ACE Cash Express uses MasterCard RPPS

Dallas-based ACE Cash Express is processing online payments through MasterCard’s “RPPS” for the payment of bills for utilities, retailers, and finance companies, and has about 85 partners. ACE customers are now able to make payments to a variety of businesses across the nation at many of ACE’s company-owned stores. ACE is adding over 20 new bill payment partners through MasterCard RPPS. ACE processed more than 9 million walk-in bill payment transactions in fiscal year 2004. ACE Cash Express, Inc. is a leading financial services retailer. It is the largest owner, operator, and franchiser of check cashing stores in the U.S. MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that supports its global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business, and related payment programs by providing a variety of services. MasterCard serves financial institutions, consumers, and businesses in over 210 countries and territories.

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Toronto Card Spending Recovers from SARS

The SARS scare that plagued Canada’s tourism industry in the Greater Toronto Area over the past year appears to faded according to new consumer spending data. Moneris Solutions reports overall travel and entertainment spending is up 25% in Toronto compared to a nationwide 13% increase. Overall retail spending is up 14% in Toronto compared to a nationwide 9% increase. Moneris analyzed the total dollar volumes spent on debit and credit cards in hundreds of merchant categories in the Greater Toronto Area through July.

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FastFunds Financial Attracts a London Investor

MN-based FastFunds Financial has signed an agreement with a London-based private investment company for the purchase of $2.94 million of FastFunds’ stock. The investment company has a “lock-up” agreement with FastFunds in which the company agrees not to trade the FastFund shares it receives from this transaction for one year, starting from the closing date. The Company filed a registration statement with the SEC, which allows the public resale of common shares by the investment company after the lock-up period has expired. 30% of FastFunds shares that are issued to the investment company will be held in escrow for one year. The investment company will be entitled to receive out of escrow, a percentage of shares equal to the percentage of a decline if the per-share market price of the FastFunds common stock, in the one-year escrow period, is less than the per share value of the stock at the time of closing. FastFunds Financial Corporation is a holding company that operates through Chex Services, Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary, which provides cash access services to casinos and other gaming facilities under the FastFunds trademarked name.

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Intelli-Check and SiVault System Team

Intelli-Check and SiVault Systems have teamed to fight ID theft. The two companies have created a solution for retail, healthcare, financial services, government credentialing, and security applications to help them eliminate identity theft. SiVault will license Intelli-Check’s “ID-CHECK” technology and integrate it with the Company’s advanced biometric signature-identity verification, credential authentication, and paperless-document solutions. Intelli-Check assures the authenticity of driver licenses, state issued non-driver, and military identification cards that are used to prove identity. SiVault Systems is a leader regarding the secure storage and retrieval of signed documents and biometric signature-based authentication for processing transactions that are made online.

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Hargens Joins Q Comm’s Board

UT-based Q Comm International has named Harry Hargens, formerly with Omron, VeriFone, TransNet, HONOR, and National Data, to its Board. Mr. Hargens has been a part of the payments/transactions processing industry since 1981. He currently serves as a CEO, president, and director of InstaPay Systems, Inc. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BSEE from Illinois Institute of Technology. Q Comm International is a provider of proprietary prepaid transaction processing and information management systems.

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CIBC Settles Foreign Exchange Transaction Fee Lawsuit

CIBC VISA cardholders will be getting up to a $14 credit by year end as settlement of a class action lawsuit over foreign exchange transactions. CIBC has agreed to a settlement of $16.5 million, plus $3 million to plaintiffs’ counsel, and to pay the costs of notification, administration and distribution of the settlement funds. Up to $13.85 million will be paid directly to cardholders in December as credits ranging from $.72 to $14.32. The plaintiffs, represented by Paul Pape and Harvey Strosberg, had alleged that the conversion of transactions from a foreign currency resulted in an undisclosed or inadequately disclosed mark up. This mark up was added to the VISA International wholesale conversion rate to obtain the Canadian dollar equivalent for foreign transactions. Similar lawsuits are pending in the USA.

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VISA’s Card Share Up 180 bps at Mid-Year

VISA’s share of the total U.S. bank cardbase increased from 50.5% one-year ago to 52.3% at mid-year 2004. During the same period MasterCard’s card share declined from 38.9% to 37.4%, Discover slipped from 6.1% to 5.9%, and American Express held steady at 4.4%. VISA’s growth is driven by an 11% increase in signature debit cards and an 8% gain in credit cards. At mid-year, VISA had 291 million credit cards and 152 million off-line debit cards. MasterCard reported 262 million credit cards and 55 million signature debit cards. As of June 30th there were 848.2 million credit and debit cards in use in the USA. For complete details on U.S. cards by network visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

U.S. Cards-in-Force by Network
2Q/04 Y/Y
VISA 443.4m (+8.8%)
MasterCard 317.4m (+1.2%)
American Express 37.4m (+5.6%)
Discover 50.0m (NC%)
TOTAL: 848.2m (+5.2%)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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50MM Chip & PIN Cards Issued in the U.K.

The “Chip and PIN” roll-out in the U.K. has topped 50 million cards. Well over half of the U.K.’s 42 million cardholders now have the cards. Almost half of all retailer terminals in the U.K. have installed “Chip and PIN” with 396,000 terminals at shops, restaurants, and bars switched over. “Chip and PIN” launched the second phase of its advertising campaign last week with TV, radio, and press advertisements. The campaign, which runs for 13 weeks, aims to ensure cardholders are ready to use their PIN, with specific messages about how to unlock their PIN, remind them they can change their PIN to something they can remember easily, and to encourage them to keep their PIN a secret. The roll-out of chip and PIN began in October 2003 and is backed by the U.K.’s banking and retail industries, according to CardFlash International.

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CIBC Card Revenues Rise 12%, Balances Up 6%

CIBC reported that its credit card loans grew 6% in the quarter ending July 31st to C$9.878 billion. The nation’s largest bank credit card issuer posted a nearly 12% increase in card revenues for the quarter to C$347 million, tying the record set in the final quarter of last year. During the quarter, CIBC sold approximately 2.3 million shares of Global Payments resulting in an after-tax gain of C$74 million. CIBC expects to unload the remaining 6 million shares held, which have collars, for an after-tax gain of at least C$182 million. This month, CIBC announced the sale of Juniper Financial to Barclays Bank for C$383 million. Upon closing the deal by year-end, CIBC expects to recognize an after-tax gain of approximately C$46 million. On October 1st, CIBC intends to end its “Entourage” co-branded venture with American Express, which launched in January 2002. For complete details on CIBC’s latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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

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VISA+MC PCE Share Rises to 17.5% in the USA

VISA and MasterCard’s combined share of personal consumption expenditures has increased 120 basis points over the past twelve months to 17.5%. At mid-year, annual purchase volume for VISA and MasterCard credit and debit cards stood at $1422 billion compared to a PCE of $8146 billion. At mid-year 2003, VISA and MasterCard logged $1255 billion in annual purchase volume versus a PCE of $7696 billion. Two years ago, VISA and MasterCard’s share of PCE was 15.4%. For complete details on network purchase volume and personal consumption expenditures visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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

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