Planet Merchant Processing and EVO Team

Payment processor Planet Merchant Processing has announced a technology partnership
agreement with NY-based non-bank acquirer EVO
Merchant Services. EVO offers a single source for a full range of electronic payment
services. The agreement will position EVO to leverage Planet’s advanced technical
expertise in the payment processing industry.
The company’s annual credit card transaction volume exceeds
USD$17 billion, representing more than 275 million transactions and over
175,000 merchants. EVO is a full service acquirer with a proprietary
authorization system, and is on the short list of acquirers that
performs all back office functions in-house.

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Underbanked Developer MPOWER Goes Global

TX-based socially responsible venture fund MPOWER has announced it has established the
“MPOWER Foundation” to further its mission of empowering more than 2 billion underserved
consumers around the world. The new foundation extends the work of the
MPOWER group of companies to support mission-critical programs that cannot
realistically achieve sustainable financial returns. MPOWER Foundation is founded on the belief
that entrepreneurship and collaboration are the keys to unlocking
innovation that leads to lasting social change. The foundation will
identify and select program investments employing a venture investment
model that mirrors the core principles of MPOWER Ventures. The MPOWER
Foundation deploys patient capital with longer-term investment horizons
that encourage social returns, and its investment guidelines heavily
emphasize quantitative impact measures.

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TRM Adds a Lampe Conway Exec to its Board

ATM supplier TRM Corporation has announced that its Chairman of the Board of Directors
Jeffrey Brotman has resigned and Michael E. Venezia has been
appointed to serve on the Board.
Brotman’s resignation is based solely on personal considerations
unrelated to TRM and did not result from any disagreement with the Company
concerning any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or
practices. Venezia has been a Credit Analyst for Lampe, Conway
& Co. LLC since June 15, 2005. Before joining Lampe, Conway & Co. LLC., he
served as a Vice President in the High Yield Group of Weiss, Peck &
Greer from August 2004 to June 2005. Prior to joining Weiss, Peck & Greer,
Venezia was a Vice President within Citigroup.

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U.S. Credit Card ABS Continues to Weaken

A monthly monitor suggests the credit card industry is in the midst of a challenging period and collateral performance will get worse before it gets better. Performance of the U.S. credit card loan ABS continued to weaken across several broad measures throughout the first half of 2008, according to Moody’s “Credit Card Credit Indices.” With an expectation of worsening collateral performance in the months to come, Moody’s expects liquidity and funding to become an increasingly important dimension to its credit analysis, especially for those issuers with limited alternative funding resources. To date, Moody’s has taken a limited number of rating actions on securities backed by credit card receivables; however, for some issuers a further weakening of the collateral performance or a worsening of their liquidity profile may put downward pressure on the related outstanding credit card ABS ratings.

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CRYPTOMATHIC & E-PASSPORTS

Security solutions specialist Cryptomathic’s “ID Inspector” now includes the capability to
retrieve ePassport biometric data and eliminating the
need to transfer data from the ePassport chip onto the border control
system every time a traveller enters the country. The
technology will enable Basic Access Control ePassports to be read almost
instantaneously, while increasing the speed of inspecting Extended
Access Control ePassports by a factor of four. The solution allows
inspection systems to store elements of a traveller’s biometric details
– at a port-of-entry or national level – such that it is impossible to
access the data unless the physical ePassport is present. Known as the ‘encrypt
and destroy technique’, the solution satisfies EU ePassport privacy and
data protection laws.

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MICROSOFT & SWIFT

Microsoft has global partnership agreement with the Society for
Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions.
The announcement signifies a new, higher level of close cooperation
between the organizations, under which they will work together
to deliver deep industry value and simplify “SWIFTNet” implementation for
customers using Microsoft technology. “Microsoft BizTalk Server 2009
with BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT” will
enable financial institutions to access a comprehensive set of SWIFT
solutions and support for protocols, including adapters for “SWIFTNet
FileAct “and “InterAct”, which provide connectivity between Microsoft
BizTalk
Server and the SWIFT secure IP network. It also includes business activity
monitoring, providing operations managers and business analysts with
enhanced visibility into transactions. The development of a SWIFT
partner ecosystem will be an important
aspect of the global partnership that will increase the choices
available to customers,
enabling them to better compete through more flexible and scalable
financial messaging solutions.

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POSTBANK & SAP

German retail bank Postbank has successfully gone-live on the SAP
Payment Engine application. The SAP Payment Engine application offers a
single payment operations
platform to streamline all payment processes across a bank, and
standardizes interfaces to surrounding applications in order to allow the
creation of a central payments hub. The SAP Payment Engine application is
based on the SAP NetWeaver technology platform, unifying application
infrastructure and integration components. SAP NetWeaver is compatible with
banks’ existing IT infrastructure, easing integration and consolidation.
The platform is based on industry standards like XML, Java and Web
Services, and can be integrated with commonly used technologies such as
Microsoft .NET and IBM WebSphere. Postbank is a long-time SAP customer
and the first customer to
implement SAP core banking solutions. Its subsidiary Betriebs-Center fur
Banken AG (BCB) is the largest payment transaction firm in Germany,
servicing four out of Germany’s five biggest banks and has a market share
of over 20%.

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BANKING OPS

Global application software service provider Misys has published the
results of a survey that indicate 57% of banking organizations have
already taken steps to
restructure to bring together trade services, cash management and
payments services as a single offering. A further 19% have
plans in place for specific transaction banking units within the next 12
months. Top priorities for 39% of the respondent banks include adding
new products
and services to satisfy existing customers and 33% are widening their
appeal to the smaller customers.
Offering new cash pooling offerings are particularly effective, with
banks already seeing an average
14.4% increase in business as a result. However, despite these changes,
45% of respondents — including half of those
who have already restructured — believe existing customers rate their
services as no better than average, suggesting either that the new
structures have yet to bed in or that other difficulties prevent them from
reaching their potential.

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Metavante Unleashes the BenSoft Software

Metavante has released “BenSoft,” a software solution which combines the
“RepayMe” full flexible benefits administration platform with
Metavante’s healthcare payments processing and benefit debit card
solutions. BenSoft plugs into Metavante’s
WealthCare Portal, which makes the HSA, FSA, HRA, dependent care and
transportation/parking account information available to consumers in a
single Web-portal view and provides Web-based health and wealth
education and decision-support tools for consumers and employers. The
BenSoft to WealthCare Portal information flow creates a more tightly
integrated view of all benefit accounts (including HSAs) for the
consumer, a combined on-boarding process for health plan enrollment and
benefit account opening, along with health information, prescription
drug info, quality of care data, and healthcare finance calculators to
help project personal health costs and savings needs. With more than 5
million of its multi-purse benefit
debit “WealthCare Cards in consumers’ hands, Metavante has established a
leadership position in consumer-driven healthcare and benefits payments
across HSA, FSA, HRA, dependant care and transportation/parking accounts.

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VIVOTECH NFC OTA

NFC platform provider ViVOtech announced that its NFC mobile payment wallet,
Over-the-Air payment, coupon delivery and redemption technologies
are being used jointly by NETS, SingTel and United Overseas Bank,
for an ongoing NFC mobile phone payment trial in Singapore. In the pilot program,
SingTel users can download a SingTel wallet
application that will allow them to store and top up value on the mNETS
payment application in their phones at any time. Users are then able to
make payments using “NETS FlashPay” by merely flashing their SingTel
mobile phones at more than 500 participating merchants island-wide.
The SingTel wallet is also equipped with an electronic coupon
application that provides SingTel customers with discounts and other
incentives and freebies. A simple flash of NFC-powered mobile phone on
“mNETS” posters or at other smart billboards will initiate an OTA download
of the “mNETS” Coupon that is affiliated with the promotion. Again, users
simply flash the coupon on “NETS FlashPay readers” for the coupon to be
automatically redeemed. To date, ViVOtech has enabled more than 25 NFC phone trials globally.

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Online Credit Card Marketing War Intensifies

The battle between Bankrate.com and Creditcards.com over the online credit
card marketing channel continues to build. After acquiring Nationwide Card
Services in December, Bankrate announced a deal yesterday to acquire the
one-full-time employee Web site of CreditCardGuide.com for $32 million in
cash, plus $10 million in earn-outs. Bankrate previously acquired
Memphis-based NCS for $26.4 million in cash with a $7.0 million earn-out. The
online credit card market collapsed this year in the wake of the U.S.
consumer credit crisis which has produced tighter overall underwriting,
reducing revenues by 30% or more for many online credit card marketing sites
this year. Bankrate’s NCS runs a network of over 500 affiliate Web sites to
market consumer and business credit cards, including cardtrak.com and
cardweb.com. Bankrate is headed by Thomas Evans, formerly with Official
Payments and GeoCities. Austin, TX-based Creditcards.com is headed by the
former Bankrate CEO Elisabeth DeMarse. Creditcards.com pulled the plug on its
planned $100 million+ IPO in June citing unfavorable public market conditions.
In 2007, Creditcards.com, an Austin Ventures company, generated $63.3 million
in revenues and produced a $3.5 million profit. (CF Library 12/10/07; 6/3/08)

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