Diebold Intros Outsourcing Assessment Center

Diebold has launched the “Outsourcing Assessment Center,” an interactive tool that allows financial institutions to evaluate their current ATM channel against industry standards to learn how outsourcing can positively impact their bottom lines. The Assessment Center is self-driven, walking visitors through three simple questions designed to stimulate discussion about the time and resources dedicated to managing the ATM channel. Visitors can evaluate the resources of their ATM network, current operating environment, and activities and costs associated with the network. Diebold Integrated Services solutions are designed to promote cost savings, realize cost certainty and service consistency for financial institutions, allowing them to concentrate on customers.

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WaMu and Cardtronics in a TX ATM Deal

WaMu has inked an agreement with Cardtronics to place 310 branded ATMs in CVS/pharmacy stores in the Texas metropolitan areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. WaMu has 247 branches in Texas. This expansion through CVS/pharmacy brings the total number of ATMs in Texas at which WaMu customers can make fee-free withdrawals to 670, including 282 in Houston, 273 in Dallas/Fort Worth, 63 in San Antonio and 52 in Austin. At June 30, 2007, WaMu and its subsidiaries had assets of $312.22 billion. Cardtronics is the world’s largest owner/operator of ATMs with more than 31,000 locations.

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AmEx Adds Two Luxury Brands to First Collection

American Express has added Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo to “First Collection” for its “Platinum Card” and “Centurion Card” members enrolled in the “Membership Rewards First” program. Membership Rewards First is exclusively available for Platinum Card and Centurion Card members. Card members earn one point for virtually every dollar they spend on the Card, which they may redeem for hundreds of rewards across popular categories including retail, travel, dining and entertainment, experiences, and charitable donations. First Collection features 24 partners that offer an exclusive and rich array of more than 120 different luxury rewards in the categories of lifestyle, jewelry and watches, travel, fashion and premium wines. In addition to Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo, other First Collection partners include Baccarat, Bergdorf Goodman, Chopard, Davidoff Cigars and Accessories, Eos Airlines, Ermenegildo Zegna, Premier Cru Bordeaux Wines, IWC, Lamborghini, Mikimoto, Monarch Billiards, Montegrappa writing instruments, Neiman Marcus, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Pebble Beach Resorts, Piaget, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Relais & Chateaux’s Relais Gourmands Restaurants, The Ritz-Carlton, Steinway & Sons, and Tiffany & Co.

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Apollo to Add Green Dot Network & Products

CA-based Apollo Enterprise Solutions and Green Dot have entered into a strategic partnership to provide Apollo’s commercial clients with access to the “Green Dot Network”, a retail based cash acceptance network. With the Apollo relationship, Green Dot significantly expands the MoneyPak capabilities within the bill payment category. Utilizing a MoneyPak, consumers will be able to make payments on their accounts with Apollo clients through a payment gateway between Apollo’s web-based Intelligent Debt Solutions payment and collection system, which facilitates debtor self-payment and self-settlement, and the Green Dot Network. Apollo’s clients include primary creditors, collection agencies, debt buyers and legal recovery firms. Apollo clients will be able to provide individual payers with a convenient cash payment method using “Green Dot MoneyPak” universal acceptance product. “MoneyPak” is the leading product for loading cash onto prepaid cards, and can be used to make payments and add cash to accounts, available at more than 40,000 retailers nationwide, including Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS/Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Radio Shack and Kroger. Apollo Enterprise Solutions is a provider of web-hosted solutions for a variety of industries involved in receivables management and debt collections. Green Dot Corporation is a leading provider of retail-based financial services for America’s underserved community.

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Credit Card ABS Remains Fairly Stable

Despite a rise in delinquencies and charge-off rates in both prime and sub-prime segments year-over year, credit card ABS portfolio performance has remained generally stable. Rising personal bankruptcies are one of the primary reasons for higher delinquencies and losses on credit cards. Fitch Ratings says that significant liquidity constraints and deteriorating credit fundamentals in the sub-prime mortgage market have yet to make a meaningful dent in the rating performance of U.S. consumer ABS. However, over time there will be a modest deterioration in the performance of credit card, auto and student loan collateral due to increasing economic pressures. Fitch expects a slowdown in consumer spending as falling home prices, higher borrowing costs and volatile energy prices cause households to refrain from making big-ticket purchases.

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JCB Launches its Contactless J/Speedy

JCB and Union Bank of Taiwan have launched the first card with “J/Speedy” in the world. “J/Speedy” is JCB’s global standardized contactless payment solution. Union Bank is issuing the “Breeze Center JCB Card with the J/Speedy.” Union Bank has been issuing JCB cards and acquiring JCB card acceptance locations in Taiwan since 2002, and started issuing the “Breeze Center JCB Card” with the country’s most popular shopping mall in 2002. JCB and JCBI will continue promoting the “J/Speedy” contactless payment program in Taiwan and the rest of Asia, a market that has already seen the introduction of multiple international brand contactless payment programs, expanding both issuing of JCB brand cards with “J/Speedy” and merchant acceptance. In Japan, JCB rolled out the “QUICPay” contactless payment product in April 2005 based on Sony’s “FeliCa” chip specification, which is widely employed for contactless payment solutions such as public transportation fare systems and mobile phone applications in Japan.

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JULY DELINQUENCY

Credit card delinquency (60+ days) hit a twelve-month low in July and
has dropped for the fourth consecutive month. For July, delinquency in
the U.K. dipped to 3.6%, compared to 3.7% in the prior month and 3.8%
one-year ago. According to FitchRatings, delinquency reached a
historical high in April 2007 of 4.1%. Also, the “Fitch Charge-Off
Index” remained relatively stable in July, having dropped only 10 basis
points from the previous month, to 7.2%. The Fitch monthly payment rate
index grew to 18.5% in July, a month-on-month increase of 130 basis points.

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Consumer Confidence Takes a Ride in Aug

During August the number of consumers who said the economy was worsening increased from 58% to 62%. However, consumers remained relatively upbeat about their personal finances, rating them much higher than they rated the economy. According to the “Discover Consumer Spending Confidence Monitor”, consumer confidence hit a high of 96.8 the week ending August 8th, a low of 92.5 for the week ending August 15th and stood at 94.5 for the last week of the month. Sixty-five percent rated the economy as fair or poor. But, the outlook on the economy didn’t appear to slow spending in August as 84% of consumers said they spent the same or more than they did last month and 82% are expecting to spend the same or more next month. Just over 30% of consumers are expecting to spend more in the next month. This represents a 25% drop since the “Monitor’s” inception four months ago.

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VENDTEK & NETWORKIP

VendTek Systems and NetworkIP have signed a software license
agreement to provide U.S. customers with “e-Fresh” software. “E-Fresh”
electronically distributes prepaid products and services to customers, thus circumventing problems associated with physical cards such as the
cost of production, storage and theft. NetworkIP, creator of the software, processes over 2 million transactions daily and is connected to over 100
carriers worldwide providing a prepaid platform, prepaid long distance,
prepaid conferencing, and prepaid VoIP services. VendTek develops
and licenses automated transaction system software supporting
technologies for product delivery efficiency and with this agreement,
expects to launch 2,500 locations.

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Merchant Warehouse Explodes This Summer

Boston-based Merchant Warehouse, the first to offer a full suite of credit card processing services and equipment on the Internet in 1998, reports that its merchant account sales this summer are up 65% compared to one-year ago. In July the company added 1,399 merchant accounts, an 84% year-on-year increase. Merchant Warehouse says the key has been cutting out several intermediaries in the traditional sales process, thereby offering credit card processing software, POS equipment, and merchant services at a reasonable price over the Internet. The Company now serves over 50,000 merchants.

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FUNDSTECH & PROCARD

FundsTech Corp & ProCard Technologies have signed an alliance to
provide prepaid debit card solutions. With this development, ProCard
will market prepaid card solutions, promoting FundsTech Corp’s prepaid
payroll card, gift card and health card. This development has also
generated a backlog of prepaid cards in South Africa of over 1,100,000
cards for the 13 million unbanked South Africa consumers, with
projections of 800,000 new cards over the next 18 months. FundsTech
Corp provides prepaid debit cards to the over 1 billion working
population worldwide, a market estimated to generate revenue of $100
billion annually. Furthermore, FundsTech’s Cash Card provides remittance,a market estimated to be worth over $100 billion annually.

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iGift Print on Demand Kiosk Debuts

Gift card and customer loyalty program provider Smart Transaction Systems has partnered with MA-based Cruz Bay Solutions to offer the “iGift Print on Demand Kiosk”. The Kiosk enables customers in malls, sports venues, special events, and general retail locations to design, load, and print their own gift cards and choose from a large selection of stock photos, card designs, and colorful fonts stored in the machine. Customers can also import their own photos and edit them with options similar to a photo editing kiosk. Merchants may choose to place it within a store, or outside in high foot-traffic locations such as a mall. “The iGift Kiosk” also allows customers to make balance inquiries and to reload existing cards. Cruz Bay Solutions specializes in self-service gift card technology. Smart Transaction Systems provides card-based payment systems, customer loyalty and customer relationship management (CRM) programs to a wide variety of companies throughout the United States.

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