OneBridge Moves a CU to Symitar’s Episys

Card processor OneBridge will migrate IN-based Heritage Federal Credit
Union to a real-time interface with Symitar’s “Episys” system for their
in-house Visa credit and debit card programs. OneBridge provides
financial institutions with complete, one-stop card processing solutions
to help
them maximize the value of their in-house credit, debit and ATM programs.

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Circuit City Gift Card Incentive Offered

Appliance and electronics retailer hhgregg will honor Circuit City gift
cards or credit cards with $50 off
a purchase of $299 or more at any hhgregg store location. hhgregg will
offer a $50 discount on purchases of $299 or more to
customers with Circuit City gift cards of any value or Circuit City
credit cards. The discount will not be available at hhgregg.com and
customers can only receive one discount per transaction.hhgregg
currently operates 110 stores in
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio,
South Carolina and Tennessee.

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Premier Card Solutions Lands a Top Award

Premier Card Solutions won the top “Award for Unique Innovation” at this
year’s International Card Manufacturers Association annual Élan Awards
for Card Manufacturing Excellence. The “Unique Innovation” category is
judged on the most innovative technical achievement in card
functionality. Pinnacle won for the “Wal-Mart Merry Christmas Velour
Card” produced for First Data/Wal-Mart. Recognizing the latest
advancements and achievements in card design, the ICMA Élan Awards for
Card Manufacturing Excellence are the pinnacle of design innovation and
technical achievement in the card industry from around the world.

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American Students Hold Avg of 4.6 Credit Cards

A new study has found that 30% of college students put tuition on their credit card. The report, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends, 2009,” is the fifth in a series conducted since 1998 through the company’s affiliate Nellie Mae which analyzes the credit card use of student loan applicants. In total, 92% of undergraduate credit cardholders charged textbooks, school supplies, or other direct education expenses, up from 85% in the previous study. Students who used credit cards to pay for direct education expenses estimated charging $2,200, more than double 2004’s average of $942. Eighty-four percent of undergraduates had at least one credit card, up from 76% in 2004. On average, students have 4.6 credit cards, and half of college students had four or more cards. The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, higher than any of the previous studies. Median debt grew from 2004’s $946 to $1,645. The higher the grade level, the more heavily students used their credit cards, with seniors graduating with an average credit card debt of more than $4,100, up from about $2,900 in 2004. The study found that freshmen carried a median debt of $939, nearly triple the $373 in 2004. Only 15% of freshmen had a zero credit card balance, a dramatic drop from 69% in the 2004 study.

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Travelex Unveils the Cash Passport MasterCard

Travelex has unveiled a new MasterCard that allows companies to
centralize and better manage their travel budgets. The new “Corporate
Cash Passport Debit MasterCard” enables companies to transfers funds
from the cards to company funds and back again any time during the
3-year life-span of the card. The card is loadable with U.S. Dollars and
has the MasterCard Brand Mark and bearing MasterCard protections such as
“Purchase Assurance Service” and “Lost Luggage Service.” Card accounts
can be set up with a specific hierarchical structure to better match
company loading and management processes. “Global Emergency Assistance”
offers dedicated phone support and help if a card is lost or stolen. If
an employee were to lose their “Cash Passport” while on a business trip,
for example, a phone call can arrange for emergency cash through Western
Union offices around the world.

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Gemalto Rolls-Out the Sealys Terminal in Germany

Gemalto announced the commercial launch of its “Sealys” e-health
terminal for the German market and approved by Gematik. The product is
fully and immediately operational with the current healthcare system. It
also has all the necessary features to operate in online mode in
connection with the future “Telematik” infrastructure, due to be
implemented in 2010, and will offer health professionals all the
services provided by this new healthcare system. Gematik is the
authority in charge of defining and approving the healthcare
infrastructure in Germany.

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MC’s GTO Names an Enterprise Architecture Exec

MasterCard’s St. Louis-based Global Technology and Operations has hired Antonio Ferri, previously with Dante Consulting, as group executive of Enterprise Architecture. Ferri will direct the MasterCard IT roadmap and oversee components of the software development lifecycle and continue the implementation of advanced processes to improve business and IT operations. Ferri comes to MasterCard GTO with nearly 30 years of experience in IT. He will manage and work with IT business partners, suppliers and vendors critical to the success of the MasterCard computing infrastructure. Ferri earlier served as chief development officer and chief enterprise architect at PriceWaterhouseCoopers with responsibility both for U.S. and European territories.

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G&D HEALTH CARDS

Giesecke & Devrient, EXTENSION and TrustBearer Labs, has developed “EXTENSION Health Connect” a secure smart card-based solution for health care providers. “EXTENSION(R) Health Connect” provides highly secure, fast and accurate patient identification and information exchange. It securely links data, patients, and healthcare providers together in order to reduce administrative costs and improve the patient experience. EXTENSION(R) Health Connect uses G&D patient health cards to securely identify patients to hospital information systems. The card also holds a personal health record for each patient that can be securely accessed.

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Bad Economic Situation Slams Young Adults

A new survey that paints a grim picture of the financial challenges facing the generation entering the workforce now. Conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and commissioned by Qvisory, an online
advocacy group that is helping young adults with their money, work and health concerns, the poll finds that young adults are feeling the effects of the economic downturn more acutely than other groups. Three in five say their personal economic condition is fair or poor. Most have the same or more debt than they had a year ago. Nearly one-third have paid a late fee on a credit card in the last year, 17% have fallen behind on mortgage payments and 18% have fallen behind on student loans. Two in five have skipped a meal to save money. Nearly one in five young adults are unemployed or looking for work. High debt and low savings puts them at particular risk when job losses occur.

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CONTACTLESS GROWTH

A new report from from Frost & Sullivan= titled “Asia
Pacific Contactless Smart Card Market” reveals that the market earned
revenues of $769.4 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $1356.0 million in 2014.
The ongoing issuance of projects such as e-passport and mass transit
ticketing will continue and applications will expand to include contactless and mobile
payments. Some other contactless applications that will insulate the market from
the downturn are upgrades and replacement cards. To ride out this unstable phase, market participants should promote
their product’s ability to create a more efficient and cost-saving system in the long
term, be it in the mass transit, government, or other industry. This benefit will be
even more apparent if there are multiple applications. At a time when participants
need to restrain spending, vendors should revisit successful business cases and
emphasize the long term cost savings and efficiency that resulted from them.

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Hilton HHonors and Rewards Network Team

Hilton HHonors has teamed with Rewards Network to enable members to register their
credit and debit card for the Hilton HHonors Dining to earn points for each eligible dollar spent.
Once HHonors members register their credit or debit cards at
HiltonHHonors.com/dining, they automatically earn points when they use
that card to purchase a meal at more than 9,500
participating restaurants in the “Hilton HHonors Dining” program.
No additional membership card or fee is necessary and members can
register up to five credit or debit cards including American Express,
Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. HHonors points are automatically
added to a member’s account when the registered credit card is used at
any participating restaurant. And when registering and using a Citi
Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card or Hilton HHonors Platinum Credit
Card from American Express members can earn even more points for every
dine.

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