VISA SB SURVEY

A Visa survey of Canadian small businesses reveals that 41% of
respondents believe that ‘data thieves and hackers’ are not interested
in targeting their businesses because of their size.
The Ipsos Reid survey surveyed 885 small business owners about their
data storage and security practices. Of those surveyed, 39% of
respondents describe securing customer information as
a vital part of their business and 94% believe that securing data is
important to their customers and of the 60% of respondents that do keep
electronic files with customer information, 86% noted that they
8% either encrypt the data, 39% ensure that it is password protected and
39% ensure that the information is both encrypted and password
protected. While the majority of respondents claim to appreciate the
importance of data security to their business and customers, 52% have
never sought information about how to properly secure electronic
information and 24% do not know where to get information about how to
better secure
information for their business.

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Cardholders Report Negative Changes

A new survey has found that 34% of consumers say their credit card
company has made negative changes to their account. The recent survey
from Credit.com found that 15% said their interest rate was increased;
11% said their minimum payment due increased; 9% said their due date was
changed; 8% said they credit limit was lowered; 8% said their rewards
program was reduced; and 7% said their account was closed.
The poll was conducted for Credit.com by GfK Custom Research North
America from February 20-22, 2009.

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CONFIDEX & MIFARE

RFID supplier has launched “Confidex SafeRide”, a new family of limited use contactless
tickets with extended memory and increased security features. The product family uses NXP’s new “MIFARE
Ultralight C” as the chip of choice. With 3DES,
the chip uses a widely adopted open standard for authentication, thus
enabling easy integration in existing contactless ticketing infrastructures.
The extended memory enables transit operators to develop new services,
like Park&Ride, into the same limited use ticket.

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INPAY

Alternative payment provider inpay has expanding its banking network to
25 countries.
inpay offers a payment option for webshops that allows customers to pay
using their online bank.
With inpay any e-commerce website can increase sales by selling
worldwide with no risk and by offering an alternative to customers who
are unable or unwilling to use credit cards. Inpay is part of a group of 6
companies within the e-commerce industry owned by the private Danish
investment company NetGroup Holding.

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CARD INVESTIGATION

The Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and the Commons
Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology announced they
are moving forward with an investigation of Canada’s credit and debit
card system. The new development has drawn feedback from both sides of
the fence. MasterCard says the Canadian credit card payment system works
well and is an important source of credit for Canadian consumers, and
provides secure, reliable, guaranteed payment processing for merchants.
There is vigorous competition, continual product improvements, and
global usage. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says small
businesses in Canada are facing very serious economic turbulence and
fees being charged by credit card companies and banks, which are
increasing at unprecedented rates, represent an enormous extra cost. The
“Stop Sticking It to Us Coalition” sponsored by the Retail Council of
Canada also chimed in saying the fees charged to merchants for accepting
credit and debit transactions represent an enormous cost for average
Canadians and any organization. The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers says the situation has intensified with the unsolicited introduction on
new premium or “Infinity” cards by the major credit card issuers.

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DEC INDEX

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index declined 2.6% and The
Coincident Economic Index decreased 1.5% in December. The LEI for Mexico
declined sharply again in December. Only one of the six components that
make up the Index, the stock price component increased
in December. The US refiners’ acquisition cost of domestic and imported
crude oil, the industrial production construction component, the
(inverted) real exchange rate, and net insufficient inventories
component decreased in December. The (inverted) federal funds rate
remained unchanged. During the last half of 2008, the LEI declined by
15.5% (a -28.7% annual rate), considerably lower than the 3.7% rate (a
7.5% annual rate) between December 2007 and June
2008. In addition, weaknesses among the leading indicators have remained
very widespread, with all components declining over the past six months.
After reaching its highest level in April 2008, the LEI has weakened
significantly, with its rate of decline accelerating very rapidly in
recent months. At the same time, The Conference Board Coincident
Economic Index has been falling since June 2008.
Taken together, the recent behavior of the composite economic indexes
suggests that economic activity should remain weak going forward, and
that there are increasing risks for further deterioration in the near
term. The LEI for Mexico now stands at 102.2 (2004=100).

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CLEAR2PAY & CBA

Payment solution Provider Clear2Pay has contracted with the Commonwealth Bank of
Australia for its Open Payment Framework. The OPF technology will help
the bank to deliver its Unified Payments Capability program.
The CBA’s Unified Payments Capability program aims to consolidate its
payment processing into one central technology. Clear2Pay’s payment
solutions offer organisations easy, branded
ways for their customers to pay online, from complex trade-supporting
business-to-business environments, through e-commerce applications, to
retail payments and remittance services. Functions embrace payments
origination, reporting, linkage with back-office processing systems,
clearing, netting and settlement.

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Credit Card ABS Faces Further Pressure

Among credit card-backed securities a number of credit card issuers have added enhancement to their trusts to bolster credit enhancement and limit potential negative rating actions. There is concern that rising charge-offs, which generally move in tandem with the unemployment rate could put further pressure on credit card ABS. FitchRatings says the 37% average annual increase in the unemployment rate over the past seven months was followed by a 37% in credit card charge-offs. If the unemployment rate rises to 9%, then charge-offs could increase another 20%. However, Fitch notes that credit card transactions benefit from robust structures as well as actions by the issuer to actively re-price risk through rate increases and line decreases. According to CardData (www.carddata.com), average charge-offs for the fourth quarter were 6.0% with an unemployment rate of 7.2%. With a possible 9% unemployment rate looming by the third quarter, credit card charge-offs would likely top 8% by year-end. (CF Library 1/30/09)

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Chase Paymentech Inks a Verifi Deal

CA-based transaction risk management service Verifi has a preferred
partner agreement with Chase Paymentech.
Verifi will recommend Chase Paymentech as a preferred merchant account
provider to its merchant customers, and will provide its transaction
risk management services, including chargeback prevention and
management, to Chase Paymentech’s card-not-present merchants.
Verifi is a provider of electronic payment and risk management
solutions for card-not-present merchants. Verifi’s highly customizable
payment gateway serves as a foundation for its suite of risk management
services. Verifi has a proven track record of reducing risk and
increasing profitability for its clients by offering transaction risk
management and mitigation, business optimization strategies, cardholder
authentication, and chargeback representment for all major card brands.

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AFFLUENT SPENDING

A study released by American Express, “Inside the Affluent Space”
shows that Canada’s most wealthy individuals are going through a re-evaluation of
their lifestyles and attitudes. Excess and gratuitous consumption are out,
says the study, replaced by a more introverted and
new ‘individualist’ mindset, a wealthy consumer who is more selective, less impulsive, and in many respects
much more discerning and consequently harder to serve from a business
perspective. They are interested in products, services and experiences that are more personalized
and unique. They are interested in relationships rather than transactions.
Acquiring knowledge and a greater depth of appreciation for the luxuries
their wealth can afford them is more meaningful than merely acquiring possessions.
While fueled by the current economic environment the study reveals an underlying trend has emerged over the past few years that has affluent
Canadians asking themselves “What is it that is really important to me?”
For many, the answer seems to be, authenticity and life enhancing experiences.

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CashStar Gains Traction & Funding

ME-based CashStar has introduced an interactive gift card platform and has picked up more funding. Uno Chicago Grill, Travelocity Incentives and Gorham Bike & Ski, are already offering Interactive Gift Cards via the CashStar platform. The company also disclosed that it has secured more than $4 million in funding. CashStar utilizes Coupons, Inc.’s print barcode technology foundation to provide a secure payment technology platform. The company also leverages Coupons, Inc.’s extensive network to promote its offerings. The CashStar senior management team includes executives from American Express, Blackhawk Network, inComm, Coinstar, Wright Express, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and L.L. Bean.

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