WYMIX & PAYPASS

Hypercom announced that its “Wymix” PIN pad has
received MasterCardPayPass(R) certification.
Hypercom’s Wymix PIN pad incorporates a chip card and magnetic stripe
reader designed for integration with cash register systems at the point
of sale. Already used at many thousands of points of sale throughout
France, the Wymix has been upgraded to support payment with contactless
cards or NFC-enabled phones. Interest in contactless payment programs in France is high, and several
pilots are in progress throughout the country, organized by banks and
mobile phone operators. As a result of these test programs, the Wymix
PIN pad incorporating contactless technology has been installed in
pilots at two major retailers. One of those, the leading French retailer
Intermarché with almost 1,500 supermarkets throughout the country, has
been using the Wymix PIN pad in a contactless pilot that started in July.

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Safeway Doubles PowerPump Gas Rewards

Safeway has doubled “PowerPump
Gas Rewards” for gift cards purchased at Safeway stores.
Shoppers can buy gift cards to earn double gas rewards and then
use the cards to buy holiday presents at shopping centers and department
stores. The program allows Safeway customers to extend gas rewards to
all of their holiday shopping. PowerPump is available in all Safeway
U.S. markets including its Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs,
Genuardi’s and Dominick’s banners. Customers outside of the vicinity of
a Safeway fuel station will receive double gas rewards to use at a BP
or ARCO station through year end.

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NFC Forum Announces a Global Competition

The NFC Forum announced a call for entries for
its NFC Forum Global Competition to compete for the honor of “The Best
NFC Product of the Year 2009” and “The Most Innovative NFC Research
Project of the Year 2009.” The Commercial Track is for business ideas
that address a specific market, business or consumer need or want.
Teams must submit a business case document of no more than 3,000 words
and a prototype or commercial product. Commercial entries are evaluated
on commercial viability and how successfully and innovatively they meet
the identified need using NFC technology. The Research Track is open to
the academic community, including university student teams and research
institutions. Research track submissions require an explanatory abstract
of no more than 3,000 words that identifies the challenge addressed and
outlines the approach taken. Prototypes are preferred and multimedia
presentations are welcome; entries must not have been piloted
previously. Research entries are judged on quality of design and their
creative and innovative use of NFC technology.

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October Bankruptcy Filings May Top 100K

U.S. monthly consumer bankruptcy filings in October may top 100,000
based on current and historical trends. In September consumer bankruptcy
filings hit 88,863, nearly 29% higher than the year ago period.
September declined 8% from August, but that is the historical pattern.
Last October there were about 72,000 filings. This year consumers have
filed approximately 772,000 bankruptcy petitions. According to the
American Bankruptcy Institute, Chapter 13 filings constituted 33.5% of
all consumer cases in September, a slight increase from prior months.
During the second quarter total filings hit 276,510 compared to 245,695
for the first quarter and 210,449 one-year ago. According to the
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts filings in the 12-month period
ending June 30th, neared the one million mark. The 967,831 bankruptcy
cases filed represent a 29% increase over the prior 12-month period. Of
the total filings 64% were Chapter 7 filings. Consumer filings for the
same 12-month period, totaled 934,009, up 28% from the 727,167
bankruptcies filed in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2007.

BANKRUPTCY FILINGS
Jan 08: 66,050
Feb 08: 76,120
Mar 08: 86,165
Apr 08: 92,291
May 08: 91,214
Jun 08: 82,770
Jul 08: 94,124
Aug 08: 96,413
Sep 08: 88,663
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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DOJ to Review AmEx Anti-Steering Policies

American Express confirmed it has received a “Civil
Investigative Demand” from the DOJ on October 10th regarding its
policies relating to merchant surcharging and its “anti-steering”
policies that prohibit merchants from discriminating against an AmEx
card in favor of other forms of payment. In June, five separate lawsuits
were filed against AmEx by Rite-Aid, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreen, Bi-Lo, and
H.E. Butt Grocery Company, which alleged that AmEx’s “anti-steering”
rules in its merchant acceptance agreements violate federal antitrust
laws. The five plaintiffs assert that their lawsuits are related to the
“Payment Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation”
filed against Visa, MasterCard in 2005. AmEx was not a party
to the “Interchange Litigation.” AmEx has until January to respond.

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TSYS Set to Acquire Payment Expert Infonox

TSYS is acquiring a privately-owned CA-based technology firm with
payments expertise. The deal is expected to close this week. Infonox
will offer “plug-and-play” platforms for debit, credit, prepaid, money
transfer and checks. It also offers new connectivity interfaces to
multiple payment devices and new channels of service delivery such as
mobile phones, ATMs and bill-pay kiosks. Infonox also provides a
proprietary end-to-end tool to manage the lifecycle of a merchant.
Dr. Safwan Shah, president and CEO of Infonox will remain president.
TSYS recently reported third quarter revenues of $500.4 million, an
increase of 9% year-on-year. (CF Library 10/10/08)

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VeriFone Introduces a New PCI SSC Program

VeriFone Holdings has launched a program to secure the implementation of
the PCI SSC Payment Application Data Security Standard. The program
establishes a comprehensive PA-DSS compliance policy aimed at ensuring
protection of cardholder information across virtually all merchant
environments and all types of card acceptance devices. PA-DSS is
intended to ensure secure payment applications do not store prohibited
data, such as full magnetic stripe, CVV2, PIN or other sensitive data,
and are compliant with the PCI DSS. VeriFone expects rapid availability
of its terminal-based payment applications to meet all needs of
acquirers and merchants in complying fully with the PA-DSS mandate.

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Credit Manager’s Index Hits Another Low

The NACM Credit Manager’s Index hit a new low in October as eight of the 10 components fell, nine are now below the 50 level, indicating economic contraction, and eight set record lows. The manufacturing component fared the worst, losing 4.2%, as services fell 0.9%. The CMI plummeted 2.6% to reach a historic low of 44.8. NACM found that the increasing number of job losses, shrinking GDP, negative real retail sales and a host of other indicators confirm that the recession has arrived. Perhaps most troubling though is the disruption in the financial markets which has severely curtailed the availability of credit. As a result, which credit managers are so clearly telling us, not only is the economy bad, but the credit situation is making it even worse.

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CashEdge Intros Business Me-to-Me Transfers

CashEdge has introduced “Small Business Me-to-Me Transfers”, an online
funds transfer product that enables financial institutions to offer
secure inter-institution funds transfer services to their small business
customers. The product provides automated identity authentication and
funding account verification processes that satisfy all
business, risk and compliance requirements, enabling small business
customers to safely transfer money between their accounts held at over
23,000 banks, brokerages and credit unions via the ACH network, allowing
financial institutions to enhance their online
offering to small businesses, improve customer satisfaction and generate
incremental revenue streams.

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Consumer Groups Promote a Concessions Test

The Financial Services Roundtable and the Consumer Federation of
America are requesting the OCC to approve a pilot project allowing major
credit card companies to slash the amount of money owed by heavily
indebted borrowers who do not qualify for currently-available repayment
plans. This morning, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling
endorsed the initiative. The largest credit card banks have agreed to a
limited duration test, in which lenders would forgive up to 40% of the
amount consumers owe and allow borrowers to pay back the remainder over
time. The OCC currently does not allow lenders to offer repayment plans
that reduce the amount of principal owed and allow borrowers to pay back
this balance over a multi-year period. If regulators give permission
before the end of this year, the “Concessions Test” is expected to begin
in March and require between six and nine months to gather the needed
consumer sample. Results analysis will not be available until the end of
2009, thus it will be 2010, in all likelihood, before these concessions
are widely available.

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