Nielsen Consumer Survey Shows a Recession

A recent Nielsen survey indicates that 85% of consumers think the U.S. is experiencing a recession and consumer confidence has dropped 17 points. The survey reveals that 35% of U.S. consumers consider the economy their biggest concern over the next six months. Debt comes in a distant second place at 15%, followed by work/life balance at 8%. International affairs, such as war and terrorism, rank near the bottom of the list (2% and 3%, respectively). Americans-™ view of the economy is bleak with 66% of U.S. respondents have a pessimistic view of their local job prospects over the next 12 months, with 50% saying it-™s not so good, and 16% calling it downright bad. However, 51% say the state of their personal finances remains excellent or good, while just over 36% rank their situation as not so good.

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UATP Teams with Stored Value Solutions

Universal Air Travel Plan has teamed with Stored Value Solutions to focus on supplying gift cards to the global commercial airline community. The airlines will be able to brand the gift cards, making the solution a part of overall strategic objectives for growth by capitalizing on SVS’ solutions to the buying public and using the power of stored value to build brands, generate incremental sales, capture new sales opportunities and forge stronger customer relationships. Stored Value Solutions provides custom gift card solutions for prepaid cards, loyalty and B2B applications for a diverse set of clients including retailers, airlines, casinos and e-tailers and annually processes 625 million transactions for 600 clients and their 580 million cardholders. UATP accounts are accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by airlines and travel agencies worldwide.

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Postilion Unveils a Voice Banking Solution

Self service banking provider Postilion has deployed its “Voice Banking” solution to offer customers interactive voice response services. By utilizing Postilion, customers can easily tailor programs for individuals and manage customers across all self-service channels, including retail Internet banking, business Internet banking, voice banking, ATM driving, and mobile banking, all integrated on a single platform and administered from a single management portal. Postilion offers flexible, packaged solutions with fast deployment options, ensuring they are able to provide customers with competitive, cross-channel banking services that retain loyalty while also controlling operational costs and increasing employee productivity.

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BBVA & FINACLE

BBVA and Finacle From Infosys have signed a Strategic Global Partnership
for the development of the “Finacle Universal Banking Solution,” the
first phase of which has been initiated. Finacle has a global footprint
across 60 countries and is the winner of The Banker Technology Award and
The Asian Banker IT Implementation Award. Leveraging the Finacle
solution, BBVA is intent on creating a differentiated customer
experience through innovative products, to further improve cost
efficiencies and increase productivity. In doing so, the bank will
implement Finacle core banking, CRM, treasury and wealth management
solutions. BBVA financial services group has over EUR 483 billion in
total assets, 47 million clients, 7,900 branches, approximately 112,000
employees in more than 30 countries and a market capitalization of EUR
55.4 billion while Infosys has over 91,000 employees in over 39 offices
worldwide.

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TNS & CRAZY JOHNS

Phone retailer Crazy John’s has chosen the Transaction Network Services
“Merchant Payment Gateway Solution” hosted recurring billing service to
provide secure card not present payment processing. The TNS solution
provides Crazy John’s with one interface for processing both credit card
and direct debit payments, reducing the cost of multiple vendors for
different payment mechanisms. In doing so, the phone retailer will
implement the PCI-DSS compliant payment solution to maintain the
security of real time card processing, for which all sensitive card data
will be stored off-site. Crazy John’s Australian independent mobile
phone retailer has over 120 retail outlets and 700 employees while
Transaction Network Services (TNS) international communications has 32
offices across 28 countries.

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ROYAL ORCHID PLUS

Citibank’s “Royal Orchid Plus Platinum Select” now offers its Thai
credit cardholders an enhanced air miles program. With the new program,
cardholders can earn one air mile with every Baht 20 spent on the card
and are given a lifetime annual fee waiver when over Baht 300,000 is
spent over a one year period. Additional features provided through this
enhanced program include double mileage rewards for a maximum spend of
Bt30,000 per month, access to the “Evergreen Citibank Royal Orchid Plus
Rewards Miles” program, free limousine service, travel accident
insurance coverage of up to Bt25,000,000, flight cancellation/delay/lost
luggage compensation, a 10% discount from Euang Luang Tour, discounts
with select merchants, hospital discounts, up to 50% more mileage
rewards and a 5% cash back when shopping at the any King Power Duty Free
store.

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JSC & ARBES

The JSC Bank of Georgia has launched its integrated internet and mobile
banking platform allowing users access to a universal remote banking
platform over the internet, telephone and mobile phone made available by
ARBES Czech Republic software provider. The mobile platform allows
clients to remotely transfer funds internationally, complete currency
conversions, online payments, blocking and unblocking cards, to set up
direct debits, to apply for a loan, debit or credit card and open a
deposit account. The mobile banking solution includes four different
applications, including PDA, WAP, Java and SMS banking, meeting the
requirements for all generations of mobile handsets. The Bank of Georgia
has a 33.7% market share by total assets, 131 branches, over 770,000
retail accounts and more than 120,000 corporate accounts.

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CARD ABS 1Q/08

Charge-offs amongst credit card-backed bonds in the U.K. headed north during the first quarter hitting 6.6%, compared 6.3% in fourth quarter and delinquency increased 20 basis points from the prior quarter, reaching 3.6% in March, its highest recorded value for the last nine months. However, the monthly payment rate and yield increased to provide mixed results for the first three months of this year. According to FitchRatings, the yield and the MPR both increased from Q4/07, to 20.5% and 17.3%, from 19.1% and 16.6% respectively. Excess spread also improved across all the series included in the Fitch Excess Spread Index , with only three series trapping excess spread in March 2008; the Fitch ESI values at the end of each quarter increased to 6% from 5.3%.

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ADSA & BMO

The Alliance Data “AIR MILES” Reward Program has renewed expansion
agreements with its largest client, the Bank of Montreal (BMO), with the
implementation of its new structure. The new structure no longer
requires BMO to pay Alliance Data a fee for the marketing and servicing
of each AIR MILES reward mile issued nor is it responsible for the costs
associated when AIR MILES reward miles are redeemed. Rather, with the
new structure, BMO has transferred this responsibility to Alliance Data,
which will now be estimating the redemption rate and maintaining an
adequate reserve for each AIR MILES reward mile issued by BMO. With the
placement of this responsibility with Alliance Data, the redemption rate
is projected to increase from 67 to 72% while breakage decreases from 33
to 28 % while, by the end of 2Q/08, BMO will pay Alliance Data
settlement asset account approximately U.S. $370 million. This new
development will also allow Alliance Data’s deferred revenue balance to
increase from $800 million to just under $1.2 billion.

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HSBC Joins the Green Card Migration

A new MasterCard has been launched that offers cardholders one reward point for every dollar spent, redeemable towards charitable donations for organizations dedicated to environment preservation. The new “ecosmart MasterCard with Plus Rewards” from HSBC has linked with The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute for the new “green” card. Additional organizations to which card members may donate include Arbor Day Foundation, Wind Power Renewable Choice, and Our Energy. Additional organizations to which card members may donate include Arbor Day Foundation, Wind Power Renewable Choice, and Our Energy. Plus, cardholders have the option to redeem reward points for environmental-friendly merchandise such as a rechargeable mulching mower or a garden composter. They may also redeem rewards to purchase gift cards at various retailers.

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VISA EXPANSION

The director of the Azericard Ltd processing center has disclosed the
Visa Inc director for the CIS region is expected to arrive in Baku come
June as part of corporate restructuring. The International Bank of
Azerbaijan owning Azericard Ltd does not participate in creation of NNSS
(National Net Settlement System), which includes settlements on Visa
International cards in the country without the necessity of additional
currency conversion on commissions lower than international
rates.Additionally, the manager’s office for the CIS region is being
moved from Moscow to Kiev while issues of e-commerce development and
card-to-card money transfers are currently under discussion.

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