ADS/Stage Stores Card Deal to Close Next Month

Houston-based Stage Stores said yesterday that its deal to sell its credit card to Alliance Data Systems will close sometime next month. In May, Stage agreed to sell its portfolio of approximately 2.2 million existing private label credit card accounts to ADS. Stage, which operates 362 stores in 13 states under the Stage, Bealls and Palais Royal names, says total card balances at the end of first quarter were $241 million. Under terms of the deal, ADS, will also own the new accounts and balances generated during the ten-year term of the alliance. Approximately 220 associates currently employed at Stage Stores’ Credit Support Center in Jacksonville, Texas, will be employed by Alliance Data. Citigroup Global Markets is the financial advisor to Stage Stores on the transaction. (CF Library 5/22/03)

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Check and Remittance Processing Solutions Introduced

Jara Diversified Services has integrated Parascript’s “CheckPlus” and “FieldScript” software into its check and remittance-processing products, “DCP” and “DCPS.” By integrating Parascript’s Total Recognition(R) technology Jara Diversified is able to automatically capture machine print, handprint and cursive information off checks and remittance stubs with greater speed and accuracy. Additionally, Jara Diversified is able to reduce its end users’ remittance processing costs by reducing the need for manual data entry, check sorting and encoding. Draft Conversion Plus (DCP) is Jara Diversified’s low-cost, high-quality solution that captures check and remittance stub information and converts the information into electronic form for clearing through the banking system.

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AmeriCard Picks ACI for VbV

AmeriCard Services has selected ACI Worldwide to provide “Verified by Visa” authentication services. Verified by Visa allows a consumer to add a personal password to their Visa card and use that password for authentication when making purchases at participating online stores. The service guarantees merchant payment and allows merchants to eliminate the cost of online fraud. ACI’s secure authentication service is designed to promote consumer confidence in shopping on the Internet through increased security of their confidential card and password information.

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LML Payment Systems Losses 7-Eleven Check Contract

Vancouver-based LML Payment Systems confirmed that 7-Eleven will not be renewing a contract for check authorization and
recovery services. The contract is scheduled to terminate November 30th. The Company says that in fiscal 2003, it recorded revenue of approximately $2,000,000 directly attributable to this contract. LML says that at the request of 7-Eleven, it will explore the possibility of continuing to provide services up to possibly June, 2004. LML Payment Systems is a financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including electronic check authorization, electronic check conversion and primary and secondary check collection including electronic check re-presentment to national, regional and local retailers.

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Smart Card Alliance to Focus on Mobility

The Smart Card Alliance has scheduled a conference in mid-October at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort in Florida that will focus on smart card mobility. The three-day agenda is rich with users who will advise attendees on the experiences of recent smart card implementations in banking, quick service restaurants and retailing, mass transit and corporate enterprises. Attendees will gain insights into new technologies and new approaches to payments and identity verification such as proximity payments, mobile commerce, loyalty applications and biometrics for point-of-sale.

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U.K. Customized Card for the Upper Crust Launched

The U.K.’s Lloyds TSB has launched a customized credit card for affluent consumers, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International (www.cardflashinternational.com). The new “Black Premier MasterCard” enables cardholders to change their individual card features, free of charge up to three times a year. Cardholders choose their own interest rate, cashback rewards and annual fee. Cardholders can also choose from a menu of six card options including a full concierge service, access to 400 VIP airports lounges, travel insurance, home assistant services, comprehensive health screening, and, rebates on healthcare costs. Interest rates start at 11.9% APR with an introductory offer of 0% for six months on balance transfers. There is a $25 monthly fee which can be waived.

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Charge-Offs Hit 8.47% in 2Q/03 for Top Issuers

Charge-offs among the top ten U.S. VISA/MasterCard issuers rose 22 basis points during the second quarter compared to the first quarter. Charge-offs stood at 8.47% compared to 8.25% for 1Q/03, and 7.95% one year ago. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), only four issuers reported declines in charge-offs for the second quarter including MBNA, Bank One, Capital One and Providian. Sub-prime specialist Metris continues to experience high losses as it charge-off rate topped 19%.

TOP TEN VISA/MC ISSUER CHARGE-OFFS
2Q/03 1Q/03 CHNG
1. Citigroup: 6.23% 6.04% + 19 bps
2. MBNA: 5.35% 5.47% -12 bps
3. Bank One: 5.21% 5.29% – 8 bps
4. Chase: 6.01% 5.87% + 19 bps
5. Cap One: 6.95% 7.12% – 17 bps
6. Providian: 16.84% 17.34% – 50 bps
7. BofA: 5.74% 5.25% + 49 bps
8. Fleet: 6.56% 6.13% + 43 bps
9. Sears Natl: 6.71% 6.11% + 60 bps
10. Metris: 19.10% 17.90% + 120 bps
AVERAGE: 8.47% 8.25% + 22 bps
* does not include Household which is now part of HSBC
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Merging Meal Planning onto Campus Cards

Diebold has partnered with Computrition to enable higher education institutions to merge their meal planning programs and campus card systems. The partnership will better position Diebold for new opportunities in the food service industry and allow Computrition to capitalize on the campus card market. Other potential markets for Diebold and Computrition include healthcare, government, correctional facilities, travel and leisure properties, and additional prospects in education, specifically kindergarten through high school. Computrition specializes in providing food service operations management and nutrition care management computer software products and services that meet the needs of consumers and organizations worldwide.

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AmEx Expands its Savings at Work Program

American Express has signed Starwood Hotels, Avis, and Budget as travel suppliers for its new “Savings at Work” program. Under the program, AmEx “Corporate Card” users at mid-size companies, those with annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion, receive significant discounts for a wide range of business needs, including computers, wireless telephone services, office supplies, overnight shipping, hotel stays, and car rentals. Starwood will offer an average of 20% off standard corporate rates at line of hotels including Westins and Sheratons. Avis and Budget are both offering exclusive rates that are 25% off standard rates. Other “Savings at Work” participants include Staples, FedEx, Dell, Conference Plus, and AT&T Wireless Services.

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NPC Signs Armstrong Garden Centers

Armstrong Garden Centers has signed a multi-year credit and online debit processing agreement with National Processing for its 34 Garden Centers in Southern California. NPC will provide authorization and settlement services for all MasterCard, VISA and online debit transactions, as well as support Armstrong Garden’s gift card processing solution. Exclusively owned by employees, Armstrong Garden Centers is the largest independent retail nursery in the Western United States.

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Lloyds TSB Launches Bespoke Premier Black MasterCard

Lloyds TSB has officially launched its new bespoke, or customized, credit card for consumers with sole income of £60,000 or more. The new “Black Card” is also a “Premier MasterCard” enabling cardholders to change their individual card features, free of charge up to three times a year. Credit limits start at £10,000. Cardholders choose their own interest rate, cashback rewards and annual fee. Cardholders can also choose from a menu of six card options including “Premier Personal Assistant” (a full concierge service); “Priority Travel Service” (access to 400 VIP airports lounges); “Annual Travel Insurance” (travel insurance for cardholders and their family); “Premier Home Assistant” (locksmith, plumber, etc services); “Key Health Assessment” (comprehensive health screening); and, “Premier Well Being” (rebates on healthcare costs). Interest rates start at 11.9% APR with an introductory offer of 0% for six months on balance transfers. The £15 per month fee can be waived if a customer keeps £5,000 a month or more in their current account.

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