OPTILE Signs a Major ASCOM Contactless Deal

The transport companies of Outer Paris, grouped together under the association “OPTILE” have selected ASCOM to equip over 3,600 vehicles. The solution proposed by ASCOM will enable all the residents of Ile de France to use the contactless ticketing cards already in use at the RATP and the SNCF. Totally, ASCOM will install over 10,000 devices (validators, consoles, portable card reader-decoder) on 1,000 lines and 3,600 vehicles. The “OPTILE” transport operators include Connex, Keolis and Transdev.

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Asta Funding Hires a National Sales Manager

NJ-based Asta Funding has hired collections expert Nan Beilinson as National Sales Manager. Ms. Beilinson has 25 years of diversified experience in the financial services sector. Most recently, Ms. Beilinson was part of the sales team for one of the largest collection agencies in the U.S. Prior to that position, Ms. Beilinson was part of the collection and recovery team in the credit card businesses for Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Chemical Bank for 15 years. Asta Funding, Inc., is a leading consumer receivables asset management company that specializes in the purchase, liquidation and management of performing and non-performing consumer receivables.

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National City’s 4Q/04 Volume Up 6% Y/Y

Despite erosion in outstandings and in the number of active accounts and cardholders, OH-based National City posted a 6% gain in gross dollar volume, year-over-year, in the fourth quarter. The issuer added more than 20,000 accounts during 2004. For the fourth quarter, the issuer posted outstandings of $2.52 billion, compared to $2.56 billion one-year ago. Annual gross dollar volume increased to $5.703 billion, compared to $5.373 billion for 2003. The number of accounts hit 1,881,059 for 4Q/04. But, active accounts dipped to 1,118,145 from 1,143,036 one-year ago. The total number of cardholders also slipped to 1,410,064 from 1,434,964 in 4Q/03. For complete details on National City’s performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Federated to Use ReD’s ebitGuard for CNP

Federated Department Stores is deploying Retail Decisions’ “ebitGuard” risk management service to prevent online fraud in the “Card Not Present” sector. The Federated account comes on the back of other recent client wins for ReD that include The Finish Line, Inc., T-Mobile and Odimo, Inc. Other blue- chip ReD clients also include Walmart.com, Travelocity, GSI Commerce, RealNetworks and Register.com. Retail Decisions is an international electronic payment transaction services business that provides fraud prevention, enterprise-wide payment processing and value-added transaction and consulting services to the retail, finance, telecommunications and e-commerce sectors.

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Fee Income Surpasses 37% of Total Revenues

Issuer revenues derived from cardholder fees and interchange fees now comprise a record 37.3% of the total revenue stream, excluding fees from securitizations. Ten years ago, fee income represented 17.3% of total revenue, during a period when annual fees were fairly common. The significant rise in late payment fees, over-limit fees, and cash advance fees, coupled with new fees such as balance transfer fees, foreign currency exchange surcharges, and expedited payment fees have driven the overall increase. Since 1994, average late payment fees increased from $12.52 to $32.58. Average over-limit fees increased from $12.74 to $30.31 between 1994 and 2004. Total revenues last year topped $136 billion with nearly $51 billion flowing from cardholder and merchant fees. CA-based R.K. Hammer investment bankers estimated penalty fee income of $14.8 billion, cash advance fee income of $6.1 billion, annual fees income of $3.5 billion, and fee income from enhancements of $1.0 billion for 2004. Overall, penalty fee income increased more than 26% last year.

FEE INCOME AS A PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL REVENUE
1994: 17.3%
1995: 16.4%
1996: 16.1%
1997: 21.8%
1998: 24.5%
1999: 26.2%
2000: 27.9%
2001: 29.3%
2002: 32.8%
2003: 33.4%
2004: 37.3%

Note: Fee income includes merchant and cardholders fees but does not include fees from securitization. Ratio is calculated by dividing credit card fee income for the industry by the sum of the credit card interest income for the industry and the total credit card fee income. Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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

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NCR to Lab Test RFID at the Retail POS

NCR has integrated a scanner that reads RFID labels as well as bar codes with its “Advanced Store” POS application. The solution is being offered for lab testing to retailers who want to evaluate the potential impact of item-level RFID tagging on POS operations and other store processes. Currently, NCR offers data warehousing, labeling solutions and a range of services for RFID implementations. NCR has been testing RFID self-checkout stations in Europe.

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Upromise Names a Former Cap One Exec as CEO

Upromise has hired Thomas Anderson, former CEO of Capital One’s AmeriFee medical finance business, as CEO. Before serving as chief executive officer of AmeriFee, Anderson ran the Young Adult credit card line of business at Capital One. Prior to Capital One, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on financial institutions, retail banking and consumer credit. Upromise is the country’s largest non-governmental service helping families save for college.

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Wincor Nixdorf Introduces U.S. Self-Checkout

Wincor Nixdorf announced this week it is introducing the “BEETLE /iScan” self check-out system to the USA. The system is currently being piloted at French hypermarket retailer, Auchan. The modular system is available as a compact “Scan and Bag” model, or a “Scan and Pass” model with conveyor belt, and a “Scan and Pay” model with a payment tower at the end of the conveyor belt. The “BEETLE/iScan” also provides a choice of languages for the user interface and has an option for a coin recycling device that can minimize cash handling costs.

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Moneris, InfoTouch, and MP Team for Touch-Screen POS

Moneris Solutions, InfoTouch Corporation, and Merchant Partners have teamed to integrate payment processing with touch screen technology. The integrated offering consists of a Moneris Solutions’ merchant account, InfoTouch’s “Store Manager” touch screen POS software, and Merchant Partner’s “Virtual Point of Sale.” The Moneris merchant account supports credit and debit cards as well as paper and electronic checks, PIN debit, gift cards. InfoTouch’s “Store Manager” provides real-time inventory record management, customizable customer relationship programs, purchase order aggregation, and advanced reporting. Merchant Partners “VPOS” allows retailers to process real-time credit card transactions using an existing computer
with an Internet connection. Frost and Sullivan estimates that the growth of touch screen technology in the retail industry will reach $2.4 billion over the next three years.

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Cap One Rejiggers its Intersections Contract

VA-based Intersections, a provider of cardholder services, and Capital One have amended their relationship to cut pricing terms on existing services, and add the marketing of new products. The amended pricing terms are expected to reduce earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 2004 by approximately one cent. Such pricing terms also are expected to have a negative impact on earnings per share during 2005.

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FCAC Updates its Consumer Card Publication

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada released an updated version of its popular publication “Credit Cards and You.” The publication compares the interest rates, fees, rewards and
coverage of more than 200 credit cards in Canada. The guide also has tips on saving money, protecting against credit card fraud, and
how to get the most from a credit card. The FCAC ensures compliance with the consumer protection laws that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies.

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