NetSpend Extends the Acxiom Contract

With an extended agreement, NetSpend will continue to benefit from
Acxiom’s 40 years of experience and innovation. Acxiom “PanOptic-XTM Data Quality” services were implemented in 45 days
and in full production within two months, enabling NetSpend to quickly
reap the benefits of accurate, real-time customer data. The solution
also uses Acxiom’s AbiliTec® linking technology to accurately track
customers as they move through NetSpend’s customer acquisition and
lifecycle programs. Acxiom pioneered the
introduction of customer data integration (CDI) to the marketplace
nearly 10 years ago with the creation of proprietary linking technology.

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AMEX INTL 3Q/09

American Express reports that gross dollar volume on its international cards topped $55 billion in the third quarter, rising 10%, as the recovery outside USA gains ground. However, the AmEx international cardbase declined to 32.8 million cards, compared to 33.4 million in the prior quarter and 34.3 million one year ago. International card income soared by 90% to $127 million, as total revenues net of interest expense decreased 7%, provisions for losses decreased 21% and expenses decreased by 16%. As a result, the pretax margin jumped to 11.1% for the third quarter, compared with 0.1% for 3Q/08. “Marketing, Promotion, Rewards and Cardholder Services” Expenses decreased 22%, reflecting reduced marketing and promotion expenses and lower rewards costs. “Discount Revenue, Net Card Fees and Other” declined 10%, driven primarily by the lower level of card spending, decreased other commissions and fees, lower other revenues and reduced travel commissions and fees, partially offset by an increase in net card fees. For complete details on American Express’ third quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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TranZfinity Unveils the Myztro POS Solution

Transaction solution provider TranZfinity has launched the “Myztro”
mobile RFID POS solution. By using an existing mobile phone along with
“Myztro”
and a secure mobile POS application, merchants can now
move freely, offering secure transactions for their customers anywhere,
anytime. Although closed-loop pre-paid card schemes will be certified
first, it is expected that this solution will ultimately support
MasterCard PayPass, Visa payWave and even PayPal Mobile in the
coming months. On the merchant side, the only requirement is an NFC
enabled mobile
phone (which includes existing NFC handsets or handsets enabled with NFC
peripheral devices like Myztro) and a secure payment application running
on the mobile phone. On the consumer side, the only requirement is
either a contactless card (80 million have already been issued in the
US), a passive payment “sticker” attached
to their mobile phone, or a more interactive peripheral NFC enabler like
Myztro. The consumer solution will also be compatible with native NFC
handsets. Besides true transaction mobility, one additional major
advantage for merchants is that they will be able to take advantage of
lower overall transaction rates when compared with other mobile
solutions that require the merchant to enter card information manually.

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Card Manufacturing Hits a Sluggish 2008

The number of cards manufactured last year was essentially flat last year. The latest ICMA survey reveals 19.4 billion cards were manufactured globally, up 60 basis points from 2007. The dollar market also increased by 4.3% to $9.7 billion in 2008. North America held its position as the largest producer of cards, with more than 8.8 billion cards manufactured in 2008. The Asia Pacific region continues to gain global share with 4.9 billion units manufactured. Europe remained in the third position with 4.1 billion units manufactured, followed by Latin America with one billion units manufactured and the Middle East/Africa (MEA) with half a billion units manufactured.

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Accuvant PCI Select DSS is Released

IT security and risk management consultant Accuvant announced that its
“PCI Select DSS Merchant Suite” is available.
“PCI Select” is recommended for Level 1 and 2 merchants that are
familiar with PCI requirements but need assistance completing PCI
objectives.
Merchants can pick the services that make the most sense for their needs
and environment as well as complete mandatory assessments. This includes:
“PCI Gap Analysis” to assess current security posture, identify
gaps, receive remediation recommendations and develop a roadmap; “PCI
Scope Reduction” to
save time and money with solutions that reduce or eliminate PCI scope;
“PCI Portal” to manage compliance year-round with online compliance
status reporting and remediation results tracking; “PCI Scans”,
quarterly or on-demand external validation scans to
ensure systems remain complaint; “Penetration Testing” to discover
vulnerabilities to provide remediation recommendations and “Onsite
Assessment with QSA”.

PCI Simplified

PCI Simplified is an Accuvant subscription service designed to do just
that – to simplify PCI DSS requirements and provide merchants with an
easy way to validate compliance for acquirers, banks and processors.
This new, customizable offering is designed specifically for Level 2, 3
and 4 merchants and is structured as follows:

* Online PCI compliance validation for your acquirer, bank or
processor – achieved through the Annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire
and/or Approved Scan Vendor quarterly scans.
* Access to the Accuvant Learning Center, an online knowledge base
that explains PCI control requirements and provides security awareness
training.
* On-demand consulting with PCI QSA.
* Policy, procedure and standards templates to get your
documentation started.
* Managed services – Accuvant partners manage required PCI
technology so you don’t have to.

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New President for Payment Vision Autoscribe

Payment gateway provider Payment Vision Gateway Services has tapped Gregory R. Adelson to serve as
President and Chief Operating Officer of its Autoscribe division.
Adelson will provide leadership and strategic direction in assuming the day-to-day
responsibility for running the company from founder Robert E. Pollin,
who will continue to serve as CEO, effective October 23, 2009.
Over the last four years Payment Vision has emerged as the popular
choice of small and medium-sized businesses for its ease of use and
managed suite of multi-channel billing services. With the introduction
of innovative technologies such as “Flexible Settlement”, “Integrated
Payment Channels”, and token-based “Payment API”, service adoption has
caught on quickly with larger billing organizations.

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AmEx Nonprofit Leadership Academy Underway

American Express launches its third “American Express Nonprofit Leadership Academy”
to develop the next generation of leaders in the nonprofit
sector. The Nonprofit Leadership Academy is a week-long training program
created in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)
that immerses participants in a series of leadership training and
development courses. Through the Academy, participants gain a better
awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses as managers and hone the
skills necessary for effective leadership. The Leadership Academy brings
together twenty-four emerging leaders from within community,
environmental, international relief and cultural organizations. The
twenty-four participants are selected based upon a competitive
application process and were selected from twelve national and local
nonprofit partners which include Americans for the Arts, Harlem Children Zone, Junior Achievement Worldwide,
Points of Light Institute/Hands on Network, Save the Children and Teach for America.
The local nonprofits based in American Express Service Center locations are The American Red Cross, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.,
East Market Street Development Corporation, Junior Achievement of South Florida, Inc., Phoenix Theatre
and Western Governors University. Participants in this session of the Nonprofit Leadership Academy have
been paired with alumni from the April 2009 class, who act as mentors,
answer questions about what to expect during the week, and generally
give guidance about how to get the most out of the Academy experience.

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ScanSource Revenues Dip 9.5% in 3Q/09

Automatic identification data capture and POS technology provider ScanSource saw net sales decrease 9.5% to $488 million, compared to $540 million for the quarter ended September 30th, 2008. Quarterly operating income also decreased 14.3% to $17.7 million from $20.6 million for the comparable prior year quarter. Net income decreased 12.0% to $10.9 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 versus $12.4 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2008.
ScanSource expects net revenues for the next quarter could range from $475 million to $495 million. For complete details on ScanSource’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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AmEx International Card Profits Nearly Double

American Express reports that gross dollar volume on its international cards topped $55 billion in the third quarter, rising 10%, as the recovery outside USA gains ground. However, the AmEx international cardbase declined to 32.8 million cards, compared to 33.4 million in the prior quarter and 34.3 million one year ago. International card income soared by 90% to $127 million, as total revenues net of interest expense decreased 7%, provisions for losses decreased 21% and expenses decreased by 16%. As a result, the pretax margin jumped to 11.1% for the third quarter, compared with 0.1% for 3Q/08. “Marketing, Promotion, Rewards and Cardholder Services” Expenses decreased 22%, reflecting reduced marketing and promotion expenses and lower rewards costs. “Discount Revenue, Net Card Fees and Other” declined 10%, driven primarily by the lower level of card spending, decreased other commissions and fees, lower other revenues and reduced travel commissions and fees, partially offset by an increase in net card fees. For complete details on American Express’ third quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Credit Card Industry May Lose $8B in 2009

Based on third quarter reports so far it appears the bank credit card industry is on track to lose as much as $8 billion for 2009. This would make the first time in 28 years the industry has posted a net loss. However, with major issuers such as Capital One and American Express posting third quarter profits, the fourth quarter could soften the annual loss to $6 billion, according to CardData (www.carddata.com).
But, charge-offs are still nagging the industry. So far this year, Chase, the nation’s largest issuer, reported a $1.9 billion loss for its card business. BofA is down $4.4 billion for 2009, but the figure is for global cards. Last year the industry posted an $8.1 billion pre-tax profit, compared to a record $40.3 billion pre-tax profit for 2007. In 1980 and 1981 the industry lost $125 million and $110 million, respectively. During this recessionary period, the prime interest rate was 21% while the average credit card interest rate was 19.6%, according to CardTrak.com.

Bank Credit Card Annual Pre-Tax Profits
(VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express)
($ billions, except as noted)

YEAR TOTAL
2008: 8.10
2007: 40.30
2006: 37.50
2005: 30.60
2004: 31.60
2003: 29.80
2002: 27.80
2001: 24.30
2000: 20.50
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Optimism Among Small Businesses is Not Growing

Small business owners still have the economic blues but there are signs that many are gearing up to invest in areas such as advertising and capital expenditures. About 44% of small business owners think the economy is getting worse, down from 46% in September. The Discover “Small Business Watch” index rose from 87.7 in September to 88.5 in October. The number of those who said they plan to decrease spending dropped from 50% in September to 44% in October. However, the number of those planning no changes jumped from 22% to 32%. Those who are planning to increase spending dropped from 25% to 23%. Discover found 44% of owners say they have experienced cash flow issues in the past 90 days, down from 46% in September. About 29% of small business owners see economic conditions for their businesses improving, unchanged from September, while 43% see their own conditions getting worse, down two percentage points over last month.

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Omni Prepaid Hires a New CFO

PA-based Omni Prepaid has hired Doug Blasiman, former CEO and Co-Founder
of PrivaCash, as its new CFO. Blasiman was a senior executive officer
and CPA with 29 years of leadership
experience in business development, finance, operations, marketing,
product development,
accounting and banking in both start-up and large corporate
environments. He was the CEO and Co-Founder of PrivaCash, Inc. in 2000,
which was the first
company to offer prepaid instant issue MasterCard debit cards for gifts,
personal
spending and payroll that has lead into a billion dollar industry.
Blasiman is an
industry leader in developing new products and technology in prepaid
debit card programs
including open loop branded prepaid gift cards, GPR cards and payroll cards.

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