China Market

A new study shows that the middle class will drive payment card growth in the China as its expands from 60 million to 160 million people by 2010. The report also says that there are already more than 50 million people in China who can be characterized as “cardable.” The MasterCard report says there are only one million credit cardholders in China today, but there are about 24 million secured credit cardholders, and virtually all of them will become credit cardholders tomorrow. MasterCard has about 16 million secured credit cards in-force in China. MasterCard also anticipates significant growth over the next few years in the international credit card business in China, based in part on the estimated increase in the size of China’s middle class over the rest of this decade as well as the increasing acceptance of such cards by merchants and financial institutions, driven increasingly by raising international visitor arrivals. This year the number of ATMs that accept international payment cards will rise to 1,300 in Beijing and more than 8,000 ATMs nationwide. Currently in Beijing city, international payment cards are accepted at around 16,000 point of sale terminals. The city government of Beijing plans to increase this in three years time to 80,000.

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ICICI One-Source

Mumbai-based ICICI OneSource reported that its workforce has tripled to 2,175 employees, during the past 12 months. I-OneSource primarily serves the banking, insurance, asset management, and diversified financial services markets in the U.S. and U.K. with off-shore back office services. The company currently handles upwards of 18 million voice and back office transactions a year. The firm recently received the prestigious “COPC” certification, becoming the first company in the world to achieve this rigorous standard for back office processing services.

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ATB & FDC

Edmonton-based ATB Financial has signed a seven-year agreement with First Data for card processing services for ATB’s MasterCard credit card accounts. First Data has provided card processing services in Canada since 2000 and currently processes accounts on behalf of four card issuers. The company is also a leading merchant acquirer of MasterCard transactions in Canada working with a wide range of merchants representing nearly 90,000 outlets. ATB serves over 240 communities through a network of 145 branches, 132 agencies, and 225 automated banking machines and electronic banking services.

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CATUITY BOARD

Catuity confirmed today that its former Executive Chairman has decided to
resign from the company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. Last
month, Catuity announced that Chairman David Mac Smith had voluntarily
stepped down as Chairman. The company said it decided to transition the
role of Chairman to a non-executive chairman and therefore determined not
to renew Mac Smith’s employment agreement, which expires August 31st. At
the time, Mac Smith said he was considering his position on the Board.
Catuity says MacSmith will not be replaced at the present time and the
Catuity board will now consist of the five current directors, two
Australian-based and three-US based. Catuity is a leading provider of
application software for loyalty programs integrated to the payment system
at the point of sale.

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Do-Not-Call Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission is going after two Internet sites that claim they can “pre-register” consumers for the upcoming “Do Not Call” registry. The Commission is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop immediately the deceptive claims made on Free Do Not Call List.org and the National Do Not Call List. The two services are charging between $9.99 and $17.99 per year to be listed on their service. The sites falsely claim that it can place consumers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” registry, which will start this summer.

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ICICI ONE-SOURCE

Mumbai-based ICICI OneSource reported that its workforce has tripled to
2,175 employees, during the past 12 months. I-OneSource primarily serves
the banking, insurance, asset management, and diversified financial
services markets in the U.S. and U.K. with off-shore back office services.
The company currently handles upwards of 18 million voice and back office
transactions a year. The firm recently received the prestigious “COPC”
certification, becoming the first company in the world to achieve this
rigorous standard for back office processing services.

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GE Loans

General Electric is reportedly gearing up to launch the “GE FlexPlus Account,” a personal unsecured loan program, next year. GE is expected to send at least one million solicitations for the loan program in 2004, according to The Wall Street Journal. GE will offer credit limits between $500 and $25,000. Interest rates will range between 7.99% and 18.99%. Last month, GE reported that its credit card profits dropped 13% in the first quarter to $181 million, compared to $209 million one year ago. Revenues for GE’s credit card business were also down, slightly, from $903 million for 1Q/02 to $893 million for 1Q/03. During the first quarter GE inked a deal to buy Conseco’s retail sales finance and private label credit card business. However, the deal has recently come under government scrutiny. (CF Library 4/11/03).

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CXR POS ORDERS

Abondant-based CXR reported this week that its sales for communications
equipment targeted at the POS market have escalated rapidly over the past
12 months.
The company has received more than $1.5 million in new orders and has
delivered 5,000 units during the past year. Direct clients include system
integrators Carte & Services, ADS Anker, Monetique Control Plus, Tokheim
and Wincor Nixdorf. CXR says it now has a 60%+ market share in the supply
of communication equipment for the verification of credit cards. CXR is a
subsidiary of MicroTel International.

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VISA & HP

HP said it has successfully completed a project for VISA EU’s new
purpose-built European Headquarters. HP says VISA EU faced a number of
challenges with regard to its IT systems and needed to consolidate IT
costs. HP handled the upgrade program and also provided server, storage and
printer products. The upgrade program has enabled VISA to make fundamental
changes to its technology infrastructure. In particular, VISA was able to
consolidate a previously dispersed and departmental server environment into
a single “ProLiant-based” server farm. Also, underneath this new system is
a disaster-tolerant storage area network (SAN) that forms a critical piece
of the business continuity requirement.

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