MasterCard Adds a San Francisco Debit Card Issuer

San Francisco-based Bank of the West is migrating its debit card program to MasterCard. The Bank serves 450,000 debit cardholders and offers 355 ATM locations and 296 branches in California, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington State, and Idaho. The parties are also exploring additional debit program possibilities, such as commercial, prepaid, reward-based, and brokerage debit cards. As part of the multi-year agreement, MasterCard Advisors, the professional services affiliate of MasterCard International, will support conversion of existing debit cards for Bank of the West, as well as the soon-to-be- acquired portfolios of Union Safe Deposit Bank and Community First Bankshares. MasterCard added 1.5 million debit card accounts during the second quarter to bring its portfolio to 51.1 million accounts. During the second quarter, MasterCard processed more than 500 million debit card transactions in the USA. For complete details on MasterCard’s 2Q/04 results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Payment Data Systems Releases CSR View

San Antonio-based Payment Data Systems has released its proprietary “Customer Service Representative View” system that allows billers and merchants to view current credit card and ACH transactions online without the installation of any software. Key product features and functions available to users include enter and view credit card payments, enter and view credit card authorizations, and establishing and managing repeating or recurring payments for customers. CSR View also provides comprehensive search tools to locate ACH and credit card transactions entered in the system using various searchable information such as the date of transaction, the account number, first or last name, transaction confirmation number, and email address. Payment Data Solutions is an Integrated Payments Solutions Provider that delivers comprehensive, cost-effective solutions to billers and retailers.

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SunTrust and Skylight Team for Payroll Cards

SunTrust Banks has selected Skylight Financial to provide a distinctive direct deposit pay card program. SunTrust is offering the program to its base of corporate and institutional clients. Skylight provides all the processing, implementation, servicing, and support for all of the accounts. People who have direct deposit through this program will enjoy a financial service option in lieu of costly and inconvenient check cashing services for paychecks or government benefits. In addition, the Skylight “bank account in a card (R)” can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs. Accounts are owned by the employee and are FDIC-insured through SunTrust. Skylight has customers in 46 states in the U.S. and over 60% of Fortune 100 companies have employees that use a Skylight account.

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CECP and Oberthur Launch the Reference Project

Caisse d’Epargne et des Cheques Postaux is deploying the first biometric smart card in financial services. The country’s top financial institution has inked a contract with Oberthur Card Systems for 500,000
cards and 300 biometric readers. CECP has 200 branches throughout the
country. Oberthur developed a solution that provides two-level
authentication of the cardholder with both a photograph and
fingerprints. After a three-month pilot deemed successful by both
customers and employees of Abidjan’s main branch, the bank will deploy
the project, known as “Reference,” in all of its branches.

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Navigant to Distribute AmEx Commercial Cards

Denver-based TQ3NAVIGANT has signed an agreement to distribute American Express commercial cards to its travel clients in the USA. TQ3NAVIGANT will now market American Express payment solutions, which are intended to help companies better manage their T&E expenses along with identifying opportunities for cost savings. American Express expense management solutions enable companies to manage business expenses, ease various processes, improve terms with suppliers, and manage risk. Through its relationship with TQ3NAVIGANT, American Express will broaden its ability to help companies that want to better manage their costs. Navigant International, Inc. is the second largest corporate travel management business services provider in North America in regard to airline tickets sold, serving corporate, government, military, leisure, and meetings and incentive clients. American Express is a provider of expense management services to over 100,000 firms worldwide. It is considered to be the world’s leading corporate card and business travel services provider.

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EFTPOS FEES

After declaring VISA debit cards as a “payment system” earlier this year, the Reserve Bank yesterday designated the entire EFTPOS debit card business as a “payment system.” The decision means that fees charged for EFTPOS transactions on the 24.7 million debit card accounts currently in use will now be subject to regulation. In deciding to designate the EFTPOS system, the Payments System Board concluded that
current interchange arrangements are not conducive to the efficiency of
the overall payments system. In particular, the nature of the
interchange arrangements contribute to the effective price that
cardholders are charged for payments using EFTPOS being higher than for
payments using credit cards. The Board says the EFTPOS system has relatively lower costs. The Board judged that a narrowing of this differential in relative prices and costs would promote the efficiency of the overall payments system. The Board opted not to declare the ATM system a “payment system” at this time. During June, Australians used debit cards for A$5.7 billion in EFTPOS in 83.2 million debit card transactions. In June, debit cards were used for A$4.3 billion in purchases among 69 million transactions.

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MBI Lands a New CTO

MA-based MBI has hired Irvin Steltz, former SVP/CIO of the First Data Solutions Division, as CTO. Mr. Steltz has over 30 years of experience with a range of technology areas such as real-time financial transactions and healthcare information systems. Sheltz has initiated critical application development efforts at world leading financial firms including Thompson Financial, First Data Corporation, and Dun and Bradstreet. He will be responsible for all aspects of technology at MBI. MBI offers the #1 employee benefits card, which features access to Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Health Savings Accounts, Transit/Parking Accounts, and Dependent Care Accounts all on one card. The card permits employees to pay for eligible expenses at physician and dental offices, pharmacies, and vision service facilities. Over 12,000 employers offer the MBI benefits card to their employees.

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Discover Names a New Chief Marketing Officer

Discover has hired Margaret Georgiadis, formerly of McKinsey & Company, as EVP/Chief Marketing Officer. Ms. Georgiadis was a partner in the Chicago and London offices of McKinsey & Company for 16 years. She contributed to multi-year growth and performance improvement initiatives for over 30 leading companies. She has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Discover Financial Services, Inc., operates the Discover Card and the Discover Network for over 50 million Cardmembers. The Discover Network is the largest independent credit card network in the U.S.

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MEI and USTT to Integrate Technologies

MEI and USA Technologies, both based in Pennsylvania, have signed a technology licensing and sales agreement to bring a turn-key cash and credit card payment system to the vending market. MEI licensed USA Technologies’ intellectual property to enable operators to connect to USALive(R), USA Technologies’ network for services and credit card transaction capability. Jeff Jordan, vice president of Global Vending, MEI, says that together, MEI and USA Technologies will provide a turn-key solution for operators that offers a new payment method, greater convenience for consumers, and a new source of revenue. The solution will improve vending experience for consumers, thus increasing sales. USA Technologies’ USALive network authorizes cards and processes charges. Funds are deposited directly into an operator’s bank account. MEI payment systems are used in order for over 1 billion transactions to take place per week in 90 countries. MEI has sold millions of products worldwide. USA Technologies is a leading company that networks distributed assets, wireless non-cash transactions, associated financial/network services, and energy management.

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Credit Card Debt Soars in July; Up 9% Annually

After five consecutive months of contraction, Americans have started piling on revolving credit at a pretty good clip. During July, consumers added $5.6 billion to revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, compared to less than $1.0 billion one-year ago. At an annualized rate, consumer revolving credit increased 9.0% during July. According to figures released yesterday by the Federal Reserve, at the end of July 2004, Americans owed $744.1 billion in revolving credit, compared to $726.1 billion for July 2003. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the second quarter was $672.1 billion, or roughly 90% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). At the end of July, Americans were $2039.9 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Jul 04 Jun 04 May 04 Apr 04 Mar 04 Feb 04 Jan04
GRWTH: 9.0% -0.2 -1.0 -5.3 -2.1 -0.6 13.0
$OWED: $744.1 738.5 738.60 740.9 744.2 750.4 753.0

Dec 03 Nov 03 Oct 03 Sep03 Aug 03 Jul03 Jun03
GRWTH: 3.3% 4.9 4.1 6.8 3.4 1.4 2.7
$OWED: $734.1 743.8 740.5 730.7 729.1 726.8 726.1
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 9/08/04;
For complete historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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