U.S. Retail Sales Grow Weaker in August 08

The National Retail Federation reports that the retail industry sales
for August (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants)
decreased 0.3% month-to-month and increased 1.1% over last year. The
Commerce Department data show that total retail sales (which include
non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and
restaurants) decreased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from the previous month
and decreased 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at general
merchandise stores decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted from July, but
increased 4.6% unadjusted over last August. Electronics and
appliance stores sales decreased 1.3% seasonally adjusted
month-to-month and decreased 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

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1/3+ IRS Rebate Checks Go to Credit Card Debt

A new poll reveals that the much anticipated IRS rebate check for
taxpayers was used by 36% of taxpayers to reduce credit cards debt. The
Harris Poll found that 45% of Americans believed
these checks would help stimulate the economy, however, 52% say spending the checks did not stimulate the economy.
Some other findings include 52% of Republicans say rebate checks did
stimulate the economy while 61% of Democrats and 56% of Independents say that it did not and 70% of
Americans with incomes of $34,999 or less and
70% with incomes of $75,000 or more say they received a check, with 86% with incomes of between $35,000 and $49,999
87% and between $50,000 and $74,999 say they received rebate checks.

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GuestLogix Lands the US Air In-Flight Contract

US Airways has
selected the GuestLogix Mobile Virtual Store solution to grow a la carte
sales on-board its domestic and international flights. The GuestLogix
solution will facilitate cash, credit and debit card sales for US
Airways In-Flight Café and A la Carte beverage menu. The GuestLogix
devices will allow US Airways flight attendants to
record cash and complimentary items, print receipts and automate
inventory tracking. The agreement
adds potentially 58 million passenger trips annually to the GuestLogix
network.

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Rite Aid Joins the MC PayPass Revolution

One of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with approximately 5,000
stores in 31 states is now accepting MasterCard “PayPass” contactless
payments. Rite Aid will accept “PayPass” at 3,800 of its
nearly 5,000 stores across the USA. There are nearly 37 million
MasterCard “PayPass” cards and devices in use in 24 countries, and
“PayPass” is currently accepted globally at more than 122,000 merchant
locations, including participating CVS, McDonald’s, Regal Entertainment
Group theaters and many others. “PayPass” is currently accepted within
several retail sectors where speed and convenience are critical factors,
such as quick-service restaurants, sports stadiums and arenas, movie
theaters, supermarkets, vending machines, and taxis.

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Consumer Debt Index Rises Sharply in 2Q/08

Soaring mortgage delinquency and consumer loan delinquency rates drove
the latest consumer debt index higher. Debt Settlement USA reports that
the “Consumer Debt Index” stood at 12.66 at the end of the second
quarter, up 7.3% since the end of the first quarter and nearly 32% since
the second quarter of last year. Debt Settlement USA say it expects to
see a 40% increase in the number of consumers in 2008 that turn to debt
settlement as the best solution to help them deal with financial
hardship. The “CDI” is calculated each quarter by adding the quarterly
average of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s monthly “Consumer Price
Index,” the Federal Reserve’s quarterly average of consumer credit
outstandings, and the Federal Reserve’s quarterly mortgage delinquency
and unsecured consumer loan delinquency rates.

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TD CIRCUIT CITY CARD

NJ-based TD Retail Card Services has acquired the private label credit card program of InterTan Canada which operates under the banner of “The Source By Circuit City.” TD Retail Card Services, formerly known as Shoppers Charge Accounts, says it will add a customer loyalty program, “Source Rewards,” to the Canadian under which cardholders will have the opportunity to earn reward certificates. TD says it will also offer a variety of special financing options, including three-, six- and
12-month deferred payment plans, as well as a 16-month deferred payment
plan during special promotions. According to CardFlash International,
the card will be distributed through 775 corporate stores and dealer
outlets throughout Canada and online. TD Retail Card Services is a
division of TD Banknorth.

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CARD PATROL

In response to the 800,000 consumer fraud/identity theft complaints the
Federal Trade Commission received in 2007, Affinion Security Center has
partnered with Davis + Henderson financial services to offer its “Card
Patrol” Identity Theft Protection Service to Canadian consumers. “Card
Patrol” provides account holders fraud prevention solutions with
real-time monitoring of the chat rooms where thieves buy and sell
payment card numbers. The Affinion customers can register up to 10 cards
for this service and receive instant e-notification of detected
suspicious activity involving any of the registered account numbers.
“Card Patrol” currently provides services such as this to the millions
of customers of 120 national, regional, and community banks and credit
unions in the United States and Canada.

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MOBICLEAR PIV

mobiclear Personal Identification Verification (PIV) solutions has
announced it will begin its commercial operations in the fourth quarter. With these operations, mobiclear intends to commercialize and
finance its PIV products to help eliminate credit and debit card fraud.
In conjunction with these announcements, mobiclear has also disclosed
financing agreements with Bastion, stipulating the latter provide the
former with a credit facility for Bastion payment. mobiclear offers a
range of solutions to credit card and debit card fraud based on its
patent-pending Personal Identification Verification system and products
to ensure against fraud in all electronic transactions.

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MoneySolutions Launches a Payroll MC

MoneySolutions International has introduced “The MoneySolutions Prepaid MasterCard”
enhanced direct deposit payroll card, issued by Meta Bank.
“The MoneySolutions Prepaid MasterCard” payroll
card was specifically designed to serve the unique financial needs of
so-called cash-based employees who do not maintain bank accounts.
Cardholders have immediate access to their payroll earnings at more than
one million worldwide ATM locations displaying the MasterCard, Maestro,
Cirrus or STAR Acceptance Marks. Payroll cards are gaining popularity as HR departments “go paperless” to
reduce costs and their overall environmental impact. Distributing wages
via the card also enables employers to realize substantial savings by
reducing bank processing and check-handling fees, curbing check printing
and reconciliation costs, and eliminating stop payment and lost/stolen
check replacement fees and protects against check fraud.

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G&D AND VIVOTECH

Using multiple Single Wire Protocol (SWP) prototype mobile phone models,
ViVOtech and Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) testing has confirmed
interoperability amongst the G&D NFC-enabled SIM cards and the
ViVOtech’s “Over-the-Air” (OTA) NFC Infrastructure Software. With this
confirmation, the companies have announced intentions to launch an NFC
Field Trial with a large European mobile network operator (MNO) and an
issuer bank. The partnership will combine NFC applications with the SIM
card through special OTA servers on a mobile network. Giesecke &
Devrient employs nearly 9,000 and had 2007 revenues of over EUR1.5
billion while ViVOtech NFC mobile payments has shipped over 450,000
contactless terminals to more than 30 countries worldwide.

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ICPNO STANDARDS

This month, representatives of European and North American payment networks will be in attendance at the inaugural meeting of the International Council of Payment Network Operators. The London event on September 22nd will hopefully create a framework that allows global interoperability of national networks, providing access to consumers and merchants on other networks and resulting in greater transactional volume for all participating networks. Many payment network operators offer a new form of alternate payment which is rapidly gaining market and consumer acceptance, allowing consumers to make payments to online merchants using their chosen financial institution’s online banking website. The adoption of alternate payment networks has been driven by consumer demand for easier, private and more secure online payment options. The new payment type sponsored by banks uses the existing banking system, including online consumer authentication, cash management and settlement services. The ICPNO says global network interoperability is key to allowing a consumer in one country on one network to purchase goods or services from a merchant in another country on another network.

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NCR ATMS

NCR has deployed its “SelfServ” ATMs in Cambodia to drive revenue and
Improve Consumer Satisfaction. The newly launched ATMs allow for easier
introduction of multi-function services, greater ATM availability to
customers- among the key priorities for banks in Southeast Asia- and
“self-healing” capabilities from software failures without intervention.
NCR “SelfServ” also provides bill payments services, no-envelope
intelligent cash deposits, no-envelope intelligent check deposits and
feature protected USB technology. The NCR Corporation global technology
company offers its support services for retail, financial, travel,
healthcare, hospitality, gaming and public sector organizations in more
than 100 countries.

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