Leading Economic Index (LEI) Declines

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for Japan decreased 2.1% in April while the Coincident Economic Index decreased 0.3% in April. The Conference Board LEI for Japan fell sharply in April, following a decline in March. The weaknesses among the leading indicators continued to be widespread – the six-month growth rate of productivity, index of overtime worked, (inverted) business failures, stock prices, and new orders for machinery and construction all contributed negatively to this month. With the decrease in April, the six-month change in the leading economic index turned negative again – to -0.7 percent (a -1.5 percent annual rate) between October 2010 and April 2011, after positive readings for the previous three months. Nevertheless, the strengths among the leading indicators were more widespread than the weaknesses over the six months through April. With the decrease of 2.1 percent in April, The Conference Board LEI for Japan now stands at 94.4 (2004=100).

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U.S. BANK ISSUES DUAL EMV CHIP AND CONTACTLESS PAYMENT

U.S. Bank has partnered with Visa and Oberthur Technologies to introduce its “FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa” dual interface payment solution with enhanced acceptance and credit cards system compatibility. Manufactured and personalized by Oberthur Technologies, the credit card combines Visa payWave, EMV chip, and magnetic stripe technologies, giving US customers the first card that can be used anywhere on a chip-card reader, with a merchant overseas, a contactless payment terminal or with just a traditional magstripe reader. In facilitating this, a computer chip is embedded in the card, allowing the customer to simply ‘wave and go’ when making a purchase. The “FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa” will be introduced to more than 20,000 U.S.Bank FlexPerks Visa cardholders, followed by travel reward cardholders, before 2012.

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Now About that Citibank Card Security Situation…

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] When a security hole was found during routine checking, Citigroup learned hackers gained access to about 1% of its 21 million credit card files and the personal information back in early May. This late revelation on the breach has lead to widespread criticism against the bank, which however did not lose…

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American Express Announces President of U.S. Consumer Services

Josh Silverman will join American Express in early July as President of the U.S. Consumer Services business, which provides consumer cards and travel services in the U.S. Most recently Executive in Residence at venture capital firm Greylock Ventures, whose portfolio includes Facebook, Pandora, Groupon, Linked In, One King’s Lane and Zipcar, Silverman served as the CEO of Skype where he led the company’s revitalization as it prepared its spin-off from eBay, launched award-winning products and repositioned the brand around video-based internet calling. Silverman was also a senior executive at eBay from 2003-2008, where he initially led a number of acquisitions and expanded the company’s classified advertising businesses in Europe, building a leading position there within one year.

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FICO and Adeptra Offer Automated, Multi-Channel Fraud Detection

FICO analytics and decision management technology has partnered to integrate its “Falcon Fraud Manager 6” payment card fraud detection with Adeptra’s “Automated Customer Contact” capabilities. Subsequently, users can set complex strategies for flagging and verifying suspicious card transactions and then contacting customers automatically using voice, text and email, thus expanding the reach of fraud operations while reducing overhead costs. The FICO “Falcon Fraud Manager 6” uses advanced analytic techniques that synthesize intelligence drawn from billions of payment card transactions and hundreds of person-years of experience to weigh key attributes and identify fraud with the utmost reliability. It employs adaptive analytics so users can identify and respond to new threats quickly at high-risk ATMs, merchants, point-of-sale devices and risky geographic regions.

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Edenred Launches MasterCard Commuter Check Card

Edenred national commuter benefit program has made available its contactless Commuter Check Prepaid MasterCard card with MasterCard “PayPass” contactless payment technology. This lets commuters pay for qualified public transportation expenses through their employer sponsored pre-tax benefit program with a tap. The card can be used as its own fare card within transit environments already equipped with contactless payment readers, such as subway turnstiles and bus fare collection boxes. Riders using the new MasterCard PayPass-enabled card can choose from several different fare options per availability from the transit agency such as, a “pre-fund”, “pay-as-you-go”, time-based fares (one day, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly passes) as well as discounted fares for senior citizens, disabled and student riders.

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STMicroelectronics Receives $356.8 mm Credit Suisse Cash Payment

STMicroelectronics global semiconductor received the cash payment of $356.8 million from Credit Suisse as the full and final payment for the settlement of all outstanding litigation concerning auction rate securities. STMicroelectronics expects to book a pre-tax profit of approximately $329 million in the income statement of the second quarter of 2011 as a result of the transaction. Serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, STMicroelectronics is a global leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications with semiconductor solutions. STMicroelectronics 2010 total net revenues were $10.35 billion.

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CreditDonkey Breaks-down Best Gas Credit Cards

CreditDonkey credit card comparison site reviewed nine of the most popular gas rewards cards and the verdict is in. For the average annual cost of gas to an American family of $2600 total, the Site first recommends The Discover “Open Road Card,” with double earning promotion which equates to 2% cash back instead of the base 1% and a $10 cash-back bonus on each of the first 5 fill ups of $25 or more during the first 90 days. Also looked to as a promising gas rewards card is the BP VISA card, with 5% on all gas purchases at BP stations. However, CreditDonkey most credits the “Ink Cash from Chase” card, exclusively for small businesses, giving 3% back on all purchases + a $100 rebate after your first purchase awarded as 10,000 points.

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AccountNow Merges With Ready Financial Group

The AccountNow Board of Directors has approved a merger with Ready Financial Group, which will continue to operate using both brand names. Acting CEO will be he who is currently of AccountNow while CEO of Ready will become CMO. Ready shareholders will convert to AccountNow shareholders and elect a representative to serve on the AccountNow Board of Directors. AccountNow has grown its reloadable consumer prepaid debit card business, to more than $2 billion dollars in annual transaction volume, by offering features and benefits traditionally reserved for customers with banking relationships. Reloadable prepaid debit cards were created for the estimated 40 million unbanked and underbanked U.S. consumers.

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CFSI Announces Compass Principles to Facilitate Underbanked

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) President & CEO Jennifer Tescher introduced an audience of more than 600 financial services professionals to CFSI’s “Compass Principles” initiative. These offer guidelines for the U.S. financial services industry, affirm standards of excellence in the design and delivery of the basic tools that people use to manage their daily financial lives, like checking and savings accounts, prepaid cards, and small-dollar loans. They include SAFETY; INCLUSION to promote Accessibility and Convenience; FINANCIAL CAPABILITY to Design for Consumer Success; and PATHWAYS to allow upward mobility. Throughout the feedback phase, CFSI is actively soliciting the input and feedback of providers, consumer advocates, and experts to ensure that the Compass Principles are as robust, comprehensive, and effective as possible.

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Freescale Semiconductor Announces Exercise of Over-Allotment Option

Freescale Semiconductor Holdings I announced that the representatives of the underwriters for the Company’s initial public offering exercised their over–allotment option in part for 5,567,000 common shares, at a price per share of $18. The closing of the over-allotment option is expected to occur on June 14, 2011. Freescale expects to use the $96 million in net proceeds to redeem $87 million principal amount of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.’s 10.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2018 and to pay related interest and premiums. The foregoing does not constitute a notice of redemption for or an obligation to issue a notice of redemption for the outstanding notes.

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Safeway to Implement Coinstar Coin-Counting Kiosks

Coinstar and Safeway supermarkets will install approximately 1,400 Coinstar kiosks at Safeway locations across North America. Coinstar allows consumers to turn their loose change into into cash, apply their coin value to store purchases or donate to a non-profit organization. In the future, Coinstar and Safeway plan to offer consumers a no-fee option when consumers choose a gift card or eCertificate from a variety of national retailers.

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