Aite Releases a Credit Card Issuing Analysis

A new report released by Aite details the ongoing challenges faced by
credit card issuers such as new customer
acquisition, card activation, and customer retention and card usage.
The report is based on interviews with 12 of the top 100 U.S. credit card
issuers and examines issuers’ attitudes toward their vendors, including card
networks and processors. Credit card issuers are going through their
most turbulent times since
the introduction of credit cards. Potential new legislation and
regulation threatens to reshape their business model, and issuers are
facing rising charge-offs and a continued assault from merchants
lobbying to cap or reduce interchange rates.

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Cyber Monday Online Spending to Top $800MM

Today is projected to be among the heaviest online spending days on
record with sales expected to top $800 million. “Cyber Monday”
e-shopping this year will likely jump about 14% from $701 million in
2007. comScore says e-commerce spending on “Thanksgiving Day” rose 6% to
$288 million and “Black Friday” was flat at $534 million. However, more
than $10.1 billion has been spent online during the season-to-date, a 4%
decline over last year. The combination of “Thanksgiving Day” and
“Black Friday,” online sales were up 2% relative to last year. According
to a Shop.org survey, conducted over the weekend by BIGresearch, 84.6
million consumers plan to shop online from home or at work today, up
from 72.0 million in 2007 and 60.7 million in 2006. The survey found
that 37.2% of adults will shop on “Cyber Monday,” up 16.6% over last
year (31.9%). Retail Decisions projects that “Cyber Monday’s” busiest
hour will be between 9.00 am and 10.00 am. This will be the second
busiest online shopping hour of the year with a peak shopping moment at
9.49 am.

HOLIDAY E-SALES
2006 2007 2008
Thanksgiving Day $210MM $272MM $288MM
Black Friday $430MM $531MM $534MM
Cyber Monday $608MM $701MM $802MM
Source: comScore

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KONTANTEN & WINCOR NIXDORF

Wincor Nixdorf has signed an three year agreement with ATM operator Kontanten to provide service to 240
automated teller machines. Details of the agreement include system installation, upgrades and
conversions and all services involved in maintenance and repairs. In addition, an
end-user help desk will be available. All ATMs are linked remotely to Wincor Nixdorf’s
system management center, which performs 24/7 real-time monitoring including prompt
trouble ticketing and remote maintenance.Monitoring and administration are handled by the eServices Platform,
which is geared to the special needs of all self-service systems.
Wincor Nixdorf will also be handling software implementation and distribution of software updates.

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AE Better World Gift Cards Benefit Charities

American Eagle Outfitters has rolled out the “AE Better World” holiday
gift card program with a 10% donation of the purchase price to benefit Jumpstart, Big Brothers
Big Sisters and Student Conservation Association charities. The “AE Better World” gift card is
available in AE stores across the United States and Canada, as well as
online. Specially designed packaging will include
information about AE Better World and the details about the
organizations benefiting from the purchase of the gift card.

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Protections Wanted for Fed Credit Card ABS

Consumers Union says standards are needed to make sure that taxpayer money isn’t used to support credit card practices that harm consumers. The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced that
it will provide $20 billion in bailout funds to back up a Federal Reserve Board “credit facility” program to purchase up to $200 billion in “non-mortgage asset backed paper,” including securitized credit card debt. CU is calling on the Fed to set standards to end retroactive rate
increases and high gotcha fees before it buys credit card backed securities. Meanwhile, the San Diego-based Institute of Consumer Financial Education says “Universal Default” is reappearing in stealth mode. the ICFE says most issuers don’t mention “Universal Default” in their credit offers, but often add it later with a “notice to cardholders” in monthly statements. Some don’t wait for an account to go past due for 15-20 days; they take action when it is one day past due. Some of these changes can instantly put a consumer in the over-limit category prompting new, expensive fees.

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Javelin Prepaid Card Processor Report Offered

A new report from Javelin reviews prepaid card issuer programs and the
ways in which a prepaid card program can be maximized.
Javelin looks at the four key components of an effective prepaid
processing program, including managing the card, serving the cardholder,
executing the transaction and, getting the most from the platform.
Recommendations include a
need to focus on the business objective; holistic processing; allowing
customer preferences to
drive product innovation; strong security and risk management and
developing a plan for growth.

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ALLSTREAM ASV

Telecommunication provider Allstream has been certified as an “Approved
Scanning Vendor” and is now performing PCI-DSS vulnerability scans for its business customers. To receive its ASV certification, Allstream successfully completed PCI
Security Standards Council’s Scanning Vendor Compliance Testing. Societe des alcools du Quebec (SAQ) is one of the Level 1 merchants
leveraging Allstream’s PCI and ASV services to help them adhere to
compliance standards. Allstream is helping them better address their PCI compliance and
security needs by providing PCI Data Security Readiness Review, PCI Data Security Assessment and
Quarterly Network Scans.

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U.S. Bank and Cap One Unveil New Cards

U.S. Bank and Capital One has introduced new cards as the holiday season gets into full swing. Planet Hollywood and U.S. Bank have launched the “Planet Hollywood Rewards Visa Platinum Card.” Cardholders earn one point for each net $1 spent and five points for every net $1 spent in purchases at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Las Vegas, including participating merchants at the resort, and Planet Hollywood restaurants and bars. New cardholders receive 1,000 bonus points, a free Planet Hollywood t-shirt and a $25 gift card for Buca di Beppo, the newest member to the Planet Hollywood family, after making their first purchase on the card. Other exclusive benefits include V.I.P. reservations and “jump the line” privileges. Capital One has introduced a new “No Hassle Rewards Card” that offers double miles and
maximum travel flexibility. Cardholders earn two miles for each dollar of monthly spending above $1,000 and one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. Customers book their travel by whatever means they prefer using their Cap One card, then request Capital One to reimburse the charge with miles. The cost of the transaction is refunded on the next statement. The number of rewards required is based on price, with 10,000 miles equaling a $100 reimbursement.

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THINLAM

KSW Microtec AG has introduced “Thinlam” contactless prelaminate for RFID card and government
applications. “Thinlam” has a thickness of 280µm and enables manufacturers to produce HF and UHF RFID
cards with more layers, broadening the possibilities to integrate more
security and other high value features into cards. “Thinlam” is produced without chip modules ­which
results in a thinner, smoother card surface and better printing outcome and maintains the highest durability thanks to its unique patented chip
connection technology. In addition, due to the consistently reproducible
antenna geometries, KSW Thinlam achieves tighter resonance frequency
tolerances. Thinlam can be manufactured on PVC, Polycarbonate, PET or
Teslin and can also be used for transparent RFID cards.

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AmEx TV Spot Adds More Cardmember Stories

American Express has launched a series of commercials featuring Dave
Matthews, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tina Turner and Brian Grazer extolling the
virtues of Cardmembership. The new spot continues American Express’
long history of featuring well-known Cardmembers in its brand campaigns.
Each of the Cardmembers to describe their feelings when they first
received the American Express Card; Dave Matthews discovers his
inspiration; Gwyneth Paltrow attains her independence; Brian Grazer
achieves true confidence; and Tina Turner achieves a sense of personal
freedom.

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VISA & MARRIOTT

Visa Canada and Marriott Hotels &
Resorts of Canada are partnering to offer guests a $25 Visa gift card for weekend stays
booked and paid for with a Visa card, between November 27th, 2008 and
March 29th, 2009. Over 50 hotels and resorts are participating
across Canada, including luxurious properties in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax with many of the hotels
only moments from fabulous shopping, entertainment and
great restaurants.

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NCR Hires a Goldman Sachs Exec as EVP

NCR has hired John Bruno, previously with Goldman Sachs, as EVP,
Industry Solutions Group. Bruno was a managing
director with Goldman Sachs, accountable for strategic planning and
major capital
investment management associated with global infrastructure expansion,
structural
reform, and select technology strategy and engineering. Previously, he
was a
managing director with Merrill Lynch, responsible for technology
architecture and
engineering. At Symbol, Bruno was senior vice president of Corporate
Strategy, Marketing and
Business Development, as well as general manager of the emerging markets
RFID Division. Bruno will lead NCR’s industry-focused business strategy,
responsible for solutions development, engineering, product management and
marketing in each of NCR’s targeted industries: financial services,
retail and hospitality, travel and lodging, entertainment, healthcare
and public
sector, and telecommunications and technology.

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