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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iovation/Merchant911 Target Device Fraud

OR-based Security device provider iovation has teamed with Merchant911
promote the use of device-based fraud prevention solutions to reduce
the risk of online retail fraud. The partnership will introduce Merchant911’s member-based community of
more than 3,800 online merchants to iovation’s “ReputationManager” fraud
management service technology that allows online
retailers to determine in milliseconds whether a transaction is coming
from a computer that has been associated with fraudulent or abusive
behavior in the past. The service is built on iovation’s shared “Device
Reputation Authority” fraud network, which manages the reputations of
more than 80 million unique computers and mobile devices worldwide.
Businesses using this real-time service can immediately act on this
information to prevent all forms of online fraud.

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2008 Holiday Spending – Unlike Any Other

It is an unprecedented time for a holiday season as Americans hoard cash, clip coupons and pop pills to deal with a “Great Depression” like economy. Despite the abundance of holiday spending projections in prior years, there are too many “X-Factors” for the 2008 XMAS season. The modeling techniques used for prior years are simply inoperable in uncharted waters. Among the major factors in play for this year’s holiday season: rising unemployment; reduced wages; lower credit limits; no home equity; shaky retailers; investment erosion; and a governmental leadership vacuum. Retail sales projections for this year range from -1.0% to +4.7%. The Deloitte forecast expects holiday sales, excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, to increase 2.5% to 3.0% during the November-to-January period, less than last year’s 3.4% increase, and one of the smallest gains since 1991’s 2% uptick. The Nielsen Company forecasts 4.7% growth in dollar sales or $98 billion across grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers and convenience stores, for the holiday shopping season. FTI Consulting is forecasting a 1.0% decrease in holiday season sales due to the deceleration of real income growth and the severe deterioration in consumer confidence. The National Retail Federation forecasts that sales will rise 2.2% to $470.4 billion for 2008. Archstone Consulting predicts that holiday retail sales will nominally increase 0.5% to 1.0%; lagging the core inflation rate of 2.6%. St. Louis-based Maritz found that U.S. shoppers plan an average total spend of $546 this year, which is a 14% decline compared to last year. BDO Seidman predicts that overall sales for “Black Friday” (Nov 28th) will only grow 1.2% this holiday season. BIGresearch expects that gift card sales will decline about 6% this year to about $25 billion.
Finally, the Commerce Department recently reported that retail sales collapsed by 1.2% in September, a figure much larger than expected.

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CARDHOLDERS EXPOSED

Major British credit card issuers are gearing up to share behavioral data on their customers as a way to identify accounts that are in trouble. Barclaycard, Capital One, GE Money, HBOS and MBNA will be sharing the data amongst each other in response to the revised “Banking Code” which calls for more responsible lending. Traditionally, shared data for credit cards has included the customer’s balance, credit limit and whether payments are up to date. The new data will now also include the amount of their last payment, and whether this was equivalent to the minimum payment; changes to credit limits; the extent to which they withdraw cash on their account and if the customer is signed up to any promotional deals. This last category is particularly important because it makes it possible for a lender to distinguish between someone only ever paying the minimum repayment because they may be in financial difficulty, from someone who has the means to repay, but chooses not to because of a deal they have obtained. APACS says the
data will be shared through the credit reference agencies.

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