LUOTTOKUNTA SMART CARDS

Luottokunta has selected LogicaCMG to provide the national implementation
of a new end-to-end card processing solution, enabling the issuance of
multi application smart cards. This major implementation will replace
Luottokunta’s entire platform for card issuing, acquiring, interchange,
settlement and transaction switching. It will support new security features
to achieve full compliance with the global EMV standards, allowing all
banks and retailers in Finland using Luottokunta’s services to process chip
card transactions. It will also enable other chip applications such as ID,
advanced loyalty, travel and other applications to be integrated onto a
single smart card. Luottokunta is a co-operative credit institution jointly
owned by Finnish banks and merchants. The company is the sole issuer and
acquirer of VISA cards in Finland. Luottokunta is also a dual issuer and
acquirer for Eurocard/MasterCard products as well.

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iNetEvents Acquisitions

Los Angeles-based iNetEvents has inked a deal to acquire 100% of International Card Establishment, Inc. and GlobalTech Leasing, Inc., both headquartered in Oxnard, California. Following the two acquisitions and a share restructuring, iNetEvents will own 100% of both I.C.E. and GlobalTech Leasing and have approximately 17.6 million shares outstanding. The current online registration business will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

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MASTERCARD WORKING

MasterCard International has introduced a new corporate payment program
for European small business. “MasterCard Working in Europe” combines card
programs, value-added services, productivity tools, and
savings/discounts. MasterCard says 19 million European small companies are
projected to spend over â_¬250 billion in routine business expenditures in
2003. “Working in Europe” provides member financial
institutions with a customizable approach to designing card-payment program
that ‘work’ for their small and mid-size business customers. Beginning
later in 2003, “MasterCard Working” in Europe will provide access to
“MasterCard Smart Data Express” that will streamline reporting and
transaction displays and help small companies consolidate and manage their
spending.

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DPI & ERA

TransFirst’s Data Processors International subsidiary has been selected as the preferred e-check processing provider for the Electronic Retailing Association. Through this two year agreement, ERA member organizations will receive full e-commerce, credit card and e-check processing services through DPI, which will provide these services with volume discounts on transaction fees, no upfront deposits, and low reserve rates.

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Citigroup 4Q/02

Citigroup reported this morning that its North America Cards division, which includes the card operations of Mexico-based Banamex, posted $818 million in profits for the fourth quarter, a 22% increase over 4Q/01. Card volume for 4Q/02 was up 8% to $65.7 billion and average outstandings hit $114.1 billion, a 6% increase over the year-ago quarter. Profits were driven largely by a 10% increase in revenue and the lower cost of funds. Citi’s 4Q/02 ROA was 2.70% compared to 2.37% one year ago. The strong performance came despite a loss of 4.4 million accounts over the past twelve months. Citigroup’s North American account base dropped from 93.1 million accounts for 4Q/01 to 88.7 million for 4Q/02. Citi also reported a lower delinquency and charge-off rate compared to the previous quarter and year ago period. Delinquency (90+ days) declined to 1.84% for 4Q/02, compared to 1.86% in the third quarter, and, 1.96% one year ago. Charge-offs dropped to 5.61% from 5.75% in 3Q/02 and 5.69% in 4Q/01. For complete details on Citigroup’s 4Q/02 performance as well as historical performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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VISA Hall of Fans

VISA’s “Hall Of Fans” at the Pro Football Hall of Fame has named Philadelphia Eagles fan, Jim “Torchman” Convey, and Oakland Raiders fan, Charles “Darth Raider” Ybarra, among others to its list of recognized fans. The exhibit showcases the honorees through individual panels featuring the fans’ names, photographs and short testimonials. The exhibit also includes famous fan mementos, such as a Redskins’ Hogette dress and a barrel that Denver’s Barrelman used to wear; an honor roll with the names of previous Visa Hall of Fans honorees; and a film of the league’s most dedicated and sometimes outrageous personalities.

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Euronet UK

Euronet Worldwide is selling its UK ATM network to Bridgepoint Capital Limited for $29.6 million. Bridgepoint, a London-based private equity firm, plans to operate the 745 ATM UK network under the name Bank Machine Limited. Bridgepoint has also signed an outsourcing agreement with Euronet to drive the ATMs from its European Operations Center in Budapest, Hungary. Euronet plans to use the proceeds to repay debt and/or invest in new business. Euronet Services (UK) Ltd. was formed in 1998. All 22 of its current employees will remain with Bank Machine Limited, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com][1]). Euronet says it will focus on obtaining additional outsourcing contracts in UK and throughout Europe.

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

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Card Scam Busted

The FTC last week filed charges against seven corporations and nine individuals for engaging in deceptive and unfair activities in the marketing of advance-fee credit card packages. The Assail Telemarketing Network marketed products under the names “Advantage Capital,” “Capital First,” and “Premier One.” The FTC alleges that the defendants operate an advance-fee credit card scam through a network of boiler rooms, Canadian front men, and outsourced fulfillment and customer service centers. The court has temporarily halted the defendants’ operation, froze their assets, and appointed a receiver to take over the corporate defendants. The defendants include: UT-based Assail, Inc. and Infinium, Inc., Market-Reps.com, Inc., all headquartered in Cedar City, Utah, TX-based Specialty Outsourcing Solutions, Inc. and NV-based Summit Communications International, Inc.; FL-based Capital First Benefits, Inc.; and, ID-based Premier One Benefits, Inc.

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Bank One 4Q/02

Bank One reported that fourth quarter credit card net income declined 2% to $321 million, due primarily to margin compression produced by the highly competitive pricing environment where no annual fee and 0% APR offers continue to flood the market. Total revenue for 4Q/02 was $2.0 billion, a 2% increase, but net interest income declined 5% to $1.5 billion. EOY 2002 outstandings hit $74.0 billion, an increase of $5.8 billion, or 9% over year-ago levels. Bank One opened 1.3 million new accounts during the quarter. Charge volume was $43.5 billion, an increase of $5.2 billion, or 14%, over the prior year and $4.0 billion, or 10%, over the prior quarter. Net charge-offs, as a percentage of average managed loans, were 5.13% for the fourth quarter, down from 5.59% in 4Q/01. The 30-day delinquency ratio was 4.02%, down from 4.46% in the prior year and 4.05% in the prior quarter. Paymentech, the Company’s merchant card processor, also experienced strong growth as total revenues increased 18%, driven by a 19% increase in bank card volume and a 21% increase in total transactions. Bank One also reported a 2% increase in debit cards issued from 4,565,000 one year ago to 4,647,000 for 4Q/02. For complete details on Bank One’s 4Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Canadian Tire Petroleum Deploys Now Prepay Phone Card Terminals

SchlumbergerSema has been selected by ZETES to provide the operating
system and secure modules for the upcoming “Belgian Personal Identity
Card.” The BelPIC is the first large-scale deployment of electronic
identity cards in Europe. Approximately 11 million cards will be produced
and distributed to Belgian citizens over the next five years, with an
initial phase covering 11 municipalities spread throughout the country, due
to begin in the 2nd quarter of 2003.

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OwnerTel Debit Card

Tampa-based OwnerTel has launched its “OwnerTel Debit Card,” a stored value card that also serves as a pre-paid calling card with a unique company stock ownership awards program. The OwnerTel Debit Card can be used for purchases at millions of retail locations worldwide. In addition, consumers have instant availability of their money through the largest ATM Networks in the world. Consumers can make card-to-card cash transfers online which eliminates the need to wire money. Funds available through these transfers are automatically converted into the local currency.

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Experian Stickman

Experian Consumer Direct has rolled out a new “Stickman” TV commercial, created by The Response Shop and produced by Auster Productions, to promote its FreeCreditReport.com service. This winter, viewers will see Stickman get married, be surprised by a visit from the family stork, and learn how good credit can help protect his new, rather large family. The spot will begin airing on network and cable television stations in January.

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