FastTransact Powers Credit Card Donations

O Bee Credit Union and WA-based merchant account service provider
FastTransact have partnered to bring credit card processing of
charity donations to a financial institution’s web site.
Teaming up with FastTransact made it
possible for O Bee to set up a single point of collection for the
Thurston County and Tenino Food Banks and United Way of Thurston County.
What is unique about our website is that the monies collected are
deposited directly into the non-profit accounts, so donations can be tax
deductible. Contributors can use any institution’s Visa or MasterCard
credit cards or Visa debit cards. O Bee Credit Union (The Olympia Brewing Company Employees and Families
Credit Union) is a full-service, non-profit credit
union owned by its members is now open to all Washington residents.
FastTransact offers a unique collection
of merchant account services throughout the US and Canada, including
everything from retail equipment, to POS hardware/software, to
secure and high performance Internet gateways.

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Online Gift Cards Gaining Traction This Year

The survey data revealed that 68% of online shoppers agree that
buying a gift card online that can be sent via e-mail is more convenient
than having plastic cards shipped to the gift card recipient and 80%
of online shoppers indicated that if their favorite store or
restaurant offered a personalized online gift card on their website,
they would be more likely to purchase an online gift card from that
retailer. Half of all
respondents said they have decided against giving gift cards in the past
because they were not personal enough, however, 85% of
online shoppers who are planning to give gift cards this holiday season
expressed interest in purchasing personalized online cards that can be
sent via e-mail and 70% reported that the ability to
personalize a gift card is of importance to them and 88% of online shoppers indicated that they would
be more likely to purchase a gift card that has an incentive attached
(i.e. send a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card for yourself).

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Bill My Parents Inks Another Contract

Socialwise and Offerpal Media have entered into a strategic
partnership with virtual currency monetization solution provider
Offerpal Media that will feature the “Bill My Parents” alternative payment solution
The two companies will work together to promote their existing payment
solutions, as well as develop new payment programs specifically for the
teen and tween market. Offerpal will feature BillMyParents on its
proprietary monetization platform as an alternate payment solution
alongside Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others, providing teens and
tweens with an easy way to acquire virtual currency across Offerpal’s
network of 2,000+ publishers. The virtual currency will be spent on
items such as virtual gifts, subscriptions, game-play upgrades, and
other virtual goods. BillMyParents and Offerpal will also collaborate to launch innovative
programs that will expand their reach into the teen and tween online
payment solutions market.

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SAFEPLAY & TRINTECH

Trintech Group integrated financial governance, risk management and
compliance software solutions has signed a partnership agreement with
Sweden-based Safeplay consulting partnership. Specializing in finance
and business process management solutions for the banking, insurance,
energy, telecommunications, shipping, and manufacturing industries,
Safeplay helps companies be more efficient by improving operational
efficiency and to gain competitive advantage. Trintech’s Unity Financial
GRC Software suite is used by many global enterprises, including
Microsoft, Google, McKesson, eBay, OSM, Hewlett-Packard, Marriott,
Lockheed Martin, 7-Eleven, Verizon Wireless, Symantec, Allianz, Monster
and more.

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BofA Issues a Credit Card Clarity Commitment

Bank of America is mailing out a one-page summary of customers’ rates, fees, and payment information tomorrow to 40 million current cardholders. The “Credit Card Clarity Commitment” is part of a number of initiatives by BofA to simplify loan information for consumers. The bank recently launched the “BankAmericard Basic,” which has one rate for all transactions and no over limit fees. Earlier this year, BofA unveiled a “Clarity Commitment” with a simple one-page loan summary for mortgage and home equity customers; introduced new options for checking account customers to limit overdraft fees; and recently debuted an easy-to-navigate Web site, bankofamerica.com/solutions, that provides tools and resources to help consumers manage their finances.

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U.S. Business Owners Say Cash Spigot is Dry

Small business owners are quickly losing economic confidence as cash is not flowing. Overall, there is a glum outlook on the holiday season with a mere 11% expecting to see more business this year over last. The Discover “Small Business Watch” index declined from 88.5 in October to 76.5 in November. About 52% of owners say they have experienced cash flow issues in the past 90 days, up from 44% in October. Forty-one percent of owners say they have not experienced cash flow issues, which is the lowest response in this category since the Watch began. The remaining 6% said they weren’t sure. Discover also found that 24% of small business owners say that they extend credit to customers, and 73% of those that extend credit say that they have customers who have delayed or asked to delay a payment in the last three months. This is largely unchanged from December 2008 when 25% said they were extending credit, and 72% said that they had customers who delayed or asked to delay a payment. Finally, 53% of small business owners think the overall economy is getting worse, up from 44% in October but still significantly lower than the 69% of owners who felt that way in February 2009.

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TIO & GEORGIA POWER

TIO Networks multi-channel expedited bill payment processor and Georgia
Power electric utility have launched the self-service automated bill
payment program in select retail stores in metropolitan Atlanta. The
automated kiosks will enable Georgia Power customers to make bill
payments via TIO’s expedited bill payment processing system and are
expected to be fully operational this winter. Users will be able to
navigate through bill-pay applications in either English or Spanish, and
insert cash directly into self-serve automated kiosks to securely
complete transactions for payments posted immediately to the customers’
account. The customers will have the option to either print or forward
receipts to an email address of their choice and will pay a $2
convenience fee per transaction.

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Coinstar Says Micro Donations Are Growing

The results of a new survey from Coinstar indicate that microdonations to charity are on the rise.According
to the Coinstar National Currency Poll on microdonation trends, 92% of
those polled
donated money to charity in the last 12 months, however 25% say
their donations were smaller than the year before. Microdonations are on
the rise as people are looking for ways to donate that fit their budgets with 87% of Americans indicating they would
consider making small monetary donations to charity throughout the year if it was
a simpler process. Of the respondents willing to make smaller
donations, 75% feel they would donate if they
could make the contribution easily, while 70% would donate if no minimum
donation amount was required and 60% admit they would
consider the donation if they could use the contribution as a write-off during tax
season and 52% think about making small contributions throughout the year
if they had the option of a one-time only donation and 47% if they could
give money anonymously. Additionally, 37% would like to
have the option of selecting multiple charities to donate to at one time.
Coinstar is providing the much needed service as shown through the more than $30 million
donated through its “Coins that Count” program since its inception in 1997.

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Chase Beefs-Up Ultimate Rewards for the Holidays

Chase Card Services has rolled out the “Ultimate Rewards” holiday program for “Sapphire” and “Ink” cardholders. “Ultimate Rewards,” launched earlier this year is the new flagship
rewards program and is also available to all new “Chase Freedom”
cardholders and to most existing “Chase Freedom” cardholders. Through
the “Ultimate Rewards Mall”, card members receive up to 10 bonus points
every day from leading retailers and more during the holiday season,
including free shipping, from select retailers. For example, an “Ultimate Rewards” member who spends $1,000 via the “Ultimate Rewards Mall” can earn up to 10,000 bonus points, good for $100 in cash back. “Ultimate Rewards” points can also be used for free travel, over 3 million merchandise items, and gift cards from over 60 retailers. Through the “Ultimate Rewards Mall”, card members can access money-saving comparison shopping tools that make it easy to evaluate products and find the best prices and deals.

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GLOBAL LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) globally is projected
to increase 3.5% in 2010. Advanced economies’ share of world GDP has
fallen from two-thirds in 2000 to below 50% and will hit one-third by
2016, according to the inaugural 2010 edition of The Conference Board
Global Economic Outlook. China will remain a dominant economic force,
but its growth will gradually slow as its transition proceeds to a
consumer-driven economy. The Conference Board Global Economic Outlook
2010 projects output growth for major regions of the world economy and
the world as a whole for 2009, 2010, and 2011-2016, and takes into
account macroeconomic as well as business dynamics such as changes in
consumer and labor markets and relative costs.

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ATM-RECYCLER G7

OKI Electric Industry has developed its “ATM-Recycler G7” cash recycling
ATM for the worldwide market, allowing multiple currencies handled by a
single ATM. With this, OKI plans to start selling ATMs to the wider
market, with shipments and sales scheduled in March 2010, starting with
the Chinese market. Cash dispensers have been replaced with cash
recycling ATMs in recent years, allowing banknotes to be deposited in
Japan, China, Korea and other parts of Asia. The “ATM 21S” and a
space-saving “ATM21SX” for these markets and has achieved some
significant successes. The “ATM-Recycler G7” features high performance
and reliable recycling for shortened banknote processing time; high
capacity up to 16,200 banknotes; low energy consumption and reduced
weight; and high quality through developing and manufacturing the main
parts, from components to the final product, centralized at OKI.

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