Discover Unveils Current Card For Teens

Discover Financial Services has introduced a debit card for teens. The
new “Current” card by Discover eliminates the risk of overdraft fees and
offers members-only in-store coupons and online discounts at hundreds of
merchants. The new card is also offered in
seven designs. Parents can deposit funds directly onto their teen’s
“Current by Discover Card” at no cost from their credit card, bank
account or through recurring deposits. Spending activity is easy for
parents to track online at the “Current Account Center” and through
e-mail and text message alerts. Cardholders pay a $5 monthly charge for
each card, or save $10 by paying an annual fee of $50. Fees include four
free ATM withdrawals per card per month.

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Cardtronics’ 4Q/08 Revenues Edges Upward

Houston-based Cardtronics reported that fourth quarter revenues rose 2%
to $118.2 million. At the end of the year the Company was processing
transactions for over 26,700 ATMs. Fourth quarter revenues were
primarily driven by a 4% increase in the number of operating ATMs due to
growth in the U.K. and Mexico ATM fleets, incremental revenues from
agreements signed in late 2007 under the Company’s bank branding and
surcharge-free network programs, and higher equipment sales and
check cashing revenues, all of which were partially offset by the
effects of changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Excluding
unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate movements during the fourth
quarter of 2008, the year-over-year revenue increase would have been
approximately 7%. For complete details on Cardtronics’ fourth quarter
results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

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Consumer Confidence Index Sinks to New Low

The Conference Board “Consumer Confidence Index” slipped to another
all-time low. The “Index” had decreased moderately in January, declined
again in February. The Index now stands at 25.0, down from 37.4 in
January. The “Present Situation Index” declined to 21.2 from 29.7 last
month. The “Expectations Index” decreased to 27.5 from 42.5 in January.
Consumers’ appraisal of overall current conditions, which was already
bleak, worsened further. Those claiming business conditions are “bad”
rose to 51.1% from 47.9%, while those saying business conditions are
“good” edged up to 6.8% from 6.5% last month. Consumers’ assessment of
the labor market turned considerably more pessimistic in February.
The “Consumer Confidence Survey” is based on a representative sample of
5,000 U.S. households.

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USAT Targets ePort in the Coffee Business

USA Technologies and its cashless “ePort” technologies is making inroads
into the coffee vending industry. The company is launching the “ePort”
terminal and “ePort Connect” Service
in the office coffee market, targeting innovative self-serve coffee
brewers that allow office workers to purchase freshly brewed coffee with
credit and debit cards. Earlier this year two major global companies,
Merit Industries and AIR-serv, began installing “ePort” in their
locations in order to add
greater consumer convenience by offering cashless payment, and in
addition, to gain real time web-based access to operational data via the
ePort Connect Service. Merit Industries over the next three years
intends to install ePort in
thousands of its new Megatouch Touchscreen Entertainment Systems. Over
the next two years, AIR-serv plans to install thousands of “ePort”
cashless transaction terminals in its coin-operated tire inflation and
vacuuming machines at gas stations and convenience stores. The “ePort
Connect” service has been adapted to POS terminals in the
vending, kiosks, laundry, transportation, parking, toll booth, photo and
video kiosks, hotel business centers and a variety of other commercial
markets, in the US, Canada, and abroad.

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Fiserv Introduces a New Brand Identity

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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U.K. Payment Card Volume Rises 7% in 08

Payment card volume in the U.K. totaled 7.4 billion purchases for GBP 371.7 billion last year compared to 6.9 billion purchases totaling GBP 347.9 billion in 2007. The number of purchases was 7.4% higher than in 2007, and spending was 6.8% higher. Debit cards accounted for 73.5% of all plastic card purchases in 2008 compared with 71.7% in 2007. The latest figures from APACS also reveals that Bacs volumes and values grew by 2.0% and 6.8% respectively during 2008. Over the same period, CHAPS sterling volumes fell by 2.8% whilst values rose by 6.2%. The U.K. “Faster Payments Service” was launched in May and by the end of the year had processed 82.8 million payments for a value of GBP 32.9 billion. Check and credit clearing volumes declined by 10.4% in 2008, with total values declining by 7.1%.

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Card Personalization Comes to CUs

Dallas-based TNB Card Services is launching credit and debit card
personalization services to all of its client credit unions. The new
service is a product of its deal with Serverside Group. TNB’s card
personalization tool will be available in the second quarter. The new
online feature allows credit union member cardholders to completely
personalize their plastic, using digital photographs or graphic elements
of their choosing. They can also select from a number of pre-selected
card images. TNB serves more than 550 financial institutions of all
sizes and managing more than 2 million cards nationwide.

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Clearent Acquiring Platform Takes Shape

Payment processor Clearent has developed a
proprietary acquiring platform that facilitates a more efficient
merchant settlement with easy-to-understand
reporting, improvements in vital payments processes
like chargebacks, retrievals and is compatible with
multiple front ends. The technology allows Clearent’s partners and
merchants access to “Compass”, an online management tool. With
“Compass”, merchants get complete transparency into all program-related
fees so they can actively manage their expenses and even reduce their
program costs. A clear, easy-to-understand merchant statement further
reinforces this insight. By using this data, they can easily
understand their profitability and identify how to quickly improve their
bottom line – which also supports the development of a more loyal
customer relationship. Clearent’s partners and merchants
have better control over settlement funding, receive access to foreign
language and currency support and get improved security since Clearent’s
platform was built around the needs of PCI, rather than needing to be
retrofitted.

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Small Business Watch Index Edges Upward

More than half of small business owners plan to decrease spending on
business development in the next six months. Also, the number of owners
who say they have experienced temporary cash flow issues in the past 90
days rose to 42% in February, up from 38% in January. The latest
“Discover Small Business Watch Index” rose to 71.9 in February from 71.4
in January. Discover also found that 19% of owners see conditions for
their businesses improving, up from 17% who felt the same in January;
while 54% see conditions getting worse, also an increase from January;
22% say conditions are the same; and 6% aren’t sure. Most small business
owners also expressed doubts that Congress could create any stimulus
package that would pull the country out of recession: 58% were not very
or not at all confident of such an outcome; 40% were somewhat or very
confident; and 2% weren’t sure. Sixty percent of small business owners
say it is not at all or not very likely they will have to close their
businesses because of the nation’s current economic problems; 22% said
it was somewhat likely and 14% said it was very likely they would have
to close their doors because of the economy. Four percent weren’t sure.

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CardPartner Unveils The Blue Card

A new credit card has been released that provides personal
emergency response systems for Holocaust survivors living alone. The new
affinity “Blue Card” is a joint product of CardPartner and a New
York-based national nonprofit whose mission is to provide direct
financial assistance to needy Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution who
are living in the USA. “The Blue Card” was established by the Jewish
community in Germany in the early 1930s and was re-established in the
USA in 1939 to continue aiding those resettling in America. The Blue
Card organization earns $50 for each activated card. Then once each
quarter for the life of the card, the organization earns a share of the
monthly charge volume. CardPartner is a unit of the privately held
Serverside Group.

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ViVOtech Closes Another Funding Round

NFC provider ViVOtech has closed an $8.6 million extension to its Series
C round of funding from its existing investors, bringing the total
investment in its series C
round to more than $40 million. ViVOtech’s
investors include Alloy Ventures, Citi, Draper Fischer Jurvetson, DFJ
Gotham, First Data, Miven Ventures, Motorola Ventures, NCR, and Nokia
Growth Partners. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology broadens the
use of mobile devices by enabling interactivity with contactless payment
systems at the point-of-sale, ATMs and kiosks. A variety of innovative,
consumer friendly, profitable new applications beyond payment will
follow through the power of NFC and contactless, including: in-store
real time personalized loyalty, coupon and promotion programs, user
authentication for self service check-in at airlines and hotels, and
more secure ATM transactions.

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CARD VOLUME 2008

Payment card volume in the U.K. totalled 7.4 billion purchases for GBP 371.7 billion last year compared to 6.9 billion purchases totalling GBP 347.9 billion in 2007. The number of purchases was 7.4% higher than in 2007, and spending was 6.8% higher. Debit cards accounted for 73.5% of all plastic card purchases in 2008 compared with 71.7% in 2007. The latest figures from APACS also reveals that Bacs volumes and values grew by 2.0% and 6.8% respectively during 2008. Over the same period, CHAPS sterling volumes fell by 2.8% whilst values rose by 6.2%. The U.K. “Faster Payments Service” was launched in May and by the end of the year had processed 82.8 million payments for a value of GBP 32.9 billion. Cheque and credit clearing volumes declined by 10.4% in 2008, with total values declining by 7.1%.

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