BANCO DO BRASIL & WU

Western Union global money-transfer services has renewed its 11-year old
agent contract with Banco do Brasil, having signed a 5-year contract.
With this, Western Union will maintain its network of 5,400 Banco do
Brasil Agent locations throughout Brazil, underscoring Western Union’s
productive relationship with Banco do Brasil over the past decade.
Western Union global money-transfer provides its services through more
than 345,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories while
Banco do Brasil has 26 million clients, a total of 39,000 ATMs,
locations in 3,200 Brazilian towns and a presence in 24 countries.

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Sovereign Wealth Acquires CellCard

CA-based Sovereign Wealth has inked a deal to acquire CellCard from eAccounts. CellCard has developed a fully functional user generated content platform which enables retailers to send rich multimedia ads to mobile phones in either SMS or MMS format. CellCard also provides a mobile phone based payment application which enables CellCard’s customers to pay for goods and services via a credit card or debit card linked securely to their mobile phone. CellCard’s compression technology enables marketers to instantly convert and deliver any existing TV, print, radio or web advertisement so that it can be viewed on most mobile handsets. The application integrates into any existing banking payment gateway and all transactions are secured using 128kb SSL encryption.

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Upaid Recharge for Expatriate Brazilians

Upaid, the international mobile payments specialist operating since 1997 and headquartered in the UK, has made available its “RechargeBrazil.com” online service. Providing Brazilians living in the U.S. an option to top-up phones of relatives back home through PayPal, “RechargeBrazil.com” is Upaid’s first of online services. Moreover, the service is available for the top-up of phone service on numerous Brazilian mobile operators such as Vivo, Claro, TIM, Telefonica, Embratel. For Brazilian Portuguese speakers, Upaid has made available the “RecargaBrasil.com” counterpart website while the PayPal option allows users to send phone credit to family and friends in Brazil by entering the mobile operator, location and telephone number of the person to whom they wish to send the credit.

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MPC Says Most Voters Favor CC Fee Act

A recently conducted national poll has found 77% of voters favor the “Credit Card Fair Fee Act” bi-partisan legislation, demonstrating concern about credit card industry fees, policies, and practices. Meanwhile, 51% majorities of Republicans and Democrats “strongly” support the passage of the Credit Card Fair Fee Act while 65% say credit card companies don’t share their business values. Costing Americans $42 billion last year, credit card interchange fees amount to approximately $2 of every $100 spent using credit cards, inflating the cost of most consumers goods and services while the average American family will pay upwards of $427 in hidden credit card interchange fees in 2008.

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Trustwave’s SpiderLabs Expand

Data security provider Trustwave has expanded its incident response and forensics services SpiderLabs. Trustwave recently released a report detailing its findings of 350 cases of data security compromise in 14 countries between January 2006 and December 2007. Based on merchant level as defined by the transaction volume and type of transactions performed by a merchant, the report finds that smaller Level 4 merchants are being targeted by malicious hackers. This is due, in part, to their reliance on third-party point-of-sale (POS) vendors whom they assume are securing their network when they install their payment application. Unfortunately, those third-party independent sales organizations are not skilled in internet security and neither are the smaller Level 4 merchants, leaving them vulnerable for hackers.

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Equifax Intros ID Patrol for Consumers

Equifax has launched a full featured identity protection tool. “ID Patrol” offers protection against identity theft by providing subscribers the ability to lock and unlock their Equifax credit file; receive alerts if their Social Security number or up to ten major credit/debit card numbers they provide are found on suspected Internet trading sites; access a trained “ID Theft Resolution Specialist” 24/7 and receive credit monitoring and alerts within 24 hours to key changes in their credit files from the three nationwide bureaus. “Equifax ID Patrol” is a part of Equifax’s suite of credit monitoring and identity protection products.

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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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