USAA Launches an Online Shopping Net

Financial service provider USAA has announced the launch of the online shopping network
“USAA MemberShop”, powered by MA-based Mall Networks. USAA members can
earn up to 20% in rewards for purchases, discounts and deals at
more than 500 name-brand retailers. USAA members earn rewards, either as cash back or points on every dollar
spent. These rewards are in addition to the regular rewards provided by
USAA credit and debit cards. USAA members, regardless of the credit card
they use, can collect cash back by shopping at the mall. The launch of
“USAA MemberShop” represents the company’s commitment to providing
increased value for its more than 7.2 million members.

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OFAC

The Western Union Company money transfer is set to implement the new
rules issued by The U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets
Control (OFAC) on sending money to Cuba. The new OFAC guidelines,
effective September 03rd, allow Cuban Nationals to send remittance
from the U.S. to “close relatives” in Cuba (including aunts, uncles,
cousins, and second cousins) and removes limits on the total amount and
frequency of remittances. Western Union has been providing money
transfer services from the U.S. to Cuba since 1999, in accordance with
OFAC laws, and currently has 3,000 Agent locations authorized to send
money transfers to the island country, on which there are more than 100
Agent locations.

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TRIONIS & PULSE

PULSE has signed long-term ATM acquiring agreements with TRIONIS
European interbank processing network. The agreements stipulates more
than 74,000 TRIONIS ATMs across Europe will be able to process ATM
transactions for Diners Club International and Discover cards. Diners
Club cards are now accepted at bank ATMs in Austria, Switzerland,
Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium. Discover cards are expected to
be accepted at TRIONIS European ATMs beginning in October 2009. TRIONIS
is jointly owned by retail banks from nine European countries, the
European Savings Banks Group and First Data while PULSE is the Discover
Financial Services business unit responsible for expanding global cash
access for the company and linking cardholders with more than 289,000
ATMs and POS terminals across the U.S.

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NEOVIA PAYMENT SUITE

NEOVIA Financial independent global online payments business has added
Bracknell Forest Homes, Fire and Fireplaces, LandlordZONE.co.uk and
TenantVERIFY.co.uk to its list of merchants implementing the NEOVIA
Payment Suite. Allowing secure payment processing of payments on their
respective websites, Bracknell Forest Homes not-for-profit housing
association is implementing the NEOVIA Payment Suite to allow tenants to
pay their rent over the internet; Fire and Fireplacesonline retailer of
gas and electric fireplaces is using the services to allow customers to
pay online in multiple currencies; LandlordZONE.co.uk online community
and web portal can now settle the items it charges for directly over the
internet; and TenantVERIFY.co.uk will be deploying NEOVIA to settle its
on-line tenant verification and referencing service.

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Coinstar Exits Entertainment Services

Self service retail solution provider Coinstar has
announced the closing of the sale of its entertainment services business
to CO-based National Entertainment Network, Inc. National Entertainment Network assumed the
operations of the entertainment services business, including
substantially all of the business’s related assets and liabilities.
Coinstar received nominal consideration and expects to record a pre-tax
loss in the range of $52 million to $57 million and realize a one-time
tax benefit in the range of $82 million to $87 million on the sale of
the business. As a result, the company expects a net gain in the range
of $25 million to $35 million in the third quarter of 2009, which will
be reported under discontinued operations in the company’s consolidated
statement of operations.

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Merchant Cash Advances Gain Traction

1st Merchant Funding has launched its “Cash For Declines Starter Advance
Program” to provide merchants an alternative to traditional cash
advances. Allowing merchants to secure cash beginning with a starter
advance. “Cash For Declines Starter Advance Program” provides approval
time within 24 hours, allowing small businesses to access funds against
their future credit card sales receipts. This allows merchants to get
cash against their future credit card receivables.
1stMerchantFunding.com ultimate goal with its latest solution is to
assist merchants in turning future profits into cash for use now.
“Starter Advance” allows merchants to qualify for an advance between
15%-50% of their monthly credit card volume and supports merchants as
they develop healthy transactions as thriving businesses. The cash
advance option also charges no application fees, no fixed fees, no fixed
payments, and available cash within 2 days or less.

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PIZZA HUT E-MONEY

UK-based sQuid “eMoney” has launched its Pizza Hut branded pre-pay
contactless smartcard for customers at stores in Dundee. The “eMoney”
smartcard uses contactless payment, combining ‘pay as you go’ with a
loyalty email voucher scheme, allowing customers to redeem the rewards
in-store. sQuidcard provides contactless eMoney services in various
networks with the flexibility to provide all prepaid card adaptation,
multi-purse technology and is compatible with transport smartcard
applications, including ITSO. This offers an advantage over bank cards
and loyalty schemes. All sQuid eMoney cards are accepted at the
participating Pizza Hut Delivery stores.

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Upromise College Program Hits $500MM

Members of Upromise, Sallie Mae’s saving for college program, have
earned $500 million in college savings. Focused on helping members take
control of rising college costs, offering money earned back through
eligible everyday purchases with Upromise partners, Upromise provides
savings for past, present or future college costs. Eligible purchases
include gas, groceries, items purchase online through nearly 650
retailers, travel, dining out, buying a home and auto insurance. To
boost college savings, Upromise is recommending its members apply for
the Upromise “World MasterCard” credit card with Gas & Grocery Rewards
and the Upromise “World MasterCard” credit card with Dining & Grocery
Rewards; Download “TurboSaver” free online savings reminder notifying
college savings opportunities; Shop Online through Upromise.com for
immediate savings; Invite Family and Friends to contribute their
Upromise savings to a beneficiary’s account; and Exchange Savings Tips.

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StorValue Unveils a Line of Visa PPCs

Stored value card provider StorValue Card Solutions and MetaBank have
launched
“The StorValue DebitSmart” and “MySchoolDebitCard” Visa Prepaid Card
The StorValue suite of products serve and support corporations and
associations with co-brand loyalty and affinity programs as well as the
banked, un-banked, under-banked, credit challenged, and the youth/teen
market. In addition to providing these markets with a convenient
alternative to cash, StorValue cards offer cash-back and fuel rewards
delivering a true underlying benefit to its cardholders. While many
traditional credit card issuers have reduced or eliminated rewards
programs entirely from their product lines, StorValue™ has built its
product offering to deliver rewards and benefits to meet consumer
demand.

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Debit Card Overdraft Fees Drawing More Scrutiny

A new survey has found that 17% of all U.S. bank customers did not pay
an overdraft fee in the previous twelve months, compared to 19% in the
prior year. However, the surge in overdraft fees caused by rising debit
card usage has turned the spotlight hot and heavy on this bank practice
which produces about $38 billion per year in revenue. The August survey
for the American Bankers Association by Ipsos-Reid found that of the
consumers who did pay overdraft fees in the past 12 months: 36% paid
one; 10% paid two; 15% paid three; 13% paid four; 6% paid five; 11% paid
between six and ten; and 5% paid more than ten. A survey released in
July from Moebs Services reported the average overdraft fee rose 10%
this year to $27.50, and compared to $23.25 five years ago. GA-based
bank consultancy Bretton Woods found that the average U.S. household now
has more than 12 overdraft transactions per year and pays $368 annually
in fees. Bretton found the NSF/ODP fee income by state ranged from
nearly $73 million in Alaska to $4 billion in California.
A 2008 FDIC survey discovered that customers living in low-income areas
carry the brunt of most of the fees, and that 46% of young adults are
charged for unauthorized overdrafts in high numbers. The FDIC report
also shows that over half of the large banks surveyed process overdrafts
from largest to smallest, which can artificially increase the number of
overdrafts fees incurred by consumers. Additionally, the FDIC found that
a majority of banks reported automatically enrolling customers into
overdraft systems that impose a fee. (CF Library 12/04/08; 1/13/09; 7/13/09)

OVERDRAFT FEES
2004: $23.25
2005: $23.89
2006: $24.44
2007: $25.07
2008: $25.64
2009: $27.50
Source: Moebs

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iPhone to Change Banking Industry Biz Models

A new report projects that by 2014, 45% of mobile-phone users will
actually use mobile banking. Also, mobile banking will rival online
banking, with the former used as a remote control and the latter as a
detailed form of control panel for more complex transactions. The
Javelin Strategy & Research reports also says AT&T has the highest
number of mobile bankers due to the iPhone’s influence, while Verizon
Wireless has the lowest penetration for mobile bankers among the top
tier U.S. wireless carriers. About half of all iPhones users do mobile
banking today. Javelin predicts 99 million U.S. adults will conduct
mobile banking transactions at least once per year by 2014 – with 52% of
mobile-phone users relying on smartphones. Javelin says that just as the
iPod changed the music industry the iPhone will change the banking industry.

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