banking industries.

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