AmEx Launches a New Take Charge Ad Campaign

American Express has launched a new, integrated marketing campaign
under the theme “Don’t Take Chances, Take Charge”. The marketing
campaign launches today with print advertisements in national
newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and
USA Today. Tomorrow, print advertisements will run in major regional
newspapers, including Boston Globe, New York Post, Los Angeles Times,
San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. Television advertising
will begin to air on major broadcast and cable stations such as CBS,
FOX, NBC, TNT, A&E and the Discovery Channel breaking during the U.S.
Open on September 5th. The digital element of the campaign will include
an interactive social media component. Additionally, AmEx has created a
Web site, takecharge.com. The campaign is part of an ongoing effort to
educate consumers about the “Charge Card” and explain why it is a
smarter way to pay.

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Dynamic Card Solutions Q2 Revenues Up 87%

CO-based instant card issuer Dynamic Card Solutions reports that second
quarter revenue was $14.8 million, an 87% increase in revenue from last
year..
By adding new customers both domestically and internationally, as well
as expanding existing customers’ deployments of DCS instant issue
software and associated hardware, the company continues to sustain its
significant market share as the preferred vendor-of-choice for instant
card issuance, PIN selection and PIN change. With nearly 500 customers
to date, DCS’ patented flagship software, CardWizard, runs in thousands
of individual branches/stores producing personalized ATM and
Visa/MasterCard plastic cards on demand with private and secure PIN
selection.

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JULY DEBT

Growth in credit card outstandings remained stagnant in July, stuck around GBP 53-54 billion for 2009. However, year-on-year growth was down 55 basis points in July, compared to 2% in June. According to the The Bank of England, net credit card debt was GBP 53.9 billion in July. But, the amount outstanding of credit card lending increased by GBP 300 million following the de-securitisation of credit card portfolios to several UK banks from associated non-resident companies. Overall, the decrease in total net lending to individuals in July (GBP 600 million) was lower than the June increase (GBP 400 million), showing a net repayment for the first time. The twelve-month growth rate continued to fall, by 0.3 percentage points to 0.9% and the three-month annualized growth rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points to zero. Total consumer credit decreased by a net GBP 200 million, below the previous six-month average. The annual growth rate of consumer credit continued to fall, to 1.4% and the three-month annualized growth rate decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 0.2%.

NOTE: Chart does not include about GBP10 billion from specialist lenders, retailers, and insurance companies. SOURCE: Bank of England

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Visa to Prepay its Debit Card Settlement

Visa will prepay the remaining payments agreed to in the June 2003 Settlement Agreement by making a single
payment of $682 million instead of the
remaining four annual $200 million payments due through 2012. Constantine Cannon LLP and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, together
Lead Counsel for United States merchants advised the Court
that it believes that the Visa Prepayment Agreement will be more
beneficial to Class Members than proceeding with the previously contemplated
securitization of Visa’s remaining payment obligations. The Visa Prepayment Agreement
equates to completing the securitization at a discount rate of below 8.0% on an
annual basis and it eliminates all market risk, while offering numerous other
advantages not available in the context of a securitization. As with a
securitization, if the Court approves the Visa Prepayment Agreement, Lead Counsel will be able
to make lump-sum distributions of the Visa residual payments to Class Members
with approved claims instead of making installment payments over the next four years
of any residual amounts.

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BOKU PAYMENTS

Online mobile payments are gaining momentum merchants and publishers who sell digital goods and services globally. San Francisco-based BOKU reports it is going live in the next week with its payment service in Indonesia, New Zealand, Slovenia and Taiwan, bringing the company’s global reach to 55 countries. Since its launch last summer the company has over 1,000 customers that use BOKU as their mobile payments provider of choice. The bank-grade payment service allows over 1.8 billion potential consumers to shop online and purchase virtual goods and digital content easily and securely using their mobile phone.
BOKU is funded by Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

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Bling Names Community Payment Services Head

Alternative mobile payment provider Bling Nation has tapped Timothy
Shank, previously with USA Payment Services, as its new director of
Community Payment Services. Shank brings more than 15 years of sales training and development
experience to Bling Nation. He developed sales-based divisions in three
leading credit card processing companies as well as designed sales
procedures and created materials for multi-million dollar initiatives. Shank will lead the
company’s outreach to merchants and small business customers. He will
educate them on Bling Nation and its Community Payments Service, which
enables merchants to bypass the current and costly debit payment model
and replace it with a cost-effective and efficient local payment network.

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FORTENT & ACTIMIZE

NICE Systems and its Actimize subsidiary have signed and closed
definitive agreements to acquire Fortent Anti-Money Laundering and
financial crime prevention software solutions for a total, all cash
consideration of $73.5 million. NICE will be acquiring Fortent’s
Compliance and Risk Management business, which will become part of
Actimize, and integrating its employees. Serving financial services
industry clients such as Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Mizuho, Royal Bank of
Scotland and Scotiabank, Fortent analytics technology will provide
Actimize clients comprehensive solutions, robust service and organized
support. Actimize is now expected to be a $100 million business in 2010
and will continue to leverage NICE’s presence through financial
institutions worldwide to further accelerate market presence.

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BOKU Mobile Payments Expands to 55 Countries

Online mobile payments are gaining momentum merchants and publishers who sell digital goods and services globally. San Francisco-based BOKU reports it is going live in the next week with its payment service in Indonesia, New Zealand, Slovenia and Taiwan, bringing the company’s global reach to 55 countries. Since its launch last summer, the company has over 1,000 customers that use BOKU as their mobile payments provider of choice. The bank-grade payment service allows over 1.8 billion potential consumers to shop online and purchase virtual goods and digital content easily and securely using their mobile phone.
BOKU is funded by Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

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Dow Jones ESI Points to an Economic Recovery

The Dow Jones “Economic Sentiment Indicator” increased for the sixth
consecutive month to 35.5 in August. This continued improvement
indicates the U.S. economy may be advancing into a period of recovery.
The Dow Jones “ESI” predicts U.S. economic health by analyzing the
coverage of 15 major daily newspapers in the U.S., using a numerical
scale from 0 to 100 to express the balance of sentiment in articles
about the economy. A drop below 50 marks the point at which there is a
clear risk of a slowdown and a jump of three points or more usually
indicates a sign of significant improvement. The ESI implements
comprehensive and far-reaching examinations of media coverage as an
economic indicator, using a proven formula used to predict recessions of
the early 90’s and 00’s.

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Direct Mail for Mobile Banking Expands in 2009

New research reveals mobile banking promotion is on the rise in direct marketing. In the first six months of 2009, the phrase “mobile banking” appeared in banking direct mail offers more than twice as often as in the first half of 2008. Significantly more email offers also now mention “mobile banking”, according to Mintel Comperemedia’s analysis of email advertising from banks. Mintel has also tracked emails promoting
iPhone Apps from banks like Wells Fargo. Other top institutions
continue to create new mobile applications, like USAA allowing customers
to deposit checks by phone or Citibank’s “Obopay” letting people send
money via text messages. The research firm noted that USAA, Bank of America and Wells Fargo to local credit unions all promote mobile banking in direct marketing.

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U.S. EMV

Shifting from magnetic stripe to EMV chip cards in the U.S. has potential to mitigate $16.6 billion in existing card fraud thanks to its multi-functional, security-adding chip as a repository. Of the $22 billion in existing card fraud, 43% is found to have been due to lost or stolen cards; 22% was accessed while making a purchase; and 11% was accessed by someone known to the victim. All of these factors are immediately eliminated thanks to the presence of the cardholder’s PIN embedded in the chip, which must match the entry on the pin pad at the POS. These findings, according to Javelin research, also estimate costs of POS terminal deployment at $3.75 billion; card issuance to cost around $1.4 billion; and ATM retrofitting is estimated to cost $400 million, all totaling $5.5 billion. This translates to $11.1 billion in potential fraud loss savings. Because of the legacy of the magnetic stripe infrastructure in the U.S., the status quo in the U.S. does not favor EMV and starting over is proving problematic. This is in part because losses attributed to PIN use at POS terminals are not as much of a problem in the U.S. as they have been elsewhere.

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Business Owners Gearing Up for the Recovery

Economic confidence among small business owners rebounded in August to
its highest level in 18 months. It is the fourth consecutive monthly
climb and indicates small business owners may be ready to start trying
to grow their businesses again. The latest “Discover Small Business
Watch” index rose to 89.8, up 7.7 points from last month. The survey
also discovered the number of small business owners who think the
economy is getting worse dropped to 43% in August, the lowest reading
since the survey began three years ago. About 27% of small business
owners say they plan to increase spending on business development, such
as advertising, inventory and capital expenditures, which is up from 23%
in July. Additionally, 51% of owners say they have experienced cash flow
issues in the past 90 days, down from 53% in July.

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