2008 Holiday Shoppers Generous But Frugal

Market researcher Information Resources have released a new survey
“Rethinking Retail: Holiday Shopper Insights and Recommendations” that
indicates shoppers will open their wallets this holiday season due to
the increased importance of holiday rituals as they take comfort with
friends and family and noted that they plan to make better use of
merchandising and promotions to maintain appearances. Among the
principal findings of IRI’s new survey: 94% state spending time with
family is more important than last year; 80% plan a greater emphasis on
holiday meals and entertaining over last year; 74% state they plan to
give the same number or more gifts; 65% will focus more on religious
celebrations and 63% plan to buy as many or more expensive gifts
However, Roughly 74% of shoppers will take more advantage of in-store
promotions this year over last year, demonstrating shoppers’ desire to
preserve rituals but their attempt to do so more affordably, with 56%
planning to take advantage of sales or promotions seen on TV or heard on
the radio, 53% will use coupons in newspapers more and 43% will seek out
more “2 for 1” and similar promotions.

Details

Discover Sponsors a Debit Card Info Site

The PULSE network has launched “DebitFacts.org” to offer
timely and accurate information about using debit cards, practical
details about debit’s role as a convenient payment method and a
financial planning tool. Current site content includes a host of useful
information, such as a video about the differences between PIN- and
signature-authorized transactions; how to protect your personal
identification number (PIN) from fraud; understanding debit card
liability and the benefits of debit cards as a financial planning tool
DebitFacts.org will be updated regularly to include new expert articles,
as well as additional videos about the importance of using debit cards
wisely.

Details

ZZZS & XIRING

Remote transaction platform provider XIRING was awarded a contract by ZZZS, the Health Insurance
Institute of Slovenia, to upgrade the professional
health card readers within the framework of the next generation of the
Slovenian health card scheme.Slovenia was one of the first European countries to introduce a national
health insurance card system. The consortium of XIRING and LOGINA, a Slovenian specialist for
e-health card applications, have signed a contract with ZZZS, the Health
Insurance Institute of Slovenia. The 4-year contract will see XIRING and
LOGINA replace, install and maintain 2,800 desktop card readers for the
Slovenian e-health program (in total 12,000 healthcare professionals are
equipped with desktop card readers). XIRING’s highly regarded Prium-3S
solution will be adapted to meet the Slovenian requirements, notably at
the on-board application level.

Details

CC ABS Charge-Offs May Top 8% in 2009

Performance metrics among credit card-backed securities continues to
deteriorate in tandem with the overall economic environment. Some
analysts and issuers are now predicting that charge-offs will rise above
8% in 2009. FitchRatings says the surge in charge-offs will likely come
even though delinquencies are showing a slowing upward trend. During
September “prime” charge-offs increased 11 basis points month-to-month
to 6.57%. This is an 182 basis points increase from one year ago.
Delinquency rose slightly in September from August, 3.12% to 3.13%.
Gross yield, impacted by a decrease in the prime rate, increased eight
basis points in September to 17.13%, but much lower than the 19.61% in
September 2007. The monthly payment rate declined 64 basis points
sequentially to 18.57%, a 242 basis points decline from the prior-year
period. Excess spread continued to compress to 6.10% in September.

Details

AA & MC Launch a Travel Concierge Promotion

American Airlines and MasterCard have teamed to offer the “American
Airlines Travel Concierge” sweepstakes, offering customers multiple
chances to win nearly $50,000 in MasterCard gift cards, $25,000 in
American Airlines gift cards, and hours of virtual concierge services.
The sweepstakes comprises two prize pools with the opportunity for
cardholders to enter up to three times for a chance to win by booking a
flight, car rental or hotel stay on AA.com and paying with a MasterCard
card, or alternatively, by completing the Official Entry Form. One
grand-prize winner in this prize pool will win $25,000 in American
Airlines gift cards, a $15,000 MasterCard gift card, and hours of
personalized virtual concierge services. A separate prize pool in the
Travel Concierge sweepstakes offers the chance to win one of over a
thousand other prizes, including $50 or $250 MasterCard gift cards.

Details

Biz Owners Remain Optimistic Yet Realistic

Intuit’s latest “Small Business and the Economy” survey found that 82%
of business owners still see opportunities for their business and 64%
said they still expect to grow, compared to 77% six months ago. This
mix of optimism with realism may reflect the fact that many are not new
to tough times. More than 60% of the survey respondents said they had
previously survived a recession. Small business owners are also
realistic about the downturn in the economy with 67% say they worry
about how to find new customers keeps them up at night, while 60% plan
to focus on reducing costs and retaining current customers.

Details

SIM ON DEMAND

T-Mobile customers who order prepaid SIM cards are now receiving
deliveries direct from Giesecke & Devrient With its system of “SIM production on demand”, G&D
has reduced the waiting time for SIM cards requested by
T-Mobile customers to just a few days. T-Mobile UK sends the necessary
data to G&D over a secure data link as soon as a customer places an online order.
G&D takes care of SIM-card personalization and handles the entire shipment, including
covering letter and enclosures. The orders are delivered directly to T-Mobile UK customers by Royal Mail. In
parallel, G&D supplies the network operator with daily updates on the
deliveries that have been expedited. This data provides the operator with an
analysis tool that can be used to generate a more immediate and targeted marketing
response. If necessary, the content of the consignments can be modified at short notice,
enabling T-Mobile to respond almost instantaneously to new market trends and
customer requirements.

Details

Cap One Introduces an Online Photo Contest

Capital One, Newsweek and Flickr have partnered for the “American Life”
online photo contest to enable customer to submit photos that exemplify
the best of everyday life in America. The grand prize winner will
receive $7,000, an exclusive meeting, photography tutorial and portfolio
review with Newsweek Director of Photography, Simon Barnett, and a tour
of Newsweek’s Photo Department. The first runner-up will receive $6,000
and the second runner-up will receive $5,000. Each winner also will have
their photo displayed as the featured image for cardholders on Capital
One’s Image Card site and their profile featured on
www.capitalonephotocontest.com.

Details

Affinion Third Quarter Revenue Up 10%

Affinion posted third quarter revenues of $365 million, a 10% gain over
3Q/07. The net loss for the quarter narrowed to $20 million, from $43
million in the year ago quarter. The increase in net revenues was due to
continued growth in both the International and North American regions.
The increase in North American revenue was attributable to growth in all
lines of business, including double digit growth in Loyalty products.
Net revenues excluding the impact of the Transactions increased $29.9
million, or 9.0% greater than 3Q/07. Net revenues increased $4.3 million
in the quarter as compared to the third quarter of 2007 due to a reduced
impact of the non-cash adjustments in purchase accounting as part of the
Transactions. The Company still expects that 2008 adjusted EBITDA will
fall between $305 to $315 million. Affinion has more than 5,300 affinity
partners worldwide. For complete details on Affinion’s third quarter
performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com](http://www.carddata.com)).

AFFINION REVENUE HISTORICAL
3Q/07: $330.6 million
4Q/07: $336.6 million
1Q/08: $339.2 million
2Q/08: $354.3 million
3Q/08: $364.8 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

Details

TOUCH & SIGN

Smart card provider Incard has introduced “Touch&Sign”, a
high-security contact and contactless smart card designed for a range of
applications in digital signature and
identification markets for governmental and Public Key Infrastructure
projects, and other key markets with similar requirements. Touch&Sign is
the first of a new
family from Incard, which increases the company’s existing offer by adding
contactless connectivity based on ISO14443 type B, an onboard 2048-bit RSA
key generation cryptographic coprocessor and an EEPROM memory size of 64
Kbytes. Incard has achieved Common Criteria certification EAL level 4+
for Touch&Sign and has
been certified, from April 2008, for the BSI protection profile for secure
signature-creation devices. The device also offers lifecycle management
compliant to ISO7816-9.

Details

M-PHONE PILOT

RBC, Visa and Rogers Wireless have partnered
for the next phase of the mobile phone payment pilot. Motorola mobile
phones outfitted with Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless chips
will enable customers to make purchases
using the Visa “payWave” feature just as they would with a contactless
RBC Visa card. The functions tested in the pilot will include the secure
delivery and storage of account information to the mobile phone and the
security of mobile payments at retailers. The pilot will be the first
in Canada to test secure over-the-air (OTA)
delivery of mobile payment software and credit card information to a
customer’s mobile phone.

Details