Holiday Sales May Actual Contract for 2008

While many market research firms are projecting a slight increase in holiday sales, one global business advisory firm, which has a track record of accurate projections, is forecasting a 1.0% decrease in holiday season sales. The key factors driving down this year’s sales are the deceleration of real income growth and the severe deterioration in consumer confidence. FTI Consulting says that year-over-year real disposable income and wage growth has slowed sharply since mid-2007 and is now close to zero for various measures of real personal income. Real wage growth is currently running slightly negative, something
that has only occurred during the previous six recessions. FTI’s analysis shows that the previous stimulus checks sent out in May and June barely moved the economic needle in the subsequent three months. Additionally, FTI concurs that shoppers have become a bit wary of gift card purchases with so many retailers failing and liquidating this year.

HOLIDAY SALES HISTORICAL
2002: +2.0%
2003: +4.8%
2004: +2.9%
2005: +5.5%
2006: +5.0%
2007: +3.0%
2008: -1.0%
Source: FTI Consulting

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PAYPAL GLOBAL

Alternative payment provider PayPal has added fully localized sites in
Mexico, Hong Kong and
Singapore, extending PayPal’s leading online payments service to more
than 120 million people and bringing the total number of localized
PayPal sites to 18. Customers in these countries can quickly and
confidently pay online using their local currencies. Sellers in these
countries can receive payments from PayPal’s large network of 65 million
active accounts around the globe, and withdraw their PayPal balances
directly to any local bank. PayPal also
launched nine new languages on its Web site including Bahasa Indonesian,
Danish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Traditional
Chinese and Turkish and has introduced new PayPal domains for 18
countries, including Argentina, Chile, Hungary, India, Luxembourg,
Malta, The Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey
and Venezuela.

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U.S. Consumers Demand ATM Availability

More than one-third of U.S. adults have had ATMs unavailable for their
use in the past 12 months. A new survey by Harris Interactive for Level
Four Americas also found that 42% have experienced unavailability at the
ATM three or more times in the past 12 months. About 45% of U.S. banking
consumers would be likely to switch banks if their bank’s network of
ATMs was often unreliable. Level Four Americas says it is crucial for
banks to ensure that their ATM networks are thoroughly tested prior to
deployment, and employ modern monitoring techniques to minimize ATM
downtime and preserve customer loyalty.

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CREDIT EDUCATION WEEK

Visa Canada is pleased
to return as a sponsor and active participant in Credit Canada’s “Credit
Education Week”. Credit Education Week’s theme is ‘Youth and Financial
Literacy’. A recent Visa Canada survey of more than one thousand high
school students showed that while more than one-third of respondents had
never created a budget, about three quarters of respondents agree that
money management and budgeting should be mandatory school curriculum.
Visa Canada’s Practical Money Skills website has helped thousands
of consumers develop budget, saving, investing and spending strategies.
In an effort to expand the reach of its financial literacy materials,
Visa Canada published a companion brochure to the Practical Money Skills
website in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Punjabi as well as English and
French, and offers consumers Credit Cards: An Owner’s Manual, a
bilingual guide that provides important tips on how to use credit cards
wisely.

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Bling Nation Launches a DDA/Debit Network

A new payment network for financial institutions, Bling Nation has been
launched. Bling Nation enables financial institutions to more
support payments between their local demand deposit account (DDA)
customers and their merchant customers by bypassing the current global
debit payment model and replacing it with an efficient, cost-effective
and local payment network. Through the use of proprietary technology,
Bling Nation enables local debit
payments to be conducted as contactless payments through the simple tap
of a customer’s mobile phone to a supporting contactless payments reader
at the merchant customer’s point-of-sale. Within a matter of seconds,
the customer’s phone receives an SMS text message confirming the
transaction and reporting the account holder’s
remaining account balance, resulting in significant cost savings
on the high fees associated with the traditional method of processing a
debit transaction. Bling Nation was founded by co-CEOs, Wences Casares
and Meyer Malka, who together
have a proven track record of successful entrepreneurialism through the
founding of Banco Lemon, a Brazilian retail bank and Patagon, the
largest online brokerage in Latin America.

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INTERAC & OPTIMUM

Hypercom Corporation announced that its new “Optimum
M4200” series have received Interac Association Chip PED Device
Certification for use within the Interac Direct Payment (IDP) network.
The Optimum M4200 mobile series has already received PCI PED approval,
MasterCard Worldwide Payment Terminal Security approval for IP and
wireless transactions and EMV Level 1 & 2 certifications for global
merchant markets. The M4200 family shares the same application
development toolkit and user interface as the T4200, enabling business
applications written for one platform to be quickly repurposed for the
other for fast deployment. The new certification from Interac covers the
Optimum M4240 Bluetooth and M4230 GPRS models with integrated smart card
readers.

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Firethorn Powers Citi Mobile for Cards

Citi and mobile wallet Firethorn have introduced “Citi Mobile for Cards”
that gives customers immediate access to real-time credit card account
information via mobile phones. “Citi Mobile for Cards” transactions are
secure with data encryption and are monitored for fraud. In addition, no
personal information is stored on the phone and if a cell phone is lost
or stolen, “Citi Mobile for Cards” can be deactivated instantly. For
added security, “Citi Mobile for Cards” only permits access to accounts
from the phone that is registered with the service and PIN authorization
is required. “Citi Mobile for Cards” is now
available to AT&T subscribers as part of AT&T Mobile Banking, and to
Verizon Wireless customers who download and use the free mobile banking
application on Get It Now.

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SKYWAYS & UATP

Skyways Express is now accepting UATP all UATP corporate cards and is a
part of the UATP global corporate travel payment network. Skyways
Express is the largest Swedish regional airline and has more
than 900,000 passengers yearly and utilizes a multi-channel strategy to
maximize bookings and also offers buyers the option of booking hotels,
rentals cars and other travel
related bookings through all lines of distribution with Skyways. UATP
accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business
travel by
airlines and travel agencies worldwide.

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RevolutionCard Offers Holiday Cash-Back

A holiday promotion has been launched for the new “RevolutionCard.”
Between now and January 31st cardholders will receive a $5 credit for
each purchase of $50 or more. There is a $100 cap on the total cash-back
earned during the promotion. The “RevolutionCard” is accepted by more
than 300,000 store locations including Barnes& Noble,
BJ’s Wholesale Club, Circuit City, CVS/Pharmacy, KOHL’S, MACY’S,
Nordstrom, Office Depot, Office Max, T.J.Maxx, U-Haul and Walgreen’s.
The new card is a PIN-based credit card that has no cardholder name or
account number on the card. It is issued by First Bank & Trust of
Brookings, SD. Last month, Revolution Money signed a deal for RBS
WorldPay to offer its “RevolutionCard” as a payment option to RBS
merchant clients. Merchants will be charged absolutely no interchange
fee and a nominal 0.50% transaction fee. St. Petersburg, Florida-based
Revolution Money is part of the family of companies within Revolution
LLC, which was founded by AOL’s former CEO, Steve Case, to drive
“transformative change by shifting power to consumers.” Jason Hogg is
Revolution Money’s CEO. RBS WorldPay (formerly RBS Lynk) is the U.S.
payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. (CF
Library 10/17/08)

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CCDM ATMS

Wincor Nixdorf has introduced the newest “Check and Cash Deposit
Modules” (CCDM) that in addition to the acceptance of bulk deposits of
up to 50 checks or 50 banknotes, the module has been
optimized so that it can accept and process mixed bundles of checks and
banknotes,
irrespective of the way they are presented and that even includes checks
with MiCR and with more cassette
capacity, so armored car services need to attend less often to empty the
system. Cash and checks are validated using the latest, precise image
processing technology. The entire posting process is automated. There is
no need to process cash or checks manually anymore. The costs of cash
logistics are cut significantly,
without any reduction in availability. Interest paid and the cost of
replenishment and emptying are reduced, while the cash supply is made
more secure.

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FIS and OboPay to Introduce a P2P Service

The industry’s first core provider to launch a mobile
phone-based person-to-person payment service is taking shape.
Fidelity National Information Services and Obopay will launch a
person-to-person mobile money transfer service for financial
institutions using FIS core processing services. Obopay estimates there
are 260 million mobile consumers in the USA. Industry research shows
there could be as many as 80 million unbanked U.S. consumers. The FIS
mobile P2P service gives banks will open a new major market for banks.
The new FIS/Obopay service will initially be offered with checking
accounts or prepaid cards linked to the mobile phone. FIS has processing
and technology relationships with 40 of the top 50 global banks,
including nine of the top 10. Last month, Citi announced the launch of
“Citibank Paylink for Commercial Cards” and the launch of a pilot of a
new mobile person-to-person money transfer service with Obopay.
“Citibank Paylink for Cards” integrates a purchasing card into a
client’s accounts payable system. The MasterCard “Payment Gateway” acts
as the network between Citi, the buyer and the supplier. (CF Library
10/15/08)

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MagTek Unveils ExpressCard 1000 Platform

CA-based e-payment provider MagTek has introduced the all-in-one, secure
instant issuance and personalization platform “ExpressCard 1000” The
“ExpressCard 1000” can be economically personalized
using the thermal printer, encoded for magnetic stripe cards,
smartcards and contactless cards, embossed, and color tipped and indent
printed. Cardholders and financial institutions will benefit from
instant, onsite card creation and activation, eliminating the risk of
loss, cost and wait-time associated with mailing. “ExpressCard 1000”
offers a wide array of security features using MagTek’s proven MagneSafe
security architecture, surpassing the requirements of PCI DSS and the
card associations. “ExpressCard 1000” serves as a secure platform to
produce and register each card’s MagnePrint or Dynamic Digital
Identifier. This information can then be used by the financial
institution as part of its risk management analysis for all card present
transactions, enhancing security throughout the payment infrastructure.

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