Experian Buys Another Credit Bureau

Experian is acquiring Credit Data of West Texas. Credit Data of West Texas has been an Experian affiliate for more than 13 years. As a result of the acquisition, clients served in Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, Abilene and Lubbock, Texas as well as a portion of Western Oklahoma will have access to the full range of Experian’s portfolio management, scoring and fraud prevention solutions. Experian works with more than 40,000 clients across diverse industries, including financial services, telecommunications, health care, insurance, retail and catalog, automotive, manufacturing, leisure, utilities, property, e-commerce and government.

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Household Extends Kanbay SLA Contract

Kanbay has signed a four-year, $65 million contract, the largest service level agreement in its 13-year history working with Household International. Kanbay currently represents over 40 percent of Household’s code development capacity. Kanbay’s services range across several core business areas within Household including consumer and mortgage lending, banking and private label credit card systems, internal business, data, testing and internal messaging systems. Kanbay and Household are tightly integrated in a “co-sourced” model that unites the resources of both companies to form a unique approach to developing technology solutions that serve Household’s demanding business requirements.

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Student Advantage Does Reverse Split

Boston-based Student Advantage and its shareholders have approved a one-for-ten reverse split of the company’s common stock. The company’s stock will trade under the new ticker symbol “STUA” beginning July 1st. The reverse split reduces the number of shares issues and outstanding common stock from approximately 5.4 million to approximately 540,000 and the number of authorized shares of common stock to 1.0 million.

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Brits Add $1.4 Billion in Card Debt in May

Credit card outstandings in the United Kingdom for May grew at its fastest pace in three years. Net credit card lending increased £823m during May to end the month at £49.5bn, the biggest increase since May 2000. According to the Bank of England, credit card lending only increased £303m during May 2002. Total lending to individuals grew by £8.6 billion or 1.0% in May, seasonally adjusted, just lower than the rise in April. The three-month (annualized) growth rate fell to 13.2% from 13.3% (13.6%) in April. The twelve-month growth rate fell to 13.7% from 13.8% (13.9%) in April.

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IRS Renews OPC Contract

Tier Technologies’ Official Payments Corporation subsidiary has won the first of four optional one-year contract renewals with the Internal Revenue Service. The renewal of the contract, first awarded in April 2002, allows Official Payments to continue to collect and process individual federal income tax payments by credit card through May 31, 2004. Official Payments began processing credit card tax payments for the IRS in 1999.

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Bank One Upgrades Chicago ATMs

Bank One announced plans to invest $20 million this year to improve banking centers and ATMs in the Chicago area. This brings the company’s total announced investment to more than $100 million in Chicago over the next two years. The new investment will go toward renovating Bank One’s 208 Chicagoland branches and replacing 320 ATMs. Bank One also plans to replace it’s total nationwide network of more than 40,000 ATMs. The new machines feature touch screens, full-color graphics, voice prompts and web capability.

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Retail Decisions Launches New Payment Gateway

NJ-based Retail Decisions has launched a new payment gateway that bridges the gap between purchasing licensed software and using a service bureau for online payment processing for card-not-present transactions. The new “ReD1” payment gateway has all the functionality of customized payment processing software, providing real-time and batch authorization, fraud prevention and settlement services for online, call center and IVR transactions for middle to large retailers. “ReD1” offers an interface to payment processors such as Paymentech, Chase Merchant Services, First Data Merchant Services and American Express. Customers also have access to “Level 2” and “Level 3” procurement card processing; “Bill Me Later” payment support; multiple currency settlement conversion; and multiprocessor support. The “ReD1” payment gateway service also uses “ebitGuard”, the company’s multi-dimensional real-time fraud prevention services to help merchants reduce customer insult rates, transaction out-sort rates and charge-backs due to fraudulent CNP payments.

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MAY CARD DEBT

Credit card outstandings for May grew at its fastest pace in three years. Net credit card lending increased £823m during May to end the month at £49.5bn, the biggest increase since May 2000. According to the Bank of England, credit card lending only increased £303m during May 2002. Total lending to individuals grew by £8.6 billion or 1.0% in May, seasonally adjusted, just lower than the rise in April. The three-month (annualized) growth rate fell to 13.2% from 13.3% (13.6%) in April. The twelve-month growth rate fell to 13.7% from 13.8% (13.9%) in April.

Secured lending outstanding grew by £6.9 billion or 1.0% in May, seasonally adjusted, £0.4 billion lower than the rise in April. The three-month (annualized) growth rate fell to 13.1% from 13.4% (13.7%) in April.

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Business Bank of Nevada Enters Merchant Services

Business Bank of Nevada is partnering with the Eliot Management Group to deliver low-cost credit card processing, check services, gift cards, and ATMs to its customers and businesses throughout Nevada. The partnership gives EMG access to the Bank’s current and future clients who will be invited to enroll for credit card processing, check verification, check guarantee, check representment, gift card and ATM services. EMG will provide customers with competitive rates and fees, credit card processing services, discounts for credit card equipment, and local on-demand service. Merchants served by EMG currently process over $1 billion annually in credit card transactions, one of the top merchant portfolios in the country.

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CashWorks and Infonox Partner

CashWorks has certified its check cashing “Central Decision Engine” on the Infonox “Active Payment Platform.” The two companies will also begin testing a multi-function financial services kiosk solution. The kiosk will utilize Infonox’s patented ActiveVerifier technology to authenticate customers and transmit the transaction data to CashWorks’ Central Decision Engine for risk analysis and approval. Additionally, Infonox’s flexible Active Payment Platform will allow CashWorks to add new products supported by Infonox to existing PayPort locations and to develop and deploy new hardware platforms to meet the unique needs of its customers.

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Wincor Nixdorf Attacks ATM Scams

ATM manufacturer Wincor Nixdorf will be offering new security devices by the end of this year to fight ATM fraud attacks such as the “Lebanese Loop” and card skimming. The “Lebanese Loop” is a sleeve of plastic or other material that is placed in the card reader, trapping the card and preventing it from being retained by the card reader. When the customer leaves the ATM, the thief, who may have seen the customer’s PIN number, then has access to the ATM card and account information. Wincor Nixdorf has developed a special holding mechanism that prevents the illegally installed device and the customer card from being removed. If the transport path is blocked the ATM is taken out of operation before the customer has a chance to enter the PIN number. ATM card skimming attacks occur when the account number on the ATM card is read via a fraudulent device called a skimmer. The skimmer is placed over the card reader so that the card can be fraudulently duplicated. Wincor Nixdorf has developed a special module that includes sensors that permanently monitor the ATM’s card slot so that if a fraudulent device is identified, the sensors immediately take the ATM out of operation. The new security devices will be available worldwide for Wincor Nixdorf “ProCashT” ATMs.

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Canadian Tire Bank Opens for Business This Week

Canadian Tire Bank will begin operations tomorrow. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions recently approved the new bank which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Tire Financial Services. The bank will be used to fuel growth of the “Options MasterCard” portfolio and enable CTFS to cut costs. Currently, CTFS manages more than 2.5 million “Options MasterCard” accounts. These accounts make up more than 85% of Canadian Tire’s gross credit charge receivables. Financial Services plans to add at least 600,000 new accounts by the end of 2003 and convert the remaining 230,000 qualifying retail card accounts to the “Options MasterCard.” CTC’s Financial Services business had net credit charge receivables at the end of the first quarter of $1.86 billion, a 36.7% increase over 1Q/02.

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