Holiday Fliers Prefer Oprah, Gates, and Reading

The “Chase United Mileage Plus VISA Card Holiday Travel Survey” has found that 12% of consumers plan to fly during the holidays. The survey, conducted by ORC’s CARAVAN Omnibus Services, also found that travelers would most prefer to sit next to Oprah, among all talk show celebrities. Among college-age respondents, 40% wanted a seat next to Bill Gates. Travelers nearing retirement, ages 55 to 64 years old, would prefer to share an armrest with Warren Buffett. Despite the convenience of laptop computers, only 4% said they plan to do work during their flights.

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YTD GDV Tops $1.7T as Annual GDV May Exceed $2.4T

Americans made $598.8 billion in purchases and cash advances on VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit and debit cards during the third quarter of this year. Through September 30th, consumers charged more than $1.7 trillion on major credit cards and signature debit cards this year. By year-end, Americans will have charged more than $2.4 trillion on major plastic cards during 2004, compared to $2.1 trillion in 2003. Based on year-to-date figures from CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), VISA has a 53.6% market share with $924 billion in volume. Second place MasterCard holds a 29.2% market share with $503 billion in gross dollar volume. Third ranked American Express has captured 12.9% of the U.S. market this year with $221 billion in volume, while Discover holds a 4.3% share with $73.9 billion in volume.

Network Market Share based on YTD Gross Dollar Volume
NETWORK 2004 GDV SHARE
VISA: $924.0 billion 53.6%
MasterCard: $503.2 billion 29.2%
AmEx: $221.4 billion 12.9%
Discover: $ 73.9 billion 4.3%
TOTAL: $1722.5 billion 100.0%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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America West Launches the First Airline Gift Card

America West Airlines introduced the “America West Gift Card,” the first airline gift card in the USA. Customers can now purchase travel at local retailers including Kroger Co. stores, Fry’s and Smith’s, Valero Food Shops, Diamond Shamrock Corner Stores, Staples, Winn-Dixie, Bashas’, and other stores. The gift cards can also be used as employee incentives or to raise funds for non-profits. America West Airlines is the second largest low-cost airline in the U.S., serving 55,000 customers a day.

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eFunds and the SEC Settle Dispute Over the 02 Books

AZ-based eFunds reached a final settlement with the SEC in regard to an investigation concerning eFunds’ 2002 restatements of certain prior period financial statements. eFunds will not have to make any monetary payments under the settlement. eFunds Corporation is a chief provider of risk management, electronic payments, and global outsourcing solutions.

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TRM ATM Network Nears 22,000 ATMs

As of November 19th, TRM has completed its acquisition of 17,000 deployed ATMs from eFunds. The agreement will increase TRM’s international network from 4,616 ATMs to 21,816 ATMs, the single largest international ATM network. The eFunds ATM portfolio was comprised of approximately 2,200 full placement and 15,000 merchant-owned units located in geographically diverse retail locations. TRM also entered into a five year managed services agreement with eFunds, which includes a new ATM processing contract. The acquisition, announced in September, was paid for with $150 million in cash. (CF Library 9-21-04)

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Hyatt, Amex, and Borders Launch a Gift Card Promo

Hyatt, Borders Books & Music, and American Express launched a promotion yesterday offering every AmEx cardholder the opportunity to obtain a $25 Borders gift card upon check-in at a Hyatt. The promotion runs from November 21, 2004 – January 6, 2005. In addition, Hyatt is also providing various destination offers including free parking, discounts to local malls and shopping centers, restaurant discounts, room upgrades, and other benefits to spice up the holiday travel season.

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USA Technologies Hits Critical Mass with 55 Patents

USA Technologies has received two additional patents by the U.S. Patents Office for the IP behind the “e-Port” cashless transaction technology, and the “VendingMiser” energy management solution, bringing the Company’s total patents to 55. The new patents enable consumers to participate in customer loyalty programs, fill out surveys, and make purchases while buying a soda from a vending machine without using large amounts of energy. The power-conservation patent enables the vending machines to reduce energy consumption by nearly 50%. USA Technologies is a provider of networked credit card and non-cash systems in various industries including vending, commercial laundry, hospitality, and digital imaging.

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NexTran Snags a Seasoned Executive for Sales

NJ-based NexTran Group has named Harry Whitman, formerly with S2 Systems, Mosaic Software, NCR Corp., and Affiliated Computer Services, to the position of EVP for Sales. Mr. Whitman will be responsible for overseeing sales operations and management for five companies affiliated with NexTran, which cover numerous market segments, including financial services, the Internet, and security.

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Jack in the Box Launches a Reloadable Gift Card

The nation’s credit card pioneer in QSR card acceptance has introduced a reloadable gift card. Jack in the Box has rolled-out the “Jack Cash” card. The card is available in any amount from $5 to $100, and can be purchased at nearly all Jack in the Box restaurants or on the Company’s Web site. Jack in the Box restaurants recently reported that 90% of all company restaurants and franchised locations now accept MasterCard, VISA, and Discover cards. Jack in the Box has more than 2,000 restaurants in 33 states. (CF 11-18-04)

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FTC Issues Final FACTA Summaries And Notices

On Friday, the FTC issued final summaries of identity theft and general consumer rights and revised furnisher and user notices under the “Fair Credit Reporting Act” and the “Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003.” The general consumer rights summary includes, among other things, consumers’ right to see their credit files and know when they have been used against them, to correct inaccuracies, and to opt-out of unsolicited offers. In response to the public comments, the Commission has included: (1) the addition of a Spanish-language statement at the top of the summary of rights indicating where Spanish-speaking consumers may go to obtain more information in Spanish; (2) clarification that a consumer must contact the nationwide consumer reporting companies to request that a fraud alert be placed on his or her credit file, and that the initial alert remains in a consumer’s file for at least 90 days; and (3) clarification that a consumer may request that a consumer reporting company block any information, not just account information, in the consumer’s file if the information is the result of identity theft.

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Oberthur Hits 100 Million EMV Card Milestone

Oberthur Card Systems has delivered its 100 millionth EMV card to the UK banking market. The Company’s technical team developed the first UK chip-based bank card’s “Functional Requirements Specifications” with APACS in 1995. The 100 million cards were all manufactured in Oberthur Card Systems’ Tewkesbury facility in the U.K., a site that provides end-to-end card fulfillment from card manufacturing, microelectronics, chip embedding to personalization. Oberthur has a 60% share of EMV chip cards in the UK banking market.

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American Airlines Launches MasterCard Mall Promo

American Airlines mall is now offering double “AAdvantage” miles on every MasterCard purchase with over 90 merchants at the “AAdvantage eShopping” mall. The offer is valid from now until December 31, 2004. The more purchases consumers make with a MasterCard, the bigger their bonus will be. Consumers can earn up to 10,000 miles if they spend $1,000 using their MasterCard. Holiday merchants featured in this offer include Banana Republic.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Hallmark.com, KBtoys.com, Target.com, and more. American Airlines is the world’s largest carrier. Along with American Eagle and the AmericanConnection(R) regional carriers, over 250 cities in 40 countries are served with over 3,800 daily flights.

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