Meta Payment Systems iAdvance Gathers Speed

SD-based Meta Payment Systems has signed an agreement with Fiserv and TransUnion for its “iAdvance” product. “iAdvance” offers a line of credit to cardholders possessing certain general use and payroll prepaid cards issued by MetaBank. Expected to be launched in the fall of 2008, the next generation of “iAdvance” will offer a credit graduation process to the core product, whereby a significant percentage of consumers will find themselves graduating to increasingly lower borrowing costs and the opportunity to payoff over time. “iAdvance” is a registered service mark of Meta Payment Systems with patents pending.

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SMART CARDS

The Smart Payment Association (SPA) has released the results of its
“2007 Global Payment Cards Market Survey,” highlighting a continued
growth in the smart card market, a surge in contactless adoption and
advanced technology for increased security. Over 420 million payment
smart cards were delivered by SPA members throughout 2007 for a 24% y/y
growth, dual interface and pure contactless solutions posted a 64%
growth year on year and Dynamic Data Authentication (DDA) technology is
growing twice as fast as SDA technology. These survey results reflect
movement towards more secure DDA EMV cards while SPA members include
Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Oberthur Technologies and Sagem Orga.

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CARTES 2008

CARTES & IDentification 2008 Digital Security and Smart Technologies is
set to host its trade show from November 4th-6th, likely to welcome over
20,000 visitors with 520 exhibitors and 1,700 conference delegates. This
year’s focus will be on e-transactions, iD management and the United
States (as a pioneer for transportation, payment, information exchange
and loyalty-building applications). Regarding iD management, exhibitors
will present solutions to address modern security needs for topical
debate and provide information on the development of the various
technologies which ensure ID management. Additionally, CARTES &
IDentification 2008 will address Congress’ role as an undisputed world
leader in the sector, will hear presentations from international ‘top
captains’ of industry and will present the SESAMES Awards for peer
recognition within the profession.

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APR DEBT

Credit card debt rebounded in April, hitting a record A$43.6 billion after stagnating the prior three months. Credit card volume also gained momentum in April increasing to A$17.7 billion. Year-on-year credit card debt has increased 10%, compared to April 2007, while card volume is up 16% year-on-year. Credit card limits reached a new high at A$118.0 billion, marking the 20th consecutive month of A$100+ billion. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia there are currently 14.1 million credit card and charge card accounts in Australia, compared to 13.4 million one-year ago.

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U.S. Economic Contraction May Not Happen

Despite higher utility and fuel bills, a leading consumer index shows a slight improvement from the prior month. The latest data suggest the economy has not fallen into a contraction and may not undergo one in the second half of the year. In fact, the economy might even begin to turn a corner early next year. The Conference Board’s “Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators” increased 0.1% in May, following a 0.1% increase in April, and no change in March. Four of the ten indicators that make up the leading index increased in May. The positive contributors — beginning with the largest positive contributor — were the interest rate spread, stock prices, manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials, and manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods. The negative contributors — beginning with the largest negative contributor — were real money supply, index of consumer expectations, building permits, index of supplier deliveries (vendor performance), and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted).

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CONSUMER TRENDS

Research and Markets has released its “Australian Credit Card Customers
2008” report to provide insight into how customers behave and what
consumers value in a credit card. The report, for example, demonstrates
41% of Australian credit card customers aged 35-44 would like to
establish online access to their card account information while only
26%, however, have already done so according to a survey of 2,000
Australian adults conducted in December 2007 by Datamonitor. Additional
findings show 20% of consumers aged 45-54 arranged their credit card
online while 32% would like to do so and 50% of consumers with a credit
card through a credit union, as oppose to bank, are very satisfied.

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PartnersFirst Signs TSYS to Process Cards

TSYS has signed an agreement with PartnersFirst Affinity Services to process its consumer credit card portfolio. PartnersFirst, a division of Torrey Pines Bank, offers a partner-centric model serving affinity groups across a wide range of special interests and affiliations, including colleges and universities, professional associations, sports, outdoor sporting and wildlife conservation organizations, and many more. PartnersFirst brings a full spectrum of credit card services to the small and mid-sized affinity partner market, incorporating the major network associations, world-class processing platforms, and state-of-the-art targeted marketing capabilities. TSYS) is one of the world’s largest companies for outsourced payment services, offering acquirer-processing technologies that support consumer-finance, credit,debit, debt management, healthcare, loyalty and prepaid services for financial institutions and retail companies in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions.

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APRIL BIZ PULSE

The Conference Board of Germany has released business cycle indicators
for April 2008 with the leading index having decreased 0.2% and the
coincident index having increased 0.1% for the month. Additional
findings show the leading index fell 3.4% between October 2007 to April
2008, down from a growth of 2.4% in June of 2007 and the coincident
index rose .9% between October 2007 and April 2008. Meanwhile, Germany’s
real GDP growth picked up to a 3.6% average annual growth rate for the
last two quarters, up from a 1.7% average annual growth rate for the
second and third quarters of 2007. 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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PD Financial Signs ADS for Private Label Cards

Alliance Data Systems has signed a long-term agreement with Los Angeles-based PD Financial to offer private label credit card services. PD Financial Corporation, which currently operates under the trade name PeachDirect plans to launch its new brand identity as VENUE for both its catalog and web channels, with the private label credit card program launch coinciding with the new brand. Alliance Data will provide private label credit card services including account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization; private label credit card issuance; statement generation; remittance processing; customer service functions; and marketing services. The card program will build customer loyalty and drive repeat purchasing through a customer rewards program, which will provide incentives that recognize and reward cardholders for their patronage. PD Financial is a fast-growing retailer of luxury merchandise with sales in 2007 that reached $200 million.

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AmEx White Papers Focus on AXIOM Online Solution

American Express Business Travel has released two whitepapers detailing the reduction of indirect spending for Motorola and Senior Lifestyle Corporation through the purchased of an expanded set of business services online through the American Express Intelligent Online Marketplace (AXIOM). AXIOM is powered by Rearden Commerce and is the first corporate solution that combines the benefits of traditional online travel booking with a broad range of additional travel and business services on one platform. AXIOM brings together more than 137,000 suppliers of travel, business and entertainment services including airport parking, ground transportation, dining, event tickets, shipping, car service and audio and web conferencing, that would otherwise go unmanaged. Motorola saved nearly a fifth of its annual desktop shipping costs by providing employees a more convenient way to ship packages. AXIOM expanded visibility into Motorola’s shipping costs, allowing the company to set and manage shipping policies at the point of purchase and increasing compliance with preferred carriers and negotiated rates. Senior Lifestyle Corporation, the nation’s twelfth-largest senior living operator with more than 50 communities and 3,200 employees implemented AXIOM to significantly reduced costs associated with Senior Lifestyle’s existing training and business teleconferences. Since its launch, more than 1,500 customers have signed on to AXIOM.

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STV Card Specialist ProfitPoint Hires a New CFO

Stored value card provider ProfitPoint has hire Robert Moore, previously with Foster Medical, as its new CFO. Moore will focus primarily on raising the capital required to execute ProfitPoint’s growth strategy through strategic acquisitions, as the demand for stored value services continues to increase within the mass market where ProfitPoint has established itself as a market leader through mostly organic growth by way of its ever expanding direct sales force. Moore was responsible for overseeing the negotiations and integration of 106 acquisitions over a period of four years during his tenure as CFO of Foster Medical. Moore has a B.S. in Accounting from LaSalle University, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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