MasterCard to Sponsor Chicago Fashion Week

MasterCard has become an official sponsor of Chicago Fashion Week slated for April and September of this year . MasterCard wil give local fashion students the opportunity to be involved in the city’s most prestigious fashion event, giving them unparalleled visibility in the fashion community. The one day event, “The New Generation,” will introduce the talent of Chicago’s own top fashion students emerging out of colleges throughout Illinois. Chicago Fashion Week will showcase established as well as rising designers from national and international markets through on-site and off-site events with private and public fashion runways. These shows will take place throughout distinctive venues in the city.

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PPI Hires a New CFO

Payment Processing has hired Jim Condon, formerly with CyberCash, as CFO. As CFO, Condon will oversee financial operations at PPI by focusing on capital structure, budgeting, financial reporting, and communication with the investor community. Prior to PPI, Jim was chief operating officer (COO) and CFO of GetWellNetwork, Inc., a provider of interactive patient care solutions. Before GetWellNetwork, Inc., Jim held executive management positions at EduCap Inc., a major provider of student loan solutions; SecureMethods, a technology-advantaged network security company; and CyberCash, the first publicly traded Internet payments company. PPI provides software developers with a full range of services for integrating electronic credit and debit card payments, including gateway services, integration support, merchant support services and PABP/PCI security assistance.

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SKYWARDS DEBIT CARD

In response to the popularity of debit card use, which outweigh the number
of issued credit cards by 77% according to VISA, Citibank has teamed
with Emirates Airline to provide the “Skywards” rewards program for its
debit card customers. The “Emirates-Citibank Debit Card” provides ATM
card functionality with frequent-flyer reward benefits, such as
discounts and
promotions, that ensures against fraud. Currently, the “Skywards” program
provides over 3 million customers with “Skywards Miles” on every flight
with Emirates Airlines and its partner airlines, when patronizing partner-
hotels and partner-auto rental organizations. Citi has more than 170
million cards in circulation around the world, has had Mid-East
operations for nearly 50 years and oversees more than 200 million
customer accounts.

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IDENTRUST NETWORK

HSBC Bank has joined the IdenTrust Network for the generation of
a corporate customer identity solution. This will allow users to digitally
sign documents with secure, legally binding authorizations over the
IdenTrust authentication network available at all branches. The
organizations
are also collaborating for the streamlining of bank accounts, management
processes and trade finance services. HSBC Holdings serves over 125
million customers around the world from nearly 10,000 offices in 83
countries with total assets of around US$2,150 billion while IdenTrust
provides identity solutions in various sectors across more than 175
countries.

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NBPCA Relocates and Names New Execs

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association has moved its headquarters from Sherborn, Massachusetts to Montvale, New Jersey. Also, Gary Palmer, EVP of Fidelity National Information Services and a Founding Director of the NBPCA, has assumed the title of President and Executive Director. Palmer delegates his responsibilities, as permitted by the NBPCA bylaws, to Paul Tomasofsky, who has been appointed EVP/COO. Dwayne Jones, President and Chairman of Springbok Services, has been appointed secretary of the NBPCA. Attorney Joi Sheffield has joined the NBPCA as Government Relations Advisor. The NBPCA has grown to include more than 35 members since the commencement of its first membership year in June 2006.

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IMOBILE SOLUTION

ICICI Bank and C-SAM have launched the “iMobile” mobile banking
solution to allow customers to bank from their mobile phones. The
Mobile Transaction Platform provides an icon based interface, which makes
for easy customer use, providing 40 different services such as banking,
fund transfer, credit card services and bill payments, among others.
Moreover, the new solution will aid the bank in acquiring new
customers, reduce customer support costs, and generate new revenue
streams. “iMobile” operates on GPRS and SMS networks and has
immense growth potential with an Indian mobile consumer population
of nearly 200 million subscribers. ICICI Bank has assets of nearly
Rs. 3649.44 billion and operates in the retail banking market with a
network of over 950 branches and 3,680 ATMs.

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VISA EUROPE 07

VISA Europe has reported 2007 as a year of significant growth,
having posted an 11% increase over 2006. This expansion was seen in
individual cardholder spending per transaction and the overall number
of retail transactions. This is credited to over half of all the payments
organization’s cards and terminals having implemented chip and PIN
technology, providing security and speed, and its network of more than
4,600 member banks. Moreover, the organization credits this growth to
the recent launch of its new “V PAY” chip and PIN-only debit card,
currently issued by 22 banks in eight countries, and HSBC’s recent
switch to VISA for its 10 million UK debit cards. There are over 348
million VISA debit, credit and commercial cards issued in Europe, used
to conduct over EUR1.3 trillion in transactions during 2007, and provide
products and services in more than 170 countries worldwide.

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OBERTHUR 4Q/07

Oberthur Technologies reported that revenues for its Card Systems unit grew 7% year-on-year and 11% sequentially to 165.1 million euros. Card Systems delivered over 117 million microprocessor cards in the fourth quarter, compared with 87 million in the last quarter of 2006, or a 35% increase in volume terms. About 26 million payment smart cards were delivered in the fourth quarter, up 11% from 4Q/06. However, conventional card sales were down, largely as a result of migration to
EMV and the spread of contactless technology. Personalization services were up 11.5% from the previous quarter with sustained sales in the U.S. and Europe. Revenue from the payment segment as a whole (chip cards, magnetic stripe cards and personalization services) amounted to 71.7 million euros in the fourth quarter. For complete details on Oberthur’s latest results visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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MasterCard & TNT to Air a Mini-Drama

MasterCard and Turner Network Television have teamed to air an original mini-drama that feature a “World Elite MasterCard.” “THE AUCTION Presented by MasterCard” will be simulcast on TNT and TBS this Sunday. The mini-drama tells the story of one woman’s pursuit to track down an special item for her grandfather. When all seems lost, she uses her “World Elite MasterCard” card to book her travel to Paris to bring home to him this precious object from his past. This is the second original mini-drama in which MasterCard has been involved. In 2006, MasterCard and TNT collaborated on “Late: A MasterCard Mini-Drama,” which integrated multiple MasterCard card products. GSD&M’s Idea City brokered the partnership between MasterCard and TNT.

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AIRPLUS EXECS

Airplus International has promoted Alex Houston and Aaron Kelling to
South VP of Sales and North VP of Sales, respectively. Houston
will now head AirPlus sales, development and retention in the southern
United States, has over 30 years of experience in the industry with Eastern
Airlines, Continental Airlines, WorldTravel BTI, and Cooper Industries,
has a BA of Science in Business Administration from the University of
North Carolina and an MBA from the University of Houston. Kelling will
be responsible for heading sales, development and retention in the
northern United States and Canada and has 19 years of travel industry
experience with AmEx and Galileo International. Airplus currently has
32,000 corporate customers worldwide, providing travel payment
solutions and corporate cards, and settles flight tickets from more than
260 airlines.

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2008 CCCI

Based on the 2007 Xinhua Finance eziData Consumer Confidence Index
(CCCI), which dropped more than 2 points throughout the year, the
organization is predicting a fluctuating index for 2008. For 2007, price
increases of consumer goods, paired with weakened purchasing, and the
stock market volatility’s effect on consumer confidence led to a roller
coaster
of an index. Due to these factors, the CCCI reached a pinnacle in May,
followed
by a bottom over the Summer, a Fall rebound and, again, a huge Winter
decrease.
Additional findings show that these ups and downs were consistent with ups
and downs in the country’s real estate market. With this information,
the CCCI
is predicting an unpredictable 2008, still influenced by prices and
stock market
movement. What the organization is predicting, however, are price increases
into the first half of 2008 and “shakeouts” and price decreases for the
2nd half
to result, once again, in a dropping CCCI. Xinhua Finance Limited
information
and media service provider was founded in 1999 and has offices and news
bureaus across 11 countries while eziData provides China consumer data
concerning financial and retail markets.

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