PIF Unveils Prepaid Accreditation Standard

International trade association Prepaid International Forum announced the launch of an accreditation initiative for member programs that will create an international standard for growth in prepaid commerce. The accreditation process will apply initially to members’ issuer programs and will be correlated with PIF’s “Issuer Code of Conduct.” Other industry participants will be included in the accreditation scheme in due course. Compliant organizations will receive an accreditation certificate and a licence to use a PIF accreditation symbol on any marketing materials. PIF retains the right to review and withdraw accreditation and will carry out an annual audit of accredited programmes. Continued accreditation will be dependent on full compliance with PIF published standards, codes and guidelines. PIF has recently established chapters in Australia and New Zealand and Latin America and in January announced that it had set up a new Transport Working Group.

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Consumers Detest Unreliable ATM Networks

A new survey shows that 45% of U.S. consumers would be likely to switch banks if their bank’s network of ATMs was often unreliable. The poll for Level Four Americas, conducted by Harris Interactive, also found that 28% of U.S. consumers said they would be “very likely” to switch banks if they experienced recurrent instances of ATM unavailability. This is contrasted with a survey conducted by Level Four last year in the UK, which found that 38% of consumers would consider the move to another bank, dependent upon the extent of their bank’s network of faulty ATMs.

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TNS Rolls-Out FusionPoint Lite for USA

POS and ATM terminal owners, deployers and payment acquirers can now quickly and securely migrate their dial-up terminals to broadband POS, without the expense and disruption of replacing equipment. VA-based TNS has introduced the “FusionPoint Lite” service in the U.S. market. “FusionPoint Lite” uses device called a “ConverterPoint” to bridge the technology gap between legacy equipment and the broadband service. No additional training is needed to use existing POS terminals connected to the device. The solution also includes dial back-up service as a standard feature, which protects merchants from loss of business due to possible broadband service interruption. All transactions are protected using industry standard SSL 3.0 encryption along with mutual authentication. Additionally, “FusionPoint Lite” can be branded in line with the terminal owner’s brand.

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MasterCard Joins the S&P 100/500

MasterCard has replaced General Motors on the Standard and Poor’s 100 Index. MasterCard shares immediately rose $9.80, or 3.9%, to $263 in after-hours trading following the S&P announcement. MasterCard also replaces insurer Ace Ltd. on the Standard & Poor’s 500. GM shares, meanwhile, have this year fallen to levels not seen since the 1950s. S&P did not in a statement explain why it dropped GM from the S&P 100.

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GE MONEY & SHINSEI

GE Money has signed an agreement to sell its Japanese consumer finance business, which includes the Lake personal loan business, wholly owned credit cards and mortgages to Shinsei Bank. The deal is valued US$5.4 billion. However, GE Money will continue to operate GE Nissen Credit, its credit card joint venture with Nissen, a shopping catalogue in Japan. GE Money and Nissen will continue to hold a 50% stake each in the company. Shinsei Bank says it plans to retain and work closely with GE employees in these businesses as part of its strategy to expand its position in the Japanese consumer credit marketplace. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008.

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ONLINE BANKING GROWTH

comScore has released it report demonstrating Canada is among the most
expansive market for online banking, with the Bank of Montreal laying
claim to fastest website visitor growth of 22% over the past 12-month
period. Furthermore, of the nearly 24 million Canadian Internet users,
15.5 million visited a banking site throughout the month of April, RBC
Financial group led the category with 4.6 million visitors, followed by
TD Bank Financial Group with 4.5 million visitors and Bank of Montreal
Sites with 3 million visitors. Additional findings show, among the 37
global markets individually-reported by comScore, Canadians bank online
the most, 67.1% of Canadians banked online in April 2008 (compared to
49.5% of British and 44.4% of Americans) and they lead online banking
frequency with 8 average daily visits for an average of 46 minutes spent
visiting the websites throughout the month.

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SENIORBUSTERS

Canadian seniors are increasingly becoming the victims to fraudulent
marketing and financial scams, having lost a total of $6 Million in
2007. In response, Capital One and SeniorBusters, the volunteer
component of PhoneBusters, have teamed to educate seniors on spotting
fraud before they are victimized. Fraudsters attack by mail, telephone
and Internet and most commonly committed identity theft in 2007 with a
$6,421,952 total loss. This crime was followed by the “Nigerian Letter”
scam which claimed $4,935,030, investment scams accounting for
$3,553,320 and scams offering phony prizes accounting for $3,506,289.
Additional findings show those aged 50-59 lost a total of $8,595,593.57,
followed by those aged 60-69 who lost $7,660,202.49, 70-79 lost
$6,928,425.82, those aged 80-89 lost $5,508,172.27 and those aged 90-99
lost $1,870,654.67. Capital One Canada is headquartered in Toronto,
providing Canadians with credit cards since 1996, and is a division of
Capital One Bank.

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GE Money Profits Slip 9% in 2Q/08

GE reported that profit for its GE Money unit declined 9% in the second quarter to $1.1 billion. However, revenues were up 6% to $6.6 billion, compared to one-year ago. In the prior quarter revenues rose 7% and profits declined 19%, year-on-year. Second quarter results included a $222 million increase in the loan loss provision and a decrease of $109 million of securitization. GE also announced today it has signed an agreement to sell its Japanese consumer finance business, which includes the Lake personal loan business, wholly owned credit cards and mortgages to Shinsei Bank. The deal is valued US$5.4 billion. However, GE Money will continue to operate GE Nissen Credit, its credit card joint venture with Nissen, a shopping catalogue in Japan. GE Money and Nissen will continue to hold a 50% stake each in the company. Shinsei Bank says it plans to retain and work closely with GE employees in these businesses as part of its strategy to expand its position in the Japanese consumer credit marketplace. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008. Earlier this year American Express and GE Money signed a deal for AmEx to purchase GE’s Corporate Payment Services for $1.1 billion in cash. Also, Banco Santander signed preliminary agreements for its takeover of GE Money in Germany, Finland and Austria and its Card and Auto Financing Businesses in the UK. For complete details on GE’s latest results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

GE MONEY TRACK RECORD
Income Revenues
2Q/07: $1158 million $6276 million
3Q/07: $942 million $6207 million
4Q/07: $957 million $6578 million
1Q/08: $995 million $6377 million
2Q/08: $1056 million $6629 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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ONLINE SECURITY

With Internet fraud reaching over GBP 290 million in 2007, PayPoint.net has published its survey demonstrating British consumers are vigilant online shoppers with 98% conducting at least one security check on commerce websites while 90% examine at least 3 security features. Among those surveyed, 88% referred to the padlock icon in the web browser, 85%
ensured the presence of a UK contact address and phone number, 85%
scanned for a clear refund policy and 82% ensured the presence of
reputable payment providers logos. However, 69% admitted throwing all
trust issues out the window if website is well-designed while 79% could
fall for an easy-to-use site with clear payment instructions.

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AAA of Southern California Juices-Up Visa

AAA of Southern California has introduced the “AAA Visa Signature Card with World Points” that awards double points for one year on gasoline purchases. The has no annual fee and allows cardholders to earn one point for every dollar spent. Points can be redeemed for cash rewards, airline tickets, hotel rooms, or a wide variety of other goods and services. Current “AAA Visa or AAA Mastercard” customers have the option to keep their current card(s) and also request the “AAA Visa Signature” card with “WorldPoints Rewards,” or request to convert to the new credit card only. The Automobile Club of Southern California is the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs.

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HSBC BUSINESS DIRECT

HSBC has launched its fee free “Business Direct” direct banking solution
in Northern Ireland for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). Using
the HSBC internet banking platform, “Business Direct” targets businesses
with turnover of less than GBP500,000, providing business banking access
online and over the telephone. Additional benefits of the account
include no fees, business specialists available in-branch to provide
support, free access to HSBC’s online business resource directory and
quarterly written statements. HSBC’s Internet platform has won “Best
Integrated Corporate Bank Site” 2007, “Best Information Security
Initiatives Europe” 2007 and “Hallmark of Innovation (Financial
Innovation Awards) Best Business Direct Channel – Internet” 2007.

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