CUs Score in a Balance Transfer Promo

A three-month special balance transfer promotion has paid off for 34 credit unions, resulting in above average transfers. Dallas-based TNB Card Services says the fall promotion, which ran from September through November, produced $4.917 million in balances from 1,600 cardholders, for its CU clients. The average transfer was $3,069 compared to an industry average of about $2,500. Dallas-based Credit Union of Texas, boasted the highest average transfer, at $3,757. The overall response rate to the offer was 2.25%. Dallas-based Neighborhood Credit Union had the highest response rate, at 3.38%. Depending on the rate each credit union selected, transfers were offered at anywhere from 0% to 7.9% APR, an offer good through February 2005. The offer was mailed in August. TNB Card Services serves more than 400 credit unions.

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Coast Capital Savings Offers a Free Debit Account

British Columbia-based Coast Capital Savings Credit Union has
introduced a truly free checking account from a full-service financial
institution in Canada. Features of the new account include free
unlimited debit card transactions and free free unlimited Coast Capital
Savings ATM transactions. The account also requires no monthly fee or
minimum balance and includes teller service across its branch network.
Prior to the launch of “The Free Chequing, Free Debit and More”
account, no full-service bank or credit union in Canada offered
unlimited no-fee checking to all customers.

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ORCC’s PIN-Less Debit Lands a Partner

NH-based The De Palma Group has signed an agreement with Online Resources to become a market partner for ORCC’s “CertnFundsT” PINless debit product line. PINless debit, an emerging payment method offered through the STAR, NYCE and Pulse debit networks, is reserved for billers in highly regulated industries, including insurance, financial services, utilities, government, telecommunications and cable/satellite services. The De Palma Group, (www.depalma-group.net), headquartered in southern New Hampshire, is a treasury management and payments processing consultancy specializing in emerging payment products. Online Resources powers Internet financial services for 700 firms nationwide.

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Certegy Card Services Revenues Up 13%

FL-based Certegy reported that its Card Services revenue increased nearly 13% in the fourth quarter, and that Check Services revenue rose 14% year-on-year. Card Services revenues were $157.3 million in the fourth quarter an increase of 12.7% above the 2003 quarter. Merchant processing revenue increased 12.2% over 4Q/03. Check Services generated revenue of $124.6 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 14.1% over the year ago quarter. Check Services’ margin increased by 350 basis points to 19.7%, representing the highest quarterly margin in the past decade for the Company. Certegy is in the process of disposing of its merchant acquiring business. For the first quarter, the Company expects to achieve revenue growth of approximately 10%. For complete details on Certegy’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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MS MasterCard Outstandings Rise 16% in Q4

Morgan Stanley reported that credit card outstandings for its British MasterCards approached a record $2.6 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, a 16% increase over the year ago quarter. The number of accounts for its “Classic,” “Gold,” “Platinum,” and “buy & fly!” cards rose 18% to 1.3 million, compared to one-year ago. At the end of the quarter, Morgan Stanley, which issues the Discover card in the USA, posted $2.571 billion in managed card loans, compared to $2.216 billion for the fourth quarter of 2003. Compared to the prior quarter, card loans jumped 10%. During the second half of 2004, Morgan Stanley added the “buy and fly! MasterCard” which earns one point for every GBP10 of purchases with bonus points earned for purchases made at participating U.K. retail merchant partners. Points can be redeemed for travel on 17 airlines. MS introduced its first credit card in the U.K. in 1999. For complete details on Morgan Stanley’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Metris to Make Another Debt Repayment

Metris plans to make its third prepayment of corporate debt of the past three months, paying $50 million on senior notes on February 24th. This is the third prepayment of corporate debt Metris has announced in the past three months. The Company made a $50 million prepayment on November 23, 2004, and a $25 million prepayment on December 22, 2004 of its senior secured credit agreement maturing in 2007. Metris Companies Inc., based in Minnetonka, Minn., is one of the largest bankcard issuers in the United States. The company issues credit cards through Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank, N.A., a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz.

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Oberthur Card Systems Launches the GIGAntIC Card

Oberthur Card Systems has rolled-out the first fully functional
128Mbyte USIM card empowered by M-Systems’ “MegaSIM” technology. The new
“GIGAntIC” card increases the memory capacity by one thousand and the communication speed far and beyond any current industry performance, compared to current USIM cards. Fundamentally, the “MegaSIM” empowered “GIGAntIC” card’s secure large flash memory enables operators to offer considerably more revenue-generating services, with advanced crypto-functionality for digital content protection — allowing storage and secured access to MP3 files, Java Games, video clips, pictures and personal settings. The cards will be available from Oberthur Card Systems starting with the second half of 2005.

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Diebold ATM Revenues Climb 14.5% in Q4

Diebold reported that ATM sales in the fourth quarter rose 14.5% to $281.3 million (or up 12% on a fixed exchange-rate basis). ATM services revenues climbed 10.5% to $247.4 million (or up 8% on a fixed exchange-rate basis). During the quarter, Diebold had total “Opteva” ATM orders of approximately $100 million. Orders totaling $8.6 million for “Opteva” and other self-service equipment came from three financial institutions in Western Europe. There were three “Opteva” orders in Latin America totaling $4.6 million, a major order for “Opteva” in Southeast Asia totaling $4.3 million, and an order for “Opteva” in Eastern Europe for $3.3 million. Other financial self-service orders came from four major banks in China totaling $36.7 million and three banks in Latin America totaling $15.1 million. Diebold expects financial self-service revenue growth of 8% to 10% (fixed exchange-rate basis) for 2005. For complete details on Diebold’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Card Manufacturers Form the Smart Payment Alliance

Four smart card manufacturers have teamed to form a non-profit association dedicated to fostering and facilitating the usage of smart cards to make payments. The Smart Payment Alliance was created by Axalto, Gemplus, Giesecke & Devrient, and Oberthur Card Systems. The strategy of SPA is to position itself as a partner of EMVCo
and to bolster VISA and MasterCard actions on EMV specifications and
their implementation. The SPA will also devise joint industry specifications for value-added applications, which is not covered by the payment associations. The four manufacturers also encouraged card vendors, terminal vendors, and payment associations to join the association.

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UBC Places a $2.5MM NURIT Order

Lipman has received a $2.5 million order for its “NURIT 8320” desktop POS terminal from United Bank Card. Lipman is a manufacturer and designer of advanced wireless and tel-line point-of-sale (POS) terminals and cash registers, betting and home services terminals, thermal and impact printers, PIN pads, smart-card readers, coin-operated or credit/debit/smart card controllers for integration into vending machine, commercial washer/dryer payment systems and numerous other card-type payment applications. United Bank Card, Inc. (UBC) is a payment and transaction processor serving businesses nationwide.

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