IAMTN & PIF

The International Association of Money Transfer Networks(IAMTN) and
the Prepaid International Forum(PIF) have signed collaborative agreements.
Citing the fast rate of growth recently seen in the prepaid industry, IAMTN
sees this development as an opportunity to expand its operations and the
payments market worldwide. In collaborating with PIF, the two organizations
can co-ordinated information, support developments in the prepaid
market and consider common issues to result in mutual benefit.

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CardFlash Looks Back to February 2007

Here are the top CardFlash stories for February 2007: VISA names industry veteran Joseph Saunders to become Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Visa Inc. CheckFree inks a definitive agreement to purchase Corillian for $245 million. The European Commission issues a report that claims large variations in merchant and interchange fees for payment cards, barriers to entry in the markets for payment systems and credit registers, obstacles to customer mobility and product tying. The White House seeks legislation to give the IRS the “authority to promulgate regulations requiring merchant acquiring banks to report to the IRS annually the gross reimbursement payments made to merchants in a calendar year.” The IRS reports that in 2006 it received approximately 2.1 million card payments, an increase of 35% from 2005. Cross Country Bank, now known as Applied Card Bank, and its affiliate Applied Card Systems, reached a settlement with the Texas Attorney General. Arthur Blank & Co. introduce “Scratch ‘N’ Sniff Cards.” Discover teams with Motorola to launch a mobile banking trial involving up to 1,000 cardholders. First Data signs deals to acquire Intelligent Results and Datawire Communication Networks. First Data also announces it has decided to gradually exit its “Official Check” and “Money Order” business. HSBC dismisses Bobby Mehta as CEO of HSBC North America and CEO of HSBC Finance, along with Sandy Derickson, head of HSBC Bank USA and HSBC USA. Gary Crittenden, EVP/CFO and head of Global Network Services at American Express, resigns to become Citi’s new CFO.

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CPI to Offer Low-Carbon Biopolymer Cards

CO-based CPI Card Group is teaming with NatureWorks to manufacture gift, phone, key, credit and retail cards from a new biopolymer. NatureWorks is the first company to offer a family of commercially available low carbon footprint biopolymers derived from 100% annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based plastics and fibers. The production of these biopolymers uses less fossil fuel and emits fewer green-house gases than conventional polymers. The company applies its unique technology to process natural plant sugars to make NatureWorks biopolymer, which is then used exclusively to make and market finished products under the “Ingeo” brand name. NatureWorks is a joint venture between Cargill and Teijin Limited of Japan.

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JOHARA AL ISLAMI CARD

The Dubai Islamic Bank has deployed its “Johara Al Islami Card” designed
exclusively for the needs of female consumers. Such benefits include retail
discounts and a concierge service to oversee auto and delivery needs.
Additionally, cardholders will be given the opportunity to participate in
beauty, family, cooking and music events while being afforded a rewards
program that provides spa and beauty salon discounts.

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CardFlash Looks Back to March 2007

Here are the top CardFlash stories for March 2007: Several seasoned industry veterans with the financial backing of AOL’s founder announce plans to introduce the “GratisCard,” a PIN-based anonymous payment card with only a bar code and an account number encoded on its mag stripe. MasterCard inks a development agreement with France-based ASK to create paper-based contactless payment solutions utilizing “PayPass” for deployment in transit and other payment environments. VISA USA signs an agreement with 7-Eleven to introduce the “ReadyLink” prepaid load network to its U.S. stores. Citi acquires prepaid specialist Ecount. SunTrust Banks becomes the first issuer in the U.S. to incorporate “VISA Contactless” payment technology across its entire consumer credit card portfolio. Several national consumer groups partner to form Americans for Fairness in Lending and will promote the release of the documentary and book “Maxed Out.” Kmart settles FTC charges that it engaged in deceptive practices in advertising and selling its gift card. Citi announces it is eliminating its “universal default” and the “any time for any reason” increases to the rates and fees of its customers’ credit card accounts. A Senate subcommittee opens its first hearing on credit card practices, led by Democratic Senator Carl Levin. VISA and game maker Hasbro have signed a deal to add VISA cards to the latest version of “THE GAME OF LIFE.” First Data and China UnionPay sign an alliance to expand the acceptance of “CUP” cards. Citibank agrees to sell the “American Express Gift Card” in more than 980 of its Financial Centers nationwide. First Data and Wells Fargo have reached an agreement for FDC to acquire Well’s Instant Cash Services business.

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ID Insight Hires a New CFO

MN-based analytics-based identity risk and fraud solutions provider ID Insight has hired Lee Runzheimer, previously with Osmonics, as its new CFO. Runzheimer has served as CFO of Osmonics, Inc., a $200-million manufacturer of industrial water purification equipment which was subsequently acquired by GE, as well as CFO of Hitchcock Industries, Inc., a $40-million designer and manufacturer of precision components for the aerospace industry. He is also a founder and director of Maximum Solutions, Inc., a software company that has grown rapidly to 800 installed user systems. Runzheimer earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and received an MBA in International Business from Harvard Business School.

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L2C Beefs-Up Weak Credit Marketing

MN-based analytics-based identity risk and fraud solutions provider ID Insight has hired Lee Runzheimer, previously with Osmonics, as its new CFO. Runzheimer has served as CFO of Osmonics, Inc., a $200-million manufacturer of industrial water purification equipment which was subsequently acquired by GE, as well as CFO of Hitchcock Industries, Inc., a $40-million designer and manufacturer of precision components for the aerospace industry. He is also a founder and director of Maximum Solutions, Inc., a software company that has grown rapidly to 800 installed user systems. Runzheimer earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and received an MBA in International Business from Harvard Business School.

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NCR Unveils FastLane Order and Pay

NCR has unveiled “FastLane Order and Pay” in the U.S. following a successful deployment in Europe. NCR FastLane Order and Pay is designed to address a variety of self-service opportunities within a store. After entering their choices, consumers can use NCR FastLane Order and Pay to pay with cash, debit card or credit card and receive a receipt that they hand to a store associate before picking up their purchase. Shoppers can also use their store loyalty card to earn points or take advantage of special offers. In addition, retailers can offer shoppers the option to pay at the front of the store, using either self-checkout or assisted-service checkout.

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CardFlash Looks Back to January 2007

Here are the top CardFlash stories for January 2007: The security breach at TJX Companies may affect more than 40 million signature-based general purpose credit and debit cardholders worldwide. The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs opens a hearing to explore the business practices of the U.S. credit card industry. Discover launches its first reloadable prepaid card to be offered through Green Dot’s national retail network. MasterCard completes its new Board of Directors. Citigroup signe a deal to acquire Egg Banking from Prudential for $1.13 billion. VISA USA acquires the “What’s My Score” program which helps educate college students in financial matters. Chase announces it will stop using the two-cycle method of calculating finance charges. NCR says it intends to separate into two independent publicly traded companies by spinning-off the company’s Teradata Data Warehousing business to NCR shareholders. AT&T and Citigroup sign a long-term extension for the “AT&T Universal Card” programs. Metavante acquires TN-based Valutec Card Solutions a provider of closed-loop, in-store gift and loyalty card solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. First Data, Microsoft and HP combine forces to develop management software programs and retail-ready computer hardware in a small business point of sale solution. Hypercom names Philippe Tartavull as President.

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Payment Card Industry Facing a Rocky 2008

If the latest indices and barometers are accurate then the payment card industry is facing a rocky road this year. The latest surveys reveal that consumers, business owners and credit managers are giving thumbs down to the current economic outlook. The seasonally adjusted “Credit Manager’s Index” fell for the fourth consecutive month in December. The “Discover Small Business Watch” index slipped in December for the fifth consecutive month, falling to its lowest point in 2007. The Conference Board’s leading index decreased sharply for the second consecutive month, and has been down in four of the last six months. The composite “RBC CASH Index” for December continued to hover at record lows. Additionally, the holiday spirit boosted retail sales by a measly 3%, barely offsetting inflation. As a result, payment card volume could see single-digit growth this year while credit losses could return to pre-bankruptcy reform levels. (CF Library 12/7/07; 12/21/07; 1/2/08)

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