Prepaid Card Hires a Top Financial Executive

Prepaid Card Holdings has hired John W. Weber, previously with Boeing, as its VP of Finance and Principal Financial Officer. Weber will be responsible for the creation of sound accounting processes and procedures, monitoring the internal accounting control environment, and verification of the financial statement assertions of validity, accuracy, timing, valuation, completeness, and disclosure and will provide support for strategic planning initiatives, including return on investment and capital requirement alternatives of debt versus equity. Weber is a CPA and graduated with a MBA, Finance from Pepperdine University and Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting from Gonzaga University. Prepaid Card Holdings is a publicly traded holding company whose current holdings consist of a 100% interest in the Berman Marketing Group, Inc. a multi channel direct market firm.

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U.S. Bank Kicks-Off the UFC Visa Credit Card

The world’s top professional mixed martial arts organization is kicking-off a new co-branded Visa card this weekend. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has teamed with U.S. Bank to launch the “UFC Visa” card on June 15th. The new card features no annual fee and a choice of exciting rewards including cash back or points redeemable for merchandise, travel, gift certificates or UFC merchandise. UFC live pay-per-view events take place at destinations including MGM Grand, MEN Arena, Mandalay Bay and O2 Arena, and consistently draw sell-out crowds with record-breaking gates. Presenting more than twelve pay-per-view events per year, the UFC stands as the largest pay-per-view content provider in the country.

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CB INDEX SPAIN

The Conference Board of Spain has released business cycle indicators for
April 2008 with the leading index having declined 0.1% and the
coincident index having increased 0.3% for the month. Additional
findings show the leading index fell .4% between October 2007 to April
2008, down from a growth of 3.4% for 2H/07, the coincident index rose
0.6% between October 2007 and April 2008, down from 0.8% growth from the
same period one year prior, and real GDP growth has slowed from an
average annual rate of 3.9% in 1H/07 to a rate of 1.1% in 1Q/08. 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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edo-Marketing Platform Empowers Card Issuers

TN-based digital marketer edo-Interactive has launched the “edo-Marketing Platform”. The “edo- Marketing Platform” executes through existing financial network that merchants currently use to process their customers debit and credit card transactions. Advertisers are able to incentivize spending by loading “Prewards” cash incentives or “edo-Cash” loyalty incentives onto a prepaid card. Online reporting tools provide a detailed understanding of the campaign’s results in real time. The “edo- Marketing Platform” can also be utilized by companies and other groups to collect edo-MarketIQ market intelligence by incentivizing target groups to submit responses to various polling or survey questions.

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AMC Unveils a Personalized Silver Screen Card

A new gift card has been unveiled that enables customers to upload their favorite photos on the “silver screen.” AMC Entertainment is the first in the exhibition industry to offer personalized gift cards, and was also the first in the industry to launch circuit-wide gift cards in 2002. Under the expanded program, the new personalized gift cards are good for both movies and concessions and are reloadable in theatres in the U.S. One design makes the image looks as though it appears on the screen of an AMC theatre. The AMC personalized gift card, which can be purchased in whole dollar amounts between $5 and $100, carries a personalization cost of $4.50 and is available online.

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BofA Tops One Million Mobile Banking Customers

Bank of America now has more than one million unique “Mobile Banking” customers, one year after its introduction in May 2007. “Mobile Banking” allows customers to check balances, pay bills, transfer funds, view posted and pending transactions and even locate banking centers and ATMs. Almost all customers use Bank of America’s “Mobile Banking” service to view account balances, eight in ten review transactions, while four in ten use their handhelds to transfer funds or pay bills. Frequency of use by active users continues to increase monthly, with over 4 million account sessions in May 2008 alone. Two-thirds of Bank of America’s mobile bankers are under 35 years old and four out of five are under 45 years old, as Gen Y and X consumers who have embraced mobile web technology are similarly driving mobile banking usage.

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IHG & CHINAPAY

InterContinental Hotels Group has become the only international
hotel group in China to accept locally-issued bank cards for online
hotel reservations. IHG recently signed a two-year agreement with ChinaPay, an online payment subsidiary of China Union Pay, giving Chinese guests who do not carry foreign bank cards access to real-time hotel confirmations and online payments. Previously, only international credit cards were accepted by hotel websites for online bookings and all payment transactions were made during check-out. The deal allows IHG to reach out to the nearly 1.5 billion holders of locally-issued bank cards across China. IHG was also the first international hotel company to establish a reservation call centre in Guangzhou, and the first to have a fully integrated Chinese language reservation website that facilitates online reservation without a credit card guarantee in China. IHG’s “Priority Card Rewards” is the first hotel loyalty program to partner with a Chinese domestic bank to launch a co-branded Chinese credit card – the “Priority Club Rewards-Shanghai Pudong Development Bank” credit card. IHG is the largest international hotel group in Greater China, with a portfolio of 86 hotels and more than 100 hotels under development.

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FDC Continues to Eyeball Credit Card Practices

The recent summit held by the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, “Protecting Consumers in the Credit Marketplace”, focused on the role of consumer credit, developing credit markets and the necessity for access to credit information. As discussed in the summit, credit provides an important outlet for the savings of consumers through the financial intermediation process and that the source of funds for consumers who borrow is other consumers who have savings they hold in deposit accounts, life insurance and pension reserves, or portfolios of securities that include bonds, stocks, and mutual fund shares. A key challenge is to find ways to improve consumers’ ability to identify products that are suitable to their needs without diminishing the benefits market innovations can provide and without reducing future access to credit. One important way this challenge can be met is by improving the information available to consumers. Accurate and complete information about credit terms and prices is essential for households to make sound judgments about the use of credit. Disclosures must give consumers information about credit pricing and important terms at a time when it is relevant, and in language consumers can easily understand. Effective disclosures give consumers information they notice, understand, and can use.

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Advance Services to Offer nFinanSe Payroll Cards

FL-based prepaid solution provider nFinanSe has announced that NE-based staffing company Advance Services has signed an agreement to provide “Discover Network Pay Card” to Advance Services’ associates nationwide. Advance Services will reduce administrative costs currently incurred by issuing and distributing paper paychecks throughout their regional offices and Advance Services associates will have access to an exclusive suite of features and benefits which are not typically offered by traditional pay card programs. After making a purchase or transaction with their nFinanSe Pay Card, associates will receive a message to their cell phone and/or e-mail address alerting them of both the amount of the transaction and the remaining balance on their pay card. Additionally, associates can go to any nFinanSe Network location nationwide, including MoneyGram and Western Union locations, and load the funds from a second paycheck from another job or cash from other activities to their Pay Card.

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THE FUTURE OF PAYMENTS

Research & Markets has released the “The Future of Payments: Prepaid
Cards, Contactless and Mobile Payments” report, published by Business
Insights to examine the pros and cons of an increasingly cashless
society, the current market for payment technologies, the associated
drivers/risks and the future of payments in markets around the world.
“The Future of Payments: Prepaid Cards, Contactless and Mobile Payments”
concludes the European retail banking market will become increasingly
consolidated beyond the 2010 SEPA deadline, prepaid cards can be used
for all transactions, speed drives the contactless payment proposition,
marketing aimed at teenagers is advised to be subtle and empathetic and
a there are many potential applications for digital content and
mPayments. The report also addresses how the Internet will change the
payments landscape, where the opportunities for co-branded cards lie,
how to appeal to the youth market and the risks associated with
contactless payments, among others.

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First Data Renews the Webster Bank Agreement

First Data and CT-based Webster Bank have extended their merchant services agreement for seven more years. First Data will continue to provide merchant processing services to Webster’s customers at its 181 banking offices with $17.2 billion in assets throughout the northeastern United States, allowing Webster to offer a full suite of merchant services and products including credit, debit, checks and gift cards.

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