CITIES XL PROCESSING

Monte Cristo’s has teamed with GlobalCollect’s Hosted Merchant Link
interface to process payments worldwide for its new “Cities XL”
massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) . Through this interface,
players can select their preferred payment method, including
international/national payments cards, real-time banking, and local
direct debits. Cities XL takes advantage of GlobalCollect’s scalable
fraud screening tools from renowned partners to maximize transaction
safety prior to payment authorization, including customized business
rules, online account validation, neural networks and IP geolocation
data. GlobalCollect Payment Service Provider of local e-payment
solutions for international Customer Not-Present (CNP) accepts payment
in 200 countries.

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PayPal Slated to Host Payments Panel Discussion

Alternative payment provider PayPal will host a panel discussion
featuring venture capitalist to focus on entrepreneurial opportunities
in payments. The panel discussion, to be held at the first developer conference “PayPal X Innovate 2009” will be moderated by
GigaOm blogger Om Malik, the panel
will include Brian Ascher from Venrock, Roger Lee from Battery Ventures,
Eric O’Brien from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Dana Stalder from
Matrix Partners. PayPal X Innovate 2009 will also feature keynote addresses from eBay
Inc. CEO John Donahoe, PayPal President Scott Thompson and Vice
President of Platform and Emerging Technology Osama Bedier. Publisher
and Web 2.0 activist Tim O’Reilly will close out the first day of the
conference with the afternoon keynote. Other speakers include innovative
developers and partners who will unveil new applications based on PayPal
X, PayPal’s open development platform.

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King of Prussia Mall Now Offering an AmEx Card

PA-based King of Prussia Mall is now offering a fee-free American
Express gift card.
The new “King of Prussia Mall gift card” has no monthly fees, no
expiration of funds and no lost value, which means what you give is what
your recipient gets. As an added convenience for its shoppers, King of
Prussia Mall will
exchange previously purchased, unused Mall gift cards, with the new gift
card at no additional fee.
Shoppers can purchase cards online at www.kingofprussiamall.com and at
the Customer Service Centers located within the King of Prussia Mall.
Available in denominations from $20 to $1,000, the “King of Prussia Gift
Card” is a prepaid debit card accepted at all Mall stores that accept
American Express.

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MasterCard Launches Money Manager

In response to its research showing 43% of consumers prefer debit card
payment methods, MasterCard has launched its “Money Manager” interactive
financial management tool. The new launch allows MasterCard cardholders
to monitor debit card spending for themselves and family members,
provides the ability to review signature and PIN-based MasterCard
transactions by merchant category, and to create their own customized
categories. Helping identify spending patterns and compare actual
spending to an allocated budget, “Money Manager” offers consumers
greater financial control and encourages responsible spending by
simplifying record keeping with less data entry. It is already being
offered through Security Service Federal Credit Union.

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Comark Upgrades to TeamPoS 3000 XL2

Specialty fashion retailer Comark has
upgraded its POS infrastructure with Fujitsu’s “TeamPoS
3000 XL2 POS systems.” The TeamPoS 3000 XL2 POS system is based on the dual-core
Intel Core2 Duo mobile processor (single-core option available).
By implementing the mobile version of the dual-core processor, Fujitsu
offers retailers powerful processing in a POS system that is up to 40
percent more energy efficient than desktop architecture.
Comark is taking advantage of the “Fujitsu Retainer Plus” service
maintenance program, which is redefining the systems maintenance
contract in the retail industry. The “Fujitsu Retainer Plus” program
offers incentives for retailers to collaborate with Fujitsu in order to
reduce redundant and low-value service activity, thus lowering
maintenance costs. Because the system supports Comark’s Java-based POS software, it
allows the retailer the ability to implement applications to increase
employee productivity and enhance the customer experience.

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Most Americans Seek More Financial Know How

A new survey reveals that 75% of adults are trying to increase their financial know-how because of the current economic crisis. A third say they’ve already done so, while 43% say they plan to learn more about financial topics in the future. Mintel Comperemedia also found that young adults are the most determined when it comes to increasing financial literacy. Five out of six “Echo Boomers” say they’ve already become or plan to become more educated about financial matters, and 39% say they would like investment advice from a financial professional.
On average, financial services companies dedicate 22% of customer
communication direct mail to informational mailings, per Mintel
Comperemedia’s analysis of direct marketing.

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RSA & NEOVIA

RSA has chosen NEOVIA Financial global online payments as the standard
to process payments for all its brands, including its “MORE TH>N”
insurance brand. NEOVIA will use its payment suite to process card
payments online and by telephone for “MORE TH>N’s” consumer-facing
insurance services for its more than 2 million customers. RSA chose
NEOVIA for “MORE TH>N” thanks to its physical data centers with improved
resilience, lower risk for payment processing and high levels of
business continuity, all of which are configured in the event of one of
the other sites goes down. “MORE TH>N” is among the world’s largest
insurance companies and a FTSE 100 company, providing access to home,
motor, pet and travel insurance.

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AmEx Travel Introduces cXo Dashboard

American Express Business Travel has launched its “cXo” customizable
budgeting and planning dashboard. “cXo” is designed to help C-level
executives make informed, targeted decisions that support revenue
generating activities within cost reduction parameters over
‘across-the-board’ cuts. The new dashboard integrates travel, card,
expense and HR data and selected key performance indicators (KPIs) into
one source while utilizing American Express Business Travel’s
benchmarking to perform in-depth opportunity analysis. It can be
customized for Budgeting, providing graphical and numerical
representation of the company’s current travel spend; Optimization to
demonstrate how change in behavior for their customized KPIs compares;
and Procurement, allowing consultants to work with clients to evaluate
supplier negotiated contracts.

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Thales Releases the payShield 9000 HSM

Thales information systems and communications security has launched its “payShield 9000” payment “Hardware Security Modules.” Providing cryptographic performance and resiliency options to support the growth in global transaction volumes, the “payShield 9000” high-performance tamper-resistant security platform was designed specifically to secure card payment systems. The first provider to offer dual power supplies in a payment HSM supporting the needs of high-capacity shared infrastructures in mission-critical security systems within modern data centers, Thales has designed the “payShield 9000” to satisfy demand for performance, processing up to 1,500 transactions per second (TPS). The new hardware platform is Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) ready to support future payment system requirements and is designed to meet both FIPS 140-2 level 3 and the Payment Card Industry Hardware Security Module standard (PCI HSM).

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Credit Card Issuers Continue to Close Accounts

With consumer debt having plummeted more than $440 billion by 3.8%
since 3Q/08, in response to the ongoing recession, the consumer savings
rate of 3.71% was down from 4.74% in 2Q/08. This offers stark contrast
to the 3Q/08 savings rate of 1.30% and 0.20% in 1Q/08. This, according
to the latest Equifax “Credit Trends Report,” corresponds with issuers
continually closing accounts and reducing credit lines. Since September
2008, there are 88 million fewer accounts and credit lines have been
reduced by $751 billion while 4.36% of bankcard accounts are more than
60 days late, the worst seen in 5 years. New accounts opened were 54%
lower than July 2008. Cards issued to those with risk scores higher than
740 grew from 28% in July 2007 to more than 50% in July 2009 while those
with Equifax Risk Scores of 660 and below dropped from 42% to 22% in the
same period.

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GIVEX & VOLANTE

Givex gift card technology, a global provider of closed loop card
technologies for gift, loyalty and other stored value programs, has
integrated with Volante Systems hospitality technology provider at the
Art Gallery of Ontario. Volante Systems enterprise solution is designed
for the complex and varied businesses in the hospitality industry while,
in addition to gift cards, Givex also provides loyalty cards, e-gift
certificates, frequency cards, return cards, employee incentives,
expense accounts, promotional cards and coupons for all aspects of a
merchant’s business. Givex provides customer acquisition and retention
programs for clients in 35 countries while Volante provides open
standards, point of sale solutions to the hospitality industry.

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Consumers Open Up Wallets Slightly in September

According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 50 basis points from August, but fell 1.5% year-over-year.
September retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) decreased 1.5% seasonally adjusted from the previous month and 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Labor Day sales and a final push for back-to-school shopping, clothing and clothing accessories stores sales increased 0.5% adjusted from August but decreased 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Electronics and appliance store sales were flat from the previous month and decreased 9.9% unadjusted over last year.

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