Credit Cards Dominate European eRetail

Consumers use credit cards to pay for more than eight out of ten purchases in European online retailing. New Research shows that credit cards share rose almost 6% year-on-year. The “Pago Retail Report 2008,” which was recently published by Deutsche Card Services also shows that that 5.04% of all retail transactions were paid for by offline methods and 11.97% by direct debiting. Their shares in overall e-commerce are only 0.77% and 8.34%. However, offline payment and direct debiting lose ground to credit cards in online retailing.

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Processing Fee Calculator Introduced

Chicago-based Transparent Financial
Services has released the free online “Credit Card Processing
Calculator” to help business owners audit their credit card processing
fees. The “Credit Card Processing Calculator” helps business owners
find out if they are getting the best credit card processing rates
possible. Users enter basic company and financial information and the
calculator instantly generates an easy-to-understand online report that
includes comparison of the user’s credit card processing rates to the
rates of comparable businesses, detailed explanation of the user’s fee
composition, which are the percentage of fees that go to credit card
companies, member banks and the processor and offer recommendations on
how to reduce rates.

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First Data & Members Group Renew

First Data has renewed its agreement to provide credit, debit and
merchant processing services for IA-based financial service provider The
Members Group. TMG will continue to remarket First Data’s STAR ATM and
POS Network Services to its customers throughout the new term. TMG
offers a wide variety of innovative products and services that include
card processing and reporting solutions as well as ACH, asset liability
management and item processing services. TMG is a financial services
organization dedicated to providing innovative and flexible card
processing and payment solutions to credit unions and financial
institutions across North America. TMG’s prepaid
card products are branded ATIRA.

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Asta Funding Q4 Finance Income Drops 46%

Asta Funding reported a net loss of $7.8 million for the fourth
quarter, compared to net income of $13.3 million for the year ago
quarter. Finance income was $18.4 million for the quarter, down 46% from
the prior year. The Company noted that collections have slowed and the
environment for collections remains challenging. Asta says it has taken
the necessary steps to lower its debt levels as well as maintaining the
ability to purchase new portfolios as the opportunities arise and also pricing has recently become more attractive. For more details on Asta Funding’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

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Compass Group to Accept MC PayPass

Contract food service provider Compass Group North America will begin
accepting MasterCard PayPass at select cafeterias. Throughout 2009,
Compass Group will deploy PayPass-accepting Vivotech
4500M contactless readers at check-out lanes across its foodservice
locations. Compass Group will accept MasterCard PayPass in addition to
all other traditional magnetic-stripe payment card brands.
As of 4Q 2008, there are over 50 million PayPass cards and devices
in use at over 141,000 merchant locations worldwide, including
participating BP, Best Buy, 7-Eleven, CVS, McDonald’s, Petco and many
others. PayPass also is accepted at numerous professional football and
baseball stadiums.

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ONLINE RETAIL

Consumers use credit cards to pay for more than eight out of ten purchases in European online retailing. New Research shows that credit cards share rose almost 6% year-on-year. The “Pago Retail Report 2008,” which was recently published by Deutsche Card Services also shows that
that 5.04% of all retail transactions were paid for by offline methods and 11.97% by direct debiting. Their shares in overall e-commerce are only 0.77% and 8.34%. However, offline payment and direct debiting lose ground to credit cards in online retailing.

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WU & FEXCO

Western Union Company has completed the acquisition of the money transfer business of European-based FEXCO. Western Union will now manage and support more than 10,000 consumer-facing locations in seven European countries: the United Kingdom, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Under terms of the deal approximately 300 FEXCO employees will join Western Union.

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FISERV BRAND

Banking technology expert Fiserv has introduced a new brand identity. The full integration of CheckFree’s electronic commerce operations within Fiserv has been a catalyst to drive increased innovation and focus the power of Fiserv’s cumulative expertise on helping clients grow their business and increase profitability. All of the company’s businesses have been unified under the new brand and report through two primary operating divisions led by Steve Olsen, former CheckFree Chief Operating Officer and now Fiserv Group President, and Tom Warsop, Fiserv Group President. Fiserv includes: Source Capture Solutions; Corillian Online; Mobile Money; MyMoney; Business Analytics for Premier; and Bank Intelligence Solutions. Fiserv celebrates its 25th year in 2009.

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EURO LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic
Index for the Euro Area increased 0.5% in January to
92.8 (2004 = 100), following a 1.7% fall in December and a 1.8% drop in
November. The widening interest rate spread and
increasing business expectations in services more than offset a negative
contribution from the Economic Sentiment Index. Despite the increase in
January, The Conference Board LEI for the Euro
Area remains on a general downtrend since June 2007, falling by more
than 14.0% since then. A previous decline of this magnitude
preceded the region’s 1992-93 recession. Meanwhile, The Conference Board
Coincident Economic Index for the Euro Area, a measure of
current economic activity, rose by 0.2% in January to 104.5 (2004
= 100), according to preliminary estimates, after falling 0.4% in
December and 0.3% in November. The Conference Board CEI for the
Euro Area has been trending downward since February 2008. The
Conference Board LEI for the Euro Area aggregates eight economic
indicators that measure activity in the Euro Area as a whole which
include: Economic Sentiment Index; Index of Residential Building Permits
Granted; Index of Capital Goods New Orders; Dow Jones EURO STOXX Index;
Money Supply (M2) and Interest Rate Spread.

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TEXT MESSAGE BANKING

Monitise Americas and Metavante have introduced text message banking services. Metavante is the first provider to deploy the new technology from Monitise Americas. The integration of Metavante payments solutions — including bill pay, prepaid and the NYCE Network — with its mobile financial services creates a clear line of sight to mobile payments and commerce. This type of integration also creates the benefit of making mobile services available to virtually all account holders at a financial institution.

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RECYCLED CARD

Boston-based Arthur Blank has introduced the “AB Recycled FinancialCard” into its “GreenLine” suite of environmentally oriented products. The new card is made from a 100% pre-consumer recycled plastic core (88% recycled with an overlaminate) and is specifically designed for financial institutions for use in credit and debit card applications. The material is specially formulated to have a bright white finish – even whiter than the “AB RecycledCard” Arthur Blank currently offers for commercial customers. The material also meets or exceeds all ISO and ANSI specifications for CR80 payment cards. All “AB Recycled FinancialCards” for financial institutions will be processed at Arthur Blank’s secure Mt. Pleasant, TN facility. Arthur Blank’s “GreenLine” suite also includes the “CornCard USA”, “AB RecycledCard,” “AB BiodegradableCard,” and the “AB HybridCard.”

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Barclaycard US Opens New DE Call Center

Barclaycard US will open a customer contact center in Delaware and will create 300 new jobs by April. Employees of the state-of-the-art
customer contact center, located in Newark, will work in a variety of
operational roles including customer care,
collections, technology, fraud management and human resources.
Barclaycard maintains customer contact centers in Wilmington, Del. and
Wilton, Maine that will remain fully operational. Some Barclaycard
colleagues who currently operate out of the Wilmington, Del. location
will work in the new Newark location. In November, Barclaycard
announced that it is expanding its increasingly
global operations by opening a new administrative office in Long Island
City, New York. Some 200 employees in this location will primarily focus
on credit risk with additional corporate finance and market analytics
functions and will support Barclaycard’s operations globally including
its U.S. card business headquartered in Wilmington.

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