Fingerhut Direct Beefs-Up Credit Processing for the Holidays

Fingerhut Direct has implemented GA-based CoreCard Software’s “CoreISSUE” credit management and transaction processing system providing 80 customized features, 11 custom interfaces to existing and external systems including those at Equifax and the conversion of existing accounts from Fingerhut’s incumbent processing system. It also included the delivery of an initial version of CoreCOLLECT, a workflow-driven credit recovery application that is utilized by Fingerhut’s in-house team as well as its outsourced collections service providers. Fingerhut Direct Marketing, Inc. is a direct to the consumer marketing company selling a broad selection of general merchandise. CoreCard provides real-time cardholder and merchant account management and transaction processing solutions for issuers and acquirers worldwide.

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ACE Cash Express Renews Travelers Express Contract

Dallas-based ACE Cash Express has extended its money order agreement with Viad’s Travelers Express Company. Under the amendment, Travelers Express will pay ACE a total of $3.4 million in signing and annual bonuses. During fiscal 2003, ACE sold money orders with a face value of $1.6 billion. ACE is also an agent for MoneyGram money transfers. In fiscal 2003, ACE customers sent $400 million MoneyGram money transfers, under an existing agreement with MoneyGram Payment Systems, an affiliate of Travelers Express. ACE Cash Express has a total network of 1,174 stores, consisting of 968 company-owned stores and 206 franchised stores in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

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eBay and MBNA Take New Card North of the Border

eBay and MBNA have launched the “eBay Anything Points MasterCard” in Canada. For retail purchases charged on the eBay credit card, cardholders will earn a special eBay currency worth $.01 USD for each point, which can be spent on eBay sites. eBay “Anything Points” can also be used to pay eBay sellers in Canadian Dollars, U.S. Dollars, Pounds Sterling, or Euros. The new credit card is the latest expansion of the “eBay Anything Points” program, launched in May 2003. eBay launched a similar credit card in the U.S. in early October. Under the U.S. program, MBNA and Providian are both issuing the new co-branded “eBay MasterCard.” MBNA will issue the card to “super-prime” and “prime” credit, while Providian will issue the card to “prime” and “near-prime” credit. The new credit card is the latest expansion of the “eBay Anything Points” program, launched in May. In 2001, Providian launched the co-branded “PayPal VISA” card. PayPal was acquired by eBay. (CF Library 10/2/03)

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Coinstar Revenues Up 14% in Third Quarter

WA-based Coinstar reported revenues of $48.7 million and net income of $6.9 million for the third quarter, compared to third quarter 2002 revenues of $42.9 million and net income of $8.8 million. During the quarter, Coinstar expanded its prepaid wireless “TOP-UP” service and the “Truth prepaid MasterCard.” Retailer acceptance continues to be strong and the Company believes it is on target to sign up approximately 500 locations by year end. The company expects fourth quarter revenues to be between $43.0 and $44.5 million, and for 2004 revenues to be between $178 to $188 million. Coinstar owns and operates the only multi-national network of supermarket-based machines that offer self-service coin counting and other electronic services. The company has more than 10,000 machines in its network. For complete details on Coinstar’s third quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com.)

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Alliance Data Systems Prices Secondary Stock Offering

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has priced its secondary public equity offering of 7.5 million shares at approximately $27 per share. In the event the underwriters exercise their over-allotment option, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Alliance’s largest stockholder, will sell up to an additional 1,130,006 shares at the offering price. Alliance will not receive any of the proceeds from the offering.

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Another Brokerage Card Hits the U.S. Market

Chicago-based full-service investment firm William Blair & Company has teamed with MBNA to launch a VISA program that deposits cardholder rebates into client designated securities account. The new “William Blair & Company Quantum VISA” is targeted at high-net-worth investors. MBNA’s “Quantum” product, launched in June 2000, offers credit card limits of up to $250,000 with the option of extending credit limits up to $1 million through related loans. Specific terms of the William Blair/MBNA program are not being disclosed. William Blair & Company has $22 billion is assets under management. Last month, online brokerage firm ShareBuilder Securities Corporation teamed with Bank One to launch the “ShareBuilder Platinum VISA.” Under the “Sharebuilder” program, cardholders earn one point for every dollar of credit card purchases. Once the cardholder earns 2,500 points, a $25 deposit is swept into a ShareBuilder brokerage account. Cardholders can earn a maximum of 60,000 points per year. (CF Library 6/6/00; 9/18/03)

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Corillian Gets New CFO Next Month

OR-based Corillian has hired Paul Wilde as CFO to replace Steve Sipowicz on November 14th. Wilde has more than 25 years of experience having served in various executive roles in finance, strategic planning and business operations. Wilde most recently served as CEO of Spear Technologies, an enterprise resource planning software company. Wilde has also held chief financial officer positions at Viasoft, Inc., Candle Corp. and Informatics General Corp. Corillian is a premier provider of enterprise software and services for the financial services industry. Empowered with Corillian solutions, some of the world’s most visionary financial institutions provide their customers with the tools to manage their finances more effectively.

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InterCept Tinkers with Going Private as Earnings Dip

Atlanta-based Intercept indicated yesterday it is considering going private. The company also lowered its earnings guidance for 2003. InterCept’s Chairman and CEO, John Collins, informed the board of directors that he intends to submit an offer to take the company private and has engaged in preliminary discussions with financing sources for this transaction. The board has established a committee of independent directors to consider any proposal received from Collins. InterCept previously announced that it expected its 2003 earnings per share to be in the range of $0.63 to $0.68 per share. InterCept now expects that its 2003 earnings per share will be in the range of $0.34 to $0.42 per share, excluding $3.8 million of non-recurring items related to SLM, a $780,000 assessment for non-compliance with association charge-back guidelines, and $685,000 in severance payments related to InterCept’s merchant processing unit. The company is releasing its third quarter results on November 12th.

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Citibank Targets College Students with a New Online Resource

Citibank this week launched a new online resource to help educate college students about credit cards and using credit wisely. Although 91 percent of college students agree that they are responsible for their own credit cards, nearly half (43%) of those surveyed feel that they lack enough credit education to use credit wisely. Citi Cards launched a free, new website . This newest offering from Citi’s Credit-ED program advances its long-standing commitment to credit education by providing students with the latest information and tools to manage their credit responsibly. Citi Cards is part of Citigroup, the preeminent global financial services company with some 200 million customer accounts in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage, and asset management.

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Gemplus’ Card Unit Profits Rise 59% Over 2Q/03

Smart card manufacturer, Gemplus, reported that revenues for the third quarter were 10% above the prior quarter and that its losses have been cut by two-thirds since the third quarter of last year. The company’s Financial and Security Services segment posted revenues of $67 million, a 20% gain over the last quarter, as gross profits soared nearly 59% to $17million during the same period. According to this week’s edition of CardFlash International, overall revenues hit $221million for the third quarter, compared to $200 million for the second quarter. However, compared to the third quarter of 2002, revenues are down 7.6%. The net loss for the third quarter of this year was $15 million, compared to $96 million in the previous quarter, and $45 million one-year ago. However, at the operating level Gemplus posted a tiny profit compared to a loss of $7.5 million for the third quarter of last year. Gemplus says that EMV shipments doubled sequentially for the second quarter in a row and nearly quadrupled compared with the same quarter a year ago. Sales were mainly driven by the UK market, but were also supported by South America, Turkey and Malaysia. Other payment smart cards increased 64% compared with the second quarter and 66% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Malaysia and France mainly drove sales. For complete details on Gemplus’ third quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com.)

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APAC Customer Services Profits Fall 73% in 3Q

Card marketing specialist, APAC Customer Services, reported 3Q/03 net income of $300,000, compared to net income of $1.1 million in the same period a year ago. Net revenues declined 6% to $79.7 million, compared to one-year ago. The Company says that revenue decreased $2.4 million from the second quarter, primarily due to reductions in marketing programs by several financial services clients partly offset by an increase in services provided to certain telecommunications clients. The decline in revenue versus the third quarter of 2002 relates principally to these marketing cutbacks and the expected reduction of services performed under a facility management contract renewed in October of 2002. IL-based APAC employs approximately 11,600 people and maintains 33 customer interaction centers. For complete details on APAC’s performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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