Phishing Attacks Soar Around Thanksgiving

Cyveillance announced that Thanksgiving saw a 300% increase in phishing threats compared to the average number of phishing attacks seen in the previous week. This one day spike is a tactic used by criminals around long holiday weekends, often targeting smaller businesses and credit unions, which may not have around-the-clock security teams to respond to threats that occur during extended weekends. In Cyveillance’s recent fraud report, the company identified that phishers continue to heavily focus on the financial services sector, targeting banks and credit unions in nine out of 10 attacks. During the three months ending September 2007, phishing attacks against companies targeted for the first time increased 20%, led by newer blended phishing attacks that combine malware with traditional phishing techniques. Cyveillance is a provider of cyber intelligence.

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Pipeline Data Sets Up Two Mergers

MA-based Pipeline Data has inked deals to acquire MA-based stored value card specialist Innovative Resource Alliance and FL-based Merchant Services Network. IRA is the parent corporation of TenderCard which has more than 12,000 merchants. IRA has also initiated negotiations and executed letters of intent to purchase cash portfolios totaling approximately 15,000 merchants. Following the mergers, Pipeline Data/IRA will acquire TN-based COCARD Marketing Group a merchant services provider catering primarily to small and medium-sized retail accounts with 25,000 merchants. The agreement to acquire COCARD for approximately $101 million in cash was entered into on October 22nd. Pipeline Data has received a senior secured debt proposal of $160 million for the funding of the transactions. A closing date of no later than January 31st is anticipated. The newly combined Pipeline Data, IRA and COCARD is projected to have pro-forma 2007 revenue in excess of $95 million, gross profit in excess of $55 million and EBITDA in excess of $30 million.

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BofA Mobile Banking Tops 500K Users

Bank of America has reached a record 500,000 active mobile customers. Bank of America, with 23 million active online customers, introduced Mobile Banking service in March to consumers in selected markets and expanded the service across the country in May. The Web-based service is accessible via most major carriers that have mobile Internet access and requires no downloading of software. To access Mobile Banking, customers simply go to the Web browser on their mobile phone and enter http://www.bofa.mobi. Once on the site, customers enter their Online Banking ID and passcode to access their accounts.

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Town Square Las Vegas Card Rolls-Out

KS-based prepaid card issuer StoreFinancial and Turnberry Associates’ Town Square Las Vegas has launched its new gift card program. Gift cards are available at the Concierge Center in Town Square Park or online at www.townsquarelasvegas.com. Various gift card designs are available for the holidays and other special occasions. Turnberry Associates is one of America’s premier real estate development and property management companies. StoreFinancial is an international payments processor and prepaid card program administrator.

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EURONET & SMA

Euronet Worldwide and SMA grocery have signed agreements to provide
an electronic top-up service pilot to consumers. With this pilot, Euronet
will integrate its e-top-up solution with the SMA cash registers allowing
the merchant to sell mobile top-up minutes from various mobile operators.
This replaces traditional top-up scratch cards, which are easily stolen,
and
requires no additional equipment. The e-top-up solution is to be deployed
with one Italian mobile service provider by December 1st, 2007 and full
deployment with all service providers by the end of 1Q08. The Italian
mobile phone market has nearly 80 million subscribers, saw 2006 revenue
of EUR13 billion from mobile top-up minutes and experienced a 13%
growth rate for the same period.

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V PAY

Best Western & MBNA Canada have partnered for the launch of
the “Best Western Platinum Plus MasterCard” to provide customers
with travel rewards. These travel rewards provide cardholders points
for staying at any Best Western location and for everyday
purchases. In addition to the complimentary 5,000 GCCI points
rewarded for a customer’s first purchase, rewards are distributed as
1.5 points for every dollar in retail purchases made with the card.
Furthermore, 50 GCCI points are rewarded for each cash advance,
balance transfer and access check that totals over $50. The Best
Western franchise supports 4,200 independently owned hotels across
80 countries, hosting 400,000 on a nightly basis while the Bank of
America subsidiary, MBNA Canada, is endorsed by nearly 500
Canadian organizations.

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ACI Delays its Annual 10-K Filing

Electronic payment processor ACI Worldwide announced that it will postpone the filing of its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007. The Company has not yet completed the procedures needed to close the fiscal 2007 financial year, primarily in the areas of income taxes and internal controls testing and evaluation. This delay is a result of the compressed time frame stemming from the Company’s filing of four regulatory reports in the preceding four and half months. ACI will reschedule its earnings call for Monday, December 17, 2007 at 4.30 pm EST.

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SOMERFIELD & COINSTAR

The Somerfield grocer and Coinstar E-Payment have partnered to launch
the “Coinstar Gift Card” program providing consumers with an alternative
gift-giving solution. In providing customers with a versatile solution
such as
this, Somerfield expects a profitable return resulting from the
partnership.
Coinstar Limited owns and operates more than 1,300 supermarket-based
machines in the UK while Somerfield operates over 900 retail outlets for
over 9 million customers weekly and employs more than 42,000.

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Issuers Target Ultra Utilization Households

Direct mail credit card solicitations during the third quarter hit 1.29 billion, up 20 million from the prior quarter. U.S. households are expected to receive about 5.3 billion credit card offers this year, compared to 5.76 billion offers mailed in 2006. Synovate’s “Mail Monitor,” says its data show that 363 million of the total offers mailed in the quarter were sent to households utilizing more than 30% of their available credit, compared to 347 million solicitations sent to such households in the second quarter. The market research firm also reported that about half of all households that use more than 30% of their available credit have maxed out by tapping 75% of their credit lines. More than 80% of these “Ultra Utilization” households carry a balance each month and the average revolving balance is $9,722. These households typically have lower incomes yet continue to spend, with 80% charging an average of $1,372 each month. Additionally, Synovate noted that “Ultra Utilization” households receive more card offers than other types of households (6.4 offers per month) and response rates are also higher than average at 0.8% versus 0.5% among all cardholders.

CARD MAIL HISTORICAL
YEAR OFFERS RESPONSE
1998: 3.44b 1.2%
1999: 2.54b 1.0%
2000: 3.54b 0.6%
2001: 5.01b 0.6%
2002: 4.89b 0.5%
2003: 4.29b 0.6%
2004: 5.23b 0.4%
2005: 6.05b 0.3%
2006: 5.76b 0.5%
2007: 5.30b 0.6%
Source: Synovate’s Mail Monitor

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WU & ADSENSE

Western Union has tailored its remittance solution for Google’s
Adsense publishers across 9 countries. The Adsense solution allows
Website publishers to provide advertisements that correlates with
the Website content. With this development, publishers in Argentina,
Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, the
Philippines and Romania can earn their advertising revenue in cash at
Western Union Agent locations. Additionally, funds sent through WU
avoid the fees and charges associated with bank remittances. Western
Union allows consumers to send money in over 200 countries through
more than 320,000 Agent locations.

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BofA Launches the Brighter Planet VISA

Another “green card” has entered the U.S. marketplace that generates contributions for clean and renewable energy projects. The new “Brighter Planet VISA” from Bank of America enables cardholders to earn one “EarthSmart” point for every $1 spent in purchases. Points earned with the new credit card are automatically redeemed each month to support renewable energy projects. Each 1,000 points earned is projected to offset one ton of carbon dioxide. Also, for every two base points earned through December 2008, BofA will make a matching contribution of one additional point. Additionally, cardholders will earn 1,000 bonus points after the first card use and an additional 1,000 bonus points after signing up for paperless credit card statements. The card will be available at BofA banking centers early next year. Besides the “Brighter Planet VISA,” BofA and Brighter Planet are offering the ability for current BofA “WorldPoints” cardholders to redeem points to offset greenhouse gas emissions. The two companies are also planning to launch new deposits products in early 2008 that will help Brighter Planet further support the construction of renewable-energy projects.

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