Chase to Migrate to No-Envelope ATMs

Chase is deploying 900 no-envelope ATMs that can accept up to 30 checks per deposit in the first half of 2008 as part of its plan to upgrade or replace 5,000 deposit-taking ATMs by 2010. In the rollout’s first phase, Chase will deploy 600 multi-check ATMs from Wincor Nixdorf. Wincor Nixdorf, which has pioneered ATMs to handle stacks of checks, will also provide software for each of Chase’s 9,000 ATMs in 20 states. Chase also will install multi-check ATMs from NCR, Chase’s primary supplier, which also will provide the back-office software to process check images. In addition, Chase and NCR have joined forces to develop a next-generation ATM Monitoring platform. Customers can insert a stack of up to 30 checks or 50 bills of U.S. currency in the new ATMs without an envelope or deposit slip. The ATMs rapidly calculate the deposit and display images of the checks on both the screen and printed receipt, typically in less than 60 seconds.

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GIFT CARD SURVEY

Givex has released its National Gift Card Survey, conducted by SES
Research, showing re-loadable gift cards to be the most popular among
gift-givers for the approaching holiday season. Additional findings
show that 55% of Canadian consumers spend more than the value of the
card, 76% either give or receive gift cards for special occasions, 71%
like the concept for its convenience while 52% favor its flexibility.
Furthermore, 81% of woman have used gift cards at one point or another
while 10% of Canadians feel that the gift idea is too impersonal. Givex
processes closed loop card transactions across North America and
Europe.

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Asset Acceptance to Ring NASDAQ’s Bell Today

MI-based Asset Acceptance Capital will preside over today’s closing bell of the NASDAQ Stock Market. CEO Brad Bradley will be joined by Mark Redman, Senior Vice President-Finance and CFO; Rion Needs, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Deborah Everly, Senior Vice President and Chief Acquisitions Officer; and other members of Asset Acceptance’s executive management team. Asset Acceptance provides credit originators, such as credit card issuers, consumer finance companies, retail merchants, utilities and others an alternative in recovering defaulted consumer debt.

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BANK KERJASAMA ISLAMIC CARD

Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd is set to roll-out its Islamic
Credit Card for early 2008 and is projecting a resulting significant
growth in customer base, according to The Edge Daily. This growth in the
customer base is
projected to reach 50,000 new cardholders by 2009, which would
generate over RM1million in new profits, and 1million new users by
2013. Furthermore, Bank Rakyat expects to gain a 15% annual share
in Islamic banking assets over its current 20% annual share. The bank
currently has a 2% share of the country’s total banking assets.

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ADS to Issue the uTango Rewards VISA

WA-based Afiniti Ventures and Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems have partnered to introduce a co-branded VISA card that enables cardholders to earn more than $1 million in lifetime cash rewards. The “uTango VISA” will include the “uTANGO Life-Stage Rewards” program that pays members up to $800 per year and once married pays additional rewards up to $10,000 at 10 years, $100,000 at 20 years and $1 million at 30 years of program participation in the program for remaining married and patronizing uTANGO’s 300+ merchants. Membership in “uTANGO” is free and is open to singles, engaged couples and newlyweds married less than 3 years. Members who use the “uTANGO VISA” card will earn two points per dollar spent with program merchants and will “double dip” on points for purchases made online at uTANGO.com. All member purchases made with the “uTANGO VISA” at non-program merchants will earn one point per dollar spent. The “uTANGO” program was launched in November 2006.

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MONTISE AMERICAS

Montise Americas mobile banking has partnered with Metevante
technology to introduce the “Monitise Americas” services in the
United States. The new mobile service is integrated with the NYCE
Payments, which will deliver the service to customers, and is available
through mobile phone handsets over a secure network. Currently
implemented in the UK as “MONILINK”, “Monitise Americas” is
expected to take off in the U.S. considering the British counterpart is
available to over 33% of U.K. banking customers. Metavante
Technologies, parent company of Montise, provides banking service
technologies to over 8,600 organizations around the world.

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Starbucks Card Volume Tops $1B in 2007

Starbucks reported that its customers loaded and redeemed more than $1 billion on its card products this year. The coffee giant also recently introduced a personalization option for the “Starbucks Card” program. The new “My Customized Starbucks Card” program offers a choice of three different themes: “The Original”; “My Drink As Art”; and “My Story”. A fourth theme, “All Occasions” is also planned. Starbucks is providing the ability to design the new cards directly on its Web site, or by picking up a gift box in store that lets someone else do the designing. The new “My Customized Starbucks Card” is accepted in all Company-operated stores in the USA and Canada. In addition, it is accepted at nearly all licensed store locations in the USA. Also available this year are new holiday “Starbucks Card” designs. The “Starbucks Card” was launched in November 2001. In February 2003 the Company teamed with Bank One to launch the “Starbucks VISA Card.” In October 2003 the “Starbucks Card Duetto VISA” was launched which offered cardholders the ability to earn one percent back in “Duetto Dollars” that are automatically loaded on their “Starbucks Card Account” after each billing cycle. Starbucks has more than 6,500 Company-operated stores and about 3,800 licensed stores in the USA. The Company has more than 4,000 international locations and plans to add 2,500 more locations over the coming year. (CF Library 11/28/01; 2/21/03; 10/14/03)

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Consumer Confidence Erosion Continues

A national consumer confidence index eroded more in November after starting to decline over the summer. The “Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index” dropped to 87.3 in November from 95.2 in October. The CB says consumers’ apprehension about the short-term outlook is being fueled by volatility in financial markets, rising prices at the pump and the likelihood of larger home heating bills this winter. In fact, consumers’ inflation expectations have surpassed the spike experienced this spring. The number of consumers’ expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 13.9% last month to 16.7% in November. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s Equity Research Services yesterday said that it believes that holiday retail sales will be weighed down by continued housing weakness and high energy costs. However, increased online sales and gift card sales will help overall holiday spending to rise slightly. S&P says it believes that this year’s numerous high-profile product recalls will hurt companies in the toys sub-industry, and that home furnishing companies may also struggle. However, restaurants may benefit from holiday promotions, and consumers’ spending preferences may favor some luxury brands.

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ATM STUDY

The ATM markets in China and India are projected to maintain the
significant growth seen in the industry over the past 5 years. The current
number of units in both countries, at approximately 125,000, will reach
nearly 350,000 by the year 2010, according to the Celent research firm.
Celent credits this rapid development in the ATM industry to a correlating
developing retail banking & finance sector in conjunction with an increase
in buying power. With this increasing buying power, combined with the
cash-based societies of both China and India and a lacking presence of
customer bank outlets, comes an increase in demand for convenient
monetary access and an increasingly aggressive deployment of ATM units
to include mid-size cities, small cities and suburban regions. Celent
research
assists financial institutions in formulating strategic business and
technology
practice and publishes reports on trends in the financial services market.

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Pessimism Grows Among Small Biz Owners

Economic confidence among small business owners declined again in November for the fourth consecutive month, falling to its lowest point this year. The downshift was largely driven by increased pessimism over the U.S. economy as 68% of small business owners feel that economic conditions in the U.S. are getting worse, a jump from 59% in October and 20 points above November 2006. The “Discover Small Business Watch” index dipped to 93.2, down more than three points from October’s 96.8. However, Discover found that 38% of small business owners said they had experienced cash flow issues over the last 90 days, a decrease from 42% in October and 46% in September. The monthly Discover survey also gathered information about online shopping trends. Among findings: 95% of consumers who make online purchases at least once a month feel very or somewhat secure with their transactions; 75% of regular online shoppers said the cost of shipping has stopped them from making a purchase online; 50% of owners said their Web sites generate direct sales leads for their businesses; and 49% of business owners regularly communicate with customers via e-mail.

Discover Small Business Watch
Nov 06: 114.6
Dec 06: 109.7
Jan 07: 114.3
Feb 07: 113.4
Mar 07: 117.7
Apr 07: 110.3
May 07: 110.0
Jun 07: 102.5
Jul 07: 107.3
Aug 07: 102.4
Sep 07: 99.2
Oct 07: 96.8
Nov 07: 93.2
Source: Discover Business Card

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GLOBAL HOLIDAY SHOPPING

A comprehensive report on global holiday shopping has found that excluding Europe, Singaporeans will spend more online this holiday season than consumers in North America and Asia. The MasterCard survey also revealed that Australians will spend an average of US$685 overall this holiday season while Americans will shell-out an average of $610. UK-based APACS found that holiday spending among the British will top US$109 billion for an average of about US$1800. The report noted that anticipated spending is by far the lowest in Mexico at US$296. MasterCard also found that in the U.S., 26% of shoppers did not shop online last year for holiday gifts, but intend to this year. In Australia, it is 46% and New Zealand and Singapore are both at 41%. The MasterCard survey found that Singaporeans will spend US$290 online this holiday season, compared to $253 for the U.S. and US$251 in Australia. Additionally, consumers surveyed are interested in the idea of purchasing prepaid cards as gifts this holiday season. Half of the U.S. consumers surveyed and two in five in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand find the idea of purchasing gift cards “extremely” or “very appealing.”

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Kum & Go Now Accepting MasterCard PayPass

IA-based c-store chain Kum & Go is now accepting “MasterCard PayPass” at its more than 450 store locations. Kum & Go customers can quickly pay for their purchases by simply tapping their “PayPass”-enabled MasterCard card or device on a PayPass reader. “MasterCard PayPass” eliminates the need for customers to sign receipts for purchases under $25 further speeding up the transaction.

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