Financial advisors and credit card analysts say consumers are likely to pay down high-interest credit card debts with the tax rebates Congress and the Bush administration approved in February to stimulate the economy. The White House and congressional leaders approved an emergency plan to rush rebates of up to $600 for individual taxpayers and $1,200 for couples. Megan Bramlette, managing associate at Westbury, N.Y.-based Auriemma Consulting Group Inc., says consumers usually put tax-rebate funds into savings accounts or use them to pay down debt. Rebate checks reportedly will go out starting in May.
  MasterCard reported fourth-quarter net income of $304.2 million, up 644% from $40.9 million for the same period a year earlier, bolstered, in part, by an after-tax gain of $185 million from the sale of the company’s portion of Brazil-based Redecard SA. During a conference call with analysts, Robert W. Selander, MasterCard president and CEO, also attributed the company’s increased revenue to gains in transaction volume. Worldwide purchase volume for the quarter from credit, charge and debit cards was $477 billion, up 22% from $391 billion.
  Hypercom Corp. is buying the e-Transactions payment-terminal business of France-based Thales SA for $120 million, despite a buyout offer from Ingenico, a payment-device maker also based in France. Hypercom expected to close the e-Transactions deal by March 31. Before Hypercom made its decision, Ingenico announced its interest in buying Hypercom for $332 million, but only if Hypercom dropped its plans to buy the Thales unit. After talking with Ingenico, Norman Stout, Hypercom chairman, said it was clear “there was no path acceptable to the parties to pursue a transaction.”
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