TSYS EXECUTIVE

TSYS has appointed Bulent Senver to serve as Business Development Director.
Senver brings more than 25 years experience and extensive knowledge
of the Turkish banking and card payments industry. He has worked with
more than 20 Turkish and foreign banks in an advisory role as a
management consultant and as a senior executive in the bank environment,
a position in which he was named ‘Banker of the Year’ by the Turkish
Press Institution. TSYS, which grew its international operations 33 percent in 2007,
confirmed its intent to participate in the Turkish marketplace with its
unique value proposition, TS Prime, an efficient server-based issuing
and acquiring card management platform adopted by more than 100
financial institutions worldwide. TSYS supports more than 300 clients in 75 countries and has been a
leader in the global payments industry for more than 25 years. Its
market presence extends to 18 offices supported by more than 8,000
personnel.

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Americans Ready to Go Without Credit Cards

A new survey has found that 40% of consumers say they would not be upset if their credit lines disappeared. Furthermore, 32% say they will probably charge less in 2009. The Bankrate poll also found that
72% emphatically disagree that credit card companies are entitled to change the terms of your account at any time for any reason, and 71% strongly believe that credit card companies should be more closely regulated. About 67% say they strongly disagree that taxpayers should bail out consumers who find themselves in a big financial bind due to credit card debt. Interestingly, only 6% of Americans report their line of credit was decreased. While nearly one-third say they will probably charge less next year, only 1% plan to charge more and 15% say they don’t plan on using credit cards at all in 2009. When asked to pick the single biggest reason they use credit cards, 40% say it is more convenient than paying with cash, and 19% say they use them to finance emergency expenses.

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HORIZONPLUS PAYROLL CARD

Benefit and payroll provider Peopledge has introduced the “HorizonPlus
Prepaid MasterCard “payroll card program
The program is optional for employees and they can choose to have some,
or all, of their payroll posted electronically to their personal MasterCard
card. The process is simple and secure – funds are transferred to the
card via the standard direct credit process or by file transfer to a
secure web
browser. Once funds are loaded, the employees receive a customized
update and have immediate access to them no matter where they may be on
payday. It can be used to withdraw cash at any ATM that displays the
Cirrus Acceptance Mark.

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Gift Cards Voted as the Most Practical

The results of a new Visa survey indicate that 80% of shoppers on a
budget feel a gift card is the most practical gift to give this holiday.
Of those surveyed, 73% indicated that is was ‘very important’ to give a
gift that
their recipients will find useful and 82% consider it appropriate to
give a gift
card that can be used for purchases anywhere, compared to only 45% of
respondents who felt it
appropriate to give a check as a gift.

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TUXEDO MONEY

Prepaid card provider Tuxedo Money and its major shareholders has
secured a significant round of funding. Other milestones for the
company include an agreement with a leading UK retailer
to provide several thousand staff with payroll cards to replace cheques,
and a strategic agreement with Bond International
Software, a global provider of recruitment and human capital management
software & services, to offer payroll, expenses, rebate and other
prepaid card products to their substantial client base. The Tall Group
of Companies, the UK’s leading provider of special
cheques, credits, secure encoded document solutions and streamlined
payment systems has also partnered with Tuxedo to offer prepaid card
products and services to their 30 000 corporate clients. Tuxedo
completed exclusive agreements to provide its
eccount and prepaid card service to over 500 of the worlds Super Yachts
for expenses and staff payroll. Earlier this month they also launched a
prepaid card based reward program for 4000 distributors of one of the
worlds largest mobile networks. Tuxedo has also finalized an agreement
with the Post Office to
enable all its existing partner programmes – comprising of over 50,000
active cards, to be topped-up at 14,000 Post Offices in the UK from January.
Tuxedo has added several new payment
services to its eccount platform including Direct Debit Payment,
Standing Order and Cheque Cashing services which will substantially
enhance the Tuxedo product for the debt management, unbanked and
underbanked sectors.

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Holiday Buy Button Clicks Rise 28% in 2008

Since November 1st, online sales are ahead of last year by 15%, but the average ticket gap has begun to narrow during recent weeks, down 10% versus last year. The latest tracking also reveals that Tuesday, December 16th has staked its claim as the busiest online shopping day of this year in terms of transactions. The “Pulse Index” from Chase Paymentech shows that to-date, transaction count for the holiday shopping season remains ahead of last year by 28%. Friday, December 19th appears likely to be the last strong day for transactions due to shipping deadlines. Chase Paymentech monitors the daily activity of 25 of the largest 150 Internet retailers. The latest figures show a transaction count for December 16th of 3.96 million and sales of $210.0 million. However, the highest day this year for online sales dollars was Tuesday, December 2nd with $218.9 million. Chase Paymentech noted that the numbers for the holiday season are front-loaded, so current gains will be affected by this year’s shortened shopping season.

E-SALES
Dec 8: $138.7 million
Dec 9: $215.3 million
Dec 10: $177.7 million
Dec 11: $186.5 million
Dec 12: $169.6 million
Dec 13: $141.4 million
Dec 14: $110.2 million
Dec 15: $177.4 million
Dec 16: $210.0 million
Dec 17: $217.6 million
Dec 18: $199.5 million
Source: Chase Paymentech

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EXTRICATION INCARCERATION

The Competition Bureau announced that Lloyd Prudenza has been sentenced
to 15 years in
jail by The U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of Illinois for
his part in a cross-border deceptive
telemarketing scheme that defrauded close to 40,000 consumers.
Prudenza, Dalglish and Anderson were the principal operators behind
First Capital Consumers Group, which defrauded vulnerable American
consumers who had poor credit histories.
Working out of boiler rooms in Toronto in 2001-2002, telemarketers
targeted U.S.
residents, claiming they had been approved for a MasterCard or Visa
credit card. The victims were required to pay a one-time processing fee
(approximately $200 U.S.) prior to receiving one or both cards, but
never received a valid credit card. This deceptive telemarketing
operation generated approximately $8 million U.S. Prudenza, Dalglish and
Anderson were arrested following an investigation
led by the Competition Bureau. They were charged with offences under the
Competition Act and the Criminal Code, including: deceptive
telemarketing; conspiracy to commit an indictable offence; fraud; and
possession of property obtained by crime. Earlier this year, Dalglish
was sentenced to 19 years and seven months
in prison, and Anderson was sentenced to 23 years and four months, for
their roles in this scheme. All three individuals were jointly ordered
to pay over $5 million U.S. in restitution to the victims.

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Paymo Takes Aim at the U.S. Market in 2009

A new payments platform that enables consumers globally to buy online and pay with their mobile phone has been introduced. San Francisco-based Paymo will offers its new service in 39 markets worldwide including the USA with a potential market of more than three billion mobile consumers. Paymo notes that 70% of the world’s online population does not have a credit card. With the new service users only need to enter their mobile phone number to initiate a transaction and confirm the purchase via a text message. The purchase will be billed directly to their mobile phone. The Company plans to start accepting payments from U.S. consumers in the first quarter. Paymo was founded by
Paul McGuire and Margaret Mackenzie. McGuire previously co-founded mBlox, a global mobile transaction network. Mackenzie was the former CFO for mBlox. Among countries participating with Paymo: Australia, Hong Kong, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, South Africa, Egypt, United Kingdom,
France and Vietnam.

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QUATRRO RISK

Financial risk management service provider Quatrro Risk
has extended its payment fraud risk management services to the
Australian market. Quatrro Risk’s fraud management solutions have helped Banks around the
world save hundreds of millions of dollars in losses thereby providing a very high
ROI. Of special focus is ‘Card-Not-Present’ (CNP) fraud management which is contributing significantly to the frauds in the Australian
market. Quatrro provides an “end-to-end” solution — from risk
advisory, risk operations, risk analytics to expert systems is a large
differentiator for clients looking to make significant improvements to their risk
management framework in both operations and strategy areas.
Quatrro Risk also offers credit early warning services and anti-money
laundering operations services for retail banks and consumer finance companies.

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CompuCredit Settles with the FDIC and FTC

Atlanta-based sub-prime credit card specialist CompuCredit has agreed to shell out $120 million to settle FDIC and FTC concerns over its past marketing practices. Under terms of the deal, the issuer will credit $114 million to certain customer accounts that were opened between 2001 and 2005 and subsequently charged-off or were closed with no purchase activity. This amount involves mostly non-cash credits — in effect, reversals of amounts for which payments were never received. Cash refunds to consumers are estimated to be approximately $3.7 million, and the Company also agreed to pay $2.4 million to the U.S. Treasury. The settlement with the agencies relates to marketing practices from 2005 and prior years, does not require any change to CompuCredit’s existing marketing or servicing practices and does not have a material impact on CompuCredit’s financial condition. CompuCredit markets the “Aspire Visa” card series.

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The Consumer to be Largely Absent in 2009

A credit ratings firm projects unemployment may reach 8.3% in 2009,
credit losses will likely rise above historical peaks and overall demand
for credit will be extremely weak as consumer spending declines by 1.6%.
Fitch Ratings says the U.S. consumer will be largely absent next year,
significantly impacting the profitability for all consumer-oriented
finance companies. Therefore, the 2009 outlook for the U.S. Finance and
Leasing sector remains negative and incorporates negative rating
outlooks for both the consumer and the commercial finance segments.
Fitch expects companies within the sector will face difficult business
conditions and operating performance will weaken further in 2009. The
risks of market illiquidity will continue to cast a broad negative
shadow until capital market conditions stabilize and companies are able
to raise debt and equity capital on a cost effective basis. However,
Fitch notes that its recent analysis indicates credit card ABS ratings
can likely withstand the impact of a severe recession in 2009. As part
of its deterministic stress testing analysis, Fitch factored in a 50%
increase in charge-offs, a 15% decline in yield and a drop in monthly
payment rates by 20% over the next 12 months. Results of the analysis
reveal that ‘AAA’ ratings would be unaffected while certain subordinate
bond ratings could drop by up to three notches. (CF Library 12/16/08)

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Bukoo Offers a Personalized Catalogue

KY-based BukooGifts.com has launched a gift-giving service that bypasses
the use of gift cards.
Consumers choose the amount they want to spend, the recipient’s email,
and when
they want it to be sent. The recipient will receive an email with
redemption details, and can go online immediately to choose from
hundreds of products in the gift catalog. Recipients never see the
actual dollar amount of the
gift, they only see a catalogue of products they can choose from.
BukooGifts.com
also features a gift and incentive program for companies geared toward
increasing company sales and
employee retention through unique gifting and incentive programs.

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