INTERAC & OPTIMUM L4150

Interac has certified Hypercom’s 32-bit “Optimum L4150” wireless global
payment terminal with its Chip 2.0 PED Device. This will allow Hypercom
to deploy the PCI PED approved device for use in a multi-lane, retail
environment over the Interac Direct Payment (IDP) network for both U.S.
and Canadian merchants. This PCI PED approval ensures secure PIN entry
in addition to the terminal’s contactless smart card capability.
Furthermore,
the Hypercom “HyperSafe32” security architecture allows screen changes
of the L4150 Terminal’s 64K color, customer-interactive, touch screen glass
sans manufacturer intervention. Hypercom delivers electronic payment
products and services to organizations in over 100 countries.

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Continental Launches Two World MasterCards

Continental Airlines and Chase have expanded and enhanced their co-branded credit card program by enabling its frequent flyer members the opportunity to earn/redeem both miles and dollar-based travel credits. The new “Continental Airlines TravelBank World MasterCard” offers travel credits, instead of “OnePass” miles, providing more flexibility for all or part of any flight purchased on continental.com. Cardholders earn 3% on purchases made using the card on eligible cable, telecommunications and wireless purchases. In addition, cardholders earn one percent for all other card purchases. A $50 travel credit bonus is awarded after the first card purchase. Additionally, each year on the card anniversary, cardholders who spend more than $10,000 in qualifying purchases, receive $25 in travel credits deposited directly into their “TravelBank” account, as well as five “Continental Currency” coupons. Chase and Continental Airlines recently introduced the “Continental Airlines Presidential Plus World MasterCard.” The new card offers special benefits such as a “Presidents Club” airport lounge membership, “Elite Access” priority airport services, complimentary car upgrades, automatic “Elite” hotel status and double “OnePass” miles for all hotel, car and Continental flight purchases made with the card.

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BANK ACCOUNT SECURITY

The APACS forum has released research, conducted online by YouGov,
regarding the recent loss of 25 million personal records. The research,
collected from 435 adults toward the end of November of 2007, shows
that 62% of adults who were informed of this checked their bank
statements,
30% took no action after learning of the breach, 10% changed their
passwords and 6% changed their PINs. The APACS trade body provides
a payments industry forum on non-competitive issues while YouGov research
collects data for various markets and provides consultancy service.

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Survey Says Card Theft Worries Consumers

Pittsburgh-based BitArmor Systems conducted a survey over the “Black Friday” shopping weekend and found that three of four shoppers are concerned about companies losing their credit card information to hackers and other criminals this holiday season. The issue of identity theft also proved to be of strong concern as more than 40% of respondents said either they or someone they know has had their identity stolen. Almost 80% said they were likely to stop shopping at a store where retailers are not taking adequate measure to protect their personal data, with 68% saying they are “extremely” likely to take their business elsewhere. Survey respondents also said they are in favor of a national law which would require companies to publicly report any data breach that affects their customers. By a margin of greater than 11 to one, they said they would prefer comprehensive national legislation to existing state laws. BitArmor helps companies protect valuable data assets, achieve regulatory compliance, and manage data throughout its functional lifecycle.

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INTREPID & VERSACARD

Intrepid Global Imaging 3D has completed its acquisition of the First
Versailles Smartcard Solutions Corporation (Versacard) from the
MacKay Group. Versacard provides an electronic card payment
system for the 91 million Filipino customers and, with this acquisition,
will be the only smartcard provider for transit ticket and highway tolls
throughout the country. The Versacard will also be available for use
at retail outlets with various merchants and is projected to issue nearly
14 million new cards over the next 5 years. Furthermore, over the same,
5-year period, the organization is expected to generate revenue of
$120,651,449 based on the success of the organization’s counterparts
in Hong Kong and Singapore .Versacard is currently worth
approximately $569 Million.

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ATM Prepaid Card Dispensing Gets Traction

San Diego-based ATM processor and ISO ANI Advanced Network has teamed with AZ-based Better ATM Services to offer prepaid dispensing capabilities via ATMs. ATMs can dispense Better ATM’s specified media cards using existing equipment with no add-on devices. This means that the new technology enables existing ATM machines to dispense prepaid cards to their customers through offered cash trays. Better ATM Services’ technology offers one-stop shop convenience for the purchase of sporting and other event tickets, transit and amusement park passes, and a host of associated branded incentives and cross-marketing opportunities. ANI offers cost effective ATM driving and transaction switching, including PINless HTML web generated transactions.

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NFC TRIAL

A consortium of seven companies has launched a major consumer trial of near field communications technology for bus, tram and tube travel. About 500 London customers of mobile-network operator O2 will test the pros and cons of rolling out NFC technology commercially. Each participant will be given a “Nokia 6131” NFC handset and “O2 Wallet.” Barclaycard will credit GBP 200 to 225 of the participants. Transport for London, AEG, Barclaycard, Nokia, O2, TranSys and VISA are involved in the six-month test. If successful, a full scale roll-out will likely occur by the end of 2008.

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Insurance Agents to Market SmartChoice VISA

NC-based Worldwide Insurance Network and First USA have partnered to offer a rewards VISA card via 2,500 independent insurance agencies nationwide. The new “SmartChoice VISA Card with Flexible Rewards” will be offered by agents in 29 states enrolled in the “Smart Choice” program. Worldwide Insurance Network’s “Smart Choice” program provides agents with access to national insurance carriers’ products, as well as training, education, recognition and support. First USA, the agent banking division of Chase Bank USA, has been issuing credit cards on behalf of other financial institutions since 1987 and has a partner-branch network with more than 3,000 retail touch points.

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EUROZONE RETAIL PMI

The Bloomberg Eurozone Retail PMI has reported that retail sales
performance has declined in Germany, France and Italy for the
month of November. Namely, Germany’s retail sales fell from 48.6
to 43.6 on the PMI index, Italy’s index fell for the ninth consecutive
month from 48.0 to 45.3 while the French PMI index saw the smallest
rate of PMI decline from 47.3 to 48.8. The Bloomberg Eurozone
Retail PMI provides data for the European retail sector, compiled by
Bloomberg and NTC Economics. This compilation is composed of
figures on retail sales, performance against targets, inventories, prices
and employment using information from over 1,000 retail organizations
in Germany, France and Italy which represents 75% of the countries’
sales. Overall, the sales against targets index fell from 38.3 to 37.2,
prices and margins rose from 66.1 to 68.5, employment fell from 51.0
to 50.7 on the index while retailers’ buying and stock trends registered
a 19-month high surging from 53.9 to 55.8 on the PMI. Bloomberg’s
media services provide economic statistics to over 2,300 professionals
in over 130 bureaus worldwide.

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Discover Inks a 2nd Mall Gift Card Deal

Discover has inked another marketing deal to offer its gift cards through retail locations. Under terms of this week’s agreement, Discover will offer “Discover Gift Cards” and “Jones Lang LaSalle Mall Gift Cards” at 23 of Jones Lang LaSalle managed properties. The “Mall Gift Card” can be used at Jones Lang LaSalle managed properties where Discover cards are accepted and can be purchased for $2 in denominations from $20 to $500. “Discover Gift Cards” can be used both in and outside of the properties at any merchant that accepts Discover cards and can be purchased for $4.95 in denominations of $50 or $100. Discover plans to expand its gift card availability by adding more Jones Lang LaSalle managed malls throughout the year. In September Discover announced the availability of its “Gift Cards” at 35 General Growth Properties mall locations nationwide. General Growth Properties is the second largest U.S.-based publicly traded real estate investment trust and has a portfolio of approximately 200 regional shopping malls in 45 states. Jones Lang LaSalle Retail is the largest third-party shopping center manager with a portfolio of 150 regional malls, strip centers, power centers, lifestyle centers, ground-up development projects, mixed-use centers and transportation terminals across 31 states. (CF Library 9/5/07)

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CIBIL & TRANSUNION

The Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL) and TransUnion
have collaborated for the introduction of the “CIBIL TransUnion Score”,
the first credit score to be introduced in the country. The new scoring
system will aid creditors in gaging consumers’ creditworthiness using a
rationalized, 3-digit number. This development is in response to the
expanding number of credit options available to consumers throughout India
and the growing demand for a need to determine their eligibility. With
CIBIL
over 90 million credit files and a team of TransUnion analysts, the two
companies were able to develop a scoring technique for Indian consumers.
TransUnion is based in Chicago and currently employs over 4,000 across
30 countries.

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Vesdia and MXT to Enhance Affinity Cards

Atlanta-based Vesdia and DE-based MXT Card Services have teamed to offer rewards on affinity credit cards. Vesdia has built a loyalty platform that enables cardholders to receive merchant-funded rewards of up to 30% on purchases made through the Company’s online and offline merchant network. MXT Card Services, founded by former MBNA/BofA card executives, specializes in partner-branded affinity credit card programs. Vesdia says the integration of a merchant-funded rewards network and meaningful redemption options will lead to deeper relationships with cardholders, an increase in cardholder activation and usage. Vesdia’s loyalty programs include: “BabyMint,” “Stockback,” “NestEggz,” and “FundraiserRewards.” MXT is headed by Gregory Rigg. former Executive SVP at MBNA, who serves as President/CEO/Director.

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