WTA & VISA

Visa has been named “World’s Leading Credit Card” by the 2008 World
Travel Awards for the 11th consecutive year. The World Travel Awards
honors leading travel-related organizations in
worldwide and regional categories, which range from airlines, hotels,
beaches and cruise lines to credit cards, car rental companies and hotel
reservation services. Visa and other payment brands were evaluated
against criteria including scope of distribution, convenience and
overall services. Visa offers a network of more than 29 million
merchant outlets and 1.6 billion cards in circulation worldwide.
Visa.com provides Visa cardholders with retail, travel and entertainment
offers from hundreds of merchants in key destination markets or by
designated category around the world. The results were based on a poll
of 167,000 travel agencies and agents in 160 countries.

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Emporos Systems SIGIS Ready for FSA Cards

NC-based pharmacy POS solution provider Emporos been certified by the
Special Interest Group for IIAS standards. The Emporos Systems’ POS
solution will enable pharmacies to become IIAS certified in order to
meet new IRS regulations that go in effect in July 1, 2009. In order to
help pharmacies with the changes needed to meet the new IRS
guidelines, a new industry standards group known as the Special Interest
Group for IIAS Standards (SIGIS) was formed to produce and promote a
voluntary industry standard solution. Pharmacies without an IIAS
certified POS will lose the ability to process FSA credit cards after
July 1, 2009. This new Inventory Information Approval System
requirement allows “MerchantSoft” POS system to identify qualified
health products that are eligible for purchase using FSA cards. Emporos
Systems is one of the only POS vendors who has been certified by SIGIS
and as a SIGIS-certified Third Party Servicer, Emporos Systems is able
to help pharmacies quickly certify and accept FSA cards.

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WTA Votes Visa as World’s Leading Credit Card

Visa has been named “World’s Leading Credit Card” by the 2008 World
Travel Awards for the 11th consecutive year. The World Travel Awards
honors leading travel-related organizations in
worldwide and regional categories, which range from airlines, hotels,
beaches and cruise lines to credit cards, car rental companies and hotel
reservation services. Visa and other payment brands were evaluated
against criteria including scope of distribution, convenience and
overall services. Visa offers a network of more than 29 million
merchant outlets and 1.6 billion cards in circulation worldwide.
Visa.com provides Visa cardholders with retail, travel and entertainment
offers from hundreds of merchants in key destination markets or by
designated category around the world. The results were based on a poll
of 167,000 travel agencies and agents in 160 countries.

Details

AmEx Lands Card Partnership in San Francisco

American Express is now the “Official Card Partner of the San Francisco
Convention & Visitors Bureau”. American Express p will help SFCVB
members extend their marketing reach and provide insights to member
businesses to help them understand current customers, identify new
customers and entice lapsed customers to return.Some of the first
programs that will take place as a part of this
partnership include “American Express Exclusive Offers – Only in San
Francisco” value-added offers from San Francisco retailers, hotels,
restaurants, and spas; “3 Nights for the price of 2″ and “Dine About
Town San Francisco, ” where diners may select from more than 100 Bay
Area restaurants offering prix-fixe lunch menus for $21.95 and/or
dinner menus for $34.95 with American Express as the preferred method of
payment.

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FNDS3000 Names a New CEO and a New EVP

Prepaid card provider FNDS3000 has appointed John Hancock, previously
with British American Business
Council as CEO/Director and John Watson, previously with Howdens
Millwork, will serve as EVP/Director. Hancock presently serves as
Chairman of the British American Business Council, the
premier transatlantic trade group, with some thirty chapters in the USA
and the UK and over 3000 Corporate Members. He has spent most of his
career in the Retail Services industry in Europe, Asia and North
America. Watson served as EVP/CAO of Howdens Millwork and was
responsible for planning, administration and financial management.
FNDS3000’s focus has been on the development and implementation of a
variety of prepaid card programs outside the USA, including services to
individuals who lack access to debit cards or advanced banking services.

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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Returns to Record Lows

Consumer sentiment has returned to a near six-year low after getting a late summer boost from falling oil prices. The continuing credit crunch, deteriorating jobs market, the auto industry bailout and other bleak economic news have bombarded consumers this fall. The overall “RBC CASH Index” stands at 15.3 for December, 19.4 points below November, and nearly in line with the all-time low of 14.6 reached in July. The “RBC Jobs Index” dropped more than 8 points in December to 65.6. The “RBC Expectations Index” dropped 44.5 points, to -21.2, the first time the index has been in negative territory since August.
The “RBC Current Conditions Index” dropped to an all-time low in December and currently stands at 16.5, compared to 25.6 last month.
The “RBC Investment Index” which was at 34.8 in November, currently stands at 31.0, a new low since the index was created in 2002.

RBC CASH INDEX
Dec 07: 65.9
Jan 08: 56.3
Feb 08: 48.5
Mar 08: 33.1
Apr 08: 29.5
May 08: 39.0
Jun 08: 22.5
Jul 08: 14.6
Aug 08: 33.8
Sep 08: 69.2
Oct 08: 37.0
Nov 08: 34.7
Dec 08: 15.3
Source: Royal Bank of Canada

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Oasis Online Hires a New Board Member

Data storage product developer Oasis Online Technologies has appointed
Jean Rice, presently the President of Action Healthcare Management
Services, to the Board of Directors. Rice is President and a principal
of Action Healthcare Management
Services which serves self-funded employer group health plans,
third party administrators and Taft-Hartley Trusts, major insurance
companies, hospitals and school districts throughout the United States.
Oasis Online Technologies is focused on the acquisition and
development of core technologies and products that are easily adapted to
multiple market segments which require secure mobile storage of
information and data that is convenient, portable, and can be used
online or offline.

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NFC for M-Payments Not Ready for Prime Time

A new report released this week concludes that “Near Field Communication” technology will not offer viable large-scale mobile payment solutions for at least six years. ABI Research’s “Mobile Commerce and Payments” study calculated the potential revenue in 2013 from mobile transactions using SMS, mobile Internet and downloadable mobile applications to be $18 billion. The research, cited in this week’s CardFlash International, also found that Internet shopping would account for almost three quarters of mobile commerce revenue in 2013. A further 15% would come from parking, with the balance split about evenly between taxi fares and movie tickets. ABI noted that companies already seizing mobile payment opportunities include parking solutions provider Verrus, Bharti Airtel and movie theater operators in India, as well as eBay and Amazon.

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NFC SLOW ADOPTION

A new report released by ABI Research titled “Mobile Commerce and
Payments” examines several emerging
markets in which consumers are or will be using their mobile devices to
purchase goods or services using SMS and mobile Internet. It highlights
important players within the space, suggests who should play and who
will benefit, and outlines what MNOs, merchants, and financial services
providers can do to take advantage of these opportunities. According
to the report, near field communication (NFC) has developed more slowly
than anticipated, and will not offer
viable large-scale mobile payment solutions for at least six years. In
the mean time three existing technologies – SMS, mobile Internet and
downloadable mobile applications – have the potential to deliver what
NFC (so far) cannot.

Details

Aberdeen Releases a Report on POS Systems

Marketing intelligence service Aberdeen has released the “Aberdeen AXIS
Report for POS Systems” that provides POS vendor assessments. Aberdeen
found that at least 60% of
retailers have POS or point-of-service systems that are older than five
years; out of the 60%, 35% of retailers currently use POS systems that
are older than 10 years. AXIS was developed in
response to requests from Aberdeen’s 2.5+ million business readers
spanning 40 countries, including representation from 90% of the Fortune
1000. Aberdeen is a provider of fact-based research and market
intelligence.

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TASQ & HYPERCOM

One of the largest providers of POS equipment and services in North America has inked a deal to market Hypercom’s new 32-bit “Optimum T4205” to the Canadian marketplace. TASQ Technology will offer the new terminal which is targeted at small independent merchants. The “T4205” shares the same platform and compact form factor inherent in Hypercom’s “T4200” line of products. It is “PCI PED” approved and “Interac” certified. It supports French, English and Spanish and can process debit, credit, smart card and value-added transactions such as gift/loyalty. TASQ says the “T4205” is an excellent entry-level solution for small merchants looking for an upgraded “EMV/Interac” terminal replacement.

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