SMB PERSPECTIVES

There are now 2.0 payment cards per adult in western Europe with ten countries showing more than one debit card per adult. The U.K. leads the region with 3.2 payments cards per adult, compared to 4.5 payments cards per adult in the U.S. The U.K. is the only western Europe country where there is more than one credit card per adult. However, France, Greece and Ireland are the only countries besides the U.K. in which credit cards outnumber debit cards. According to a new report from London-based Retail Banking Research, there are 787 million payment cards in issue in western Europe. This is an increase of 66 million (9.2%) since 2004. In the majority of countries, there are more debit cards than credit cards but in only five countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey) do debit cards account for more than three fifths of the market. RBR notes that in most countries credit cards are driving growth. The number of such cards in Italy rose by 64% and in Norway by 32%. In a number of countries, charge cards are being reissued as credit cards.

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GE Money Names a New Global Marketing Exec

GE Money has promoted Vincenzo Picone, previously SVP for Strategy, to SVP of Global Marketing. As SVP for Strategy, he has been responsible for strategic planning and global growth initiatives, and led efforts to transform its marketing capabilities. He will retain the Strategy responsibilities. Previous to joining GE Money, Picone served as CEO of Palmera Group SpA, a leading Italian consumer goods company and previously held senior marketing, branding and strategic consulting roles with Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and McKinsey & Co. He earned an undergraduate degree in Marketing from the European Business School in Paris, and an MS in Management from the Sloan School at Stanford.

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SHANGDONG AIRLINES & UATP

Shangdong Airlines has joined the UATP Merchant Network, allowing
for the acceptance of all UATP cards. This development is in response
to client demand to use UATP as a payment method and Shangdong subsequently sees this agreement as a business strategy to grow market
share. The airline provides domestic and international flights,
international
cargo services, hotel services and operates more than 200 routes
throughout the world while UATP accounts are accepted as a form of
payment for corporate business travel by airlines and travel agencies
worldwide.

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COMMERCIAL BANK OF CEYLON

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon will be implementing a software upgrade
by mid-2008 for its computer and ATM networks in the hopes of reducing
hardware costs and improving operations. Providing the upgrades, Fiserv
CBS Worldwide has designed the software to allow for the centralized
tracking and control of the bank’s ATM networks at its 161 branches across
Sri Lanka and a reduction in support costs.

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Cap One Offers Uploaded Images for Cards

Capital One has introduced a new free “personalized image” feature on its website for customers to upload their own photos onto a card. Capital One customers can go to www.capitalone.com/imagecard and upload their own photo or choose an image from our gallery for their card. Once the image is approved, a new card will be mailed at no cost to the customer; account terms remain intact. Last November, Capital One launched the Capital One Card Lab which provides consumers with a new level of transparency and choice in credit cards. Customers are offered a series of interactive choices related to interest rate, annual fee, and reward options, where they can click to select the combination of features that are most important to them. As choices are made, the tool narrows the options in the remaining categories, eliminating options that don’t work together.

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SAMPORT EXEC

Samport Payment Services has elected Robert Littås as a new member
of the board, bringing with him risk management experience in the card
payment industry. Littås new position will also involve sale and
development of payment and anti-fraud systems for card transactions
such as the company’s “ZEUS” product line, protecting consumers from
card fraud, and its “LETO” product line, providing card payment
functionality. Littås is a Risk Manager Consultant for VISA Europe
following his recent 9-year term as Senior Vice President of VISA
Europe as head of the Risk Management Department. Prior to this, he
headed the Department of Economic Crime for Interpol in France.

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GHANA ATM NETWORK

Regardless of a consumer’s own bank, now throughout the African
country of Ghana, Ecobank account holders will be able to
withdraw from Standard chartered Bank, Barclays Bank Ghana, Ghana
Commercial Bank and Zenith Bank ATMs, among others, according
to the Daily Guide. Beginning in March of 2008, this development is
made possible by software newly designed for payment systems meant
for the “E-Switch” payment system. This card system is projected to
attract new customers to do business with all 24 banks involved, the
segment of the population seeking to save money and those of whom are
unbanked.

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CBDT & E-PAYMENTS

Taxpayers who pay Rs 50,000 and higher in taxes may be required
by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to make their tax payment
electronically. Those meeting these requirements primarily consist of the
3 million companies and organizations across India. Also with this
development, experts claim that mandatory e-payment of taxes will
provide improved data capture, evasion flagging and fraudulent claim
flagging. Additionally, the CBDT foresees better service for individual
taxpayers whom choose to file taxes electronically, a figure that has
grown by 42% for 2007-08 fiscal year over the 2006-07 fiscal year,
when filings of this nature accounted for no more than 1%. A total of
17 major banks are providing the e-payment services to the consumers
and organizations.

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Teen Payment Card Market Remains Wide Open

A new report says that teens represent a total yearly income of $80 billion that is ripe for conversion to payment cards. MD-based Packaged Facts found that teens represent a wide open market for financial marketers. Of teens ages 12-17, 47.4% have a savings account, 11.6% have a checking account, 15% have an ATM card and 3.5% have a credit card in their own name. Also, 95% of teens between the ages of 14 and 19 have either bought or received a gift card, with some 48% of college-bound teens purchasing cards. Packaged Facts says there are 24.8 million between the ages of 12 and 17 in the U.S. with 16.4 million currently using financial services.

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VUB & HYPERCOM

Vseobecna uverova banka (VUB), Italian bank acquirer, will be deploying
Hypercom’s “Optimum” Card Payment Terminals at its retail locations. VUB’s
decision to work with Hypercom and its partners, including Wincor Nixdorf
Slovakia and Sonet, was made based on renowned technical support,
consultancy and integration services. Furthermore, this decision comes
after
the installation of Hypercom’s Network Access Controllers (NACs)
electronic payment network nationwide. VUB operates 207 retail branches
and 11 mortgage centers throughout Slovakia and 35 additional corporate
branches in 40 countries worldwide while Wincor Nixdorf provides IT
solutions for the retail and banking sector. Hypercom’s secure, electronic
payment products and solutions are available to organizations in over 100
countries around the world.

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Payment Data Systems Names a New CTO

Payment solution provider Payment Data Systems has promoted Ken Keller to VP and CTO. Keller brings more than 17 years in the development and delivery of specialized high volume transaction based systems. As the Chief Technology Officer, he is responsible for setting the architectural and product strategies, plans for Payment Data Systems’ merchant processing, bill payment and card issuing businesses. Prior to joining Payment Data Systems in 2003, he served in a variety of key leadership and executive technical roles at Billserv, Inc. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Technology from the University of Texas – San Antonio.

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CARD SWITCHEROOS

MoneyExpert.com research, conducted with the help of 1,560
participating credit card holders during November of 2007, has found
that 2.6 million cardholders plan to transfer their credit cards debts with
the start of the New Year. However, research also shows that this may be
difficult for many consumers given the limitations of the credit crunch-
deterring many from being able to switch cards. In addition, MoneyExpert
warns, balance transfer fees can be as high as 3% and 0% balance transfer
offers typically do not run longer than 10 months. These may be
contributing
factors to nearly 6.6 million cardholders whom have decided not to transfer
debt and remain with their current credit cards.

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