New Card Accounts Openings Down 46% Y/Y

The latest figures reveal the number of bankcard accounts opened in
September was 45% lower than one-year ago. Also, the percent of cards
issued to those with credit scores greater than 740 grew from about 30%
in 2007 to almost 51% so far this year. According to Equifax’s “Credit
Trend Report” year-to-date, the number of new accounts is down 46% from
the same period in 2008. According to CardWatch.com, the number of net
new accounts opened by the nation’s largest issuer, Chase, declined from
3.6 million for 3Q/08 to 2.4 million for 3Q/09. In the fourth quarter of
last year Chase opened 4.3 million net new accounts, but it collapsed to
2.2 million in the first quarter. Equifax says bankcard issuers
continued a year-long trend of closing accounts and reducing credit
lines. Card risk management programs have accelerated since July of
2008, reducing card credit lines by $803 billion and the number of
accounts by 93 million.

NEW ACCOUNTS
Sep 08: 4.3 million
Oct 08: 4.4 million
Nov 08: 4.5 million
Dec 08: 4.4 million
Jan 09: 2.3 million
Feb 09: 2.2 million
Mar 09: 2.1 million
Apr 09: 2.0 million
May 09: 2.0 million
Jun 09: 2.1 million
Jul 09: 2.1 million
Aug 09: 2.2 million
Sep 09: 2.2 million
Source: Equifax and CardWatch.com

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ScriptLogic Upgrades for PCI DSS

ScriptLogic has upgraded its Reporter 3.7 and File System Auditor 2.5, with enhancements that help
IT administrators and their companies comply with rules dictated by the
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
To combat security breaches in which customers’ personal and financial
data have been compromised, several payment processing companies
developed PCI DSS, which establishes common processes and precautions
for handling, processing, storing and transmitting credit card data.
Several ScriptLogic products assist PCI compliance efforts by closely
controlling credit card information or creating reports to demonstrate
that controls are in place. While no single software product can address all PCI compliance
requirements, new versions of two ScriptLogic solutions play an
essential role in managing internal controls: “Enterprise Security Reporter 3.7”, an
agent-less reporting solution, audits, analyzes and reports on security
settings in Active Directory, Windows file servers, SharePoint® and SQL
servers. With a large number of turnkey reports and a wizard-based
report designer, IT administrators can quickly and easily generate and
customize reports highlighting specific information they need.
Enterprise Security Reporter 3.7 features a new report pack that maps
more than 60 existing reports to the PCI requirements that they support and “File System Auditor 2.5” which
audits and reports on file
activity on Windows servers. IT administrators can create formatted
reports and alerts showing who touched which files and folders, when and
on what servers. File system auditing is a key component of PCI
compliance, enforcing such requirements as implementing audit trails of
access to cardholder data and deploying file integrity monitoring
software.

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OCT LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Germany increased
0.6% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
decreased 0.3% in October. With the 0.6% increase, the Conference Board
LEI for Germany now stands at 93.5 (2004=100) after having increased
1.4% in September and having increased 1.9% in August. Meanwhile, the
CEI results for the month were preceded by a 0.4% increase in September
and a 0.1% decrease in August and now stands at 101.9 (2004=100). LEI
results for the month were attributed to positive gains in 6 of the 7
components in The Conference Board LEI, including yield spread, consumer
confidence, stock prices, gross enterprises and properties income,
inventory change series and new residential construction orders while
new orders in investment goods industries was the only negative contributor.

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MONEY DASHBOARD

Money Dashboard has launched its eagerly anticipated beta testing
program. Offering free online personal finance service for the UK
consumer, the new Money Dashboard solution brings a person’s bank
accounts, credit cards, store cards and loans together on one screen for
a clear up to the minute picture of their personal finances. The
personal finance application can be accessed from any PC, which can be
set to send email and text alerts of budget overspend, suspicious
transactions or important events. Testing the budgeting software is by
invitation only and thousands of people have already signed up to take
part. Independent of banks, building societies and lending
organisations, Money Dashboard puts people in control of their finances,
identifying suitable means to save.

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PLASTIC VOLUME

The latest plastic card spending data show a significant uptick in September. Combined debit and credit card volume hit a 12-month high of 34.3 billion GBP in September. On a quarterly basis the number of plastic card purchases rose by 6.9% and the value of purchases rose by 4.3% in the third quarter, compared with the year ago quarter. Credit card spending by value fell by 0.7% although the number of credit card purchases increased by 2.5%. Debit card spending by value rose by 6.9% and 8.5% by volume when compared with 3Q/08. According to The Payments Council gross credit card lending, which reflects all new spending on credit cards and includes interest, was 7.5% lower than in the 3rd quarter 2008. Reflecting this lower spending, repayments also fell but by 4.7%. Consequently the annualised ratio of repayments to new lending increased to 98.1% compared with 96.4% in 3Q/08. The Payments Council notes spending on credit cards has remained relatively unchanged and interestingly we are still repaying proportionately more of our debt than we were three years ago.

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GLOBAL BRANDS & AGENT

Global Brands Group and Delivery Agent have inked a multi-year deal. The
agreements holds Delivery Agent will build, host and manage
multi-lingual e-commerce environments covering North America, Europe and
South Africa, tied to the three upcoming FIFA World Cup events between
2010 and 2014. The online audiences visiting the e-commerce environments
will have access to the new FIFA Collections – FIFA’s authentic sports
lifestyle apparel. The e-commerce environments are now available on
www.FIFA.com/store – the Official Website of FIFA and the FIFA World Cup.

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HSBC & GPN

HSBC Merchant Services has been appointed the preferred supplier of card
processing solutions to the 7,000 SMEs that make up the newly merged
BHF-BSSA Group Trade Association. With this, HSBC Merchant Services will
offer a full range of card payment services to the combined membership,
enabling merchants to take advantage of rates and offerings normally
reserved for much larger organizations. HSBC Merchant Services draws on
a combined industry experience of over fifty years. Global Payments
electronic transaction processing services for merchants, ISOs,
financial institutions, government agencies and multi-national
corporations located throughout the United States, Canada, Latin
America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific
region.

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OCT LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Mexico increased
0.4% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
increased 0.1% in October. With the 0.4% increase, the Conference Board
LEI for Mexico now stands at 111.5 (2004=100) after having increased
0.2% in September and 0.6% in August. Meanwhile, the CEI results for the
month were preceded by a 0.6% increase in September and a 0.6% increase
in August and now stands at 106.3 (2004=100). LEI results for the month
were attributed to positive gains in 2 of the 6 components that make up
The Conference Board LEI, including US refiners’ acquisition cost of
domestic and imported crude oil and the (inverted) real exchange rate
while negative contribution came from industrial production construction
component, stock prices, and net insufficient inventories and the
federal funds rate remained unchanged.

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OCT LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Australia declined
0.3% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
increased 0.1% in October. With the 0.3% decrease, the Conference Board
LEI for Australia now stands at 114.4 (2004=100), after having remained
unchanged in September and increasing 1.1 percent in August. Meanwhile,
the CEI results for the month were preceded by no change in September
and a 0.4% decrease in August and now stands at 112.7 (2004=100). LEI
results for the month were attributed to positive gains in 3 of the 7
components in The Conference Board LEI, including yield spread, building
approvals, and gross operating surplus while the sales to inventories
ratio, money supply, share prices and rural goods exports declined.

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Consumer Groups Want More Gift Card Regs

Consumer groups are urging regulators to rein in gift card fees and
related terms and conditions that can quickly diminish their value, for
which the Fed is considering a set of proposed gift card regulations
required under the “Credit CARD Act of 2009” and will go into effect on
February 22, 2010. A recent Consumer Reports poll found that one
quarter of those given gift cards last holiday season still have at
least one card they haven’t used and 11% of recipients have four
or more, equating to nearly $8 billion in unredeemed gift cards in 2006.
Consumers Union, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America and the
National Consumer Law Center are urging regulators to cap the amount
that gift card issuers can charge for inactivity fees; limit fees on low
value cards; Limit when inactivity fees can be charged; make sure
consumers are protected from early expiration of gift cards; and protect
consumers from losing funds on lost or stolen prepaid cards.

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WOMAN’S CARD

TSYS and Marfin Laiki Bank have launched the “Woman’s Card.” Supported by TSYS’ “PRIME” licensed card management solution, the “Woman’s Card” is a Visa-branded credit card linked with a
loyalty program allowing cardholders to redeem points as vouchers for
free purchases from a range of stores for women. It allows cardholders
to earn free mammography or osteoporosis tests, travel insurance,
purchase protection insurance and home care services. TSYS technologies
enable EMV-compliance, interest-free instalment schemes and secure
e-shopping service, deploying a virtual card to ensure safer
transactions over the Internet. Marfin Popular Bank was formed in 2006 as a result of the triple merger between the Marfin, Egnatia and Laiki banking groups.

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Late Stage CC Delinquency Sets a New High

Credit card delinquency over 90 days is hitting new highs as issuers face rising charge-offs in the fourth quarter. For November, the average late stage delinquency rate rose three basis points sequentially and 23 basis points year-on-year. According to CardData, the average 90+ day delinquency ratio rose to 2.05% in November, compared to 2.02% in October and 1.82% for November 2008. Late stage delinquency declined during the second quarter, dropping to 1.90% in July. Discover reported last week that its 90+ day delinquency increased 18 basis points in the fourth quarter, climbing to 2.78%. Discover’s late stage delinquency rate also dropped in the second quarter to 2.17%. Additionally, CardData reports that charge-offs among the four top Visa and MasterCard issuers rose by an average of 23 basis points in November, compared to the prior month. For complete details on the latest performance metrics visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

90+ Day Delinquency
Nov 08: 1.82%
Dec 08: 1.83%
Jan 09: 1.87%
Feb 09: 1.95%
Mar 09: 1.99%
Apr 09: 1.95%
May 09: 1.95%
Jun 09: 1.95%
Jul 09: 1.90%
Aug 09: 1.99%
Sep 09: 1.93%
Oct 09: 2.02%
Nov 09: 2.05%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com).

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