Discover Buys PULSE; Enters the Debit Market

Discover Financial Services has agreed to acquire the PULSE EFT Association for $311 million. The merger will join PULSE’s 4,100 member banks, credit unions and savings institutions with Discover network and its more than 4 million merchant and cash access locations. Discover says the combined entity will provide financial institutions of every size and type with a full-service debit platform and a complete product set, including credit, signature debit, PIN debit, gift card, stored value card and ATM services. PULSE will retain its brand, pricing and operating platform as well as its management team, staff and Houston headquarters.

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Fiserv’s IntegraSys Inks 29 Premier Deals

TX-based IntegraSys, a unit of Fiserv, has signed three new credit union customers and renewed 26 other credit unions to its “Premier” credit union service bureau core processing solution. The contracts show Premier’s strong position it has established as one of the most frequently used service bureau core applications among credit unions of all sizes across the nation. Credit Unions that have contracts with IntegraSys at this time period have $3 million to over $620 million in assets. Premier’s design creates navigation that is user-friendly and it allows automatic software updates. It supports the needs of a credit union including ATM support to workflow processing to integrated share, loan, accounting, and payroll processing systems. IntegraSys delivers technology to assist credit unions to compete and win in their markets. Fiserv, Inc. is a provider of industry leading information management systems and services. It serves over 15,000 clients including banks, broker-dealers, credit unions, financial planners/investment advisers, insurance companies and agents, self-funded employers, lenders, and savings institutions.

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AmEx Seeks Antitrust Damages from VISA & MC

American Express this morning will announce plans for private litigation against VISA and MasterCard in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision not to hear VISA and MasterCard’s appeal in the government’s antitrust lawsuit against them. The October 4th Supreme Court decision also motivated Discover Financial Services to file a lawsuit in federal court in New York on October 5th. Both networks are seeking damages from VISA and MasterCard as compensation for harm caused by anticompetitive business practices of the two associations. American Express has hired David Boies, founding partner of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, to serve as American Express lead outside counsel in the matter. Both networks are seeking triple damages under current antitrust law.

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U.S.Bank’s SKYPASS VISA Adds Bilingual Support

U.S. Bank and Korean Air have added a bilingual automated, 24-hour account access line to their co-branded “SKYPASS VISA” credit card program. These benefits enrich cardmembers traveling experience on Korean Air. The SKYPASS Visa enables customers to earn miles for money they charge while accessing cash at over 805,000 ATMs along with the benefits associated with Korean Air. Miles do not expire and the SKYPASS Visa cards include Platinum, Classic, Secured, and SkyBlue. There is no annual fee for personal use and Business Platinum can be used for business needs. Korean Air is one of the world’s top 20 airlines with a fleet of 117 aircraft. U.S. Bancorp is the 6th largest financial services holding company in the U.S. with $193 billion in assets.

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USPS Offers Retailer Gift Cards to Consumers

Touchpoint has teamed with the U.S. Postal Service to launch an online service enabling Americans to include a gift card with their customized greeting card. Cardstore.com and the Web site of the USPS are offering retail gift cards from five major retailers under the new “Gift-n-Card” program. Gift cards offered include Bed, Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s, Circuit City, Brinker Restaurants (Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, etc.), and Safeway. The company says more retail partners will be added shortly. The gift cards are available in $25, $50, $75, $100 and $200 denominations. The cost for “Gift-n-Card,” excluding postage and the value of a gift card, is $4.99.

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Payment Data Systems Lands a Major STV Deal

Credit Payment Services has selected TX-based Payment Data Systems to provide and support stored value cards as a supplement to traditional ACH credits. The agreement should generate roughly $1 million in gross revenue for PDS. The offering will provide immediate funding of the loan instead of common delays associated with the ACH credit process. Speedy access to the loan amount is expected to ensure higher service levels for consumers and opportunities for more revenue for CPS. Payment Data Systems, Inc., an Integrated Solution Provider, delivers comprehensive, cost-effective solutions to billers and retailers for electronic payment processing and management conducted online, through point of sale, or payments taken by Customer Service Representatives or through an Interactive Voice Response.

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Euronet Expands Top-Up Service to Spain

Euronet Worldwide has closed an asset acquisition of the Movilcarga Division of Grupo Meflur Corporacion. Euronet will own 80% of Movilcarga and Meflur will own the remaining 20%, according to CardFlash International. Movilcarga is a provider of electronic prepaid voucher solutions in Spain. Movilcarga has a distribution agreement with Telefonica, the largest mobile operator in Spain, which services 52% of that country’s mobile telecommunications market. The company plans to expand its top-up services with additional mobile operators in Spain. Based on its most recent three-months’ unaudited financial information, Movilcarga generated net revenue, on a recognition basis consistent with Euronet’s other prepaid processing revenues, of approximately $3.5 million.

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TRM ATM Revenues Up 51% in the Third Quarter

OR-based TRM Corporation reported a 43% increase in net income for the third quarter as operating income grew 31%. ATM gross sales increased by 51% to exceed $17.0 million and transacting ATMs grew to 4,868, an increase of 1,516 units over the prior year representing both internal growth and acquisitions. ATM operations produced net sales of $12.6 million during the third quarter, an increase of 36%. TRM reports that average monthly sales per unit increased from $1,047 to $1,139, and that average sales per withdrawal increased from $2.54 to $2.83. TRM net income for 3Q/04 was $2.2 million, and operating income for 3Q/04 was $3.3 million. For complete details on TRM’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Transcore Signs a GenPass PayCard Client

Genpass and Transcore Financial Group have teamed to launch the “GenPass PayCard” for Xenium, Inc. The PayCard is a stored value debit card that can take the place of pay or other checks for employees and offer a convenient money management tool for others. Transcore Financial offers transaction processing services through products including prepaid MasterCard® and PayCard products. Genpass, Inc. is a chief provider of PayCards. It is owned and operated by GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC, a leading private equity investment firm that manages over $6 billion in equity capital.

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Target’s Card Business Slows; Profits Flat

Target reported that its pre-tax credit card profits for the quarter ending October 30th, were flat sequentially, but still up 12% compared to the year ago quarter. Excluding the disposition of its Mervyn’s and Marshall Field’s card portfolios, Target’s card receivables have increased 6% compared to 3Q/03. The Mervyn’s and Marshall Field’s card portfolios, which total about $1 billion in card loans, contributed about $55 million to 3Q/03 profits. GE Consumer Finance purchased the Mervyn’s portfolio and The May Department Store Company purchased the Marshall Field’s business. Target’s third quarter credit card profits were $120 million. Target reported that its total credit card receivables, which include its VISA and “Guest” cards, were $4.91 billion as of October 30th compared to $4.63 billion one-year ago. Delinquency (90 days+) for 3Q/04 was 3.8%, compared to 4.4% one-year ago. Target’s credit card unit had revenues of $264 million, a 3.5% increase over 3Q/03. For complete details on Target’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

TARGET CARD LOAN HISTORICAL
(Excludes Mervyn’s & Marshall Field’s)
3Q/03: $4.634 billion
4Q/03: $4.973 billion
1Q/04: $4.688 billion
2Q/04: $4.716 billion
3Q/04: $4.914 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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