Mobile Banking Emerges as a Top Priority

A new report suggests that mobile banking is already a strategic business and technology priority for the top U.S. banks. New research from TowerGroup finds that core banking technology vendors have a big role to play in helping mid-tier and small institutions take advantage of this emerging channel that will soon be a cost of doing business. TowerGroup says that within a few years the mobile device will be the primary access point for consumer banking, with 40 million U.S. consumers using mobile banking by 2012. Core banking vendors will be important contributors to the widespread proliferation of integrated mobile banking services and will fundamentally reshape the vendor ecosystem for mobile banking solutions. As the focus shifts from ‘technovation’ to return on investments, the core banking vendors are ideally positioned to enable proper business economics in support of mobile banking.

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CITI VODAFONE ONE VISA

Renewing their partnership agreements, Citi and Vodafone have teamed
to launch the “Citi Vodafone One VISA”. With this new card, the
partnership organizations are offering a free-of-charge option to
accumulate 1 “Vodafone One” point for each EUR20 spent, 100
points awarded immediately upon activation, insurance coverages
including “Theft and Loss” and “Security Purchases”, and the “Citi
Alerting Service,” affording the user 24-hour account updates. Citi
provides financial products and services through its nearly 200 million
customer accounts across more than 100 countries.

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AmEx Travel Reports a Cruise Boost

American Express Travel Cruise Specialists have noted a growth in customers booking cruises, especially for trips to the Middle East and Vietnam Among the growing number of first-time cruisers, Cruise Specialists report an increase especially among multi- generational families, young couples/newlyweds, young families with children, and people looking to “test-drive” or sample destinations via a cruise before planning an entirely land-based vacation there. Cruise Specialists report that interest in luxury cruising is similarly on an upswing, helped no doubt by the lavish onboard amenities and opportunities for private and customized experiences available on the luxury cruise lines. The top 5 luxury amenities requested are suite upgrades, private butler service, gourmet chefs, expert lecturers and private pools and balconies.

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KRISFLYER AWARDS

Standard Chartered has launched its ‘Gold Business Credit Card’,
co-branded with Singapore Airlines, to provide cardholders with a
flexible rewards program. The program, known as “KrisFlyer”, is
provided by Singapore Airlines and converts Business Rewards
to “KrisFlyer” reward miles, offers preferential rates and discounts
on various products and services. This partnership allows card
members to benefit from such perks as a discount membership to
Best Western Hotels, which has over 4100 hotels across the World,
20% discounts with DHL, a 20% discounts with Emirates Trading
Establishment, 15% Xerox discounts, 12% discount with CADD
Emirates and up to 40% discounts with Thrifty Car Rental.

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MICROPASS 4000

INSIDE Contactless has introduced the “MicroPass 4000” contactless microprocessor platform for the U.S. market. The new product has been built upon the “MicroPass L4-1G” and “L4-2G” products,
which have been utilized by more than 25 issuers to deploy more than 35
million cards in 2006 and 2007. The “MicroPass 4000” intelligent payment
platform was designed to optimally meet the high-volume, multi-payment
brand and multi-application requirements of the U.S., Canadian and other
contactless payment markets. The “MicroPass 4002” supports the “Discover
Zip” contactless payment application, while the dual-brand “MicroPass 4003” supports both MasterCard and VISA contactless payment applications. INSIDE also offers the “MicroPass SDK” to card manufacturers, terminal manufacturers, personalization bureaus, systems integrators, and issuers with in-house application development staff. The “MicroPass SDK” helps developers create retailer loyalty, transit, access, and simple ID applications, and incorporate those applications onto a MicroPass-enabled contactless payment card.

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Chase Boosts Financial Literacy Grants

Chase Card Services is donating an additional $1.3 million through its Financial Literacy Grant Program. Chase’s Financial Literacy Grant Program, now in its third year, gives consumers greater access to information, credit counseling services and the support resources that they need to take control of their finances and improve their financial health and stability. With its donation this year, Chase has provided $3.9 million in the past three years to more than 90 organizations. The nationwide program is part of the ongoing commitment by Chase to support financial education and literacy for people of all ages.

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CHASE IRELAND

Chase Paymentech has officially opened the doors to its Dublin
headquarters.
The payment services provider held inaugural ceremonies in honor of the
development, which is part of the company’s recent expansion efforts and is
projected to support a 100-person marketing/customer support team
across Europe. Moreover, the Organization anticipates the facility to
support
surging European ecommerce in the coming years, which is expected to surge
to EUR263 billion by 2011. Chase Paymentech supports transactions in 140
different currencies, processed nearly 19.7 billion transactions and
over $719
billion in bankcard/debit volume throughout 2007. Furthermore, the bank
serves 600,000 merchants in over 1 million locations worldwide.

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Wells Fargo Introduces Merchant Checking

Wells Fargo’s “Merchant Checking” is the recipient of Barlow Research Monarch Innovation “Most Innovative Product” award. “Merchant Checking” allows small business owners to accept credit and debit card payments and have access to funds as soon as the next business day in the associated business checking account. It combines the convenience of a business checking account with the ability to accept credit and debit card payments at a flat, low, discounted rate. The Monarch Innovation Awards recognize financial institutions that provide the most innovative products to business customers. Merchant Checking was selected based on its uniqueness, value and ease of use as determined by the judging panel.

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SODEXO & GRUPO VR

Sodexo has announced the completion of its acquisition of the
Grupo VR voucher & card supplier for EUR405 million, affording
additional resources for the expansion of its card offering. This
development compliment’s Sodexo’s card division expansion rate of
10% over each of the past 2 years and is projected to generate issue
volumes worth EUR2.4 billion to over 50,000 clients, reaching 5
million beneficiaries. SODEXO currently employs more than 342,000
individuals across 80 countries, had a 2007 revenue of EUR13.4 billion
and a market capitalization of EUR5.9 billion.

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EDebitPay and ConveniaLoad Partner

Prepaid card provider EDebitPay has partnered with ConveniaLoad to bring more card loading options to underbanked customers with prepaid debit cards. EDebitPay cardholders will be provided with access to register for this new feature and order a deposit booklet to their favorite bank. They will be able to use this booklet to go into the bank of their choice and load their prepaid debit card with cash allowing them to use their card at millions of locations around the world. This new feature will allow its customers to add value to their prepaid debit cards at over 10,000 bank locations including Wells Fargo, Bank One, U.S. Bank and Wachovia. ConveniaLoad is managed by Western Financial.

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BUY & GIFT PRODUCTS

Points International and Amtrak Guest Rewards have partnered to offer
loyalty program members the benefits of the “Buy and Gift Points
Program,” which allows users to purchase additional miles/points online.
This development is part the Points International recent growth with
worldwide partners, whom recognize the value-adding features of the
Organization’s website. This website is fully hosted and maintained by
Points.com, linked to the Amtrakguestrewards.com domain and provides
users with convenient access to “Buy and Gift Points”. Amtrak serves over
70,000 passengers, on up to 300 trains, on a daily basis across the U.S.
while Points International Ltd allows consumers to manage their miles and
points through more than 25 reward programs.

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