EU & SEPA

In light of the approaching SEPA launch, the European Union
finance ministers have urged banking industry representatives to be
prepared and to “redouble” efforts with the recent minister meeting
in Belgium. With the new SEPA platform, which will reflect no
difference between payment transactions nationally or across borders
in the euro area, the ministers are urging bank solutions to spur
momentum, apply rapid migration to minimize processing costs and
for public authorities to do the same.

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PAYMENTS BPO FORECAST

NelsonHall BPO Analysis has published its ” German Payments BPO
Industry Assessment and Forecast”, a study on payment processing
outsourcing in Germany. The research organization found that
organizations are outsourcing processing services for cost reduction
and to tap emerging technology, including e-invoicing, mobile payments,
and innovative card services, to subsequently generate additional revenue.
Additional highlights of the publication show that 53% of the German
payments processing market is made up of captive organizations, the sale
of which to outsource vendors will lead to BPO market growth, vendors
must meet SEPA compliance to achieve long-term profitability, payment
processing growth is mostly seen in merchants with accelerated card
payment volumes and experts estimate a 14% annual growth in the German
payments BPO market for a worth of EUR1.6Billion by 2012.

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ATRADIUS GROUP

Atradius and Credito y Caucion have completed the combination of
business operations under the “Atradius Group” name.
Under this collaboration, the organizations will be providing customers
in 40 countries around the world with credit insurance, surety / bonding,
collections and credit information. The combination will provide for
operations under the single brand, however, Atradius global credit
insurance and Credito y Caucion will maintain local brand names in the
name of recognition. Atradius has nearly $1.9 billion in revenue, a 24%
share of the credit insurance market, insures almost $588 billion of world
trade per annum and employs 3,500 in 40 countries while Credito y
Caucion has 60% of the Spanish market-share and has recently expanded
into Brazil. With the introduction of the “Atradius Group” collaboration,
designed to provide credit insurance, surety and collections in 40
countries,
the organization reflects total revenues of nearly $2.6 billion with a 31%
global market-share, insures $683 billion of world trade and has 160
offices serving 52 million companies.

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AMEX & BARCELO

American Express and Barceló Business Travel have made
agreements to launch a joint venture to provide business travel
products and services for consumers in Spain. The joint venture will
benefit from the American Express product knowledge and expansive
network, combined with Barcelo Business Travel’s local expertise, to
provide a thorough credit card with specialized service and efficient
travel benefits to over 400 corporate customers. Additionally, the
collaboration will fuse over 450 currently employed in the company’s
offices across the country. American Express Business Travel
provides booking technology, travel management consulting
expertise and supplier negotiation support for consumers with over
2,200 service locations in over 140 countries, posting total sales of
US$21.8 billion in global travel sales for 2006. Barceló Business
manages over 150 hotels in 14 countries and serves more than 2 million
clients per annum.

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Targeting the Best Transactors is Crucial

A new survey has found that cardholders who report that they always pay their credit card balances in full each month, are 33% more likely than people in the general population to be highly deliberate. Also, these so-called “Transactors” tend to be far less modest than the rest of the population at large. Using Nielsen’s Online panel, NY-based Mindset Media has come up profiles of two “Transactor” groups. “Deliberation 5’s” are those that like to take time to consider decisions, and fear the downside of bad decisions, while “Modesty 1’s” are people who believe themselves to be exceptional, often at the risk of being considered arrogant. Mindset Media says that card issuers delivering their brand’s advertising messages to audiences with a high composition of “Deliberation 5’s” have the potential to see lower delinquency rates down the line.

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MONEYHOME CARD

Standard Chartered Bank has launched its “MoneyHome” Card
remittance program to facilitate money transfers to Indonesia via the
banks’ retail partners. When the remittance has been sent, the
recipient will likewise be allowed to receive funds at a participating
retailer locations. So far, 20 retailers have been selected by the
bank as points of remittance, with others currently being considered
as a means of avoiding the need to actually have to go to a bank. Even
greater expansion is being considered over the next 6 months to 1
year period. For initial account activation, the consumer need only present
identification at the registration booth and will be issued a “MoneyHome
Card” free of charge, which is being issued in response to recent
statistics showing US$1 billion in annual transfers from Malaysia to
Indonesia.

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MICROREAD AWARD

INSIDE Contactless has announced its finalist status in the “2008 Mobile
Innovation Global Awards”, selected for its “MicroRead” NFC offering.
The “Mobile Innovation Global Awards” will award 1 finalist from each of
the 5 categories, 1 overall winner and, given INSIDE’s victory, will
demonstrate
the potential of NFC in confirming the evolution of the user-environment
dynamic. INSIDE has over 55 patents, has been designing contactless chip
solutions for 12 years, has delivered over 35 million “MicroPass” platforms
between 2005 and 2007 for nearly 20 leading bank card issuers and has
more than 25 key partners around the world.

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VISA PAYWAVE TRIAL

TD Canada announced it will be implementing the “VISA payWave”
contactless payment feature for its “TD VISA” chip card trial underway
in Kitchener-Waterloo. In conjunction with this development, TD has also
announced the installation of over 300 additional VISA “payWave” secure
contactless readers at merchant locations across the trial area during
the coming months. Select “TD VISA” cardholders in the
Kitchener-Waterloo area will receive their new dual interface chip and
“VISA payWave”-enabled card beginning in April. TD Canada Trust is the
only financial institution in Canada to offer both “VISA
payWave”-enabled products and point-of-sale acceptance.

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Southern FCU Moves Debit Cards to TNB

Southern Federal Credit Union has moved its debit card processing sector to operate under TNB Card Services. With this development, the organizations strengthen an already existing relationship and will enhance settlement and back-office operations. Furthermore, the partnership will allow Southern FCU to more effectively to settle funds and responsiveness to customers. Southern FCU currently has 3,400 members and assets of $32 million while TNB Card Services provides electronic payments processing and agent issuing solutions for nearly 500 credit unions and manages over 1.8 million cards.

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SILVERBIRCH, G4BOX & ONEBIP

For the expansion of its “Metin2” mobile game, SilverBirch Studios
and G4Box have signed agreements with the OneBip cell phone
payment company. With this agreement, “Metin2” players can
purchase items for the game without using a credit card or bank
account. “Metin2”, 3-D medieval digital game has been voted as a top
10 MMORPG’s for 2007. SilverBirch Studios game developer provides
handheld, mobile and online games, focusing on end-to-end development
while G4Box distributes MMORPG games.

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CardFlash Looks Back to December 2007

CPI Card Group expands its “green” manufacturing initiative by using wind power to runs its Colorado plant. BofA introduces the new “Brighter Planet VISA” from Bank of America enables cardholders to earn one “EarthSmart” point for every $1 spent in purchases. VeriFone’s stock collapses after the Company reported that its financial reports for this year were not accurate. MasterCard introduces the first prepaid travel card with contactless technology. Discover Financial Services says it will take a $422 million impairment charge related to its “Goldfish MasterCard” and “Goldfish VISA” credit card business in the U.K. for the quarter ending November 30th. Metavante inks an agreement to offer its merchant clients full-service processing for all Discover Network card transactions. Omaha-based Planet Group has signed an agreement to acquire AZ-based Opticard Payment Services. Bankrate acquires Memphis-based Nationwide Card Services for $26.4 million in cash with a $7.0 million earn-out over the next two years. Payment card hologram specialist American Bank Note Holographics signs a deal to be acquired by communications specialist JDSU for $138 million in cash plus stock. GE indicates it is looking to sell or form a partnership for some of its GE Money services including its U.S. private-label credit-card business. Discover Financial Services buys the discover.com domain name, formerly used by Discover magazine, for $5 million. The European Commission decides to force drastic reductions on MasterCard Europe’s default cross-border interchange fees. Hypercom enters final negotiations to acquire the e-Transactions business line of Thales.

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Berman to Acquire Merchant Processing Intl

Berman Holdings is intending on acquiring Merchant Processing International. Processing nearly $5,000,000 in credit card settlements monthly and employing approximately 100 agents nationwide, Berman Holdings has signed a letter of intent for a 100% acquisition of the card processing organization with undisclosed terms. Having only recently joined the prepaid market, Merchant Processing sees much potential in the under banked market, estimated at $100 Billion per year in total revenue with 30% annual growth, and guarantees prepaid debit card approval for anyone with a valid ID.

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