Idcentrix & Advantics Team for ID Bidding

CA-based Idcentrix secure ID cards has inked a preferred partnership with Advantics to jointly accept bids on projects in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Advantics provides systems integration, enrollment hardware, software and database management, specializing in the government ID industry across Latin America, and is based in the Dominican Republic. iDcentrix has licensed patented technology providing highly secure identification cards based on Swiss banknote paper and polycarbonate to prevent duplication and counterfeiting.

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Rising Paper Costs Drives Down Card Mail

Credit card solicitations may be sharply scaled back as a result of manufacturing cost increases of 12-14% this year due to the escalation in energy, wood, transport and chemical prices. RISI, which tracks the global forest products industry, says most paper producers have announced a $50-60 per ton price hike for July on coated mechanical paper-commonly used for glossy catalogs and direct mail packages. The Pulp & Paper Products Council reports that North American demand declined a whopping 13.5% as printers and other end users started cutting orders sharply to match the performance of their true consumption of paper, which has been very weak all year. Mintel Comperemedia last month estimated that financial services direct mail volume at 4.2 billion for 1Q/08, 13% lower than the 4.8 billion estimated for the year ago quarter. Among financial services companies, credit card issuers cut back on direct mail the most. Mintel Comperemedia estimates that mail volume for credit cards fell 14% from 4Q/07 to 1Q/08 (from 3.0 billion offers to 2.6 billion). Three of 2007’s top five credit card mailers including Chase, Bank of America and HSBC reduced their direct mail by over 15% during 1Q/08. I(CF Library 5/27/08)

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CANADIANS AND TRAVEL INSURANCE

A new survey commissioned by RBC Insurance and Ipsos Reid indicate that
the cost of fuel is impacting Canadian travelers who chose to not to
protect themselves with travel insurance. Many Canadians assume they
are covered through existing travel plans. For example, the survey shows
43% of travellers feel they
don’t need to buy travel insurance because they have sufficient coverage
through
work or their credit card and 37% of Canadians never purchase travel
insurance when travelling on vacation to the United States, a country where
medical costs are among the highest in the world. These Canadians are left
potentially exposed to the high costs of the U.S. healthcare system.
The survey also reports that 55% of Canadian travellers never
purchase travel insurance when they travel outside their home province but
within Canada and 62% of Canadians believe they don’t need to
purchase travel insurance when travelling to another province within Canada
because they believe their provincial health plans will cover their medical
costs. In fact, government health insurance plans may limit
reimbursement for
expenses such as land and air ambulance services and X-rays. An air
ambulance with a full medical team travelling from Calgary to Toronto, for
example, can cost $28,000 and is not covered by a GHIP.

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Credit Card APRs May Bounce Back this Year

The Federal Open Market Committee decision this week to keep the lid on short-term interest rates will have little impact on the credit card market. Average variable interest rates on bank credit cards have dropped from 16.65% to 15.08% over the past twelve months, while the prime rate has plunged from 8.25% to 5.00% during the same period. For credit card users this may mean the bottom on APRs as it appears the Fed will likely raise rates in the future to fight off inflation due to rising gas and food prices. If the Fed stops lowering rates than it is likely credit card issuers will switch back to variable interest rates to ride the future rate hikes. CardTrak advises that consumers should be weighing carefully all card offers they receive in the mail or via the Internet to lock-in a good promotional rate or long-term rate, before rates head north again.

PRIME RATE & CREDIT CARD RATES
Prime Fixed Variable
Jun 07 8.25% 14.93% 16.65%
Jul 07 8.25% 14.96% 16.69%
Aug 07 8.25% 14.97% 16.70%
Sep 07: 7.75% 14.98% 16.58%
Oct 07: 7.75% 14.99% 16.39%
Nov 07: 7.50% 15.00% 16.29%
Dec 07: 7.25% 15.02% 16.02%
Jan 08: 6.50% 14.97% 15.79%
Feb 08: 6.00% 14.95% 15.64%
Mar 08: 6.00% 14.93% 15.60%
Apr 08: 5.25% 14.89% 15.35%
May 08: 5.00% 14.88% 15.11%
Jun 08: 5.00% 14.85% 15.08%
Source: CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com)

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RBS Lynk and Chockstone Link for Loyalty

Chockstone has partnered with RBS Lynk acquirer to provide its loyalty services to restaurant merchants. The Chockstone loyalty platform allows RBS Lynk to differentiate its product offering, especially designed for restaurant operators, to provide loyalty products and services. The POS delivery solution makes it easier for a merchants to put together loyalty campaigns that shape the consumer’s behavior and deliver messaging on the customer’s receipt.

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Society of Payment Security Professionals

The Aegenis Group has introduced its Society of Payment Security Professionals membership community, focused on the professional development of individuals and organizations responsible for security within the payments industry. Allowing organizations to enroll up to 12 employees, the Aegenis Group intends to provide the payments security industry with a communications network for educational and professional development opportunities with SPSP through such membership benefits as a career center, collaborative communication tools (discussion forums and blogs), eLearning courses and targeted white papers. The SPSP also allows members to share articles, podcasts and materials of relevance. The Aegenis Group regulatory compliance and risk management consulting organization provides strategic consulting, training and market development assistance for companies in and around the payment card industry.

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PCI-Certified SmartReply Adds More Clients

Mobile marketer SmartReply has added 14 new clients to its roster and renewed contracts with five large clients that include Meijer Supercenters. SmartReply’s newest clients include leading brands in department stores, big boxes, specialty apparel and grocery. Since 2001, the company has climbed-financially and in market share – experiencing exponential growth with the addition of mobile marketing and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) products. SmartReply has delivered almost two billion unique and targeted messages and is PCI certified.

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MEDCOMPACT TERMINAL

Hypercom Corporation’s “medCompact” healthcare terminal has passed
e-Health BCS (Basic Command Set) functional tests required by the
Gematik German healthcare organization and will subsequently be deployed
across the country. This development is part of an all German e-Health
card program IT project, which has a planned deployment of more than 80
million electronic health insurance cards and new terminals designed to
process both the current German health insurance card and the new
electronic healthcare cards. With an easy-to-read display, embossed keys
and the acceptance of up to eight different medical practitioner cards,
current indications show these terminals will be installed in doctor’s
offices and hospitals nationwide by 2H/08.

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Prepaid Card Holdings’ CEO Forgoes Salary

Prepaid Card Holdings’ CEO Bruce Berman will not draw his agreed upon monthly salary of $24,791, opting to rechannel the money back into the company. The money will target marketing and fulfillment costs to keep pace with the company’s expansion. Prepaid Card Holdings offers emerging prepaid card solutions that can act as a card account and payment solution for those people who do not use banks or credit cards.

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PERSONAL LOAN SCORE

TransUnion has launched its “Personal Loan Score” credit scoring tool to
help businesses reduce delinquency of unsecured loans in Hong Kong.
“Personal Loan Score” predicts future loan performance and assesses the
loan value for the following 1 year period, to which it designates a
numeric value. With this value, companies can make strategic decisions
on worthy prospects, can manage risk exposure with increased accuracy,
and enhance modeling for customer acquisition, subsequently, driving
revenue and decreasing collection costs. TransUnion credit and
information management gathers, analyzes and delivers information to
improve efficiency, manage risk and reduce costs for businesses and
provides the tools, resources and education to help manage credit health
and achieve financial goals for consumers around the globe.

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TSYS & CTFS

TSYS has renewed its agreements with Canadian Tire Financial Services to
process both its payment cards programs, which includes its MasterCard
and private label retail portfolios, and merchant acquiring services.
Under undisclosed terms, TSYS will also provide fraud management, risk
management, portfolio analysis and a rewards/loyalty program for
Canadian Tire, which has been a client of the former since 1998.
Moreover, Canadian Tire operates over 1,160 retail locations serving
nearly 4.6 million Canadian Tire MasterCard accountholders and employing
57,000 Canadians while TSYS outsourced
payment services provides issuer and acquirer processing to
organizations around the world.

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CB INDEX

The Conference Board of AUSTRALIA has released business cycle indicators
for April 2008 with the leading index having increased 0.3% and the
coincident index having increased 0.1% for the month. Additional
findings show the leading index fell 0.1% between October 2007 to April
2008, down from a 2.8% expansion in June of 2007, and the coincident
index rose 0.5% between October 2007 and April 2008, down from an
expansion of 0.9% for the 6 months prior. Meanwhile, real GDP growth
slowed an average annual rate of 4.7% to 2.6% for 1Q/08 and 4Q/07 since
the previous two quarters. Founded in 1916, The Conference Board is a
business membership and research network to help executives build
professional relationships, expand business knowledge and find solutions
to business challenges.

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