ImageMark Commercial Passport is Upgraded

NCR Corporation has rolled out its “ImageMark Commercial Passport 2.0” software. ImageMark Commercial Passport 2.0 offers financial institutions and their customers the tools to verify check and remittance depositing. It provides all the functionality of the original version, such as seamless integration with an FI’s business and home-banking Internet sites, complete reporting with ability to provide updates electronically to end-customer accounting systems, Back Office Conversion (BOC), duplicate item detection, multiple security levels, integrated recognition, courtesy and legal amount recognition capability. The Web-based technology also provides an integrated and scalable platform for processing transactions from other locations, including branches and automated teller machines.

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IDEAL CONSUMER RECEPTION

The iDEAL online payment has been met with fond consumer reception
across the Netherlands. Research shows the payment method’s
share has grown by 39% in recent months, compared to that of credit
cards’ stagnant growth, use of iDEAL has shown an annual increase of
238% in 2007 to 15 million purchases and December ’07 reflected the
greatest consumer usage, during which the organization processed 1.7
million payments. Further demonstrating recent growth in the solution,
16% of iDEAL users made their first iDEAL payment in this period
and 32% of all consumers prefer iDEAL when making for internet
purchases.

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EQUENS & SEPA

Equens processing organization has reported successful processing volumes
for the first week the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) has been deployed,
during which the company processed 82,000 SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT)
payments. This promising beginning to the SEPA implementation demonstrates
the clients’ confidence in the recent changes, according to experts within
the
company. Furthermore, in addition to the transaction cost the SEPA platform
saves the company, Equens also intends to generate new partner relationships
over the coming months for the same purpose. Equens processes an annual
volume of 7.3 billion payments, 2.1 billion POS and ATM transactions and
has a 15% euro-zone market-share.

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ASAI & SPS

Automated Systems America (ASAI) has made the decision to implement
Smart Processing Solutions’ “Smart Processing Suite” processing software
solution. The flexible processing software will operate switching and
processing
for ATM cash dispensing with ASAI client casinos and banks. ASAI currently
processes transactions for nearly 3,200 ATMs and provides armored car
services throughout the United States while Smart Processing Solutions Inc.
provides processing solutions and customer service for POS/ATMs,
transaction routing and authorization.

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Discover Unloads UK Goldfish Cards for $70MM

Discover Financial Services has inked a deal to sell its $4 billion “Goldfish” credit card business based in the United Kingdom to Barclays Bank. The sale price of the business is approximately $70 million in cash. The card portfolio consists of 1.7 million “Goldfish” and affinity card accounts. Discover expects it will record after-tax charges of between $190 million and $210 million. In December Discover concluded that continued disruption in the U.K. financial markets, higher interest rates and its decision to reduce loan exposure to the U.K. market have negatively affected the book value of its “Goldfish” business. Two years ago Morgan Stanley/Discover agreed to purchase Lloyds TSB “Goldfish” credit card program for $1.76 billion for a 22% premium. That deal included 800,000 credit card accounts. The new transaction is expected to close by the end of Discover’s second quarter. (CF Library 12/3/07)

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VISA 4Q/07

Visa Inc. reported that operating revenues for the fourth calendar quarter hit $1.48 billion, up 27% from the prior year quarter. The increase was driven by increases in global payments volume, which increased 16% in the three months ended September 30th, compared to the prior year comparable period. Transactions processed increased by 13% year-on-year. Net income doubled to about $424 million. Revenue growth was also impacted by increases in the monetary value and the number of cross-border transactions. Growth in VISA’s operating revenues exceeded growth in payments and transactions volumes due to newly introduced service fees in April 2007 and changes in pricing for various services outside the United States since December 31, 2006 as the regions outside the U.S. transitioned to a business model seeking to increase profitability. The new service fees and pricing modifications collectively increased operating revenues by 15% during the three months ended December 31, 2007.

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SMARTCARD MARKETING & KAHNAWAKE

SmartCard Marketing Systems Inc and Kahnawake International “Your
Server” Solutions have teamed to focus on the North American Aboriginal
Demographic. In doing so, the partnership will be establishing its retail
presence across the Aboriginal market, provide an online Payment Gateway,
and provide various “Money Service” solutions. These solutions consist of
such products as Prepaid Cards, Multi-currency accounts, Pin Debit and
Money transfers.

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CU HERE Premium Program Takes-Off

The only national credit union-owned point-of-sale network in the U.S., this week activated the “CU HERE Premium” program, with its 45,000 ATMs. Since the program was announced in December, 148 credit unions have chosen to participate in the “CU HERE Premium” program, including 30 of the country’s 200 largest credit unions, giving millions of credit union members access to the nation’s largest surcharge-free ATM network. The “CU HERE Premium” program has ATMs in every state in the country and, combined with Credit Union 24’s POS network available at most major national retailers and local merchants, gives credit union members fee-free access to their money at nearly half a million locations across the country.

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MERCHANT CASH SERVICES

RapidAdvance and Advantex have partnered to provide working capital
for Canadian businesses with the “RapidAdvance merchant cash advance
program”. The partnership will focus on the selling and marketing of the
program in the Canadian marketplace to provide businesses with working
capital, subsequently helping many reach business goals. On a macro level,
this is in response to the growing difficulty many are experiencing with
obtaining credit across the country. These respective businesses will
provide
collateral security through business holdings in return for loans with high
approval rates which are offered in lump sum advances and deposited
into the merchant’s business checking account. RapidAdvance provides merchant cash advances to business owners,
while Advantex provides merchants with marketing and sales prospects
through its marketing model.

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NetSpend Names a New CEO

NetSpend has named Daniel Henry, founder of Euronet Worldwide, as its new CEO. Henry began to make his mark in the financial industry in 1994 when he and Michael Brown co-founded Euronet Worldwide and established the company’s first European office in Budapest, Hungary, leading the development of the company’s European business. He served as the firm’s President and Chief Operating Officer until the end of 2006. He still holds a position on its Board. When Henry stepped down from his executive role, Euronet had revenues in excess of $600 million annually, a market capitalization of $1 billion and operated 26 offices in 23 countries, staffed by more than 1,100 employees worldwide.

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Financial Fitness Ranked High by U.S. Adults

A recent American Express survey of 2,025 U.S. adults aged 18 and older conducted by Harris Interactive shows that improving financial fitness is equally as important as physical fitness in 2008. However, a 2007 J.D. Power and Associates Credit Card Study reveals that 51% of U.S. adults whose credit card(s) have benefits do not think they are taking full advantage of those benefits and features. Of the survey respondents, 48% said they have a desire to learn more about Rewards Programs, 40% want to learn about Identity Theft / Account Protections, 35% want information about the Buyer Protection Services, 29% about the Traveler Protection Services and 21% want more information about insurance.

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Debt Disease Video Contest is Launched

A new video contest has been launched offering a top prize of $5,000 for the best student-made public service announcement regarding credit cards. The Service Employees International Union and the League of Young Voters are running the “Keep It In Your Pants” video contest. The “it” featured in a video promoting a new contest for budding filmmakers is the growing problem of “Debt Disease” among young Americans. The first-place winner of the “Keep It In Your Pants” contest — open to students 14 years of age and older enrolled in middle school, junior high, high school, college, or graduate school — will receive a $5,000 scholarship for school-related expenses. Four runners-up will each win a $500 scholarship for school-related expenses. Submissions will be accepted until March 12th.

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