Affinion Relaunches PrivacyGuard.com

In response to research showing that there have been 27.3 million victims of identity theft since 2003, costing over $56 billion per annum, Affinion Group global affinity marketer has relaunched a more user-friendly version of its PrivacyGuard.com website. The website provides consumers with an ID theft protection service, reiterated by its new product tag-line, “Don’t be caught off-guard”. The website allows users to determine their individual vulnerability with an ID Theft Quiz, access to expert fraud prevention consultants, ID theft tips and its “PrivacyGuard ID” theft protection service, which provides daily credit monitoring, fraud resolution support, fraud insurance, credit report access and online financial tools. Affinion provides services to its nearly 5,200 partners worldwide and employs nearly 3,000.

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DCPCU

The APACS-sponsored Dedicated Check and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU),
which focuses on the prevention of payment card/check fraud and is based
in London, has shown great effectiveness throughout the year. For 2007,
the unit demonstrated a fraud prevention volume of GBP 107 million, just
GBP23
million less than reported combined volumes for the first 5 years of the
Unit’s
deployment. Responsible for a significant increase in fraud prevention, the
DCPCU disrupted 421 organized crime networks, recovered 103,000
compromised card details, 16,500 counterfeit cards and 7,000 fraudulent
checks. Collectively, these efforts led to a 94% conviction rate of the
offenders.

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Advance America and NetSpend Ink a Deal

For availability in 2,600 “Cash Advance Centers” across 35 states, Advance America has chosen NetSpend as a partner to launch prepaid and re-loadable debit cards, which will be issued by MetaBank. Advance America provides payday cash advance and prepaid card services with its 85 limited licensees across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada while NetSpend offers prepaid debit cards to the under-banked segment. The “Meta Payment Systems” division of MetaBank serves financial institutions and payment processors from its U.S. headquarters.

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PET SUBSTRATE

KSW Microtec has launched “PET substrate”, a contactless card inlay in
sheet format which can be directly laminated into PVC layers, affording
card manufacturers more options. The Company’s RFID inlays are attached
using palladium bump technology and are available in various colors and
formats. The inlays also provide contactless credit card manufacturers with
UHF RFID for conversion into UHF PVC cards. KSW Microtec AG
operates out of Germany, supplying Radio Frequency Identification
components for applications around the world through its employee base
of 60.

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SAINSBURY’S FINANCE

Sainsbury’s Finance has extended its interest-free balance transfer period,
originally a 10-month period, to 12 months for its credit card. The
Sainsbury’s Finance Credit Card has no annual fee, applies a 0% interest
on purchases for the first year, followed by a standard 15.4% APR, charges
a 3% fee on balance transfers and awards cardholders under the “Nectar”
points system. “Nectar” awards users for in-store and online purchases at
both Sainsbury’s and other retailers with 4 points for every 1GBP spent
and 2 points for every 1GBP spent, respectively.

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OFT & BAR

For its practice under OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS),
the British Association of Removers (BAR) has secured OFT approval.
With this approval, BAR has met standards for safeguarding consumer
interests beyond the basic requirements of the law and can now provide
consumer financial protection of up to 150% cashback if a BAR member
were to cancel at short notice or cease trade on an obligation and
consumers are afforded an independent disciplinary panel to ensure code
is complied and enforced. The BAR is a trade association for professional
removal and storage businesses with more 650 members in the UK.

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JCB & CASSIS

JCB and CASSIS International will be collaborating
to test NFC over-the-air(OTA) services for NFC mobile phone
contactless payments. ABI Research projects that up to 20% of all
global mobile handsets will come with NFC capability by 2012 and,
regarding the aforementioned partnership, JCB and CASSIS will test
NFC in the application/security, creation of security domain, EMV data
processing and customer service arenas. Moreover, this collaboration
will allow customers to receive JCB information using NFC applications
around the world with CASSIS NFC commercial management, which
provides end-to-end security solutions to its clients. JCB has a merchant
network of 13.53 million across 190 countries, 58.08 million cardmembers
in 19 countries and alliances with over 350 financial institutions.

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ABS 4Q/07

Charge-offs amongst credit card-backed bonds in the U.K. retreated for the third consecutive quarter, after peaking in the first quarter of 2007. For the fourth quarter charge-offs dropped 30 basis points to 6.3%, representing a 17-month low. Charge-offs for the first quarter hit 7.8% before dropping to 7.3% in the second quarter. Delinquencies, among asset-backed credit card securities, remained flat in the fourth quarter at 3.4%. According to FitchRatings, the average quarterly “Monthly Payment Rate Index” value was 17.8% in 4Q/07, an increase of 30 basis points from the 3Q/07 value. In December 2007, the Fitch MRPI was 16.6%, a drop of 130 basis points from November and the lowest value for the quarter. In a similar trend to the previous quarter, the Fitch MRPI increased at the start of the quarter, to 18.8% in October from 16.2% in September, and then declined gradually over the quarter. This trend of a decline in the MPRI from October to December was in line with seasonal expectations, as consumers spent more and paid off less on their cards in the run-up to Christmas. In December, the Fitch “Yield Index” declined to 19.1% from 19.9% the previous month. This followed a fall of 80 basis points from October to November 2007, bringing the average quarterly Fitch YI value to 19.9% in 4Q/07, a 10 basis points increase from the previous quarter value of 19.8%.

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Obopay Integrates IDology’s Solution

Age verification solution provider IDology has integrated its authentication solution “ExpectID” with Obopay mobile payments. When consumers sign up for Obopay, their identity will be verified using IDology’s ExpectID product suite including its ExpectID IQ solution which uses dynamic, multiple choice questions to determine an individual is who they claim to be online. IDology’s services are not based on credit data, consumers are not asked intrusive questions or ones that are easy to answer when, for example, a wallet or piece of postal mail is stolen. Obopay lets consumers and businesses purchase, pay, and transfer money through any mobile phone using Obopay’s mobile application, text message, mobile Web, widget, or Obopay.com. IDology provides real-time technology proofing solutions that verify an individual’s age and identity while maintaining consumer privacy and building trust through the responsible use of data.

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I AM SMART CARD

e-Smart Technologies and IVI Smart Technologies have launched the
“I AM” Super Smart Card for Hansun Information Systems. With the
“I AM” card, Hansun will provide sales and management services for credit
card and EFT-POS terminal monitoring. Moreover, the new card and
“Super Smart Card” system provide an on-card sensor for biometric ID
verification across various sectors, including government, healthcare and
corporate security.

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COF Intros Preferred No Hassles Miles Card

Capital One has launched the “Preferred No Hassles Miles” card offering small business owners double rewards for travel and entertainment purchases. Cardholders earn two miles per dollar on all travel and entertainment purchases made with airlines, restaurants hotels, bowling alleys, buses/charters, car rentals, cruise lines, movie theatres, passenger railways, taxicabs/limousines, timeshares, travel agents, and video rental stores. This broadened definition of the travel and entertainment category, which has traditionally been limited to airline and restaurant transactions, coupled with Capital One’s no foreign transaction fee policy, makes this card ideal for business owners looking for more flexibility in earning rewards on their travel and entertainment purchases. Additionally, customers will earn one mile per dollar for all other purchases. Miles can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and even cash that can be put back into their business.

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