Debit Cards Rule Black Friday Sales Volume

New data show that overall transactions rose on “Black Friday” and that debit is outpacing all other payment types. Total transactions increased by 7.9% compared to 2008. According to First Data’s “SpendTrend” transaction data same store sales volume increased 4.8% led by solid growth among value merchants. Credit and signature debit rose 2.5%, while PIN debit increased 7.6% over last year. First Data recently released its “Holiday Gift Card Performance Report” comparing gift card sales for the week ending November 29th. The total dollar value of gift cards activated Friday grew 17.8% and the number of cards activated grew 9.8%.

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TRAVELEX PREPAID

The 2009 Prepaid Awards have recognized Travelex as “Best International
Prepaid Program” for its “Cash Passport” and “Best Corporate Prepaid
Program” for its “Airline Compensation” programs for the first time.
“Cash Passport” allows users to withdraw money from ATMs or be used to
purchase goods and services in any retailer that accepts Debit
MasterCard with balance protection. Meanwhile, the “Airline Compensation
Program” is being used by such airlines as British Airways, Cathay
Pacific and Finnair for compensation purposes in the event of cancelled
flights, lost luggage, etc. Cash Passport is now being used to
compensate 200,000 airline passengers around the world annually while
Travelex has developed product technology to support up to 70 million
annual payments.

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Fidelity ATM Fraudsters Face Big Jail Time

The U.S Attorney’s Office announced that two Florida men were found
guilty of ATM fraud.
Defendants Andrew Steinberg of West Palm Beach, was found guilty of one
count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud, and four counts of wire
fraud.
Stephen Duffie of Miramar, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy
and one count of mail fraud.
According to the evidence at trial, the defendants operated
Fidelity ATM, which operated out of offices in Boynton Beach and Delray
Beach from 2004-2006. Fidelity ATM has no relationship to Fidelity
Investments.
The business closed in November 2006 after being
sued in a civil case by the Federal Trade Commission. Approximately 110
victims across the United States were defrauded of $4.2 million.
Fidelity ATM sold a $30,000 “package” that was supposed to include three
ATMs, high-traffic locations for the ATMs,
and ongoing customer service. However, as shown during trial, Steinberg
and Duffie misrepresented the purchasers’ likely profits, misrepresented
the location services that Fidelity ATM would provide, and used fake
references. The evidence showed that Steinberg and Duffie
arranged for employees and friends to pose as successful Fidelity ATM
customers during sales calls with future potential purchasers.

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CELENT RESEARCH

MA-based Celent research and advisory firm has launched its new research
service to exclusively focus on the Indian financial services space and
deliver the latest insights around the business dynamics, operational
practices, regulatory evolution and technological underpinnings within
said market. The service will cover overviews on the market size and
areas of opportunity; how to understand regulatory issues affecting
India; advances in foreign and domestic financial institutions’
strategies; identifying growth strategies and target niches; aligning
technology solutions vendors with local business requirements; and
leveraging technology to reach the vast underserved rural market. In
doing so, the Celent service is most concerned with Cost Efficiency in
Indian Banking; risk management; payments; insurance; capital markets;
and financial instrument distribution challenges. Celent’s research and
advisory service helps financial institutions stay abreast of industry
trends, analyze and seize opportunities.

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Economic Confidence Sinks Among the Affluent

A monthly tracking poll reveals that upper-income consumers are now showing the biggest decline in economic confidence. Overall, 59% of consumers rated the economy as poor, a 3-point increase from October.
The Discover “U.S. Spending Monitor” was flat in November, rising only a half point to 86.3 as a majority of consumers continued to be pessimistic about the economy and their personal finances. The number of consumers who rate their finances as fair or poor was unchanged from October at 66%. Forty-nine percent of consumers felt their finances were getting worse, also unchanged from October. For the first time since July, a majority of upper-income consumers currently rate the economy as poor, 55%. This was an 8-point jump from October and the biggest increase from this income group the Monitor has reported since September 2008. There was also a 5-point increase to 42% in the number of upper-income consumers who felt the economy was getting worse, the highest number reported since June. Discover noted that November marked the first time in 26 years the unemployment rate reached double digits and while some economic reports have stated the economy is getting better, a majority of upper-income consumers tend to disagree.

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ADCB & CYVEILLANCE

Cyveillance cyber intelligence has partnered with Abu Dhabi Commercial
Bank (ADCB) full service bank, among the largest ATM networks in the
UAE, to integrate its enterprise solutions for protecting bank customer
information. ADCB chose Cyveillance for its proven Internet security
solutions offering the necessities to protect data with a proactive
approach. ADCB intends to leverage industry-leading information to
identify cyber threats, providing protection from threats both inside
and outside the bank’s network, and will be provided a more
comprehensive view of its online presence through brand-related
intelligence reports that focus on online brand protection. ADCB
commercial bank products and services include retail banking, wealth
management, private banking, corporate banking and Islamic products.

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ClairMail and Mitek Systems Team for M-Pay

Mobile banking solution provider ClairMail has inked a strategic
partnership with Mitek Systems
to integrate Mitek’s Mobile Deposit application into its
ClairMail’s mobile banking and payments platform. Through integration
with ClairMail’s platform, ClairMail and Mitek will
provide bank customers with a flexible, customizable, fully-integrated
solution, which combines the benefits of all three modes of mobile
banking — SMS, mobile web and ClairMail’s unique “Smart Client”
application — with remote deposit capture in one streamlined interface.
The ClairMail platform also delivers multi-level alerting capabilities,
which empowers users to conduct transactions, respond to or resolve
account activity and now provides users with account details after the
check submission process all within the mobile channel. Mitek’s “Mobile
Deposit” supports the payments industry standards for
Remote Deposit Capture (RDC), and extends mobile deposit capabilities to
millions of consumers who use cell phones equipped with a camera.

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UNICARTE & FREESTAR

Rahaxi subsidiary, Freestar Dominicana, has entered into a partnership
agreement with UniCarte of UNIBANK Haiti. Based on a 50/50
profit-sharing agreement on the sales of electronic pins and
recharge/top-up transactions for telecommunication companies in Haiti,
such as Digicel, Comcell, and Haititel, the partnership is to focus on
loading the prepaid application on to terminals. To date, 600 terminals
have been loaded, with projections the application will be loaded to an
additional 2000 terminals in the coming months. The partnership allows
UniCarte access to a prepaid platform that includes industry-leading
guidelines, the highest product standards, a secure environment, and an
enhanced technology infrastructure that provides UniCarte with
substantial flexibility to develop value added applications and services
for its merchants.

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Tango Card Introduces Automated Updates

Tango Card has expanded its service to now offer automated real-time gift card balance updates for most popular retailers. From their accounts, members click “update balances” and watch their card balances update in seconds. Additionally, members can now click “view charts” to see their gift card information presented graphically. This visual dashboard is intended to help members actively manage and use their card value. Finally, members can now click directly to retailer Web sites from their Tango Card account to buy the products and services they want. The new functionality from Tango Card coincides with an important time in the industry.

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OTI MAGNA

On Track Innovations contactless microprocessor-based smart card solutions announced it has signed a contract for the supply, transfer, maintenance and operation of an electronic identification related product based on OTI’s Magna platform. Teaming with a reputable system integrator that will be responsible for project management and local operation in the country, the partnership is to provide for an initial three-year period and minimum guaranteed amount of $17 million, starting in 2010. Supplying its end-to-end solution, based on its proprietary state-of-the-art ID Registry Magna platform, OTI’s system will be deployed nationwide to provide advanced software for ID management, supporting both online and offline communication for homeland security, payments, petroleum payments, eID Systems and other applications.

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3 Point Jump in Economic Sentiment Says Recession Over

Increasingly positive media coverage of consumer spending contributed to a significant rise in the Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) from 36.9 in October to 38.3 in November. The ESI has risen 11 out of 12 months since its low of 22.2 in November 2008, confirming the consensus among economists the U.S. recession ended sometime early in the summer. Consumer confidence is an important factor that is improving as the holiday season approaches. In November 2008 gloomy shopping-related articles outweighed positive ones by three to one, helping drive the ESI down to its lowest ever level of 22.2. This November the balance is much more equal, indicating a healthier economic outlook and pushing the indicator back to levels not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

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EASYCASH & INGENICO

Ingenico has completed the 100% acquisition of the German payment services provider, the easycash group. This allows Ingenico to accelerate its strategic development in the payment solutions and to offer a comprehensive range of solutions around POS terminals. Leveraging on the growth of payment, the Company can also actively work on easycash’s integration and implementation of synergies, combined with the easycash know-how and competences in payment services to its global geographical presence. Ingenico payment solutions currently has deployed over 15 million terminals deployed in more than 125 countries and employs 2,500 worldwide.

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