OPC Renewals

Official Payments Corporation has signed a three-year contract renewal with the State of Minnesota’s Department of Revenue, a three-year contract renewal from the State of New Jersey’s Division of Revenue, a one-year contract renewal with the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue, a two-year renewal contract from Virginia’s Department of Taxation, and a one-year contract renewal from the City of Richmond, VA. Official Payments charges citizens a convenience fee for the service. Citizens using credit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and airline frequent flyer miles or cash back for paying their taxes, fees and fines.

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Brits Online

A new study has found that Londoners spend an average of £114 online every month, 13% spend more than £200, and 6% a whopping £500 or more. According to new figures from The Royal Bank of Scotland the national average is £94 with just 7% spending more than £200 and 3% more than £500, while in the Midlands, the lowest spending region, the average spend is just £68 and none spend more than £500. But although they spend most, Londoners are less likely to use the web for shopping than those in any other region. Just 13% of Londoners regularly shop online compared to a national average of 21% and a quarter of those in the south east and East Anglia.

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Black Friday

The “Black Friday” weekend attracted nearly 76% of Americans into retail stores and, as a result, the average consumer has completed 38.7% of his or her shopping. The top gifts purchased this weekend included books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games (41.0%); clothing or clothing accessories (40.4%); toys (34.6 %) and home decor or home-related furnishings (23.7%). According to the survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation, gift cards were the third most popular gift choice as 45% of consumers indicate they plan to purchase them during the holiday season. However, the NRF found that after “Black Friday” weekend, only 19% of consumers have reported purchasing gift cards. Discount department stores attracted 49% of consumers this past weekend. About 30% of consumers shopped at department stores, while 33% used the Internet, 27% visited specialty stores, and 16% shopped from catalogues. NRF projects an increase of 4% in holiday retail sales this year over last year, bringing estimated revenues of $209.3 billion this holiday season.

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Billserv Contracts

TX-based Billserv has renewed and/or expanded contracts with Time Warner Cable; City of Naperville, Illinois; San Antonio Express-News; San Antonio Water System; and NorthWestern Energy. Billserv, Inc., the leading electronic bill presentment and payment Outsourced Solution Provider, delivers comprehensive, cost effective solutions for presenting and servicing consumer bills for secure and reliable payment via the Internet.

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PSCU December Surprise

PSCU Financial Services announced it will returns more than $1 million in patronage equity to its member-owner credit unions this month, three months ahead of schedule. This is the third redemption of patronage equities since PSCU Financial Services became a cooperative. In 2001, the company issued early redemption of former Service Center Class B common stock and the 1994 revolving funds, resulting in $3 million in patronage equity returned to member-owners ahead of schedule.

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OTI CHINA ID

Rosh Pina-based OTI has signed an agreement with a Chinese company
to provide its contactless smart card technology for use in the China
National ID project. Over 850 million people, who are at the age of 18 and
over, are expected to use the new ID system through thousands of
interfacing points.
Under the agreement, OTI will supply to the Chinese company its patented
contactless microprocessor technology to enable production of contactless ID
cards. A prototype is expected during 2003. The chip will be fully
compatible with ISO 14443 standards for contactless transactions.

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CIBC 3Q/02

Toronto-based CIBC reported that its market share of card purchase
volumes hit 31.7% for the quarter ending Oct 31st, while market share of
card balances outstanding now stands at 21.5%. CIBC also reported a 40%
increase in customers for its President’s Choice Financial brand over the
past twelve months, to end the quarter with 1.05 million customers. During
the quarter, CIBC decided that it would close its U.S. electronic banking
operations and focus on further developing its electronic banking
operations in Canada. Overall, CIBC reported a quarterly loss of $100
million, down from reported earnings of $242 million for the same quarter
of 2001 and reported earnings of $193 million in the prior quarter. The
decrease in reported earnings from the same quarter in 2001 was primarily
due to restructuring charges in the U.S. electronic banking operations and
other businesses, and lower revenue from the CIBC World Markets business line.

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HOLIDAY SPENDING

Canadian consumers plan to pay out an average total of $1,077 this year on
gifts, entertainment and other holiday related spending, up 6.3% from
$1,013 in 2001 but still down from $1,327 in 2000. For those
two-out-of-five people (42%) who plan to use credit cards for purchases
this season, 68% will pay off their balances right away to avoid interest
charges, up significantly from 52% last year, according to the annual
American Express “Holiday Shopping Survey.” The average consumer will buy
gifts for 11 people this year, but are likely to buy less expensive gifts
to keep expenses manageable. Most Canadians (39%) plan to spend less than
$100 on a single gift, with 9% paying $350 or more on one gift. This is
down from the high of 2000, when 14% believed they would spend $350 or more
on one gift. Last year that number was 8%.

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HBC 3Q/02

Hudson’s Bay Company reported that credit card receivables for the quarter ending 10/31/02 were $413.9 million compared to $371.1 million last year, an 11.5% increase. HBC also reported that the average balance per active customer account was $422, a 7.1% increase over one year ago. The average volume per active account was $535 compared to $502 for the quarter ending 10/31/01. HBC’s average monthly active accounts were 3.0 million, down slightly from last years 3.2 million. Sales on HBC’s credit card in the third quarter represented 27.8% of total retail sales of the major retail divisions compared to 27.7% in 3Q/01. At the end of the quarter, there were 2.9 million active customer accounts in the combined credit card portfolios for the Bay and Zellers, 1.4 million Bay cardholders and 1.5 million Zellers cardholders. Over the last twelve months, the quality of the credit card portfolio has remained relatively constant. 94.7% of the receivable portfolio was classified as current and 30 days past due, compared to 94.8% at October 31, 2001. For complete details on HBC’s latest quarterly performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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VISA 3Q/02

VISA continues to dominate the off-line debit market as “Check Card” dollar volume grew 19.6% and transaction volume increased 21.5% for the year ending Sept. 30th. At the end of the third quarter, VISA U.S.A. had 113.9 million “Check Cards” in-force representing 84.1 million accounts. Over the prior four quarters, VISA has processed more than 6.4 million debit card transactions, compared to 6.2 million credit card transactions. While debit card volume has remained solid, VISA’s credit card business posted a modest 2.5% gain in volume over the past four quarters. The number of credit cards in the U.S. inched upward by 2.0%, to end the third quarter with 254.1 million cards and 201.8 million accounts. For the third quarter, VISA’s U.S. debit card volume was $96.1 billion and credit card volume was $156.9 billion. Overall, VISA’s U.S. volume is growing at an annual rate of 8.3% and VISA’s card base is expanding at an annual rate of 4.6%. For complete details on VISA’s third quarter performance as well as third quarter data from competing brands visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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