ICMA Welcomes Fourteen New Members

The International Card Manufacturers Association has added fourteen new members. The new members include ten principal members, or
card manufacturers; two associate members, or suppliers; and two
contributing members. Principal Members (Card Manufacturers)include
DIGIMARC ID Systems (Burlington, MA); Fastcom Technology (Lausanne, VD, Switzerland); GHP Card Systems AG (Bamberg, Germany); Institute of Applied Information Technologies (Kiev, Ukraine); LAWA Card Systems (Riyadh, Central Provinc, Saudi Arabia); PRINC D.O.O. (Sagreb, Croatia);
Quatro Security Printing (Markham, Ontario, Canada); S.A.E.T.I.C. (Barcelona, Spain); ST INCARD Srl (Marcianise (CE), Caserta, Italy); and, Znak, Ltd. (Kiev, Ukraine).

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Metris Makes Another Term Loan Prepayment

Metris Companies announced it is making a second optional prepayment on a term loan in the amount of $25 million. The Company also made a $50 million prepayment on Nov. 23, 2004. As a result of these prepayments, the amount remaining of the original term loan will be $225 million. Metris Companies Inc., based in Minnetonka, Minn., is one of the largest bankcard issuers in the United States.

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PT Primrose and e-Smart Technologies do a JV

PT Primrose Gantari Indonesia and Las Vegas-based e-Smart Technologies have teamed to form a joint venture. The partnership will provide e-Smart’s proprietary biometric systems for payment processing services in banking institutions and other corporate and government entities in Indonesia.
PT Primrose Indonesia was created by former principals of The
Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency. e-Smart is the exclusive supplier for Asia and the US of the “Biometric Verification Security System” or “BVS2”, featuring the “Super Smartcard,” which e-Smart believes to be the world’s only commercially available smartcard with a full on-card system for biometric ID verification.

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One in Five Consumers Worry About Card Debt

A new consumer poll has found that 20% of Americans worry about their credit card debt most of the time. The poll, conducted by Ipsos for the Associated Press, also found that 16% of those with credit cards said they do not trust themselves to manage their own credit card debts. Nearly 40% of the 1,000 consumers interviewed said their total debt is “somewhat stressful.” More than 50% said they expect their debt will cause them problems in the next five years. The AP says it also found that one in ten consumers with credit cards said they have missed making their minimum payments during the past six months.

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British Lead in Average Card Purchases

Based on total population, Britons will use debit and credit cards to
make US$886 in purchases during December, while Australians will charge
US$765 per person, and each American will average US$578. Combined the
three countries will rack up US$237 billion in payment card volume in
December, with US$162.8 billion on credit cards, and US$74.2 billion on
debit cards. The U.K., with a population of 59 million, will produce
US$52.3 billion in payment card purchases, with 55% of the volume on
debit cards. Australia, with slightly more than 20 million persons, will
generate US$15.3 billion in total card purchases, with 71% on credit
cards. The U.S.A., with 293 million individuals, will rack up US$169.4
billion in total card purchases, with 76% on credit cards.

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NOVA’s CEO is Elected VC of U.S. Bancorp

The U.S. Bancorp Board has elected Pamela Joseph, who is president and CEO of NOVA Information Systems, to the position of vice chairman. Joseph, 45, is also one of 10 members of the corporation’s managing committee, which is comprised of the highest-ranking executives within the organization and chaired by Jerry A. Grundhofer, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. Bancorp. NOVA is the third largest payment processor that specializes in providing integrated credit and debit card payment processing, electronic check conversion, related software applications, and value-added services in the United States and in Europe through EuroConex. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with $193 billion in assets, is the 6th largest bank holding company in the United States.

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Global Payments’ Revenues Climb 27% in Q4

Global Payments reported revenue for the quarter ending November 30th of $188.5 million, a 27% increase over the prior year. Net income grew 59% to $23.6 million. GPN noted that revenue for the quarter included $31.2 million from the company’s DolEx and MUZO acquisitions, which were completed during fiscal 2004. The Company raised its fiscal 2005 annual revenue guidance to a range of $758 million to $768 million versus $629 million in fiscal 2004, a growth of 21% to 22%. For complete details on Global Payments’ latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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U.S. Bank to Expand TitanCard Functionality

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh has selected U.S. Bank to add banking functionality to its multi-use identification card, the “TitanCard”. The Titan Card provides official campus identification and a variety of conveniences for more than 12,000 students, faculty and staff. The TitanCard has numerous capabilities that benefit students, faculty, and staff. U.S. Bank is one of the top student banking institutions in the nation providing a comprehensive line of student banking products, including campus ID card programs, student loans, Internet banking, U.S. Bank student checking and savings, and Visa Buxx(R) prepaid spending cards.

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Smartpay Comes to Liaoning Province

Smartpay Jieyin has launched its electronic payment system in
Liaoning Province. The system allows mobile users to pay their phone bills, top up their pre-paid accounts, purchase online gaming time and other merchant offerings simply by sending an SMS message. In addition, mobile subscribers will be able to access a wide variety of payment and information services. Partner merchants and banks including China Unicom, Agricultural Bank of China, and China Merchants Bank have already been fully integrated into the system. The system launch in Liaoning closely follows the launch of Smartpay services in Shanghai, Anhui and Chongqing. With the addition of Liaoning, over 18 million mobile phone subscribers can now use Smartpay to pay for merchant offerings conveniently and electronically.

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Global Payments Acquires Europhil

Global Payments has acquired a group of European
electronic money transfer firms that operate collectively under the name Europhil. Based in Madrid, the group operates 26 retail branches
in Spain, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Europhil’s settlement
network includes approximately 1,000 locations in over 20 countries. More than 80% of its money transfers are sent to Latin American countries, including Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia and Brazil. For calendar year 2004, Europhil anticipates approximately $12 million in revenue.
Europhil was one of the first money transfer firms established in Spain.

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MAESTRO 3Q/04

“Maestro,” MasterCard’s global PIN-based debit brand, now appears on more than 548 million cards worldwide, a 7.4% increase over one-year ago. Europe continued to be the largest cardholder base for “Maestro” with 246.5 million cards as of September 30th, a 5.2% increase over the same date in 2003. At the end of the third quarter, there were 149.9 million “Maestro” cards issued in Asia/Pacific, 78.0 million in Latin America, and 27.4 million cards in the South Asia, Middle East and Africa region. In the United States, “Maestro”-processed purchase dollar volume nearly tripled and purchase transactions grew 170%. U.S. “Maestro” volumes set all-time records in September 2004, which was the twelfth consecutive month of growth in transactions and dollar volume.

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ANZ Bank is Held to a No Fee Ever Offer

Australia’s ANZ Banking Group has agreed to refund A$240,000 in annual fees to cardholders it promised “no annual fee ever.” The solicitations for the offer were sent out in 1996 to approximately 5,000 consumers. In 2002, the bank began levying a A$48 annual fee. After customers complained to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, ANZ agreed to apologize and issue the refunds. ANZ said it “lost its corporate memory,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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