Soccer Sponsorship

MasterCard International announced this week it has renewed its sponsorship of international soccer’s five most prestigious events. The events include the “2006 FIFA World Cup” in Germany, “2004 UEFA European Football Championship” in Portugal, “UEFA Champions League” (through 2006), “2004 CONMEBOL Copa America,” and “2003 Copa Toyota Libertadores.” As an official sponsor of these five major properties, MasterCard’s exclusivity as the official payment system includes all real and/or virtual payment and/or account access systems (including credit cards, charge cards, ATM cards and networks, and travelers cheques). In addition to the high-profile properties, MasterCard has also enjoyed a long-standing relationship with soccer great Pelé.

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Card Debt 2002

At the end of 2002, American households, with at least one credit card, owed an average balance of $8,940 on all credit cards, up 8.5% over 2001. The $750.9 billion in credit card debt that consumers owed at the end of last year includes $660.9 billion for bank credit cards and $90 billion for retail credit cards. About 18.5%, or $138.9 billion of this debt was subsequently paid off in January under interest-free grace period policies. There the average household balance subject to a finance charge at EOY 2002 was $7,286, according to CardWeb.com’s CardFacts service ([www.cardfacts.com][1]). Approximately 84 million American households have at least one credit card out of a total universe of 105 million American households.

AVERAGE HH CREDIT CARD DEBT
(includes all credit cards and U.S.
households with at least one credit card)
1990 $2966 1997: $6247
1991 $3103 1998: $6618
1992 $3275 1999: $7031
1993 $3646 2000: $7842
1994 $4301 2001: $8234
1995 $5213 2002: $8940
1996 $5875

Source: CardFacts ([www.cardfacts.com][2])

[1]: http://www.cardfacts.com
[2]: http://www.cardfacts.com

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UFJ SECURE-SITE

UFJ Card has selected Cyota to provide the “Verified by Visa” Internet payment security service for its seven million cardholders. UFJ Card’s “VbV” program is the first large scale commercial implementations of VISA’s new program in Japan. UFJ Card is the card division of UFJ Bank, created through the merger of Sanwa bank and Tokai bank. UFJ’s service is provided through Intelligent Wave, Cyota’s partner in Japan. Triangle Technologies, which has helped form numerous strategic alliances in Japan for its clients, assisted in signing the distribution agreement between Cyota and Intelligent Wave. Cyota’s “SecureSuite” has already been implemented by seven of the world’s largest issuers, and is available as a hosted or non-hosted solution.

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MC Asia/Pacific

MasterCard says Asia/Pacific is its fastest growing region in terms of merchant acceptance. MasterCard now has 16.5 million merchant locations in Asia/Pacific, a 54% increase over 2001. Globally, MasterCard acceptance is up nearly 27% to 30 million locations, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]). Meanwhile, gross dollar volume in the Asia/Pacific region rose 10.6% last year, to nearly US$223.2 billion. In the fourth quarter, Asia/Pacific GDV was up 5.2% to US$57.4 billion. The number of cards issued in the region rose 11.0% to 112.5 million. MasterCard has 102.4 million card accounts in Asia/Pacific. By country, GDV was up 23% in Korea, up 15% in Australia, and up 10% in Japan. With over 188.5 million Maestro cards, Asia/Pacific was the second largest Maestro region at EOY 2002. The number of Maestro cards in the region rose 32.6% over year-end 2001.

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

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COKE LIGHT MASTERCARD

Coca-Cola, Postbank, and MasterCard have teamed to launch a country-wide Coke light marketing campaign that features a limited edition “Coca-Cola light MasterCard from Postbank.” To support the launch SMS is being used as the vehicle to respond to a competition to win 100 MasterCard cards valued for €10,000 worth of purchases. Over eighteen million Coca-Cola light and Coca-Cola light lemon “silver” bottles, each featuring a unique code, have been distributed throughout the Netherlands. Purchasers are invited to check if they have a winning code by sending an SMS or via the Web. Over 2,000 retail outlets will sell the unique silver Coca-Cola light and Coca-Cola light lemon bottles. The campaign will run until the end of August 2003.

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Bankruptcy Reform

The House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 975 this week but defeated 14 amendments. The bankruptcy reform legislation has a good chance of passing both houses of Congress this year with the Republicans in the majority. The legislation failed last year after getting hung up on an amendment related to the dischargeability of debts associated with abortion protests. The bill passed this week does not include the abortion amendment.

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Trakker & ATM Manager Pro

e-ClassicSystems, Inc. and Palm Desert National Bank announced the beginning of a long-term partnership to improve the electronic communication among Palm Desert National Bank, ISOs, and armored carriers. The relationship includes an interface between Palm Desert’s in-house Trakker cash management system and ATM Manager Pro to electronically accept cash orders and return cash delivery information to joint customers.

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Tax Evasion

The U.S. government yesterday filed petitions in seven federal courts seeking records from individual MasterCard accounts at Leadenhall Bank & Trust in the Bahamas. The IRS and Justice Department said the action was taken after ten people involved refused to produce records sought by earlier court summonses. This is the first time the government has used court action to target individual Americans in this investigation. The IRS is going after U.S. citizens who purportedly hide income via credit and debit cards issued by offshore banks. The IRS has given these individuals until April 15 to pay their taxes without fear of civil penalties or criminal liability. The petitions were filed in federal courts in Maryland, California, Florida, Nevada, North Dakota, and Tennessee. The IRS estimates as many as two million taxpayers may be involved in the credit/debit card tax evasion scheme. The two-year-old campaign has produced several dozen potential criminal prosecutions. According to court documents, Leadenhall Bank & Trust issues 100% secured cards and permits cardholders to access 75% of the balance, often using a second card from the same bank to pay the charges on the first card. In August, the IRS asked seven U.S. District Courts to permit it to serve “John Doe” summonses on airlines, hotels and other business for details on MasterCard credit card transactions. The “John Doe” summonses requested involved more than 40 companies in San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Newark, and Alexandria, VA. (CF Library 10/31/00; 4/2/02; 5/8/02; 8/3/02)

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