FUNDSTECH PLATFORM

FundsTech has launched its prepaid platform in South Africa
which is currently in the process of receiving certification. With
this new platform, FundsTech will be issuing prepaid cards throughout
various African countries and following the completion of its
platform certification, intends to deploy 1.5 million cards. FundsTech
financial services provides prepaid debit cards to the over 1 billion people around the world.

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Comdata SVS Debuts American Idol Gift Cards

San Diego-based IdeaEdge and Comdata’s Stored Value Solutions have teamed to launched the first “American Idol” gift cards. The new gift cards provides access to music from past “American Idol” contestants and can be used to purchase Karaoke CDs of songs sung on the show by favorite “Idols,” exclusive “American Idol” apparel and accessories, a “Playstation 2” video game, and even an “American Idol”-ized monopoly game. Cards can be purchased in $25 or $50 denominations online or at select retail stores nationwide. In addition to exclusive “Idol” merchandise, each time a user redeems an “American Idol” gift card, the user will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes to win a grand prize trip for four to Los Angeles to attend the season seven “American Idol Finale” in 2008. The card is available 10,000 retail locations nationwide. There are an estimated 40 million “American Idol” fans in the USA.

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WINCOR NIXDORF & APCA

Wincor Nixdorf ATM vendor has achieved certification under the
Australian “Series 2 CECS” (Consumer Electronic Clearing System)
Manual, allowing the company to install its ATMs in IT networks throughout
the country. The certification is regulated and enforced by the Australian
Payments Clearings Association (APCA) to ensure customer security at
card terminals, including ATMs and POS. This development is a reflection
of Wincor’s efforts to customize its customer products and solutions to
local markets, such as meeting Australia’s PIN security requirements.

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EM MICROELECTRONICS & NFC FORUM

EM Microelectronics integrated circuit developer has joined the Near
Field Communication (NFC) Forum to contribute initiatives in technology
products and services. Joining the forum, EM is now among existing
member companies from the mobile communications, consumer electronics,
computing and media sectors. The forum implements its solutions and
collective opinions through working groups that promote NFC adaption
and interoperability testing for contactless payment expansion. EM
Microelectronics produces low-power circuits for battery, battery-less
operating devices and RFID products in the smart card market. The
organization also produces LCD modules and offers bumping services
while the NFC Forum,a non-profit industry association is focused on advancing
the use of NFC technology by developing specifications and interoperability
with the contribution of over 130 global member companies.

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FNBO Direct Introduces Pay Yourself First

Internet bank FNBO Direct has announced the new “Direct ExtraEarnings VISA Card” credit cards linked to its “Online Line Savings Account and issued a “Pay Yourself First” challenge to consumers. The FNBO “Direct ExtraEarnings VISA Card” rewards consumers for everyday purchases by giving them 2% cash back for every dollar spent for the first 12 billing cycles after an account is opened. Consumers can redeem their cash back by requesting a $25 deposit into their FNBO Direct account for every $1,250 in purchases during those first 12 billing cycles. After that, rewards are redeemable in $25 increments for every $2,500 in purchases. These cash back rewards are directly deposited into consumers’ high-yielding FNBO Direct Online Savings Accounts, which currently offers consumers a 5.05% APY1 with no fees or minimum balances required.

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ID THEFT

Capital One has released the results of its latest annual identity theft
survey
providing insight on how Canadian consumers habitually protect themselves
from identity theft. Among these habits, the Capital One survey has
revealed
that 65% of consumers do not regularly review their own credit reports,
52% believe all credit bureaus share all information and 33% felt that
alerting
the police is not necessary in the event of identity theft.
Subsequently, the
bank is recommending several measures be taken to protect themselves.
Among these recommendations, Capital One suggests not leaving the
signature box on the back of their cards blank, secure account numbers,
secure PIN numbers, keep all receipts, purchase retail goods from only
secure websites and maintaining paper account statements for future
reference.
If a consumer does find that they have already become a victim of ID
theft,
the bank encourages the consumer to contact all credit bureaus to receive a
fraud alert, file a police report and to cancel any card for which a
criminal
may have information. Capital One has provided consumers with Mastercard
products since 1996.

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Equifax to Publish Debt-to-Credit Ratios

Equifax announced an enhanced online version of its personal credit reports. Under the new format, the front page of the credit report will now provide a detailed summary of a consumer’s credit history, including accounts, debt-to-credit ratios, account age, and potential negative credit histories — all on one page. Each section also contains a brief explanation for consumers to help them better understand the information. The new format is available on the Equifax Credit Report (a new version for the Equifax 3-in-1 Credit Report, which includes credit information from all three national credit reporting companies, is due in early 2008).

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INCOMBANK & JCB

The Vietnam Industrial and Commercial Bank (Incombank) has signed
payment contracts to implement payment for JCB cards in Vietnam. With
this, JCB cardholders will be able to conduct transactions at over 750
Incombank ATMs and 1600 POS terminals. In addition to this payment
cooperation agreement, JCB has recently signed agreements with the State
Treasury and general Department of Taxation to allow customers to pay
taxes through banks and ATMs.

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October Payment Rates Drop 190 Basis Points

Monthly payment rates, the amount that cardholders pay on their credit card debt, nosedived to its lowest level in seven months. After hovering between 20% and 21% for most of this year, the MPR dropped 190 basis points between September and October. Among credit card-backed securities, the MPR declined to 19.09% in October after rising to 20.99% in September. The MPR has remained fairly stable in the first three quarters of this year and remains consistent with historical levels since the new FFIEC minimum payment rules went in effect in 2005. According to FitchRatings, the gross yield also decreased in October to 18.83% from 19.61% in September and was up 125 bps above year-ago levels. Fitch says gross yield in 2007 is significantly higher than 2006. The difference between the first-quarter average gross yield in 2006 and the first-quarter average in 2007 was 25 bps, compared to 73 bps between the second-quarter averages of 2006 and 2007 and 1.30 bps between the third-quarter averages.

ABS METRICS
YIELD MPR
Oct 06: 17.58% 19.30%
Nov 06: 17.96% 19.82%
Dec 06: 17.78% 19.32%
Jan 07: 18.28% 19.27%
Feb 07: 17.70% 20.80%
Mar 07: 18.21% 18.76%
Apr 07: 19.23% 21.09%
May 07: 18.23% 19.58%
Jun 07: 18.94% 20.17%
Jul 07: 18.46% 20.46%
Aug 07: 19.27% 20.88%
Sep 07: 19.61% 20.99%
Oct 07: 18.83% 19.09%
Source: FitchRatings

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MADE Secures mWallet, mTransfer and mPayments

Dallas-based Affinity Mobile has announced the commercial availability of the “Mobile Application Delivery Enablement” platform. The “MADE” platform delivers true mWallet, mTransfer and mPayments capabilities to mobile network operators, retail merchants and financial institutions. The Company says that most mobile banking services provide only closed, intra-bank transactions, while its new platform takes the next step and enables secure mobile money transfers, mobile bill payments and mobile wallet accounts. Affinity’s “MADE” applications run on a wide variety of mobile devices from entry mobile phones to high-end smart phones. The applications are developed, tested and certified with carriers by Affinity Mobile and supported across Java, Brew, Symbian and other messaging technologies. Trumpet Mobile is the first to embrace “MADE,” providing prepaid mobile services targeted towards the U.S. Hispanic market and other consumers who are underbanked. Trumpet Mobile is distributed via RadioShack.

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2008 May Develop as Year of the Smart Card

Oberthur Card Systems is predicting that for 2008 the popularity of smart cards in the USA will be explosive. Americans have been true laggards in the adoption of smart card technology due to the huge investment in its magnetic stripe infrastructure. Oberthur notes that the first large-scale adoption of smart cards was for French pay phones in 1983. Then in Europe in the early ’90s, MasterCard, VISA, and Europay agreed to develop specifications for the use of smart cards in payment cards. The Company also says that currently 17 of its top 20 customers, as well as the federal government, have embraced microprocessor chip cards. But, Oberthur says this summer it had two key concerns: whether banks with pilot projects would adopt contactless cards and if banks already using contactless cards would re-issue. The Company says both of these things are happening — pointing to a robust smart card next year. JupiterResearch predicts that microprocessor chip cards are likely to be in more than 75 million American wallets or cell phones before the end of 2008 and more than 128 million will be in circulation by 2009.

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