Oberthur Technologies Promotes Hearn to VP

ID security provider Oberthur Technologies has promoted Patrick W. Hearn from director to vice president of Identity Markets for North & Central America. Hearn has been director of that division since 2004 and is responsible for physical and logical access products and services for federal and state agencies and corporate/VAR markets, as well as travel documents. Prior to joining Oberthur, Patrick held management positions in emerging security technologies at Thomson Corporation and Jane’s Information Group.

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Only 25% of Consumers Opt for Green Banking

Although most consumers expressed an interest in adopting green banking behaviors, three out of four consumers still receive paper statements. According to Javelin, if every U.S. household stopped receiving paper bills and statements, 687,000 tons of paper would be saved every year. Other key findings in Javelin’s “Green Banking Report”: 34% of consumers said they switched to electronic statements to reduce their impact on the environment; 43% of consumers said they are more likely to do business with companies they perceive to be green; 22% said green initiatives cement the bond they have with their bank; 60% of “green bankers,” or consumers who say environmental impact is “extremely important” in purchasing and banking decisions, are women; and 64% of “skeptics,” or consumers who say they are “very less likely” to be more loyal to their bank because of its environmental activities, are men.

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Consumer Reports Critiques Reward Programs

A new survey concludes that about 85% of U.S. households participate in at least one rewards program. However, the Consumer Reports research says finding real savings can be tough, and even the more generous programs have limits on how much consumers can earn. CU says some rewards cards do double duty as credit cards. Cash-back, gas, and grocery rewards credit cards can offer some relief for costly essential items, but often carry higher rates than traditional credit cards. Looking at some of the more generous credit card rewards programs, CR found that rates varied from 9.74% to as much as 19.99%. About 41% of the newsletter’s subscribers carried three to five such cards, 9% had six to nine of them, and 3% carried 10 or more.

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CreditCards.com Cites Rising Gas Costs

A poll commissioned by CreditCards.com indicates that 53% of Americans have cut back on driving to visit friends or family due to gasoline cost. More results indicate that the groups reporting the most cutbacks on family vacations are those earning $30,000 to $49,900 a year, young adults and those living in the South and Americans with lower household incomes (under $30,000) are more likely to say they are cutting down on their drive to work, compared to their higher income counterparts. Younger adults, ages 18 to 34 have cut back on driving to work more than any of their older counterparts and people living in the Northeast were least likely to say they have cut back on driving due to gas prices. CreditCards.com is for consumers wanting to learn more about credit cards, offering advice, news, features, statistics and tools all designed to help consumers make smart choices about credit cards.

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First Data to Continue Frontier Processing

First Data will continue to provide card processing for Frontier Airlines while the carrier continues to operate despite its recent bankruptcy filing. The agreement provides First Data with appropriate protection for continuing its processing work for customer credit card purchases on a “business as usual” basis. Frontier Airlines is the second-largest jet service carrier at Denver International Airport, employing approximately 6,000 aviation professionals.

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BOFA/HUIJIN

NC-based Bank of America has announced it will be exercising its option
to purchase further China Construction Bank (CCB) common shares under
the existing agreement with Huijin first signed in June of 2005. With
this, Bank of America intends to purchase 6 billion H-shares for
approximately HK$2.42 per share, bringing its holding in CCB to 10.75%,
a total of 25.1 billion H-shares, up from an 8.2% holding. Additional
terms of the agreement stipulate the shares can not be sold prior to
August 29, 2011 without prior consent of CCB while Bank of America has
the option to purchase additional shares. Bank of America provides over
59 million account holders service through its more than 6,100 retail
banking offices in more than 150 countries, nearly 18,500 ATMs and
online banking service with nearly 25 million active users.

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Vigilan Adds PaySimple for a Payment Option

Assisted living provider Vigilan has added PaySimple to streamline billing services for its assisted living, long-term care, and dementia care communities. PaySimple 2.0 enables communities to create and customize recurring payment and disbursement schedules, resident invoices and invoice schedules, one-time transactions, and multiple customer profiles all at once-saving time and effort in one month as well as proceeding months. PaySimple securely stores credit card or bank account information so residents or their families can manually authorize payments personally each month or approve a payment schedule-including setting automatic payments to coincide with Social Security payments.

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FUSIONPOINT LITE

Transaction Network Services (TNS) has introduced its “FusionPoint Lite”
broadband transaction delivery solution to the UK and Irish markets. In
doing so, the TNS solution allows merchants, operators and deployers to
migrate legacy terminals to broadband for high speed transaction
delivery using its “ConverterPoint” converter device. The TNS
“ConverterPoint” bridges the technology gap between legacy equipment and
broadband service without having to replace existing devices,
subsequently extending the life of the terminals and ATMs. Additional
benefits provided include an automatic dial back-up to protect users
from broadband service interruption, reduced communication costs by
eliminating the need for dedicated POS dial lines, standard SSL
encryption and mutual authentication protection.

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Citi Cards Introduces a Gift Card Discount

Citi has introduced a new benefit to cardholders of its “Platinum Select,” “Diamond Preferred” and “AT&T Universal Platinum” cards. The new “Extra Cash” perk enables customers to earn 10% of the eligible purchases made with their card towards a gift card purchase from major merchants. Plus, every customer will receive 100 bonus dollars in “Extra Cash” upon enrollment. Citi has more than 70 gift card participants, 8,000+ hotel locations and a wide range of merchandise items to choose from.

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Web Merchants to Increase E-Commerce Investments

Art Technology Group has released the results of a survey focusing on e-commerce that indicates that 96% of respondents plan to either maintain or increase their level of investment in e-commerce strategies or tools to strengthen the online experience for customers. The survey collected data from representatives of more than 50 global brands in industries ranging from retail, media and entertainment, financial services and insurance, telecommunications, consumer product manufacturing ,healthcare, and technology consulting. While all respondents reported annual Web sales of at least $10 million, 58% reported annual Web sales of $100 million or more. Within the majority, 26% reported annual Web sales of $1 billion or more. Despite the reported decline in consumer spending, a majority of survey respondents believed that the slowing U.S. economy would either not significantly impact their e-commerce business overall, or it might even have a positive impact resulting in e-commerce growth.

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Discover Card Writes-Down a Mortgage Bond

Discover Financial Services expects to partially write down in the next reporting quarter a previously disclosed investment in the asset-backed commercial paper notes of Golden Key U.S., which had invested in U.S. mortgage-backed securities. The estimated charge will range from $18 million to $31 million pretax, or $11 million to $19 million after tax. Discover currently has no other investments of this type. The company’s original investment in the notes was $120.1 million and it recorded an $11.4 million write down of the investment in the quarter ended November 30th.

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