Discover Intros New Ads for its Rewards Program

Discover Card has launched a new ad to reinforce its rewards program
and help cardholders spend smarter. The new integrated communication
effort focuses on the “5% Cashback Bonus” program and includes
television and online advertising. The current 15-second TV spot will
air through April 19th and will focus on the Home Improvement store
category. Future spots will focus on the various quarterly “5% Cashback
Bonus” categories including Gas, Hotels, and Theme Parks; and Grocery,
Restaurants, and Movies. Ads will appear on sites such as Amazon.com,
AOLshopping.com, BobVila.com, HGTV and DIY Network. Discover will also
have a presence on abc.com, nbc.com, cbs.com and hulu.com.
The spots were created in collaboration with the Martin Agency.

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MC APMEA

MasterCard Worldwide has appointed Vicky S. Bindra as president, Asia/Pacific Middle
East Africa region. Bindra joins MasterCard from GE Capital, where he was CEO,
President, India,
since 2007. Prior to that, he held several senior-level
assignments at Citibank in New York and Singapore in consumer banking, credit cards, small
business, sales and marketing and private banking. In addition, he was a
partner at Bain & Company, leading assignments in financial services and
private equity. Bindra is a graduate of St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta with a
degree in finance and accounting, a certified public
accountant and holds
an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of
Management.

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March Bankruptcy Filings Surge More Than 40%

The number of U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings in March topped 121,000, rising 41% from one-year ago and 24% sequentially. The increase is running ahead of the widely held projections of a 35% gain for 2009. According to the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Bankruptcy Research, consumer filings totaled 121,413 in March. Chapter 13 filings constituted 25% of all consumer cases in March, nearly a 5% decrease from February. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts bankruptcy filings jumped 34% in the third quarter compared to the year ago period, and increased 5% sequentially. According to CardData (www.carddata.com) there were 290,000 filings in the fourth quarter. In a recent American Bankruptcy Institute poll, 65% of respondents predicted that bankruptcies in 2009 would increase by at least 35% over the nearly 1.1 million cases filed in 2008. Fifty-three percent of respondents predicted that filings would increase by 35% or more while 12% thought that filings would increase by about 35%. (CF Library 1/08/09; 1/30/09)

BANKRUPTCY FILINGS
Mar 08: 86,165
Apr 08: 92,291
May 08: 91,214
Jun 08: 82,770
Jul 08: 94,124
Aug 08: 96,413
Sep 08: 88,663
Oct 08: 106,266
Nov 08: 99,925
Dec 08: 84,926
Jan 09: 88,773
Feb 09: 98,344
Mar 09: 121,413
Source: ABI/NBKRC; CardData.com

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Employment Trends Index Moderates in March

The Conference Board “Employment Trends Index” fell again in March and now stands at 90.1. It declined 2.3% from the February revised figure of 92.2, and down 22.1% from a year ago. The 20-month-long decline in the “ETI” is seen in all eight of its components, most notably over the past six months in temporary-help hires and part-time workers for economic reasons. The “Index” aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly. The conclusion is that the most intense stage of job losses is over.

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Underbanked Overwhelmingly Support Prepaid Cards

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and the
Center for Financial Services Innovation have released the results of a survey for underbanked consumers using reloadable prepaid cards that indicate 96%
percent of users said the cards were useful. In the survey, consumers cited a wide range of benefits as reasons for the high satisfaction rates with reloadable prepaid cards, in which 84% cited the protection of funds if the card is lost or stolen; 77% noted the security because of the ability to carry less cash; 76% that indicated budget control because of the ability to spend only the amount that is on the card and 80% have the ability to gain the social benefits of utilizing plastic.

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MasterCard Names a New Asia/Pacific Chief

MasterCard has named Vicky Bindra as president, Asia/Pacific Middle East Africa region. Mr. Bindra joins MasterCard from GE Capital, where he was CEO, President, India, since 2007. Prior to that, he held several senior-level assignments at Citibank in New York and Singapore in consumer banking, credit cards, small business, sales and marketing and private banking. In addition, he was a partner at Bain & Company.
Bindra will join MasterCard on June 1st to replace Andre Sekulic who is retiring.

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Omni Prepaid Earns MC Certification

Omni Prepaid has completed the “MasterCard
Global Vendor Certification Program” for its PA-based “OmniPrint” division. Omni Prepaid was one of the first companies to use
MasterCard’s on-line capture system for the Global Vendor Certification Program. The
company attained the MasterCard certification on March 19th, and is now
certified for card mailing, personalizing, embossing, and encoding. Omni Prepaid’s “OmniPrint” division operates an in-house Visa, and now
MasterCard, secure and certified print on-demand card fulfillment center that can
print gift cards, ID badges, loyalty cards, health insurance cards, merchant cards
and more with 24 hour turn around. In addition to printing they can integrate with a
client’s API, ship directly to the card recipients, customize the mailing and
assist with card design.

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UBC Offers a Free Terminal Program

NJ-based payment processor United Bank Card has launched the “Free Terminal Program” that offers merchants a wide selection of
advanced payment terminals. The terminal choices include the “Verifone Vx510 Dual Com”,
“Hypercom T4210 dial” or “T4220 IP/dial”, “Nurit 8020 wireless”, “Hypercom
T7Plus”, “Nurit 2085”, “Nurit 8320” and “Nurit 8500X”.
With the exception of the “Nurit 8020” wireless device, all of these
terminals can be sold, leased or placed for free with absolutely no
charge to the ISO.

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AmEx Unveils its Small Meetings eXpert

American Express Business Travel has introduced “Small
Meetings eXpert” designed to plan and book meetings with fewer than 50 attendees.
“Small Meetings eXpert” provides real-time connection to browse content,
compare rates and book guest rooms, meeting space, catering and audio
visual equipment. The solution also offers exclusive access to
pre-negotiated rates and packaged deals from the American Express hotel
and meeting supplier network. “Small Meetings eXpert” enables users to place a temporary hold on meeting space.
This allows for the additional time that may be needed to seek internal
approval prior to making a final commitment. Attendee management and
reporting capabilities are also key features of the solution.
Small meetings often represent unseen spend that can equal an incremental two
thirds of a company’s managed meeting spend. Through the control and
transparency provided by “Small Meetings eXpert”, companies are able to
consolidate this previously unseen and unmanaged spend and ultimately
drive significant savings to their bottom line.

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Comdata Teams with Regal Software

Payment technology provider Comdata has partnered with Regal Software
Technologies to enable their customers to expand corporate electronic
accounts payable solutions. With the
electronic payment solution, Comdata electronically generates a unique
MasterCard account number for every vendor payable and provides
settlement data to automate the reconciliation process. The electronic
payment solution is ideal for mid- to large-size
companies and the application modules provided by
Regal allow for seamless integration with “Dynamics” to offer users an
alternative payment method to manual check disbursements.

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Credit Card ABS Metrics Sink Again in Feb

Performance among credit card-backed securities deteriorated across all key metrics, except yield, in February. The charge-off rate increased to its highest level ever and delinquency hit a 20-year high. According to “Moody’s Credit Card Index” charge-offs for February hit 8.82%, compared to 7.74% in the prior month and 5.68% one-year ago. Delinquency rose to 6.14% compared to 5.94% in January and compared to 4.71% for February 2008. Moody’s expects the charge-off rate index to hit double digits by year end. Most analysts are predicting 9% charge-offs by December, but it largely depends on the unemployment rate. Cardholder payments also dropped in February to 15.16%, compared to 16.39% in January. However, yield increased to 17.49% from 16.58% in January. The one-month excess spread declined to 5.62% in February, compared to 5.81% in January.

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