Government Purchasing Cards Save US$4 Billion To-Date

The UK National Audit Office reports efficiency savings of GBP28 (US$50) for every transaction made using the “VISA Government Purchasing Card” program, as well as environmental savings of 1 million pieces of paper per month. The U.S. Government estimates an average savings of US$54 per transaction, just in administrative costs using VISA payment solutions, versus traditional paper-based processes at federal agencies. VISA says the number of government departments and agencies worldwide that are using VISA solutions to increase efficiency and save money, doubled between 2001 and 2004, generating at least US$4 billion in savings over the same period. VISA says travel card programs can offer similar types of savings, particularly when integrated with electronic expense reporting. VISA International’s own integration of employees’ travel cards with its corporate data systems cut administrative costs of processing expense claims in half from an average of US$52 to US$27 per claim and increased the compliance of expense claims with travel policies to nearly 100 percent.

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Sierra Wireless Powers VF Wireless Terminals

British Columbia-based VeriFone has chosen the Sierra Wireless “EM3420,” a CDMA2000 1X embedded wireless module, for VeriFone’s “Omni” family of mobile and countertop IP-enabled, wireless POS payment terminals. This high-speed, always-on family of terminals allows mobile retailers to execute secure debit and credit card transactions anywhere there is CDMA2000 1X coverage. VeriFone, Inc., ([www.verifone.com][1]) recognized worldwide as the trusted leader in secure electronic payment technologies, provides expertise, solutions and services for today with a smart migration strategy for tomorrow. Sierra Wireless is a leader in delivering highly differentiated wireless solutions that enable our customers to improve their productivity and lifestyle.

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

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CO-OP Network Lands Hawaiian Credit Unions

The CO-OP Network has signed an agreement with WesCorp and its Pacific Operations Division to become partners in serving 27 credit unions located throughout the Hawaiian Islands and Guam. These credit unions are slated to become the first South Pacific financial institutions to join the nation’s no. 1 credit union ATM network. CO-OP Network ([www.co-opnetwork.org][1]), established in 1981 and located in Ontario, Calif., is wholly-owned by its credit union shareholders and provides volume discounts on products and services that include risk management as well as debit and deposit access. WesCorp is Western Corporate Federal Credit Union-America’s largest corporate credit union, serving more than 1,000 member/owner credit unions located throughout the United States and Guam.

[1]: http://www.co-opnetwork.org

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US Bank Picks Idaho for a New Card Center

U.S. Bank has selected the Coeur d’Alene, ID area for a new service and call center facility to handle debit, small business and consumer credit card accounts, creating up to 500 new jobs over the next five years. The new 60,000 square foot facility will support U.S. Bank’s growing retail payment solutions division, which includes debit, small business and consumer credit card accounts. The call center will be located on the northeast corner of the Mill River development, which lies between Seltice Way and the Spokane River. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets of $192 billion, is the 7th largest financial services holding company in the United States.

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Lipman Rolls-Out a Multifunction Countertop POS Terminal

Lipman Electronic Engineering has launched the “NURIT 8100,” its newest multifunction countertop POS terminal. The “NURIT 8100” is designed to address the POS market that requires high-level features and functionality by enhancing and expanding upon the key technological capabilities of previous NURIT terminals. The “NURIT 8100” provides users with a variety of value-added features and options, including a large graphic display with ATM-style control buttons for simple operation and browsing. Connectivity methods such as Ethernet LAN, Cellular GSM / GPRS and fast landline modem, with Internet and web protocol support, make it ideal for varied communication environments. Together, these features allow NURIT users to benefit from vertical market applications in addition to the traditional payment functionality that is the foundation of the POS terminal, further increasing the value of the terminal for retailers. In addition, the “NURIT 8100” terminal provides a superior level of security, meeting or exceeding all widely recognized standards including regional standards, VisaPED and MasterCard requirements.

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Automated Self-Service Options Offered to Issuers

KANA and Bearing Point have released “KANA Agent IQ” and “KANA Customer IQ for Credit Cards” to provide automated self-service options for service representatives and customers. The IQ for Credit Cards applications are part of KANA’s Service Resolution Management approach to providing customized solutions that address the specific pain points of key vertical markets and strengthen KANA’s already existing financial services, retail banking and branch banking applications. KANA provides knowledge-powered customer service applications enabling organizations to better service, market to, and understand their customers and partners. BearingPoint, Inc. is one of the world’s largest business consulting and systems integration firms, KANA’s Credit Card applications allow companies to optimize service delivery and decrease overall operational costs.

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Encore Capital Revenues Climb 51% in Q1

San Diego-based Encore Capital Group reported first quarter net income of $6.0 million, compared to $8.2 million for the first quarter of 2003. The first quarter of 2003 included a one-time after-tax benefit from litigation settlement of $4.4 million. The Company spent $17.2 million to purchase approximately $786.4 million in face value of portfolios during the first quarter, a blended purchase price of 2.19% of face value. The Company spent $18.8 million to purchase approximately $589.4 million in face value of portfolios during the first quarter of 2003, a blended purchase price of 3.19% of face value. During the first quarter there was 17% growth in monthly average of gross collections per average employee to $29,282 in the first quarter, from $25,001 in the first quarter of 2003. Encore Capital Group is an accounts receivable management firm that specializes in purchasing charged-off and defaulted consumer debt. For complete details on Encore’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Charge-Offs Head South in the First Quarter

Charge-offs among the top prime issuers declined 47 basis points during the first quarter, while charge-offs for sub-prime issuers declined 285 basis points, compared to the first quarter of 2003. All of the top issuers posted lower charge-offs for the first quarter except Citibank and Bank One. Capital One, now considered a prime issuer, posted the largest decline, from 7.72% one-year ago to 5.41% for the first quarter of 2004. Citibank’s charge-offs edged up from 5.74% to 6.60%, presumably due to its acquisition of the “Sears Gold MasterCard” accounts during the fourth quarter. Bank One’s charge-offs edged up from 5.29% to 5.35% between the first quarter of last year and this year. The average charge-off rate for the nation’s top seven prime issuers was 5.40%, compared to 5.87% one-year ago. The average charge-off rate for the nation’s top three sub-prime issuers was 15.79%, compared to 18.64% one-year ago. For complete details on first quarter issuer performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

1Q/04 PRIME ISSUER CHARGE-OFFS
Issuer 1Q/04 1Q/03
Citibank: 6.60% 5.74%
Bank One: 5.35% 5.29%
MBNA: 4.99% 5.47%
Chase: 5.80% 5.95%
Cap One: 5.41% 7.72%
AmEx: 4.60% 5.60%
BofA: 5.05% 5.31%
AVG 5.40% 5.87%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

1Q/04 SUB-PRIME ISSUER CHARGE-OFFS
Issuer 1Q/04 1Q/03
Providian: 13.88% 17.61%
Metris: 17.80% 18.00%
CompuCredit 15.70% 20.30%
AVG 15.79% 18.64%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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GPN Introduces Purchasing @dvantage PC Plus

Atlanta-based Global Payments has rolled-out a payment processing application which combines consumer and commercial card transactions. The new “Purchasing @dvantage PC Plus” is designed for a wide range of business segments that use a Windows-based PC for their payment processing and accept both consumer and commercial payment cards. The application serves retail, mail order/telephone order, and e-Commerce merchants, and provides businesses with “level II” and “III” commercial card processing. Critical, value-added details for purchase card transactions such as purchase order and part numbers, item description, quantities, taxes, etc. are provided, qualifying the merchant for the lowest possible interchange rate. “Purchasing @dvantage PC Plus” also offers optional IP VPN connectivity. GPN is also providing extensive implementation services including deployment, training, and customer support for the new application.

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CXR Anderson Jacobson Launches RAS Equipment for Large POS Networks

MicroTel International announced that its French subsidiary CXR Anderson Jacobson has begun shipping its newly released range of secure “Remote Access Server” equipment for large back-office POS and banking networks. The rapidly expanding market for secure transactions is moving away from ISDN towards DSL and wireless as the prime carriers. CXR-AJ has an established market leading position in the transmission of credit card verification using X.25 protocols over ISDN. It has now reinforced this position with the introduction of its new range of DSL secure RAS equipment. CXR currently enjoys a market leading position in the secure X.25 transmission of credit card validation over ISDN.

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