High Credit Scores Targeted for ID Fraud

Identity thieves are just as attracted to perfect credit scores as are
lenders, according to data recently released by Experian. It turns out
there is a strong correlation between consumers with high credit scores
and their propensity for identity fraud victimization. Compiled using
800,000 consumer records originating from 2007–2008, statistics show
those with a credit score of over 926 experienced 16% of all identity
fraud while those with a score of between 501 and 556 experienced only
4% of fraud. Additionally, those with a score of between 815 and 990-
the top 20%- accounted for 48% of all fraud victims. Among the reasons
for this phenomenon, Experian points to the current state of lending
criteria and that an application for credit is more likely to be
approved with a high credit score rather than a low credit score.
Subsequently, Experian recommends all consumers actively protect
themselves from identity fraud by never giving personal info out over
the phone, regularly monitoring credit reports and safeguarding all
personal information.

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PLAY.COM VISA

In conjunction with MBNA, Play.com has launched its “Play.com Credit
Card”, offering users low rates, balance transfers and a PlayPoints
reward scheme for use on its website. PlayPoints are automatically
accumulated in the card holder’s account, who can redeem the points on
over 8 million products through the Play.com website, are rewarded with
2 PlayPoints for every GBP1 spent on the site and with 1 PlayPoint for
every GBP1 spent elsewhere. Additional benefits include no annual fee,
online fraud protection, 15.9% APR, 0% on card purchases for 9 months,
0% interest on balance transfers for 6 months, an opening bonus of 1,500
PlayPoints, access to online banking and free 24 hour customer support.

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Processor’s Online Gambling Funds Seized

Payment processor Allied Systems has had $34 million in funds owned by 27,000 online
poker players seized by the Department of Justice. The DOJ alleges that these funds are from illegal gambling and money laundering activities.
In a letter signed by Arlo Devlin-Brown, assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern
District of New York and sent to Alliance Bank, the prosecutor said accounts held by
payment processor Allied Systems Inc. are subject to seizure and
forfeiture “because they constitute property involved in money
laundering transactions and illegal gambling offenses.”
This move comes just as Internet gambling legislation sponsored by Rep.
Barney Frank (D-MA) seems likely to pass and states known for
anti-gambling positions, such as Utah, have begun to come around to the
idea of legal, regulated, Internet gambling.

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CALYPSO & INTERAC

Awarded certification for its INTERAC EMV CHIP platform, Transaction
Network Services’ (TNS) Calypso Canada ATM operators and deployers can
now upgrade their terminals using the Interac Association CHIP
requirements. Calypso has also certified its Triton “RL2000” on the EMV
CHIP platform, which is currently active at more than 18,000 locations
across the country. Calypso Canada worked with Triton and Moneris
Solutions to complete the INTERAC certification process as means of
providing the most secure, reliable services to ATM companies in North
America and Europe. The ATM provider has held PCI-DSS certification for
its processing platform since 2007 while TNS international data
communications serves customers in 28 countries.

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U.S. Visa Usage Abroad Declines 9% in 1Q/09

Tourists to the U.S. spent $52 billion last year, up $7 billion from
2007 and Americans spent $42.4 billion on their Visa cards abroad in
2008, up 3% from 2007 for international travel. However, Visa saw a
decline in tourism spending by U.S. travelers abroad in the first three
months of 2009 compared with one year ago. During the first quarter,
spending by U.S. travelers abroad on their Visa cards was down 9%, at
$9.3 billion compared with $10.2 billion during the same
period in 2008, according to Visa’s “Tourism Outlook”. Despite this, 47%
of Americans surveyed said the economic environment has not impacted
their desire to travel outside the U.S., and 18% are even more willing
to travel internationally but 83% will adjust their travel plans based
on the economic environment, 46% of travelers plan to travel
during the off-peak season and 31% plan on traveling closer to home.
During the first three months of 2009, total inbound tourist spending on
Visa cards totaled $11 billion, down from $12.9 billion in 2008.

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APS & MINT

Mint Technology has inked a business partnership and issuing bank
agreement with APS Financial for Mint’s prepaid card business in the
United Kingdom. APS Financial regulated institution provides direct
electronic money application service throughout the European Union, will
act as the issuing bank for the Mint prepaid solution across the UK,
interface with MasterCard, legal/regulatory oversight, assistance with
marketing, consumer communications and fraud protection. APS prepaid
card provider has a developed technology environment and service
delivery infrastructure to provide open loop solutions on large card
volumes with customer service support while Mint Technology Canadian
prepaid financial products and services provides customers customized
prepaid credit card programs.

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Internet PIN Debit Set to Take-Off by 2013

With U.S. Internet retail commerce having reached approximately 3.5% of
retail purchases in 2008, totaling $148 billion, and projected to
account for 5.8% of retail purchases by 2013, internet payment is
increasingly conducted using “pay now” debit-based payments, according
to the latest Javelin Strategy & Research White Paper. Thanks to high
cost, fraud potential, charge-backs, and consumers’ fear of debt
associated with card-based payments, merchants are increasingly seeking
alternatives to reduce the cost of payment acceptance such as Internet
PIN debit. Internet PIN debit implements bank-issued debit cards and
PINs and is targeting the demographic which accounts for the 20%
decrease seen in online retail card purchases over the past 2 years,
along with the projected 13% increase by 2013 in ACH-based alternative
payments. The Javelin Strategy & Research whitepaper disclosed merchants
and financial institutions discloses Internet PIN debit is likely to
align with consumer preferences and interests as a “cash-based” payment
method.

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BARCLAY & WELCOME

Barclaycard has signed an agreement with Welcome Real-time to introduce a retailer rewards
scheme. Welcome Real-time will work with Barclaycard to develop the software
that will enable Barclaycard customers to benefit from a retailer
rewards scheme that is expected to encompass retailers ranging from sole
traders to major high street names. Welcome Real-time is the global loyalty solutions provider for banks and
retailers of all sizes and is headquartered in France.

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DYETRON & OBERTHUR

Smart card provider Dyetron S.A,has partnered with Oberthur Technologies
to provide EMV cards in Colombia. Dyetron will utilize Oberthur’s end-to-end common personalization system
and will be fully integrated in the worldwide Oberthur network of over
30 services centers. This will allow local banks to migrate seamlessly
to EMV and international banks to easily deploy their EMV strategy in
Colombia. The Superintendencia Financiera has imposed a January 1, 2010
deadline for issuers and merchants to migrate to EMV payment because of
rising fraud rates from standard magnetic stripe debit cards. After this
deadline, the liability over fraudulent transaction will then rest solely on the
party that hasn’t upgraded to EMV.

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Heartland Smart Ops/STARS is Introduced

Heartland Payment Systems has partnered with Training Masters to offer
“Heartland Smart Ops” powered by STARS,” a
web-based, integrated school management system that handles financial,
admissions and education management, as well as financial aid payments.
Integrated into Smart Ops are Heartland’s core payments solutions for
card processing, online payments, check management and payroll and the
“Campus OneCard System”, a robust and flexible
campus card program that can be used for access and security; attendance
tracking; financial aid and work-study funds disbursement; and more.
“Heartland’s OneCard” and “Give Something Back Network”, a nationwide
network that powers the OneCard and helps institutions and nonprofit
organizations capitalize on everyday purchases, allow schools to offer
convenience to students, reduce their operating expenses and even
generate revenue. Smart Ops also has a student portal feature
which allows students to easily pay for tuition and other school-related
expenses.

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APRIL LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Japan has again fallen by 2.9% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) increased .4% in April. With the 2.9% decrease in April, the sixth straight month of decline for a total 25.9% loss, The Conference Board LEI for Japan now stands at 66.6 (2004=100), which declined 3.7% in March, while the CEI now stands at 92.2 (2004=100), which increased 1.6% in March after having decreased 2.4% in February. Contributing Japan LEI factors include; a decline in operating profits, stock prices, the six-month growth rate of labor productivity, and real money supply.

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