AAA/CarsDirect.com VISA Gift Card

AAA announced it has formed an alliance with CarsDirect.com so the auto club’s 4 million members in Northern California and Nevada can research and buy new cars through aaa.com. “Buying a new car online is gaining in popularity because people want an easy and hassle-free way to get the best price without haggling over it,” said Don Felts, AAA’s Corporate Vice President of eBusiness and Automotive Services. “We want aaa.com to be the car buying destination for our members, providing access to the best information, the best research tools, best prices and best services on the Internet,” Felts said.

AAA’s newly redesigned website offers help with virtually every aspect of owning a car, from buying and selling a vehicle to financing, insurance, gas prices, maps, trip planning and routing, tips on maintenance and how to find a good mechanic.

With CarsDirect, aaa.com visitors get research tools that help narrow the search for the right car by manufacturer, price range, and vehicle type. They also get a side-by-side comparison option to evaluate up to four styles, and a “how much can I afford” calculator to help narrow the decision further. A price guarantee ensures that CarsDirect customers get the lowest possible price when purchasing a new car or truck: If a customer finds a lower purchase price for the same vehicle identically equipped, (within three days of purchase) CarsDirect.com will refund the difference between the price paid and the lower price advertised or offered in writing by another dealer. As an added membership benefit, AAA members who purchase a car through the program will receive a $50 prepaid Visa gift card.

CarsDirect, a pioneer online car buying service based in Los Angeles, also announced today that it has signed with three other AAA clubs, gaining Net access to a combined total of 9.5 million members in Northern California, Nevada, New York, Michigan, Chicago, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Washington.

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MASTERCARD AOL

AOL Argentina, a subsidiary of America Online Latin America, and
MasterCard, one of the leading payment companies in Latin America, announced an
innovative, joint marketing and advertising agreement. The program features a
unique AOL member acquisition initiative tied to the World Cup and
Argentina’s National Soccer Team.

Argentine consumers who register for the America Online Argentina service using
their MasterCard cards will qualify for special prizes and awards, including
personal visits with members of Argentina’s National Soccer Team. The agreement
provides for the promotion of America Online Argentina in MasterCard’s member
publications and MasterCard will also advertise on the America Online Argentina
service.

The MasterCard agreement builds upon AOL Latin America’s growing relationships
with top financial institutions and credit card companies throughout the
region. AOL Latin America has a successful strategic alliance with Banco Itau
of Brazil, with whom it operates a fast-growing, co-branded America Online
Brazil service that provides unique online banking features and functionality.
In August, AOL Brazil announced a co-branded credit card with Credicard, the
largest credit card company in Brazil. AOL Latin America also has developed
strong relationships with credit card companies and financial institutions in
Mexico such as Banorte.

Charles Herington, President and CEO of AOL Latin America, said: “We are very
happy to be working with MasterCard, one of the most well-known and respected
brands in the region. This marketing program provides yet another important way
for us to invite Argentine consumers to join the more than 1 million members
throughout Latin America who are enjoying the ease of use and convenience of
the AOL interactive experience. It also builds on our efforts to work with the
top financial institutions in Latin America to aggressively market our services
to consumers interested in embracing the power of the Internet.”

Osvaldo Setuain, President and CEO of AOL Argentina, said: “Argentine consumers
are increasingly making the Internet and America Online Argentina a central
part of their everyday lives. This program with MasterCard builds upon not only
our members’ love of the interactive experience, but their tremendous
enthusiasm for soccer, the World Cup tournament and their national team. We
look forward to strong results from this program, and are quite pleased to have
this opportunity to work with MasterCard, which has become an increasingly
important part of the Argentine financial landscape.”

Jean Rozwadowski, President of MasterCard for the Latin America and Caribbean
Region, said: “MasterCard and AOL Argentina together represent a powerful
alliance. We could not have found a better partner to market our credit cards
to the fast-growing online audience. AOL has rapidly become the premier online
brand in Latin America, and we are looking to leverage that strength in the
Argentine marketplace to continue building our own community of cardholders.
The ability to combine this effort with our unique World Cup promotion only
helps make this offering even more compelling to consumers, and will allow us
to reinforce with them MasterCard’s unparalleled reputation for excellence.”

About MasterCard

MasterCard International has a comprehensive portfolio of well-known, widely
accepted payment brands including MasterCarda, Cirrusa and Maestroa. More than
1.7 billion MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro logos are present on credit, charge
and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than
20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and
businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard
is a leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment
solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. MasterCard’s award-winning
Pricelessa advertising campaign is now seen in 80 countries and in more than 36
languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. With
more than 21 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places
and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 2000, gross dollar volume
exceeded US $857 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web
site at
http://www.mastercard.com.

About America Online Argentina

AOL Argentina SRL, is a subsidiary of America Online Latin America, Inc.
(NASDAQ:AOLA), a joint venture formed in 1998 by America Online, Inc., a wholly
owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), and the Cisneros Group
of Companies. With over 31 million members, America Online is the world leader
in interactive services, and the Cisneros Group is one of the leading media
groups in the Americas. Based in Buenos Aires, AOL Argentina was formed to
launch and operate the America Online Argentina service. In addition to AOL
Argentina’s direct mail and other marketing channels, consumers can obtain
America Online Argentina software free of charge by calling the toll free
number 0-800-2222-AOL (265) or by downloading it at America Online Argentina’s
Web site, www.americaonline.com.ar. America
Online Argentina is available via
local access numbers in Capital Federal and Gran Buenos Aires, Pilar, Cordoba,
Mendoza, Rosario, Mar del Plata, San Luis, Villa Mercedes, Salta, Neuquen,
Santa Fe, La Plata, Bariloche, Parana, Rio IV, Corrientes, Resistencia and
Tucuman.

About AOL Latin America

America Online Latin America, Inc. (NASDAQ: AOLA) is the exclusive provider of
AOL-branded services in Latin America and has quickly become one of the leading
Internet and interactive services providers in the region. AOL Latin America
launched its first service, America Online Brazil, in November 1999, and began
as a joint venture of America Online, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL
Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: AOL), and the Cisneros Group of Companies. Banco Itau,
a leading Brazilian bank, is also a minority stockholder of AOL Latin America.
The Company combines the technology, brand name, infrastructure and
relationships of AOL, the world’s leader in branded interactive services, with
the relationships, regional experience and extensive media assets of the
Cisneros Group of Companies, one of the leading media groups in the Americas.
The Company currently operates services in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina and
serves members of the AOL-branded service in Puerto Rico. It also operates a
regional portal accessible at www.aola.com. AOL’s 31
million members worldwide
can access content and offerings from AOL Latin America through the
International Channels on their local AOL services.

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SCA Names Chairman

The Smart Card Alliance announced the election of its 2002 Executive Board of Directors. The seven member Executive Board was elected by the Alliance’s Board of Directors at their Annual Meeting in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The Executive Board will lead and direct Alliance activities for the year ahead.

Paul Beverly from SchlumbergerSema was elected Chairman of the Alliance. Mr. Beverly, Vice President for Smart Cards at SchlumbergerSema in North America, has led a global career in marketing, sales, and general management during his 16-year tenure at Schlumberger.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to build on the strong progress that the Alliance has made. During its first year of existence, the Alliance has completed many important projects, including establishing a baseline of smart card usage in the US and Canada that can be used to measure future market growth,” said Mr. Beverly. “I look forward to working with our Board and our membership to expand on our efforts and articulate the strong business case for smart card programs in the year ahead.”

The new Executive Board also includes:

* Vice-Chairman, Bill Randle, Executive Vice President of Huntington Bank

* Technology Vice-Chair, Michael Weekes, Principal for Business Development for IBM’s Global Smart Card Center of Competency

* Treasurer, Bob Wilberger, Director of Smart Card Initiatives, at Northrop Grumman Information Technology

* Assistant Treasurer, Sandy Morris, Vice President of Member Development at MasterCard

* Secretary, Kevin Gillick, Head of Corporate Marketing at DataCard

* Assistant Secretary, Gilles Lisimaque, Senior Vice President at Gemplus

The Board’s priorities for 2002 include: addressing growing public security and privacy concerns, continued cross-industry discussions on technology standards, and other activities designed to promote the adoption of smart cards in the United States.

Last week the Alliance named five new members to its current 25 member Board:

* David Bonalle, Vice President and General Manager of Advanced Payments Programs, at American Express

* Thierry Burgess, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at Oberthur Card Systems

* Alison Colquhoun, Vice President of Smart Card Business Development, at First Data Resources

* Jennifer Spade, Managing Director for e-Solutions IP/Hosting Sales, at WorldCom

* Guy Tallent, President and CEO of Identrus

Kirk Brafford Vice President and Principal Consultant at Xansa was elected as the Auditing Observing Director on the Board.

“Each of these individuals is a leader in their field and brings a wealth of experience to our organization. Their contributions will be key to Alliance efforts as smart cards continue to gain momentum in the United States,” said Alliance President and CEO, Donna Farmer.

The announcement was made at the Smart Card Alliance’s Annual Meeting, in McLean, VA. The Meeting brings together hundreds of smart card industry leaders for three days of education and conference programs focused on the crucial opportunities and obstacles facing businesses, government and individuals in this new era of digital trust.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for profit, multi-industry association of over 185 member firms working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multiple application smart card technology. Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations, and open forums the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance also is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. More information about the Alliance is available at [http://www.smartcardalliance.org][1].

[1]: http://www.smartcardalliance.org/

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SBM BASE24

ACI Worldwide, a
leading international provider of enterprise e-payment solutions, announces the
licensing of its BASE24 e-payment processing software to State Bank of
Mauritius Limited, winner of the 2001 Bank of the Year Award for
Mauritius and one of the world’s top 1000 banks. SBM will use BASE24 to
authorize, route and switch both ATM and POS transactions and to meet
processing requirements for EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) smart card
transactions.

SBM’s decision to select BASE24 was prompted by a number of key requirements,
including the need for a scalable solution to meet aggressive transaction
growth objectives, the bank’s need to support multiple delivery channels and
devices, and SBM’s need to meet mandated dates for EMV acquiring and issuing.
BASE24 will replace the bank’s existing processing system, which does not
support EMV.

“We have a reputation as a leader in harnessing the capabilities of information
technologies to improve our service to customers and contribute to the bottom
line,” said Sailesh Sewpaul, team leader of Online Services for SBM. “Our
decision to invest in ACI technology is no exception. ACI is the recognized
leader in consumer payments software, and their BASE24 system meets our current
requirements–while providing the flexibility to enhance our service offerings
in the future.”

In addition to helping SBM meet EMV requirements, the bank will use BASE24 to
integrate its ATM and POS processing operation. The bank processes an average
of 650,000 ATM and 100,000 POS transactions monthly. SBM will consolidate all
of its offshore e-payment processing activities in India, Madagascar and
Rodriguez Island to its central hub in Mauritius.
BASE24 supports multiple delivery channels, from the traditional–ATM and
POS–to the emerging–Internet and mobile. It also supports all card types,
including credit, debit and smart cards and interfaces with global credit and
debit networks.

“Our goal is to assist our customers as they provide new and innovative
services to consumers,” said Jeremy Wilmot, managing director of ACI
Worldwide’s sub-Saharan operation headquartered in South Africa. “With BASE24,
SBM can address a wide range of processing needs for its e-payment operation,
including multi-currency, smart cards and e-commerce, all on a platform that is
the world leader in offering a reliable and scalable transaction
infrastructure.”

BASE24 is used by more than 340 ACI customers around the world to manage
devices, route and switch transactions, and provide authorization support for
high-volume payments processing. The software operates on Compaq NonStop
Himalaya systems to provide 24/7 support for ATM and POS networks, manned
teller systems, telephone banking, mobile commerce, and Internet banking and
commerce.

About State Bank of Mauritius

State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) was founded in 1973 and is the largest company in
Mauritius as measured by market capitalization, commanding just under 27
percent of market share in domestic commercial banking business. In the
domestic market, SBM has a leading position in information technology and the
lowest cost-to-income ratio in the industry. SBM’s delivery network includes 52
branches and counters, 80 ATMs, and 787 point-of-sale merchant terminals
serving over 380,000 individuals and business customers. Apart from commercial
banking, SBM through its subsidiaries and associates also offers financial
leasing, investment banking, fiduciary, stock broking and asset management
services.

The Bank opened its first overseas branch in Mumbai (India) in 1994 and has
since then opened two additional branches, one in Chennai and one in Hyderabad.
In 1998, the bank started operations in Madagascar through its subsidiary bank,
Banque SBM Madagascar. The overseas operations focus mainly on corporate
banking, trade finance, correspondent banking and treasury services to business
customers.

The Banker recently named SBM its 2001 Bank of the Year for Mauritius. The
award reflects outstanding quality and innovation in the financial world, and
the 106 individual country winners represent the cream of the global banking
community.

About ACI Worldwide

Every second of every day, consumers are initiating electronic payment
transactions–getting cash at ATMs, using debit and credit cards to make
purchases in stores and on the Internet, banking by phone and PC, paying bills
online. Twenty billion times a year, ACI software is used to process these
transactions, powering the world’s online payment systems. ACI was founded in
1975 and pioneered the development of applications and networking software for
online transaction processing. Today more than 530 customers in 79 countries
use ACI supplied software. Visit ACI Worldwide on the Internet at
www.aciworldwide.com.

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FraudBAN Launched

Thomson Financial Publishing, a unit of Thomson Corp., and the Western Payments Alliance, one of the nation’s largest regional payments organizations, launched FraudBAN, the first online, anti-fraud network for financial institutions. Addressing a problem that costs financial institutions more than $650 million a year, FraudBAN ([http://www.fraudban.com][1]) is a nationwide information clearinghouse that facilitates real-time data sharing among banks, thrifts and credit unions to thwart check-kiting and other kinds of white collar crime. Perpetrators of fraud frequently use similar phony identification and account information at multiple institutions. Until FraudBAN there has been no commercially available, anti-fraud service for financial institutions.

“FraudBAN’s ability to detect and prevent fraud represents one of the most significant breakthroughs in the war on check and financial fraud in the past decade,” said Glenn Gottfried, Managing Director, Thomson Financial Publishing. “FraudBAN leverages the Internet to create a nationwide clearinghouse accessible to every financial institution any time of the day or night. FraudBAN puts criminals on notice that it will be harder to commit fraud because there is now a powerful new tool to combat fraud through coordinated and immediate action among financial institutions.”

Said CEO Gerard F. Milano of the Western Payments Alliance: “Payments fraud is not the work of small-time crooks, but rather the province of sophisticated criminals who use the proceeds to finance everything from violent crime to terrorism. At a time of heightened security following the events of Sept. 11, FraudBAN strengthens the country’s financial system by enabling institutions to work cooperatively with law enforcement officials to proactively stop fraud.”

Immediate Success For FraudBAN

WesPay and Thomson Financial jointly developed the FraudBAN platform in the WesPay service area over the past two years. With limited participation and utilizing a prototype system, FraudBAN has achieved significant early success. In its initial rollout, FraudBAN identified a large check-cashing ring perpetrated at two financial institutions. The ring used legitimate consumer checks — lost, stolen or discarded check stock — and criminals impersonated bank customers. Check amounts were usually relatively small and under the review thresholds for many institutions. Four suspects were jailed in connection with the case, and the ring has ceased its activity. In addition, more than 4,300 counterfeit checks totaling $21.6 million were attempted against those institutions during that period. The pilot resulted in crime reports being filed with 29 police departments, three sheriff’s departments, and two with federal law enforcement officials. FraudBAN greatly reduces the time and effort necessary for law-enforcement and financial institutions to bring a case to prosecution.

Fraud committed in WesPay’s service area is part of a growing, nationwide problem. According to American Banker, overall fraud at financial institutions rose 32 percent from 1997 to 1999. The American Bankers Association, in its Check Fraud Survey Report in 2000, stated that more than $2.2 billion worth of check fraud was attempted against financial institutions in 1999; actual fraud losses were $679 million.

How FraudBAN Works

To participate in FraudBAN, financial institutions submit payments fraud activity into a secure online central repository. Check, wire transfer, ACH and credit card fraud activity are eligible for reporting. Direct links to payments fraud databases in larger institutions are anticipated. When fraud data is transmitted, FraudBAN searches for matches of names, addresses, account numbers and IDs used in other payments frauds.

Once a confirmed match occurs in the database, FraudBAN automatically sends an electronic alert to participating financial institutions, which then take defensive action. Joint notices to law enforcement on behalf of multiple victim institutions are also prepared. FraudBAN’s ability to aggregate information quickly allows member financial institutions to work together to build a strong case for joint prosecution with law enforcement. Only those institutions providing data to FraudBAN have the opportunity to share information provided by other financial institutions.

Previously a regional service only, FraudBAN is being rolled out by Thomson Financial Publishing to any financial institution across the country. WesPay encourages all members to participate and will automatically enroll members with less than $100 million in deposits in the service. WesPay has more than 1,000 member financial institutions.

Given FraudBAN’s success thus far and increased industry attention to fraud losses, Thomson Financial Publishing expects that more than 1,000 financial institutions will join the network in the next 12 months.

“FraudBAN is a next-generation solution that uses the Internet, as well as the cooperative spirit of financial institutions to crack down on thieves,” Gottfried said. “The greater the participation from financial institutions, the greater the value to every single bank, thrift and credit union in the country. Working together, we can significantly reduce fraud through FraudBAN.”

About WesPay

The Western Payments Alliance is one of the nation’s largest regional payment associations, with more than 1,100 members in the western U.S. and Pacific region. The Western Payments Alliance serves as a cooperative, non-profit organization enabling member financial institutions to efficiently process paper-based and electronic financial transactions. Each day, WesPay collects and clears more than five million checks totaling $7 billion in value. As a NACHA member, the Western Payments Alliance also acts as the rulemaking authority governing member transactions flowing through the Automated Clearing House (ACH). For more information, call 415/433-1230, or visit [http://www.wespay.org][2].

About Thomson Financial Publishing:

Thomson Financial Publishing (TFP), a division of Thomson Financial’s Banking, Insurance & E-Commerce Group, is a leading provider of regulatory compliance solutions to financial institutions worldwide. TFP products ensure compliance with various regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Bank Secrecy Act and aid in the detection of money laundering and fraud. TFP also maintains the most authoritative and comprehensive databases of financial institutions. These databases are used to realize higher straight-through-processing rates for payments and to facilitate the repair of rejected transactions. Additionally, TFP facilitates global inter-bank communication and marketing, providing the widest array of print publication and marketing services. As official routing number registrar for the American Bankers Association, TFP issues, retires and maintains a record of all U.S. routing number assignments. For more information, visit Thomson Financial Publishing on the Internet at [http://www.tfp.com][3] or call 847/676-9600. Thomson Financial’s Banking, Insurance & E-Commerce Group is a division of Thomson Financial, a US$2 billion provider of e-information and integrated work solutions to the worldwide financial community. Through the widest range of products and services in the industry, Thomson Financial helps clients in more than 70 countries make better decisions, be more productive and achieve superior results. Thomson Financial is part of The Thomson Corporation (TSE:TOC), a leading, global e-information and solutions company with annual revenues of approximately US$6 billion. The Corporation’s common shares are listed on the Toronto and London stock exchanges. For more information on Thomson Financial, visit [http://www.thomsonfinancial.com][4].

[1]: http://www.fraudban.com/
[2]: http://www.wespay.org/
[3]: http://www.tfp.com/
[4]: http://www.thomsonfinancial.com/

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Norwegian Cruise Lines VISA

MBNA announced that Norwegian Cruise Line has endorsed MBNA’s credit card products and services for NCL’s customers.

Issued through MBNA America Bank, N.A., the Norwegian Cruise Line VISA will be available in late fall. Customers will enjoy no annual fee, the highest credit lines in the industry, rebates of 3% on all purchases and 4% on all purchases of NCL products, and the opportunity to redeem rebates for stateroom upgrades or “good-as-cash” cruise certificate credits with all the brands in the Star Cruises Group — NCL, Orient Lines and Star.

“We selected MBNA because of their solid reputation and outstanding track record with credit card partnerships,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. “We feel MBNA is the best structured credit card company to effectively handle NCL’s rewards program, which will better serve our customers. The rewards program on this card is the most comprehensive of any in the cruise industry, enabling cardholders to sail free on any of our three brands to more than 300 destinations spanning all seven continents.”

“MBNA is pleased to be partnering with NCL to offer credit card services to NCL’s customers,” said John R. Cochran, MBNA’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We look forward to providing Norwegian’s customers with products and services that exceed their expectations.”

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an international cruise company and industry innovator that currently operates a fleet of nine ships sailing to more than 200 ports around the world. NCL took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Sun, in August 2001. NCL is currently building two additional ships: Norwegian Star, a 2,200-passenger ship that will be NCL’s largest (delivery in October 2001), and Norwegian Dawn, a 2,200-passenger sister ship to Norwegian Star (delivery in December 2002).

About MBNA

MBNA Corporation, a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America Bank, N.A., a national bank, has $92.6 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan and insurance products.

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Hooters Cards

Paymentech and Hooters of America have teamed to offer a gift card program during the upcoming holiday season. Hooters customers will be able to choose from 10 collectable cards featuring the ‘Hooters Girls’. Hooters electronic gift cards can be used at any location for all restaurant charges and will include a pre-paid amount of credit. The gift cards will be processed through the Micros interface, so Hooters can process through the same terminal used for traditional credit and debit cards. Atlanta-based Hooters of America is an operator and franchiser of over 280 Hooters locations in 41 states and twelve countries.

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VISA & E*TRADE

E*Trade Bank has signed exclusive agreements with VISA U.S.A. and VISA DPS. Under terms of the deal, E*Trade will be able to issue a single card that can be used by all its customers for access to E*Trade Bank and E*Trade Securities. E*Trade says it is developing next-generation functionality in partnership with VISA DPS to create the industry’s first card that will provide customers with consolidated ATM access. Customers using selected E*Trade ATMs will have the ability to make withdrawals, request balance inquiries and transfer funds from and between E*Trade Bank and E*Trade Securities accounts. E*Trade anticipates upgrading approximately half of its ATM network with this advanced functionality in the next twelve to eighteen months.

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September Sales

Same-store retail sales climbed 90 basis point for September based on check writing data. According to First Data’s TeleCheck Services, the Southeast region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Midwest, the West, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. The index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 272,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment.

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Ruling Impact

Tuesday’s ruling by Judge Barbara Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that VISA’s and MasterCard’s exclusionary rules are anti-competitive may have little effect on the industry in both the short-term and the long-term. Both VISA and MasterCard indicated yesterday that an appeal may be forthcoming which could delay any lifting of VISA’s bylaw ‘210(e)’ and MasterCard’s ‘Competitive Programs Policy’ for two or three years. Furthermore the consolidation underway in the credit card industry may accelerate further in the face of declining profitability produced by the recession and the impending “war economy”. This will limit the number of significant players that may consider issuing an American Express or Discover card to some or all of their customers. With the recent collapse of the travel industry it is even less likely banks will seek to develop travel-related card products that could include AmEx cards. The most likely scenario is that AmEx or Discover will be acquired by a bank seeking the total branding power of a closed network in addition to offering VISA or MasterCard products.

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Ruling Response

Discover said yesterday it looks forward to the “additional consumer choice that will result from the elimination of all VISA and MasterCard anti-competitive rules and practices, which have been selectively applied only to Discover and American Express but not to each other or to Citibank’s ‘Diners Club'”. Melvin Schwarz, who was lead trial counsel in the antitrust case before re-joining the Dechert law firm, says the ruling is a “significant and groundbreaking decision because the court condemns the use of market power by owners of nominally not-for-profit joint venture associations to tilt the competitive playing field against their competitors, regardless of whether those competitors are corporate, for-profit ventures or those competitors have some other means of sales distribution to consumers.” Schwarz also noted that the Court’s rejection of the Government’s effort to end dual governance was now of far less competitive concern because, as Judge Jones noted, dual governance has been virtually ended as result of steps taken by the associations since the Government’s suit was filed.

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