Credit Card Rewards Must be Linked to Risk

A new report recommends that credit card issuers must carefully examine their rewards and loyalty program offerings to include strategies that focus on the fundamentals of good credit management. MA-based TowerGroup has released its “Pointing in the Right Direction: Rethinking Card Payment Rewards in a Challenged Economy,” recommending credit card issuers focus on promoting good credit management with reward/loyalty programs. Channeling the benefits reward/loyalty programs provide card issuers-such as preference, increased purchase activity and “top of wallet” status-and given evidence concluding 70% of card transactions in the U.S. contribute to consumer reward programs, the TowerGroup Organization sees this as a useful platform on which issuers can ensure loyalty programs inspire consumers’ maintenance in good credit standing. In doing so, TowerGroup suggests using card rewards to improve credit management, perhaps with credits to open balances, to impact such contemporary economical issues as credit quality deterioration, revenue pressure, the fragile economy and vulnerable consumers.

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TRM’s Going Concern Prospect Questioned

TRM’s 2007 financial statements included in the Company’s Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 31st, the audit opinion of McGladrey & Pullen contained an explanatory paragraph raising a question about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The Company’s 2006 financial statements included a similar statement from its then auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. TRM Corporation is a consumer services company that primarily provides convenience ATM services in high-traffic consumer environments.

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Cardinal Commerce Adds the eLayaway Option

Cardinal Commerce has added FL-based “eLayaway” to its payment platform backed by HSBC Bank which enables merchants to provide a layaway payment option. eLayaway.com is similar to traditional layaway, allowing shoppers to buy a product online and pay for it in regular automatic installments with automatic clearing house (ACH) processing by HSBC and delivery upon full payment with only a small 1.9% transaction fee. No credit checks or interest is incurred and customers who are 18-years of age and older need only an active checking account. Cardinal Centinel enables payment brands to a network of over 30,000 merchants and merchant service providers.

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ideaEDGE Develops Social Network Card

CA-based prepaid gift card program developer ideaEDGE has acquired additional intellectual property for group gift cards and eCards. ideaEDGE is developing a new proprietary “Social Network Enabled Gift Card” platform that will enable multiple individuals to conveniently contribute to a group gift card and plans to launch its SNE Gift Card platform later this year. The SNE Gift Card platform integrates the $100 billion gift card market with the fast-growing phenomenon of online social networks.

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PAYMATE GIFTMATE

PayMate has expanded its “GiftMate” mobile gift voucher with the launch
of the “mygiftmate.com” website. With this website, North Americans can
send vouchers to recipients in India for redemption with over 3000 online
merchants. The virtual gift voucher can be sent through the website by
selecting one of 4 pre-set voucher amounts, entering the recipient’s email/
mobile phone number and conducting payment by charging the sender’s
payment card. The solution provides for instant delivery anywhere in India,
convenience, flexibility and security. PayMate is accepted at over 6500
online and offline merchants across India and has been selected by Red
Herring as being among Asia’s Top 100 start-ups two years in
succession.

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Online Banking Passwords Hijacking a Concern

A survey commissioned by Gemalto indicates that 57% of Americans fear their online banking passwords will be hijacked and another 38% do not trust online payments, indicating challenges await for e-commerce providers in building customer trust. The research, entitled “Digital Trust Barometer,” focused on people’s attitudes and behavior concerning digital security and technology. Only 22% felt “very good” about the security in any of the digital technology they use, indicating the vast majority of Americans remain wary. The research also showed large numbers of Americans liked the idea of a personal portable security device that will protect them online; 37% were interested in a “USB key,” like those containing smart card technology, to secure Internet payments and online accounts and 40% of Americans declared they would purchase more online if security was reinforced. It was also clear there is a good “return on branding” when people shop online; 87% of Americans said being at a well known website is reassuring when paying online yet 44% of Americans are worried when they purchase with their credit card online.

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CREDIT-DIVORCE CORRELATION

Research conducted by VisionDebt.com suggests that married couples
who are debt-free are more likely to maintain a successful marriage than
those couples buried in debt. The 6 main mistakes resulting in this being
among the top 5 reasons marriage ends in divorce include the merging of
finances, too much personal debt prior to marriage, disagreement on
spending/saving, poor investment, unnecessary spending and not planning
well for financial emergencies. In order to prevent this, couples should
review their finances at least once a year and ensure financial protection
against unexpected lay offs, accidents and illness. VisionDebt.com claims
the ability to often reduce debt by up to 50% within 12-36 months.

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BANCA POPOLARE & HDFC BANK

BMO Harris ePurchasing has expanded its presence to Italy and India,
having partnered with Popolare di Milano and HDFC Bank, respectively.
This development allows BMO Harris to provide acceptance in these
countries with local support banks to service corporate card accounts.
Additionally, this allows customers to conduct business more efficiently
and
effectively around the world and to review spending in individual countries
and worldwide with one currency. Canadian-based BMO Harris
ePurchasing Solutions provides a single-source option for commercial card
solutions to over 87,000 companies, Banca Popolare di Milano has over
700 branches in Italy and HDFC Bank provides financial products and
services to 10 million customers across hundreds of Indian cities with
its more
than 750 branches and 1,700 ATMs in 329 towns.

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BLUE SKY CREDIT CARD

American Express Bank of Canada has introduced its no-fee travel rewards
“Blue Sky Credit Card”. Cardholders can redeem points toward travel
purchases for a range of travel purchase including airline, hotel,
cruise or car
rentals with no blackouts or restrictions. Additionally, “Blue Sky
Cardmembers”
can earn points at 1.25 points for every $1 in purchases, equating to
$8,000
in purchases translates to 10,000 “Blue Sky Points”. Morover, there are no
restrictions on points earned, which never expire, allows users to carry a
balance and provides many bonuses. AmEx Canada employs 3,700 across
Canada and is a subsidiary of American Express.

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SCL3710 USB DONGLE NFC READER

SCM Microsystems will be unveiling its new “SCL3710” USB Dongle
NFC Reader for the use of contactless applications over a mobile
platform. The “SCL3710” is set to be launched at the Annual Cards
Asia Conference in Singapore, supports NFC technology contactless
payment links on mobile phones/PDAs with computer/web applications
for secure payment, banking and other financial applications. Furthermore,
the new solution allows merchants to communicate with NFC devices to
support transactions. SCM Microsystems provides digital content/services
through its range of smart card reader technologies over multiple platforms
and is headquartered in Ismaning, Germany.

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Prepaid Transcard Green Card Launched

EFT processor Transcard has launched “Transcard Green” to further environmentally-friendly initiatives in the pre-paid marketplace. The Transcard Green program seeks to expand the mobile and electronic payroll stubs to reduce the 220,000 trees that are destroyed by the production of paper payroll stubs; work with clients to establish a car-pool gasoline incentive program for their employees using a card; add mass-transit incentive programs to the Transcard payroll card product; provide marketing resources and investment in prepaid programs that have environmental friendly components; recruit and develop programs that support green initiatives; educate employers on the environmental advantages of electronic payroll-card programs over paper-based payroll programs; invest in technologies and systems that provide reduction in carbon emissions across all of the Transcard product offerings and incubate card programs which support green initiatives Transcard offers electronic funds transfer services including direct-to-card payroll technology, electronic fuel and transaction processing, health care and gift card products and services. In 2007, Transcard processed over $1.2 billion in electronic transactions.

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