CARDS OCT 04

Gross dollar volume for purchases on credit card and charge cards during October dipped sharply from the prior month. Total outstandings for October were up A$500 million compared to September, and up nearly 13% since October 2003. Revolving balances, or balances accruing interest, declined for the second consecutive month to A$19.3 billion during October, and up 10% from one-year ago, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. During October, Australians charged A$12.3 billion in purchases on credit/charge cards compared to A$11.9 billion one-year ago. At the end of October, consumers owed A$28.2 billion on credit cards versus A$25.0 billion for October 2003. Card credit limits reached A$75.9 billion at the end of October, compared to A$67.4 billion for October 2003. There are 11.3 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 10.6 million one-year ago.

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Mellon to Offer the Benny HSA Debit Card

Evolution Benefits and Mellon Financial have signed a LOI to provide an integrated solution for health savings accounts that combines Mellon’s HSA account services with EB’s “Benny” debit card. Under the arrangement, Mellon will provide custodial, record keeping, investment, and reporting services. Evolution Benefits will provide debit card services and the technology link to the administrator. Evolution Benefits was founded in 2000 with a commitment to supporting the movement toward greater consumer choice in and responsibility for employee benefits. Mellon is one of the world’s leading providers of financial services for institutions, corporations and high net worth individuals, providing institutional asset management, mutual funds, private wealth management, asset servicing, human resources and investor solutions, and treasury services.

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Consumer’s Choice MasterCard Gets a Distributor

Houston-based Consumer’s Choice Financial Services has entered into a joint venture with U.S. Debit Corporation to distribute MasterCard debit cards to Consumer’s Choice customers. The agreement calls for Consumer’s Choice to purchase up to 250,000 debit cards over a two-year period. The cards will be co-branded with US Debit Corporation and the MyBankCard MasterCard products. Consumer’s Choice is a start-up consumer financial services company with operations in consumer debt-acquisition and many areas of sub-prime consumer lending.

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Walgreens Says AmEx Merchant Fees Not Justified

In a curious announcement, Walgreens said yesterday it will no longer accept American Express cards nationwide, effective January 14th. Walgreens said the higher merchant fees charged by American Express were not offset by the larger purchases anticipated by AmEx cardholders. The retailer, however, noted that AmEx has not raised its rates since Walgreens began accepting the card chainwide in 1996. Walgreen is the nation’s largest drugstore chain and operates 4,681 stores in 44 states.

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AmEx ExpressPay Set to Go Nationwide in Mid-05

American Express’ contactless payment system is set to go nationwide as its first national merchant partner comes aboard. The CVS retail pharmacy chain has inked a deal to make a full roll-out of “ExpressPay” to its entire fleet of more than 5,300 stores by mid-2005. CVS has already “ExpressPay”-enabled POS terminals in 485 stores in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas and Missouri. American Express is currently conducting “ExpressPay” pilots in Phoenix, New York and Singapore. The Phoenix pilot includes participating locations at CVS, Carls Jr., Frys (Kroger) supermarket, Blimpie Subs & Salads, ChevronTexaco, Dairy Queen, Cold Stone Creamery, Ritz Camera, Schlotzskys Deli locations and others. Consumers have the option of funding “ExpressPay” in two ways: either as a direct link for payment to an American Express card or as a prepaid product linked to any major credit, charge or debit card. AmEx developed “ExpressPay” in conjunction with Texas Instruments RFid Systems in 2003.

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CompuCredit Enters Automobile Lending

Atlanta-based CompuCredit is expanding into automobile lending, competing with the likes of Capital One. The sub-prime specialist announced it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Wells Fargo Financial’s Consumer Auto Receivables business unit. The firm has $133 million in assets and operates in 40 states through 12 branches. The company has approximately 270 employees. The two parties did not disclose terms of the sale.

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Ceridian Restates Financials from 1Q/02

After receiving a formal order of investigation from the SEC last week, MN-based Ceridian Corporation has restated historical financial results, and gave updated guidance for the fourth quarter. The Company also announced that Jack Eickhoff, EVP/CFO, will retire after forty-one years with the Company effective at the end of the year. The adjustments, which pertain to the results of its Human Resource Solutions business, are primarily line item expense reclassifications, and there was a minor change in revenue reporting relating to services provided to our customers by third party vendors. The adjustments reduced reported R&D expense, reduced reported selling expense, increased reported cost of revenue, and caused a minor reduction in HRS revenue. For the fourth quarter, the Company expects HRS revenue to be between $276 million and $282 million; and Comdata revenue to be between $87 million and $90 million. For complete details on Ceridian’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CERIDIAN REVENUES
($ millions)
REPORTED RESTATED
1Q/02 $302.1 $302.6
2Q/02 $291.1 $291.9
3Q/02 $288.6 $288.0
4Q/02 $308.4 $305.2
1Q/03 $314.1 $314.0
2Q/03 $299.5 $298.6
3Q/03 $303.9 $302.0
4Q/03 $335.7 $333.0
1Q/04 $326.5 $323.1
2Q/04 $327.0 $326.1
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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NCR Lands the Five-Year SunTrust ATM Contract

SunTrust Bank has signed an agreement for NCR to upgrade its 2,700 existing ATMs, and provide new ATMs for all new SunTrust branches through 2009. NCR’s leading position in the ATM industry, not only as a solutions provider but also as a thought leader in developing tomorrow’s technology, helps reinforce SunTrust’s position as a bank that provides the best personal solutions for our customers. NCR Corporation is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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Triton 9100 ATM Coming Early Next Month

MS-based Triton says its new, low-cost “9100” ATM will be available January 3rd, offering two configurations, a single denomination bill dispenser mechanism, or without it in a trade up version. Some ATM models currently installed in the market cannot be upgraded. Triton is the largest provider of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software in North America and has more than 118,000 installations in 17 countries worldwide.

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Sputnik Wi-Fi Offers PayPal and Aria Modules

San Francisco-based Sputnik has added the “PayPal Module” and the “Aria Billing Module” to enable its Wi-Fi network partners to accept online payments for wireless Internet service. The Sputnik PayPal Module(TM) enables any network user with an email address to securely pay for wireless Internet service. With more than 56 million accounts, PayPal, an eBay company, is a popular choice for operators of wireless venues with itinerant customers, such as airports, marinas, hotels, and cafes. Sputnik Inc. provides the leading software platform for wireless networks and applications designed for businesses, service providers, and institutions.

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Moneris Solutions Powers Non-Profit Lambs Farm

Chicago-based Moneris Solutions is providing Chicagoland nonprofit Lambs Farm with credit/debit card processing. In addition to participating in the Lambs Farm corporate gift program, Moneris Solutions, one of North America’s largest electronic transaction processors, will now be Lambs Farm’s supplier of hardware, proprietary software and service/support to accept credit and debit cards. Lambs Farm is a nonprofit organization near Libertyville, Illinois, just 35 miles north of Chicago that empowers people with development disabilities to lead personally fulfilling lives through a full range of services in vocational training, residential assistance and social support. Moneris Solutions (www.monerisusa.com) has a 30-year history as one of North America’s largest electronic transaction processors, delivering advanced payment card processing capabilities through point-of-sale hardware, payment processing software, e-commerce solutions and a gift and loyalty program.

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