February 26th is Concord Merger Vote Day

Concord EFS has set February 26th as the date for shareholders to vote on its amended merger agreement with First Data. The Securities and Exchange Commission has declared effective the amended registration statement filed by First Data Corporation containing a proxy statement/prospectus related to the proposed merger. Concord EFS, Inc., a vertically integrated electronic transaction processor, provides the technology and network systems that make payments and other financial transactions faster, more efficient, and more secure than paper-based alternatives.

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Debit Card’s 1995-2000 CAGR Exceeds 40%

NY-based publisher Packaged Facts has released a new report on the U.S. Debit Card market which found debit card’s average CAGR, between 1995 and 2000, was 42%, compared to 14.6% for overall electronic payments, and 9.5% for credit cards. In 2003, Americans made 10.47 billion transactions using their debit, or, “check cards.” Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, produces research reports on a wide range of consumer industries, including information on domestic and global market trends and opportunities. MarketResearch.com is the leading provider of global market intelligence products and services.

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MBNA INTL 4Q/03

MBNA’s international credit card portfolio has grown 73% over the past twelve months to hit $20.8 billion. During the fourth quarter, MBNA added 620,000 new international accounts, and $1.6 billion in outstandings. In Europe, total managed loans reached $17.2 billion. Approximately 440,000 new accounts were added during the fourth quarter in Europe. MBNA added 95 new affinity card programs during 2003 in Europe, including 32 new endorsements in Spain. In Canada, total managed loans reached $3.6 billion. Approximately 180,000 new accounts were added during the fourth quarter in Canada. MBNA also added 79 new endorsements during 2003 in Canada. MBNA has approximately 1,400 total international affinity contracts in place.

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Cyota Launches Email Fraud Fighter Solution

Cyota has released “FraudAction,” a new, proprietary solution that can pro-actively address email fraud such as “phishing” attacks. With Cyota FraudAction financial institutions can pro-actively address email fraud, protect their data, brand, and valuable accountholder trust as well as ensure the future of their growing e-initiatives and Internet services. Cyota is the leading provider of security and anti-fraud solutions for financial institutions. Cyota services multiple clients in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific with anti-fraud and security systems currently available to over 350 million accountholders.

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Concord Says NYCE Lawsuit Has No Merit

Concord EFS said yesterday it intends to vigorously defend itself against a lawsuit filed by NYCE last week. Concord believes that the suit, which relates to a 1993 agreement between NYCE and MAC covering transaction routing rules, is totally without merit. Concord says the STAR network routing rules were specifically amended to support the NYCE agreement when STAR was acquired by Concord in 2001. STAR’s network rules, which are established by its member financial institutions, support an open and flexible business environment that allows for collaboration, cooperation, and the resolution of issues when conflicting network rules come into play. Concord says the NYCE complaint attempts to undermine these rules by improperly extending to the entire STAR network the terms of an agreement expressly limited to the small number of financial institutions who are members of both the MAC and NYCE networks. (CF Library 1/23/04)

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CO-OP Serves 38 Military/Defense CUs

The CO-OP ATM has signed FL-based Eglin FCU, bringing the total number of military and defense-affiliated credit union members to 38, covering three million members. Situated along the Florida Panhandle in Fort Walton Beach, Eglin FCU, with $800 million in assets, provides financial services to more than 100,000 military and civilian personnel from Eglin Air Force base and Hurlburt Field. CO-OP Network 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.

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Fair Isaac Profits Rise 45% in Fourth Quarter

Fair Isaac reported fourth calendar quarter revenues of $169.3 million, a 15.4% gain over 4Q/02. Net income for the quarter was $28.8 million, up 45% over same quarter last year. The company says the growth was due to excellent execution on a number of recently adopted growth strategies. Scoring Solutions revenues were up 3.3% to $35.3 million during the quarter. Strategy Machine Solutions revenues grew 22% to $103.3 million. Earlier this month, IBM inked a deal to become a global reseller of Fair Isaac’s core analytic capabilities for financial services providers. For complete details on Fair Isaac’s latest performance as well as prior quarters visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Ingrian DataSecure Platforms Protect Card Data

DHD Media has selected Ingrian “DataSecure Platforms” to bolster protection of customers’ credit card data, whether that data is in storage, in transit, or being used by a database or application. DHD Media’s implementation of Ingrian’s solution is a clear indicator of the value that they place on meeting and exceeding industry standards for securing customer data. DHD Media is an E-media and E-commerce services infrastructure company. Ingrian Networks brings complete data privacy to the enterprise. Ingrian DataSecure Platforms ensure that sensitive information is impervious to attacks, whether data is in storage, in transit, or in use.

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Hitachi and Omron to Combine ATM Businesses

CardFlash International reported Monday that Tokyo-based Hitachi and Kyoto-based Omron have agreed to establish a joint venture in October. Under terms of the arrangement, the new company will integrate the total business of Hitachi’s “Ubiquitous Platform Group Mechatronics Systems Division,” such as ATM’s, other self-service machines and terminal systems, with the ATM and other self-service machines, modules and solutions handled by Omron’s “Social Systems, Solutions, & Services Business Company and Advanced Modules Business Company.” Hitachi and Omron initially formed an ATM joint development alliance in 2000. Both companies said the joint venture is needed to strengthen their capability to respond to the diversification and enhancement of customer needs domestically, as well as strengthening the business structure in China among other overseas growth markets.

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AmEx TRS Profits Flat Sequentially; Volume Up 15%

American Express Travel Related Services reported fourth quarter net income of $606 million, the same as the previous quarter, but up 10.2% over one-year ago. AmEx reported that marketing, promotion, rewards and cardholder services expenses for 4Q/03 increased 27%. AmEx’s U.S. gross dollar volume increased 15%, and managed card loans increased by 12.2% during the fourth quarter, compared to one-year ago. Card spending volume contributed to a 14.6% rise in discount revenue to $2.4 billion. Credit quality improved as charge-offs fell from the previous quarter and the year-ago quarter. Delinquency (30+ days) declined 10 basis points to 2.7% from the prior quarter, and remain 40 basis points below last year’s level. Charge-offs declined 80 basis points to 4.70% for the fourth quarter, compared to one-year ago. For complete details on AmEx’s fourth quarter performance as well as prior quarters visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

American Express U.S. Card Portfolio Snapshot
4Q/03 3Q/03 2Q/03 1Q/03 4Q/02 Ann Chng
Volume $72.3b 66.3b 64.6b 58.9b 62.9b +15.0%
Loans $38.5b 35.9b 36.0b 34.6b 34.3b +12.2%
Cards 36.4m 36.2m 35.7m 35.4m 35.1m +4.3%
Delinq* 2.7% 2.8% 2.7% 3.1% 3.1% -40 bps
Losses 4.7% 5.0% 5.4% 5.5% 5.5% -80 bps
Yield** 8.6% 8.9% 8.9% 9.4% 9.8% -120 bps
* 30+ days past due; ** net interest yield

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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NEBA Signs Chicago’s MB Financial Bank

Chicago-based MB Financial Bank has joined The New England Bankcard Association for merchant acquiring and potentially, outsourcing merchant back office operations. MB Financial Bank’s plan is to begin acquiring merchant accounts beginning in the first quarter of 2004. NEBA will assist MB through all of the steps involved in setting up and maintaining the success of their merchant portfolio. NEBA provides services to financial institutions throughout the United States, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. MB Financial Bank is a leader among Chicago area banks and has been delivering competitive personalized service for more than 90 years to privately owned, middle-market companies as well as to individuals who live in the communities where its branches are located.

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Dispenser for Contactless Payment Devices Introduced

WA-based Accelitec has rolled-out a self-service automated transponder dispenser for use in the retail marketplace. “AcceliStation” dispenses and securely authorizes contactless payment devices (key tags, fobs, and larger transponders) for immediate consumer use. The on-site kiosk allows consumers to link payment devices to credit card, debit card, bank or prepaid accounts, and provides issuing companies a secure, efficient means to manage fulfillment as well as loyalty program processes. “AcceliStation” is part of the “AcceliPay” suite of products consisting of proprietary software and hardware — self-service kiosks, authentication and point-of-sale transponder readers, processing network, network monitoring and call center support for implementing a retail contactless payment program.

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