AMEX BLUE

The first ever American Express credit card billed in bahraini dinars has been launched. The new “Blue” credit card, issued by American Express Middle East and North Africa, offers a 1% rebate on all card purchases. Cardholders may pay as little as 5% of the outstanding balance per month. The “AmEx Blue” card carries an annual fee of BHD12, and a monthly interest rate of 1.95%, compounded daily. AmEx also issues a gold credit card in Bahrain, which offers a 1% rebate on all purchases, plus access to Middle East airport lounges. American Express Middle East and North Africa issues cards denominated in United Arab Emirates dirhams. For example, the “Dubai Duty Free American Express Credit Card” offers a 10% discount on a range of over 15,000 items at Dubai Duty Free. The UAE card also offers chances to win the “Millennium Millionaire” and “Finest Surprise” sweepstakes.

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National City Card Volume Up 17%; Loans +7.5%

OH-based National City reported that its first quarter credit card outstandings rose 7.5% year-over-year to $2,443,320,152. However, card volume rose nearly 17% to $1.3 billion for the quarter, according to CardData (www.carddata.com). Sequentially, the issuer’s outstandings posted a 4.7% seasonal contraction. At the end of the first quarter, National City had 1,854,645 gross accounts and 1,123,106 active accounts. During the first quarter, National City and the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York launched an affinity “Gold MasterCard.” For complete details on National City’s 1Q/04 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/15/04)

NATL CITY CARD LOANS
1Q/03: $2,271 million
2Q/03: $2,417 million
3Q/03: $2,179 million
4Q/03: $2,558 million
1Q/04: $2,443 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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TransFirst Launches New Division to Target ISOs/ISCs

Dallas-based TransFirst has launched its Independent Sales Services division focused exclusively on ISO/ISC and agent partnerships and has picked Nancy Newton to serve as the president. As president of TransFirst Independent Sales Services, Newton is tasked with developing, implementing and managing growth strategies that focus on expanding TransFirst’s existing ISO program into this new stand-alone division that will support national third party sales organizations and agents, as well as TransFirst direct sales. A premiere provider of transaction processing services and payment technologies, TransFirst offers a first-rate suite of merchant products and flexible, industry-specific services uniquely tailored for the special business needs of financial institutions, ISO’s, health services, e-government, online and other direct marketing retailers, as well as brick and mortar retailers.

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FTC to Hold a RFID Workshop in June

The Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a workshop, “Radio Frequency Identification: Applications and Implications for Consumers,” for June 21st. According to the Federal Register Notice, the workshop “will provide an opportunity to learn about how RFID works and to highlight its numerous and rapidly growing applications. It will also address the privacy and security concerns associated with RFID use, particularly on an item-level basis.

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National Processing Q1 Net Income Rises 40%

Louisville-based National Processing reported first quarter revenues of $122.2 million, a 15% gain over one-year ago. Net income rose 40% to $12.0 million. Merchant Card Services dollar volume processed was $44.5 billion for the first quarter, representing an increase of 13% over the first quarter of 2003. MCS transactions processed were 1.1 billion for the first quarter, an increase of 17% over 1Q/03. The Company raised its revenue forecast for 2004 to a range of $500 million to $530 million. During the quarter, Retail Ventures, which operates 116 Value City Department Stores, 21 Filene’s Basement stores, and 142 DSW stores in 29 states, renewed its credit card processing. Borders Group signed a multi-year credit card processing agreement for its 445 Borders stores and 700 Waldenbooks stores in the USA. Kwik Trip and its 350 convenience stores. And, Mimi’s Cafe and its 82 bistro-like dining establishments inked a multi-year credit card processing agreement. For complete details on NPC’s 1Q/04 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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SEC Ends the TSAI Restatement Investigation

Omaha-based Transaction Systems Architects has been notified that the SEC has terminated its investigation into the company’s restatement of prior period financial statements and that no enforcement action has been recommended. The company announced on August 8, 2003 that it was informed that the SEC had issued a formal order of private investigation relating to the company’s restatement of prior period financial statements. Transaction Systems Architects, Inc.’s software facilitates electronic payments by providing consumers and companies access to their money.

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TNB Signs Three More Agent Deals with CUs

Dallas-based TNB Card Services has signed agent issuing agreements with the Spirit of St. Louis Credit Union, North Alabama Educators Credit Union, and the Southside Credit Union (Texas). TNB Card Services launched its agent issuing business a year ago, and in that time more than 30 credit unions have either moved their existing card portfolios to TNB management or have begun issuing cards for the first time through TNB. TNB Card Services, owned and directed by credit unions since 1976, provides full-service credit and debit card processing, as well as an agent issuing solution for credit unions nationwide.

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Baja Beach Club in Barcelona Deploys the Implantable VeriPay

The Baja Beach night club in Barcelona is now using the “VeriPay System” developed by Applied Digital’s VeriChip Corporation, at a night club in Spain. The system is a new syringe-injectable microchip implant for humans, designed to be used as a fraud-proof payment method for cash and credit-card transactions. The chip implant is an advance over credit cards and smart cards, which, absent biometrics and appropriate safeguard technologies, are subject to theft, resulting in identity fraud. Baja Beach Clubs International says customers like the fact that they do not have to carry a credit card or ID card with them.

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TSYS Revenues Up 14% as Client Talks Continue

TSYS reported that its first quarter revenues increased 13.5% to $285.2 million, as net income rose 2.6% to $32.6 million. The processor says it continues to have ongoing discussions with Bank of America regarding the Fleet merger, with Citigroup regarding its Sears portfolio acquisition, and, with JPM Chase regarding the processing needs of its card portfolio following its merger with Bank One. During the quarter, TSYS reached an agreement with FleetBoston to continue processing Circuit City accounts, and extended its processing agreements with BB&T and First Hawaiian Bank. Accounts on file increased to 280.4 million, up 10.3%, compared to 1Q/03. For complete details on TSYS’ 1Q/04 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

TSYS Revenues
1Q/03: $251.4 million
2Q/03: $257.7 million
3Q/03: $266.1 million
4Q/03: $278.3 million
1Q/04: $285.2 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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PaymentCentric to Distribute JADEAdvantage Terminals in the Middle East

PaymentCentric has signed a deal to distribute CyberNet POS terminals in the Middle East. PaymentCentric is now deploying more than 300 EMV-certified countertop “JADEAdvantage,” which feature
32bit processor, open architecture, tamper resistance and built-in PED functionalities. CyberNet EMEA recent opened a Middle East and Africa office based in Dubai. The Company is a subsidiary of CyberNet Inc headquartered in Seoul, Korea. PaymentCentric was founded by the joint efforts of RS/2 Software Group and a group of leading Jordanian investors and financial institutions.

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OTI and Hypercom Team to Help Expand MasterCard PayPass

On Track Innovations has partnered with US-based Hypercom to deliver contactless electronic card payment programs, such as MasterCard’s “PayPass.” The pact will align OTI’s matched-antenna, contactless technology with Hypercom’s electronic payment terminals. Last year, MasterCard successfully completed market trials of “PayPass,” which utilizes OTI’s contactless card technology. OTI says Hypercom’s integration of contactless technology-enabled terminals in the U.S. will be an important step in the successful expansion of the “PayPass” program planned for later this year. Using “PayPass,” consumers simply tap or wave their payment card on a specially equipped merchant terminal that then transmits payment details wirelessly, eliminating the need to swipe the card through a reader.

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