First Horizon Makes the Fortune Hall of Fame

First Horizon National Corp. has been elected again to Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and has earned inclusion in the magazine’s “Hall of Fame” for being one of only 22 companies to make the list every year since its inception in 1998. The list is compiled based on two criteria: an evaluation of the policies and culture of each company and the opinions of the company’s employees. Employee opinions are given more weight; two-thirds of the total score comes from employee responses to a 57-question survey that goes to a minimum of 350 randomly selected employees from each company. The 12,000 employees of First Horizon National Corp. provide financial services to individual and business customers through hundreds of offices located in more than 40 states.

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United Rolls-Out Elite Prepaid Cards

United Airlines has unveiled three prepaid travel cards that enable consumers to buy “elite” status. The cards will go on sale February 1st and will expire on February 28th, 2006. The “Premier” level card is available for $5,000; the “Premier Executive” level card requires $10,000; and the “1K” level card will cost $20,000. The new cards will also reward purchasers with a 5% discount on domestic United, United Express and Ted flights when that card is used for qualifying purchases on united.com. United’s “Mileage Plus” program has more than 45 million enrolled members.

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HOLIDAY HANGOVER

Canadians now carry an average credit card balance of C$2,451 per person, according to January survey. Cardholders in Alberta carry the highest average balance, C$2,935, while consumers in British Columbia carry the lowest average balance of C$2,075. The new BMO Bank of Montreal survey also found that Canadians spent approximately $970 each during the holidays (on gifts and other related expenditures) with most the of spending placed on payment cards. BMO says the survey showed that of those who carry a balance, 24% expect to take six months or more to pay off holiday card debt. The BMO Bank of Montreal “Post Christmas” survey was conducted by Decima Research between January 4th and January 6th, and was based on a randomly selected sample of 1,006 Canadians who made holiday expenditures.

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Walgreen’s Reverses its AmEx Decision

Walgreen has reversed an earlier decision to stop accepting American Express cards on January 14th. The development followed the signing of a new, long-term agreement between the companies on Friday. Walgreen says the deal is mutually beneficial. Last month, Walgreens said the higher merchant fees charged by American Express were not offset by the larger purchases anticipated by AmEx cardholders. The retailer noted that AmEx has not raised its rates since Walgreens began accepting the card chainwide in 1996. Walgreens will now accept American Express cards at all Walgreens drugstores nationwide, along with Walgreens.com, Walgreens Mail Service, Walgreens Home Care and Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy. Walgreen operates 4,683 stores in 44 states. (CF Library 12/16/04)

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Triton ATM Shipments Up 19% in 2004

Triton reports it shipped more than 20,000 ATMs last year, 19% more than 2003. This past year yielded sales increases in numerous regions including the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Africa, Canada and Australia. Triton is the largest provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America and has more than 118,000 installations in over 17 countries worldwide.

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TI to Provide RFID Chips for PayPass

Texas Instruments plans to supply RFID chips for MasterCard’s “PayPass” line of RFID payment cards and tokens, with full production slated to start in the second half of this year. TI expects to submit this product for MasterCard certification in the second quarter of 2005. Full production is planned to start in the second half of this year. Texas Instruments is the world’s largest integrated manufacturer of radio frequency identification (RFID) transponders and reader systems.

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Providian’s Charge-Offs Resume a Decline

Losses for Providian’s credit card ABS dropped by 41 basis points in December, and delinquency edged down by 21 basis points. Since the start of this year, delinquency has collapsed by 342 basis points, and charge-offs have declined 563 basis points for the issuer’s card bonds. Charge-offs decreased to 11.73% in December, compared to 12.14% during November. One-year ago, Providian’s securitized charge-off ratio stood at 17.55%. Delinquency ticked down to 8.06% during December compared to 8.27% during November. One-year ago, Providian’s securitized delinquency ratio stood at 11.94%. Providian will release its managed charge-off and delinquency data with its fourth quarter earnings report on January 20th. For complete details on Providian’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

PROVIDIAN MONTHLY ABS METRICS
Month Charge-Offs Delinquency
Jan 04 17.36% 11.48%
Feb 04 16.08% 11.07%
Mar 04 17.17% 9.56%
Apr 04 15.84% 9.09%
May 04 14.82% 8.68%
Jun 04 14.44% 8.40%
Jul 04 13.17% 8.42%
Aug 04 12.39% 8.37%
Sep 04 12.45% 8.30%
Oct 04 12.11% 8.48%
Nov 04 12.14% 8.27%
Dec 04 11.73% 8.06%
Source: CardData(R) (www.carddata.com)

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

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GE MasterCard Enters the Canadian Market

GE Consumer Finance-Canada has purchased the small business MasterCard portfolio in Canada of First Data Loan Company Canada. Under terms of the agreement, First Data will provide card processing services for the accounts. The deal marks GE’s first entry into the Canadian market. First Data says it unloaded the portfolio to continue to focus on its core competency.

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NOVA to Process for 900+ SHOE SHOW Stores

NC-based SHOE SHOW is implementing NOVA’s credit and debit card processing services throughout its 918 stores operating in 33 states. SHOE SHOW, Inc.’s success has been based on a simple formula of providing quality products, service and value. Over the past forty years SHOE SHOW, Inc. has continued to grow with stores named SHOE SHOW, the SHOE DEPT, and Burlington Shoes. NOVA Information Systems, a leader in the payment processing industry, is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp. NOVA partners with financial institutions, independent sales organizations, associations, government agencies and community banks to offer integrated payment processing services to their merchants and retailers.

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Pay By Touch Expands Acceptance

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has inked a marketing alliance with Certegy, and is expanding its service for Piggly Wiggly stores. The Certegy alliance will enable Pay By Touch users, for the first time, to cash government and payroll checks at Pay By Touch merchant locations across the USA using the Pay By Touch finger scan technology along with Certegy’s “Paycheck Accept Verification and Check Guarantee” services. Meanwhile, all Piggly Wiggly shoppers in South Carolina and Southeast Georgia will soon be able to pay for their groceries with Pay By Touch. After a six-month pilot, Piggly Wiggly says it will launch Pay By Touch company-wide to all of its corporate-owned grocery stores by May. Piggly Wiggly has a total of 120 stores.

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Ingenico and IBM Ink a Marketing Partnership

Ingenico has formed a marketing partnership with IBM, wherein Ingenico will supply payment terminals and transaction acceptance technology for IBM’s “Retail Store Solutions” organization within the USA. The solutions have been integrated and are designed to work seamlessly together to provide optimal customer payment acceptance. INGENICO is the world’s largest provider of secure payment and transaction systems used by banking, retail, petroleum, transportation, healthcare and governments to ensure the secure acceptance and flow of electronic commerce.

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