SCOTIA MOMENTUM VISA

Scotiabank has launched the “Scotia Momentum Visa card” that provides 2% cash back on gas station,
grocery store, drug store and recurring-payment purchases. The “Scotia Momentum Visa” replaces the discontinued Scotia Moneyback
Visa product.
As a special three-month introductory offer, Scotiabank is offering new
and existing customers a full two per cent cash back reward on all items
purchased with the card. Other key features of the new “Scotia Momentum Visa” card includes full
cash back rewards, as opposed to a tiered system of rewards; 2% cash back can be earned at any merchant classified by Visa as a gas station, a
grocery store, a drug store, or as a recurring payment merchant; purchase
security and extended warranty protection applies to all purchases made with
the card; interest free grace period of up to 21 days when you pay in
full for the current and previous month; no inactive fee; and cash back reward
payouts every November. Almost 48% of Canadians would use a
credit card more if a 2% cash back incentive was available,
according to the Harris/Decima poll.

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WELLS FARGO ACH

Wells Fargo & Company has
launched “International Automated Clearinghouse” (ACH) credit services
to India, Hong Kong and Singapore. The addition of these markets extends
Wells Fargo’s global ACH commitment to meet corporate customers’ needs
in Asia. For companies who need to make cost-effective cross-border
payments, ACH offers a lower-cost alternative to international wires and
greatly reduces or eliminates lifting fees. The Asia services are
completely integrated into all Wells Fargo ACH
origination channels, which include direct transmission, Internet, and
the proprietary “Payment Manager” service. This enables customers to
send ACH payments to additional countries within their existing payments
workflow. Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services
company with $1.3 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance,
investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 11,000
stores, over 12,000 ATMs and the internet.

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CARD RECON

Data security provider Ground Labs has released the “Card Recon”
software application that will search for sensitive payment card data
stored on computer systems that are used to handle credit card payments.
“Card Recon” is designed to help organizations reduce their exposure to
risk and achieve compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data
Security Standard (PCI DSS) by identifying insecure storage of customer
payment card data within documents, email records and application data
files in a simple and accurate manner. Ground Labs is a group of
information and payment
security professionals with extensive experience in the research and
development of high performance antivirus, intrusion detection and
payment security technologies.

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ASIAPAY & CHINAPAY

Payment solution provider AsiaPay Limited has entered
cooperation agreement with ChinaPay to enable AsiaPay’s merchants in
Asia to readily collect online real-time payment from Chinese consumers.
Merchants can
readily enjoy real-time payment authorisation service of the CUP card,
as well as the local payment settlement and various integrated reporting
as well as fraud monitoring facilities. And. the service supports 4
processing settlement currencies, i.e. HKD, USD, EURO and JPY. This
cooperation also facilitates online consumers in China to
enjoy the convenient online purchase of goods and services of merchants
in Asia in their own currency using their payment accounts in China.
ChinaPay, the online payment subsidiary of China
UnionPay, is a government-backed, cross-bank bankcard information switch
network and professional internet payment service provider.

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SMART CARD FORECAST

Research and Markets is now offering the “Smart Card Market Forecast to
2012” report which studies the global smart card industry by segmenting
it into Americas, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific.
It helps in analyzing the current performance and future outlook of the
smart card industry. The countries covered in the report are decided on
the basis of existing
opportunities that could lead to the growth for smart cards. Country
level profiling provides prudent analysis of the smart card projects
which are under consideration in a particular country across various
application sectors.

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JAN LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.1% and The
Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) decreased 0.2% in
January. Two of the seven components that make up the LEI increased in
January. The positive
contributors are industrial new orders and the yield spread. The
negative contributors are the (inverted) new unemployment claims,
building permits (residential), the stock price index, and the ratio of
the deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for
manufacturing. Production expectations remained unchanged in January.
Between July 2008 and January 2009, The Conference Board LEI
for France declined 4.9% (a -9.6% annual rate), well below
the 2.1% decline (a -4.2% annual rate) during the previous
six-month period. In addition, the weaknesses among the leading
indicators remained widespread in recent months.
The Conference Board LEI for France now stands at 101.0 (2004=100).

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ELAN & VISA

Elan Financial Services has contracted with the Government of Canada to
provide Visa acquisition cards. Visa acquisition cards offer a variety
of features to cardholders. Accepted everywhere Visa credit cards are
accepted, Visa acquisition cards can
help prevent fraud and misuse as well as streamline the purchase and
accounting process by reducing purchase orders, invoices, and cheques;
improve management reporting, including grouping and analyzing spending
in multiple views, through data consolidation; use spending data for
strategic sourcing to negotiate supplier and volume discounts; and gain
access to state-of-the-art management reports to assist with tax
reporting requirements. Elan is a division of U.S. Bank National
Association and a Schedule 3
bank and manages more than 1,800
commercial card relationships spending in excess of CDN $2.2 billion
annually.

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GBC & HYPERCOM

Hypercom Corporation announced that payment provider GIRO Bankkártya Zr,
and a
subsidiary of SIA-SSB, has selected Hypercom’s “Optimum T4200” card
payment terminals to expand electronic payments in Hungary and other
Central and Eastern European countries including Romania, Croatia,
Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. GBC and the SIA-SSB Group is
the leading provider of payment and processing
systems in Hungary, offering multibank services for bankcard issuing and
acquirer banks, savings co-operatives, health care funds, electronic
voucher issuers and other enterprises. Currently managing a network of
1,550 ATM terminals and 17,000 point of sale terminals, and performing
authorization services for 2 million bankcards, GBC processes
approximately 96 million transactions annually.

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Mint.com Signs its One Millionth User

Personal finance service Mint has welcomed its one millionth user. This
milestone coincides with Mint.com’s participation in
the innovative South by Southwest Interactive conference (SXSW).
Mint.com is the nation’s leading online personal finance service,
providing 1 million users a fresh, easy and intelligent approach to
money management. And it’s free. Mint is tracking over $50 billion in
transactions, $15 billion in assets and has identified more than $100
million in potential savings for its users. Designed to be effortless,
Mint.com takes less than five minutes to set
up. Users register anonymously using only a valid email address. Mint
then does the rest, securely downloading transaction data from more than
7,500 bank, credit card and investment accounts on a daily basis. Users
never need to import or synch their data. Mint applies patent-pending
technology and proprietary algorithms to categorize transactions;
provide a unified view of all account activity; alert users to low
balances, bank fees, upcoming bills, and even potentially suspicious
account activity; and give users personalized suggestions for
significant savings opportunities. Mint is tracking over $50 billion in
transactions, $15 billion in assets
and has already identified more than $100 million in potential savings
for its users. Each user can monitor their total net worth, virtually
real time at www.mint.com, from any mobile phone (by texting shortcode
MyMint [696468]), or by using Mint.com’s iPhone application – rated #1
in the Finance category in iTunes on the day of its launch.

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AEROMEXICO VISA

U.S. Bank has unveiled the “AeroMexico Visa” and “AeroMexico
Visa Signature”. Customers can earn “AeroMexico Club Premier Miles”
for all their purchases. Miles can be redeemed for travel from 16 U.S.
airports served by AeroMexico to more than 40 destinations in Mexico as
well as other popular international destinations, including Buenos
Aires, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Shanghai, in the
airline’s global flight network. Additionally, AeroMexico’s
participation in the SkyTeam global airline alliance facilitates travel
to hundreds of other destinations around the world. New “AeroMexico Visa” cardholders can get on the fast track to award travel with up to 20,000 bonus miles (for “AeroMexico Visa Signature” cardholders) and a “Complimentary Companion Ticket” upon enrollment as well as discounted Web airfare purchases and double miles on AeroMexico ticket purchases using the card.

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Value Payment Systems Offers a Tax Option

TN-based Value Payment Systems has released the “BullseyeTax e-file and e-pay service”
that allows taxpayers to pay their federal taxes with a
credit card, debit card or Bill Me Later account. Taxpayers can pay the
IRS using a “Visa”,
“STAR” or “Pulse” debit card for a convenience fee of only $3.89 or with a
“Visa”, “MasterCard” or “Discover” credit card or “Bill Me Later” account
for only 2.25%. Value Payment Systems’ is the only organization that is an Authorized
E-File Provider, a Registered IRS E-File and E-Pay Service Provider and
owns and manages its own proprietary payment gateway for federal and
state tax payment processing. In an effort to continue to lower costs to the taxpayer and reduce the
expense required to manually process tax returns for the government,
BullseyeTax also allows taxpayers to prepare and e-file their 1040EZ tax
return and Form 4868 tax extension for free when they pay their federal
taxes with a credit card, debit card or Bill Me Later account. As an
added benefit, taxpayers who pay and e-file their tax extension through
BullseyeTax will automatically be eligible for a 6-month extension to
file their federal tax returns.

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February Retail Sales Pick-Up Surprisingly

Beating analysts’ expectations for a second straight month, February
retail sales showed surprising growth. According to the National Retail
Federation, retail industry sales for February (which exclude
automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 60 basis points
seasonally adjusted from January and decreased 5.0% unadjusted over last
year. Retail industry sales for January were revised up from 50 basis
points to 1.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month. While year-over-year
comparisons look grim, month-to-month sales growth was a nice surprise
for retailers. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores grew 0.7%
seasonally adjusted from January but decreased 14.8% unadjusted over
last year. Electronics and appliance stores sales increased 1.2%
seasonally adjusted month-to-month but decreased 4.9% unadjusted
year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales rose a
solid 2.8% seasonally adjusted from last month but decreased 6.5%
unadjusted from 2008.

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