DEBIT CARD FRAUD

Correlating with significant growth in Canadian debit card fraud
over the past 4 years, the Country’s smart-card industry has seen
growth in interest and funding, most recently with the launch of a
$1 billion pilot project. Shadowing the success seen in Europe, with
some countries seeing a card fraud reduction rate as high as 75%,
the Canadian industry hopes to greatly reduce fraud loss and to quell
further growth of this rising problem. In 2007 alone, for example,
159,300 card holders across the country were victims of fraud,
costing the industry $107 million.

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CARDS ASIA 2008

The 13th annual “Cards Asia 2008” smart card conference will be held
April 8th-11th, attracting over 5,000 trade decision makers from across
multiple vertical industries. This year’s event, however, will offer
attendees
more expo space, more exhibitors and a larger showcase of solutions for
the promotion of smart card adoptions/demonstrations than years prior.
Moreover, for visitors, Card Asia provides products, ideas and
innovation for customer appeal while, for exhibitors, the exhibition
provides
a forum for the presentation of new solutions to a targeted audience of
major corporations in various card-using sectors. Organizations attending
the conference include representatives from the American Bankers
Association, American Express International, Bank Negara Malaysia,
China UnionPay and Citibank, among many others.

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RBC VISA INFINITE

The Royal Bank of Canada(RBC) has launched the VISA “Infinite” credit
card. The newly introduced card provides Canadian cardholders with
personalized servicing, customized rewards, travel assistance, concierge
service, worldwide airport lounge access, various insurances and
access to select events. Additionally, the bank is introducing the “RBC
Avion Visa Infinite”, providing all the aforementioned services with added
benefits, including more opportunities to earn points, advanced travel
insurance and additional offers. RBC provides payment solutions, dual
credit and stored value cards across the country.

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Simon Giftcard Receives a Best Award

IN-based Simon Property Group has been awarded “Best In Category” for their “Simon Giftcard” program at the 2008 Prepaid Card Expo. The Simon Giftcard program is the largest Visa bank-issued gift card program in the world. To date, more than 34 million cards have been sold. In 2007 the Simon Visa prepaid gift card program generated more than $500 million in sales. The gift card products are currently sold in 230 locations as well as online. In 2007, the program was expanded to include Discover and American Express products. The Simon Giftcard is issued by US Bank and MetaBank. The award is sponsored by Paybefore, a provider of information to the rapidly growing prepaid and stored value card industry. Simon is a fully integrated real estate company which operates from five retail real estate platforms: regional malls, Premium Outlet Centers, The Mills, community/lifestyle centers and international properties.

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PREPAID CARDS ASIA SUMMIT

To be held April 11th, 2008, The “Prepaid Cards Asia Summit” will be
targeting the region’s fast-growing prepaid industry, its issuers,
acquirers
and merchants with new products and solutions. “Prepaid Cards Asia”
will provide merchants and bankers an opportunity to learn of the features
provided by prepaid card strategies and programs for preparation in a
competitive market place while providing attendees an opportunity to
network with decision makers and a chance to capture new prospects
leading to a subsequent increase in brand recognition. Overall, the Summit
provides for an increased awareness, an increase in business and the
strengthening of existing relationships in the industry.

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GE Money and Michelin Ink a Deal

GE Money and Michelin have announced an agreement to provide consumer financing through CarCareOne, a private label credit program managed by GE Money’s Sales Finance unit. Car owners can choose from 90-day, 6-month or 12-month no interest programs on their Michelin purchases. The program includes no annual fee and no down payment terms, as well as a full menu of promotional payment terms.

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CITI & YAFLP

Since its launch in September of 2007, Citi Taiwan’s Young Adult
Financial Literacy Program (YAFLP) has taught more then 4,000.
With the help of the Financial Literacy and Education Association
R.O.C., YAFLP challenges participants with lectures, seminars and
essay competition on personal financial planning issues. Moreover,
the class is offered as either a two credit class or as a 1 four-hour
seminar course at 1 of 9 campuses. Citi has some 200 million customer
accounts in over 100 countries, providing consumers and organizations
with financial products and services.

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MAESTRO SEPA TRANSACTIONS

Given the commencement of SEPA, Mastercard Europe has unveiled
Maestro debit cross-border transaction trends have increased significantly.
European cross-border Maestro debit card use has increased by 24%
since before the SEPA launch with supermarket transactions increasing
28% since 2007 and clothing transactions having surged 30%. Moreover,
42% of European Maestro debit card transactions were at merchant POS
terminals, up from 37% in 2005, while ATM cash withdrawals accounted
for 58% of the transactions in 2007, down from 63% in 2005. France
sees the greatest percentage increase of Maestro transactions completed
with foreign-issued cards.

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MONEYGRAM DEAL

MoneyGram has amended its merger with Thomas Lee Partners and Goldman Sachs. Under the revised terms investors will be able to purchase about 79% of MoneyGram for $760 million. The transaction will also be conditioned to acceptable terms and closing conditions of all parties by March 14. MoneyGram provides global payment services through remittance and payment processing solutions for financial institutions and retail customers, had a 2006 annual revenue of $1.16 billion and approximately 143,000 global money transfer agent locations in 170 countries.

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Triton Promotes Douglas to Head Engineering

MS-based ATM manufacture Triton has promoted Bob Douglas to lead Triton’s Engineering Department. Douglas is responsible for guiding the technical direction of the company, refinement of existing products and the development of new ATM models. During his 14 years at Triton, he has worked on every model ATM produced by Triton beginning with the popular 9500 model. Triton, with 180,000 installations in over 24 countries, is the largest provider of off-premise ATMs in North America and the fourth largest ATM manufacturer worldwide.

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CIBC VISA INFINITE

CIBC is set to unveil its “Aerogold VISA Infinite Credit Card”, offering
such features as travel medical insurance, trip interruption insurance and
various discounts. As an addition to CIBC’s “Aerogold” line, which provides
nearly 2,000 with the “Aeroplan Miles” frequent flyer program, the new
card allows users to earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent. The CIBC
financial institution provides 11 million personal and business customers
with bank accounts, providing a range of products and services across
North America.

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February Retail Sales Rise 6%

A report by the National Retail Foundation indicated that during February, retail sales rose 6.3% unadjusted over last year and were flat from January. February retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) decreased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from the previous month and increased 6.8% unadjusted year-over-year. Electronic and appliance stores sales decreased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from last month and increased 4.4% unadjusted from last year. Furniture and home furnishings stores sales also decreased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from January and decreased 0.3% unadjusted from last year. However, clothing and clothing accessory stores sales increased 0.2% adjusted from last month and 6.7% unadjusted year-over-year, and sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.5% adjusted month-to-month and 9% unadjusted from last year.

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