AMEX BUSINESS TRAVEL

American Express Business Travel’s “Business Travel Monitor” revealed that international and domestic airfare
prices ended 2008 up year-over-year and hotel rates down slightly.
Looking at Q1 2009 data, signs point to the effect of a weakening
economy, belt tightening by corporations, and falling consumer demand
noticeably impacting travel rates across the board. Average domestic and international airfares paid increased 7% and 6%
respectively in 2008 as a whole, but began to
slide in Q4 2008,continuing into Q1 2009. The Q1 2009 domestic average airfares paid are down 9%
compared to the first quarter last year and international average airfares paid are down 12%
versus Q1 2008. The average international and domestic booked hotel rates both showed
year-over-year decreases of 12% in the first quarter 2009. International business class air travel fell from an average of
50% of all bookings in 2008 to 39% in Q1 2009 while economy class international air travel surged to 56% of all travel in Q1 09 versus a steady 43%
throughout 2008. The BTM includes both average published and purchased air fares captured
across hundreds of domestic and international routes, including
unrestricted first class, business, economy, and discounted, restricted
economy air fares. The methodology for the average air fare paid is the
one-way price paid by all travelers booked through American Express
Business Travel, including taxes and fees, for all routes.

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TRAVELEX & MASTERCARD

MasterCard and The Travelex Group have extended their brand
relationship and implement the global prepaid transaction processing capabilities of MasterCard Integrated Processing Solutions. As
part of the new global agreement Travelex, which already issues and distributes “MasterCard Cash Passport” cards, will launch new MasterCard branded consumer and corporate Cash Passport programs around the world utilizing IPS. Travelex will also convert existing programs to MasterCard. Travelex serves 1.75 million cardholders through a network of more than 25,000 agents and 700 retail branches in 35 countries as well as corporate relationships in more than 100 countries.

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SMALL BIZ CREDIT USE

Financial blog Thinking Money has announced that Irish businesses are
using credit
cards to come to terms with their short-term finances. Anywhere between
a third and two thirds of
small businesses put cashflow as their greatest financial concern and
this strain
is only going to increase as the recession continues. Many small
businesses and sole traders are increasingly likely to take
advantage of their credit cards as a short-term form of credit. Credit
cards also
have the benefit that they can offer rewards and cash back too. This
enables businesses to temporarily allocate some of their expenses on a
business credit card providing a temporary and flexible method of debt
management. Thinking Money has previously stated that credit cards may
not be an ideal
long-term solution in managing SME debt, but can provide a reliable
stop-gap in the short-term, possibly even preventing a temporary,
insolvency shortfall.

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MASTERCARD 1Q/09

MasterCard’s first-quarter net revenue declined 2.2%, to $1.2 billion but gross dollar volume and purchase volume rose 0.3%.
Worldwide purchase volume during the quarter was also up 0.3% on a local currency basis versus 1Q/08, to $411 billion. The number of processed transactions increased 5.8% compared to the same period in 2008, to 5.1 billion. As of March 31st, the company’s financial-institution customers had issued 967 million MasterCard cards, an increase of 4.0% over the cards issued at March 31, 2008. Total operating expenses decreased 10.8%, to $595 million, during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. For complete details on MasterCard’s performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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FEBRUARY LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for Australia increased 0.2%
and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index increased 0.4% in
February. The positive contributors to
the index are money supply, building approvals, the sales to
inventories ratio, and rural goods exports. Share prices, gross
operating surplus, and the yield spread declined in February. Despite
this small gain, the six-month change
in the index has continued to decline to -3.9% (a -7.6%
annual rate) in the period through February, down from 2.4% (a
4.8% annual rate) from February to August 2008. However, the
strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have remained
somewhat balanced in recent months. The Conference Board LEI for
Australia now stands at 111.6 (2004=100).

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VISA 1Q/09

Visa reported that first calender quarter net income increased 70% to $536 million and net operating revenue rose 13% to $1.6 billion, compared to the same quarter in 2008. However, global transaction growth for the quarter ended March 31st slowed to an annual rate of 6%, compared to 8% in the prior quarter and 15% in the year ago quarter. For the first calendar quarter there were 9.4 billion transactions processed via VisaNet. Though slightly negative in the U.S., payments volume continued to grow on a constant dollar basis in all other regions globally. Visa also notes that processed transactions continued to post solid growth globally. Visa released fourth calendar quarter performance data which showed that payments volume growth, on a nominal basis, was a negative 1% over the prior year at $675 billion. Total volume, on a nominal basis and inclusive of cash volume, was $1.1 trillion, flat over the prior year. Total cards carrying the Visa brands rose 8% worldwide over the prior year to over 1.7 billion. Total transactions increased by 9% over the prior year to 14.9 billion. For complete details on Visa’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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WU & CPS & VS

Western Union and Consumer Portfolio Services along with VeriSign’s Messaging and Mobile Media Division announced a pilot project enabling CPS customers to trigger their monthly car payment directly from their mobile phone. The pilot program will run for approximately three months, at which time it will be evaluated for further rollout. CPS customers sign up for the Western Union “Bill Alert Text Message” service online and enter their CPS account number, mobile phone number and debit account information. Once the consumer has confirmed enrollment, monthly alerts are sent through VeriSign, detailing the payment amount due. The consumer submits his payment approval by texting “YESCPS” directly through the mobile device initiating a Western Union “Speedpay” transaction. Consumers can end their participation in the program at any time by texting “STOP.”

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BANK TRUST

A new report, issued jointly by Aite Group, LLC and Plenitudes
Prospective & Management evaluates consumer
trust in banks and outlines the significance of trust from a survey of
1,222 consumers in the
United States, United Kingdom and France. It is no surprise that
consumer trust in banks is low given the current
economic condition and the global financial crisis in 2008. What makes
this a cause for concern at banks is the degree to which a bank’s
ability to grow deposits is affected by consumer trust. Consumers that
have a high degree of trust in their bank are twice as likely to open
new accounts with their bank as consumers who only trust their bank
somewhat. In fact, consumers who said they trust their bank “somewhat”
were barely more likely to expand their relationships than consumers who
didn’t trust their banks at all.Recent bank advertising designed to
garner consumers’ trust are unlikely
to pay off, however. Of the many attributes that influence consumers’
level of trust in their banks, rational attributes (like operational
performance, and quality of advice in sales interactions) were
considered more important than emotional attributes (like having a good
reputation and living up to the values portrayed in ads).

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INSIDE & CPI

INSIDE Contactless and U.S.-based CPI Card Group have received both an “Elan” award and a finalist position at the 2009 ICMA Annual EXPO for their innovative payment sticker products. The payment sticker, based on INSIDE’s “MicroPass” contactless chip technology, can be affixed to any portable device such as a cell phone, and is available with a companion PVC card. The “Elan” award and finalist placement were in the following categories: “People’s Choice”, Winner (Tie): First Data GO-Tag sticker, manufactured for First Data and “Best Other Secure Card Design,” Finalist: First Data “GO-Tag” sticker, manufactured for First Data. CPI’s project management and manufacturing expertise combined with INSIDE’s technology leadership and support enabled the companies to go from prototype engineering samples to developing and introducing a real payment sticker product in a very short time.

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GiftCards.com Reaches the 1MM Milestone

GiftCards.com has sold its one millionth gift card.
The prepaid Visa debit
card allows consumers to spend the card wherever Visa is accepted.
Customers can even use the cards to pay bills. In addition to the flexible use of the prepaid debit card, customers can
also personalize the gift cards. The popularity of
personalized gift cards is growing. Gift cards were once thought of as a last minute
gift. Adding photos and personal messages to the gift cards gives each gift a
personal touch. GiftCards.com is a leading provider of gift cards to consumers and
corporations to expend as gifts, rewards, or incentives.

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MultiMedia Gift Cards Gain Traction

Multi-media provider EnXnet has received an order for 5,000 MultiMedia Gift Cards from Interactive Card Services.
This is a
preliminary order that will be used as samples for several potential
larger orders. A large marketing effort has been
put forth that has led to the request of several
samples to be delivered to several potential customers. Additionally,
some new manufacturing processes are being put into place to be able to
handle large scale orders going forward.

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FIS First Quarter Revenues Dip 3.9%

Fidelity National Information Services reports that first quarter
revenues declined 3.9% to $797.8 million. However, non-GAAP adjusted net
earnings increased 19.2% during the quarter compared to 1Q/08. Financial
Solutions revenue declined 3.2% to $271.3 million. FIS notes increased
demand for risk management and commercial outsourcing services was
offset by lower software license and professional services revenue.
Payment Solutions revenue declined 2.3% to $364.7 million, due primarily
to a $9.7 million decline in the company’s retail check guarantee
business. International revenue declined 8.3% to $162.3 million.
International revenue increased 11.5% in constant currency, driven by
16.3% growth in payments and 4.5% growth in financial solutions. On
April 1st FIS announced plans to acquire Metavante Technologies. FIS
reaffirmed its full year outlook for adjusted net earnings of $1.60 to
$1.66 per share. For complete details on FIS’ latest results visit
CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

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