Affinion Group Launches BreachShield

CT-based Affinity marketer Affinion Group has launched “BreachShield” data breach security protection and ID theft services to help financial institutions, retailers and businesses effectively prepare for, manage, and respond to data breaches. “BreachShield” security experts can develop an incident response plan for a business prior to a breach in order to increase the efficiency of the response and minimize confusion and damages. Should a breach occur, “BreachShield” offers businesses personalized service from a dedicated rapid response team available 24 hours a day. The team develops and implements a comprehensive, fully- compliant incident response, including documenting all required information and protecting the impacted individuals from ID theft and other misuse of their personal data. BreachShield is the latest entry of ID theft protection solutions, which include such leading-edge fraud protection services as “PrivacyGuard,” “ID Secure,” “CardCops,” “PC SafetyPlus” and “Hotline.”

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Gift Card Purchasing Takes on a New Flair

Seastone reports that 96% of adults have purchased or received a gift card and 39% have purchased gift card packaging. In what represents a clear revenue opportunity and potential threat for retailers, 50% of respondents indicated they are purchasing gift card packaging at a different time and place than the gift card. The most popular format for gift card packaging is a tin box (29%), for which Seastone holds an issued patent. Tin boxes are followed by paper pouches (19%), greeting cards (15%), and stuffed animal (10%) designs. Gift card packaging is most likely to be purchased for a birthday (78%), followed by the December holidays (72%). The trend towards birthday purchases makes a strong case for year-round gift card packaging programs. The study also found that consumers expect gift card packaging to range in price from $1.43 for a paper carrier, $2.48 for a tin box, and up to $3.66 for a stuffed animal. However, a large majority of consumers would spend $5 more on a gift card if it came with free packaging. Therefore, offers such as free packaging with any gift card purchase of $20 or more are attractive for consumers.

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Minsheng Bank JCB Card

JCB has teamed with Minsheng Bank and Shiseido Liyuan
Cosmetics to issue a new co-branded credit card. In China, JCB has alliances with ten partner banks and financial institutions for acquiring operations and a network of approximately 70,000 merchants that accept JCB brand cards. The new “Minsheng Lady Flower Aupres JCB Card” design features a sparkling cubic zirconia embedded in the card surface. Under the new card program free gifts and incentives are issued when applying the new card. The first 60,000 applicants receive a cosmetics package. Also, the first 30,000 applicants who use the card three times and spend RMB88 or more in each purchase- within the first two months receive cosmetics package.

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Card Activation Wins Two Major Lawsuits

Chicago-based Card Activation Technologies won a significant court ruling on March 20th in its lawsuit against major retailers Barnes & Noble and Aeropostale. Barnes & Noble and Aeropostale sought to invalidate the Card Activation patent in that litigation. Federal District Court Judge Joan Gottshall entered a decision, however, refusing to accept Barnes & Noble and Aeropostale’s position that Card Activation’s patent is invalid. The Card Activation patent relates to a method used by most retailers for processing debit styled cards, which include gift cards and phone cards. Card Activation currently has lawsuits pending against Walgreen, Sears, TJX and OfficeMax. Card Activation has also placed on notice approximately 600 retailers relating to their potential infringement of the patent.

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ADS CERTFIES OTI CONTACTLESS READERS

On Track Innovations announced that its “Saturn 5000” and
“Saturn 6000” contactless readers have received certification from Alliance Data. The readers can support global contactless EMV applications published by MasterCard and VISA, Mifare technology, and non-EMV contactless payment programs from other major financial institutions, including “ExpressPay” from American Express and Discover.
The “Saturn 5000” and “Saturn 6000” approval is for Alliance Data’s
consolidated countertop application running on the Ingenico i5100, and
VeriFone’s Omni 3740/3750/Vx510/Vx570 platforms. Alliance Data
certification includes merchant deployment, profile setup and download,
documentation and specially trained 24 x 7 x 365 help desk support, making the “Saturn 5000” and “Saturn 6000” easy to implement and maintain for Alliance Data acquirers and ISOs and their merchants.

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Experian Introduces Knowledge IQ Services

Experian has introduced “Knowledge IQ” services through IVR systems. Experian has reached an agreement with Adeptra to begin providing the automated capability through their automated interactive technology, the virtual calling platform. The first collaboration has been implemented at a top-five financial institution. “Knowledge IQ” is a knowledge-based authentication system that assesses fraud risk by calculating a Precise ID identity risk score and posing a series of credit and noncredit challenge questions to an individual. In doing so, “Knowledge IQ” enables an organization to authenticate the consumer and determine the level of identity risk associated with that individual and interaction.

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TSYS Signs a Deal with Standard Bank

TSYS has signed a contract to provide Standard Bank of South Africa card issuing, merchant acquiring and related payment services for the multiple countries across Africa in which they operate. Standard Bank’s issuer cardholder accounts and acquirer merchant accounts will be processed on TSYS’ global single source, multi-client processing solution supporting multiple countries, languages, currencies, functional requirements, regional infrastructure and regulations. Standard Bank is a South African-based financial services company with a global presence, operating in 18 countries in Africa and 20 on other continents, including the key financial centres of Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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USA Technologies and ViVOtech Ink a Deal

USA Technologies and ViVOtech have signed agreements providing the latter will be deploying 25,000 contactless card readers for the former and its “ePort” technology. This development is essentially an expansion of 2007 agreements stipulating the deployment of 10,000 of the ViVOtech readers with the “ePort” functionality and is in response to growing demand of the feature. This growing demand is evident with MasterCard’s installation of 17,500 vending machines with “ePort” for the acceptance of “PayPass” and Discover’s “ePort” installation at 1,000 vending machines for the acceptance of “Zip contactless payments.” USA Technologies provides wireless non-cash transactions for various industry sectors while ViVOtech payment solutions has shipped over 360,000 contactless terminals to over 30 countries worldwide.

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Advertising Expenditures Slip in 4Q/07

The advertising market continued to sputter at the end of last year and finished the year with measured spending of $149 billion, up 0.2% compared to 2006, according to data released by TNS media intelligence. Total expenditures during the fourth quarter of 2007 fell by 0.1% versus a year ago. Internet display advertising continued its growth leadership, increasing 16% in 2007 to $11.31 billion in expenditures. Consumer Magazines registered a 7% gain to $24.4 billion on the strength of higher spending by consumer packaged goods marketers. Cable TV spending surged in the second half and finished 2007 at $17.84 billion, an increase of 6.5%. Outdoor advanced by 4.9% to $4.02 billion.

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Lifelock Partners with Heartland Credit Union

Lifelock has partnered with Heartland Credit Union to provide members with identity theft protection for a discounted price. The security solution sets automatically renewing fraud alerts with the major credit bureaus, removes member names from pre-approved credit card offers, removes names from junk mail lists, cancels/replaces all personal wallet items in the event it is ever lost or stolen and is insured with a $1 million service guarantee. LifeLock was awarded as the winner of the 2007 American Business Award for the Best Radio Advertising Campaign and is widely recognized while Heartland Credit Union provides financial solutions for its customers.

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American Express OPEN & StubHub Partner

American Express OPEN and ticket vendor StubHub have partnered to offer a 3% discount to business owners for ticket purchases. OPEN Savings is a benefit embedded within all American Express Small Business Cards. American Express Business Cardmembers simply need to use their small business credit or charge card for purchases with any OPEN Savings partner to take advantage of discounts. The savings will automatically appear on the Cardmember’s monthly statement and can be tracked when accessing an account at http://www.open.com. OPEN Savings discounts are calculated on the full transaction amount, including any taxes and surcharges.

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