PAYMENT PRO

Ontario-basedICINITI Corporation has released “Credit Card Payment Pro” for “ACCPAC Advantage Series.” “Credit Card Payment Pro” integrates credit card payments from order entry through to accounts receivable. Payments are separated into categories for American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Diners Club. Key features include: automatic attachment of tracking code; runs on Website or local area network; employs industry-standard payment methods; automatically lists invoices, captures funds, posts payments and handles
returns; and provides a full transaction history.

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MasterCard e-P3

MasterCard this morning launched the first electronic payment and information management service fully integrated with the its “Corporate Purchasing Card” product. The new “e-P3” service, which runs on the Xign platform, automatically links electronic purchase orders, invoices, receipt of goods, and other transaction documents with purchasing card transactions. “e-P3” enables “Level III” data to be exchanged electronically between buyers and suppliers with every single transaction by leveraging the MasterCard “Global Data Repository.” Online reporting of transaction data is available through MasterCard “Smart Data OnLine.” For suppliers, enrollment in MasterCard “e-P3” can be completed over the Internet with any Web browser. The first “e-P3” adopters include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with its “JPMorgan Chase MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Card” and Pantellos with its “Citibank MasterCard Corporate Purchasing Card” programs.

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CARD RESCUE

The Financial Supervisory Service says major companies and banks have agreed to raise approximately $3.6 billion to fend off potential bankruptcy in their credit card subsidiaries. Also, government-run Korea Asset Management plans to buy between $4 billion and $5 billion worth of bad credit card loans. The Korean credit card industry has been hit hard by an economic crisis as well as an accounting scandal at SK Global. SK allegedly inflated its 2002 earnings by $1.2 billion. The FSS reported that card payments, 30+ days overdue, increased 23% to $6.3 billion in January from $5.1 billion in December. Credit card issuers lost a total of $207 million in 2002. In January, credit card losses topped $326 million. The Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Financial Supervisory Service, and the Bank of Korea said it will also require credit card companies to reduce operating expenses and boost capital. Some card issuers have indicated they will reduce grace periods from 40 days to 25 days, and drop zero percent interest rate offers. Kookmin Credit Card announced a 20% reduction in its workforce. Korean Exchange Bank Credit Services also plans to cut 20% of its workforce. Samsung Card and Hyundai Card said they will gradually reduce their number of employees.

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MONEYGRAM CONTRACT

Banco del Ahorro Nacional y Servicios Financieros has agreed to provide MoneyGram Payment Systems money transfer service at 1,000 locations throughout that country. The network is comprised of the Bansefi-Bonos del Ahorro Nacional branches as well as diverse organizations of cajas (small savings associations), cooperatives and financial institutions. The L@Red de la Gente is a strategic alliance that offers all types of financial services including money transfer to people without access to a commercial bank account. MoneyGram’s “CAMBIO PLUS” service, which allows customers in the U.S. to send money at a low cost to Mexico in ten minutes, will be available at those locations. With the addition of Bansefi and the L@Red de la Gente network, MoneyGram agents in Mexico will total about 5,800.

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ReliaCard

U.S. Bank has issued its third VISA stored value card tied to state government agencies. The “Minnesota ReliaCard VISA” follows on the heels of similar programs in Colorado and Washington. The State of Minnesota is using the VISA stored value card to disburse child support payments. With the “ReliaCard VISA” the state collects court ordered payments and electronically loads the payment on to the card for the receiving parent. Minnesota currently issues more than 180,000 checks each month, collecting and distributing about $46 million in child support payments. While the card free of charge there is a $1.50 fee for ATM transactions. In Colorado, U.S. Bank offers the “Family Support Registry VISA” in conjunction with the State of Colorado’s child support payments program. The Colorado program was launched as a pilot in 2001. (CF Library 2/11/03)

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EFTA Conference Speakers

The Electronic Funds Transfer Association announced the addition of three more speakers for its May 6 conference on the future of government payments technology. Joining the program are Mary Dixon, director of the Common Access Card Office of the U.S. Department of Defense; Robin Williamson McBrearty, director of the New England PARTNERS WIC EBT project; and Harvey C. Eckert, deputy secretary for comptroller operations for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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MetaCard

Fiserv CBS Worldwide has introduced a software solution that manages all facets of a credit card program through issuer and acquirer functions, fraud alert, loyalty programs and authorizations. The new “MetaCard” solution is available as fully integrated or modular software for multi-bank and multi-product processing. It also offers private-label processing, major purchase plans, transaction-based pricing and full card issuance. “MetaCard” also allows multiple loyalty programs to work with both the issuer and acquirer modules. The fraud alert and authorizations modules are rules-based systems. In 2001, Fiserv CBS Worldwide strategically entered the credit card industry by purchasing the assets of Columbian-based Compania Latinoamericana de Software. The assets included “FACT 400” credit card solution used extensively in Latin America. (CF Library 12/7/01)

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Cross Country Suit

PA-based Applied Card Systems and DE-based Cross Country Bank, sub-prime credit card specialists, were separately sued last week by the Minnesota Attorney General and the New York Attorney General. The lawsuits charge Applied and Cross Country with fraud, false advertising, deceptive business practices (including the use of predatory interest rates/fees), and, abusive debt collection practices. The suits noted that Cross Country was the subject of 25% of the complaints processed by the FDIC from 2000 to 2002. The New York Attorney General’s office said it handled about 400 complaints about Cross County. The Minnesota Attorney General reportedly fielded more than 200 Cross Country complaints. Cross Country Bank is the nation’s 23rd largest bank credit card issuer, based on year-end 2002 outstandings. The issuer has about 2.4 million cardholders according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Wal-Mart Suit

Washington, DC-based The Small Business Survival Committee reiterated Friday that it will be a severe blow to the ability of small businesses to compete against giant retailers if VISA and MasterCard lose in the Wal-Mart debit card lawsuit. Meanwhile, talk of a potential settlement by the parties in the antitrust lawsuit is spreading. The settlement speculation is fueled by the dismissal last week of all of VISA and MasterCard’s summary judgement motions by federal judge John Gleeson. The judge granted most of the plaintiff’s motions. The SBSC says small businesses like the current debit card system because the transaction costs are lower than credit cards, paper checks and American Express. The SBSC says large retailers are trying to dismantle consumer choice, uproot a payments system, gain more control over the card networks, and squeeze small businesses. Jury selection is scheduled to begin April 21st with a trial date of April 28th

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