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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SMART GOLF CARD

Toronto-based KESM Transaction Solutions is launching a smart card loyalty program for golf
using a Catuity loyalty application and Banksys POS terminals. The program also allows
accumulated “yards” to be redeemed for merchandise, refreshments, supplies or facility use.
Additionally, members receive a weekly email with Divot Deals, offers like “double yards” at
specific courses or invitations to local tournaments, as two examples. Members can access
their program details for each of the 18 courses at a secure link on the Fore! Honors web
site.

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Card Shame

San Francisco-based Consumer Action said this morning it has uncovered a sinkhole of anti-consumer practices by credit card issuers, including tiny minimum monthly payments, outrageous late fees, and significantly higher penalty rates. The non-profit consumer group, which surveyed 143 credit cards, says the most egregious credit card practice is raising existing cardholders rates because of their poor credit record with other creditors, even if the cardholder has made no late payments or other missteps with the card in question. Consumer Action says it believes this practice violates the spirit of the Truth-in-Lending Act’s notice requirements. The consumer group says it calls on regulators and lawmakers to look into credit card punitive pricing policies. Consumer Action also found that one-fifth of surveyed issuers have shifted to tiered late payment fees, and that more than one-third of surveyed institutions will not provide a firm APR until they have screened the applicants credit history. The Consumer Action data shows the average APR on all cards was 12.19% and the average annual fee was $35.67.

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FINREAD KIT

Versailles-based Trusted Logic and US-based Wave Systems have developed a “FINREAD”
specification software application development kit. “FINREAD” (Financial Transactional IC Card
Reader), led by Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (France), along with SIZ (Germany), Banksys
(Belgium), Interpay (The Netherlands), Europay, VISA and others, establishes standards and
specifications for smart card readers and advanced e-commerce terminals used in home banking,
shopping and other services for the deployment of interoperable, secure smart card terminals
for European Union countries. Wave and Trusted Logic are demonstrating an application
development environment for the secure execution of finlets, the secure executables that are
based on FINREAD specifications. Wave’s hardware-based, open, programmable EMBASSY technology
embeds trust and security in user devices, enabling strong authentication, and reliable,
secure digital exchange and commerce. EMBASSY technology is ideally suited to applications
such as FINREAD where secure tamper resistant execution, tight integration with smart cards,
and secure input and output services are required.

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