Viads’s MoneyGram Transaction Volume Up 32% for 3Q/03

AZ-based Viad reported that third quarter revenues for its Payment Services’ business were essentially flat at $203.7 million, however, MoneyGram transaction volume grew 32% and revenues were up 19% in comparison to the prior year third quarter . For the nine months ended September 30, 2003, income from continuing operations was $0.99 per diluted share on revenue of $1.2 billion, segment operating income of $135.4 million and income from continuing operations of $86.2 million. Diluted earnings per share was $1.01 on net income of $87.7 million including $1.5 million of income from discontinued operations. Viad is a $1.6 billion revenue S&P MidCap 400 company. Major subsidiaries include Travelers Express/MoneyGram of Minneapolis, GES Exposition Services of Las Vegas and Exhibitgroup/Giltspur of Chicago. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [www.viad.com][1].

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

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SCM Microsystems Ranks 51st on GrowthPlus’ Europe Top 500

Ismaning-based SCM Microsystems has been included in the list of Europe’s “Top 500” emerging companies. The European trade association GrowthPlus ranked SCM as 51st on the annual list. The ranking honors the 500 entrepreneurial companies that have created the most jobs over the last five years. SCM Microsystems develops and sells a range of standards-based hardware, software and silicon products to OEM customers worldwide. The company’s offerings include conditional access modules for secure decryption of digital pay-TV broadcasts; smart card reader technology for secure access to PCs, networks and facilities; and interface technology for transferring content to and from digital flash media.

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Consumers Say They’ll Use Cards Less During Holiday Season

While data for the first two weeks of the holiday shopping season show a 5% increase in retail sales and a 6% increase in credit card spending, a new survey by a MA-Cambridge Consumer Credit Counseling and its affiliated Debt Relief Clearinghouse, finds that more Americans plan to use credit cards less during this year’s holiday shopping season, than in 2002. According to the monthly survey, the “Cambridge Consumer Credit Index,” 38% of all consumers plan to use less credit to purchase holiday gifts this year, compared to 31% one-year ago. Twenty-nine percent plan to use the same amount of credit as they did last year, two percentage points lower than in 2002. Another 29% plan not to use any credit cards this season, down by 7 percentage points from 2002. The Cambridge Index also asked consumers who plan to use credit cards this season whether they expect to pay them off in full when the bills arrive in January. Sixty percent say they expect to pay off their balance in full, up from 58% a year ago and 55% in 2001. Thirty-six percent expect to carry a balance on their credit cards for more than a month before they pay them off, unchanged from 2002, and down from 39% in 2001. Only 4% plan to pay off some cards and carry balances on others, down by 2% from 2002 and 2001.

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Consumers Shift to Second Gear as Economy Rebounds

Further evidence of the recent economic recovery is the uptick in consumer revolving credit for September and October. During October, Americans added $2.2 billion to revolving credit at an annual growth rate of 3.6%, more than twice the rate of growth one-year ago. Revised figures, released Friday by the Federal Reserve, also show that September’s figures were better than previously reported. September’s revised growth rate is 6.5% compared to 3.0% for September 2002. For October, consumers owed $735.3 billion in revolving credit, mostly credit card debt. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the third quarter was $645.7 billion, or roughly 88% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). At the end of October, Americans were $1977.3 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
Oct03 Sept03 Aug03 Jul 03 Jun03 May03 Apr03
GRWTH: 3.6% 6.5 3.4 1.4 -2.4 7.7 3.4
$OWED: $735.3 733.1 729.1 726.8 725.9 727.9 722.8

Mar 03 Feb03 Jan03 Dec02 Nov02 Oct02 Sep02
GRWTH: 4.1% 5.9 5.2 -6.7 -1.4 1.6 3.0
$OWED: $720.7 718.6 715.5 712.4 716.8 717.9 721.3
Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 12/05/03;
For complete historical data visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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

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VISA Canada Releases Updated Owner’s Manual and Holiday Survey Results

VISA Canada released an updated version its publication that is designed to help consumers manage their credit card use responsibly. The booklet, “Credit Cards:
An Owner’s Manual,” was originally published in 1995, and has been distributed to more than 850,000 consumers across Canada. A French version of the updated publication will be available by year-end. VISA Canada also reported that a recent survey it conducted found that almost half of all Canadians plan to use credit cards for their holiday shopping needs, and that most of them will have their credit card balances paid off within two months.

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Mosaic Software Endorses e-ClassicSystems’ ATM Product

Mosaic Software has inked a deal to recommend e-ClassicSystems’ “ATM Manager Pro” solution to current and future customers to complement their “Postilion” products. The ATM Manager Pro suite of modules offers a complete back-office solution to manage and report on ATM channel operations and status, including ATM asset compliance, location and transaction reporting and trending, cost and revenue analysis per ATM, cash forecasting and management, project management and much more. ATM Manager Pro currently manages the daily operations of over 100,000 ATMs worldwide including 20% of the US market. Mosaic Software is a global EFT software company with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia.

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Marketing to U.S. Hispanics & Latin America Conference Set for January

The Strategic Research Institute says executives from MasterCard and Wells Fargo will be speak at its 10th Annual conference on “Marketing to U.S. Hispanics & Latin America” to be held January 26-27 in Miami Beach. This forum will feature over 35 distinguished experts from companies who are investing in reaching out to Latino consumers in the United States and Latin America. One of the industry’s most well-attended conferences, the agenda will outline some very cutting-edge strategies and case studies with advanced tools and techniques to increase ROI from this rapidly growing market segment.

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Scotiabank’s Personal and Card Loans Up 13%, as ABM Network Grows by 20%

Scotia Bank reported that its personal loans and credit card portfolio grew 12.5% between November 1, 2003 and October 31, 2003. For the third calendar quarter, the issuer had $26.3 billion in personal and card loans compared to $23.4 billion one year ago. Scotiabank also reported its ABM network increased by 20% during the quarter to more than 2,700 machines. The increase is due to deal with Shell Canada. Scotiabank-branded ABMs will be installed in up to 500 Shell retail gasoline convenience stores across Canada. Scotia OnLine’s activated customer base grew to 1.1 million customers, up 29% year over year, and transaction volumes have grown at an even faster rate. Overall, Scotiabank produced net income of $660 million for the quarter, up 13.2% from last year.

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VISA and American Express Gain Market Share in Q3

VISA’s dominance in the off-line debit card segment continues to drive its overall growth, raising its U.S. market share, based on volume, by 14 basis points during the third quarter, compared to 3Q/02. However, American Express, the only other network to post a gain in market share, increased 5 basis points over the past twelve months, and is now growing faster than VISA in gross dollar volume. Overall, the general purpose credit card market, excluding Diners Club and JCB, racked up $540.4 billion in gross dollar volume during the third quarter. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), the third quarter figures represent a 10% gain over 3Q/02. VISA’s debit card GDV rose 22.7% in the third quarter to $118.0 billion. VISA’s credit card GDV increased 7.0% in the third quarter to $167.8 billion. MasterCard’s debit card GDV gained 2.4% in the third quarter to $30.4 billion. MasterCard’s credit card GDV was up 5.6% in the third quarter to $133.1 billion.

U.S. MARKET SHARE
(based on 3Q/03 gross dollar volume data)

NETWORK Q VOL ANN CHNG SHARE
VISA* $285.8 +13.0% 52.9%
MasterCard $163.5 + 5.0% 30.3%
AmEx $ 66.3 +13.9% 12.3%
Discover $ 24.8 + 2.1% 4.6%
*VISA has not released final data for 3Q/03 so preliminary figures may be amended;
all $ figures in billions; annual change is 3Q/03 versus 3Q/02;
share figures may not total to 100% due to rounding
SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Disneyland Paris VIPs Becomes Card Theft Victims

A former employee of Disneyland Paris was arrested last week for credit card fraud. The employee reportedly had access to the personal credit card information of VIPs visiting the popular park. French police alleged that Jean-Pierre Sallet used a hundred American Express card numbers as well as dozens of VISA and Diners Club numbers in the scam. He allegedly used the stolen credit card information to purchase more than $100,000 in goods and services, according to CardFlash International ([www.cardflashinternational.com][1]). American Express, which lost $50,000, first discovered the problem two years ago after several French celebrity cardholders began noticing unauthorized charges on their accounts. Police say that Sallet avoided detection for more than two years by making small transactions in a very erratic pattern.

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

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ICBA Says Wal-Mart’s Decision Bad for Small Merchants and Issuers

ICBA Bancard said Friday that Wal-Mart’s decision to decline MasterCard signature-based debit transactions will encourage consumers to use cash and checks, resulting in lost revenue opportunities and increased costs for small merchants and issuers. As an association, MasterCard exists solely for the purpose of supporting thousands of competing card issuing financial institutions, which results in a world rich with card choices for consumers and businesses alike. Wal-Mart’s latest step threatens our diversified financial system and the incredibly pro- consumer payments system that has built consumer credit in America. ICBA Bancard has provided more than 2,000 community banks with equitable access to payment system products and services. In addition to ATM, credit and debit cards, banks have access to merchant services, ATM driving, risk management services, Internet banking and marketing services.

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