Citibank Launches the Swipe & Drive Program

Citibank has launched a new product that will enable Citibank
credit card holders to get instant approvals for auto loans. Citibank is rapidly expanding its auto lending business across the country. With the “Swipe & Drive” product, customers can pay their 10% down payment through their credit card and get an instant auto loan for up to 90% of the value of the car. Citibank has also recently reduced its interest rates and has extended loan tenors up to six years.

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FreeStar Technology Revenues Fall 24% in 3Q/06

Dublin-based FreeStar Technology reports that third quarter revenue decreased by approximately 24% to $461,860, due to decreased
consulting and development fees at the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary
Rahaxi Processing Oy. However, the Company’s core transaction processing business generated a 12% increase in activity for the quarter, as the total number of transactions processed rose to approximately 4,917,000 transactions during the quarter. The Company’s net loss was $2,470,221, an increase of $1,533,191 or approximately 164% compared to a net loss of $937,030 for the comparable period of the prior year. For complete details on Freestar’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Labrador Liquor and Ernex Launch the NLC Gift Card

Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor have launched a new gift card
program. Technology for the program is provided by Ernex, which is a division of Canada’s largest payment processor, Moneris Solutions. “NLC Gift Cards” can be purchased and redeemed at any of the 24 NLC Liquor Stores throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and are also redeemable at all of our 112 Liquor Express Stores. The cards are available in $10, $25 and $50 denominations. They are activated and processed through a combined debit/credit/gift card payment processing terminal provided by Moneris. Data from Ernex finds gift card redemption amounts in the last week of December through the end of January are almost 300% higher than the redemption amounts in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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CSU CardSystem Signs Card Deal with Banco Panamericano

CSU CardSystem reported two developments with material impact on its businesses in the area of the implementation of the “Caixa” project in February and the signing of Banco Panamericano. The total migration process of the card base of Caixa Economica Federal to CSU foresees the installation and management of card-processing applications in CAIXA’s technological environment, followed by the provision of CSU’s full service model (card processing, call center, credit analysis and collection). Banco Panamericano contracted CSU for the implementation of a new project connected to Bau Crediario, the return of Grupo Silvio Santos to the retail sector. The product issued by Banco Panamericano, a co-branded credit card with the VISA logo, may be used in the Group’s 40 points of sale, as well as in establishments in the VISA network.

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Gen X and Boomers Show a Lack of Store Loyalty

New research shows that “Gen X” and “Boomers” don’t have any clear store preferences or loyalty when it comes to holiday shopping. The only store where “Gen X” say they plan to shop at a significantly higher level than “Boomer” and “Silent/GI” generations was Apple/iTunes. When compared to “Gen Y” and “Gen X,” no stores stood out among “Boomers” choices of where they planned to shop. The study, by Maritz, also found that 42% of “Silent/GIs” say they will not give gift cards, compared to a higher percentage of “Gen X” and “Boomers.” Maritz says based on buying behaviors “Gen Y” is typically a prime target for retailers because of their affinity for fashion and impulse buying.

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OTI Revenues Slip in Q3 Due to U.S. Contactless Market

Rosh Pina-based On Track Innovations posted revenues for the third quarter of $8.0 million, a 34% decline over the same period of last year. The Company says the decrease in revenues represents the effects of the protracted evaluation and validation period in the U.S. contactless payment cards market. During the quarter, OTI acquired most of SuperCom’s Assets; demonstrated a contactless reader solution with veriFone at Cartes; provided USA Technologies next generation contactless payment readers with initial orders for 10,000 readers; signed ‘Yellow’ Convenience Stores to distribute and add loading infrastructure for “EasyPark.” Also, Chevron selected OTI’s “EasyFuel” as its petroleum payment and automated fuel management solution and Garanti Bank of Turkey picked OTI for contactless card solutions. For complete details on OTI’s third quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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State Governments Slow to Move to Debit Cards

The EFTA has released a white paper and survey on the use of debit cards by state governments which shows that most states have yet to convert such likely payments as unemployment compensation or employee payroll to debit cards. The survey of over 1,000 government agency managers shows that the use of debit cards is prevalent in a few types of payments, but that states and local governments continue to use checks for many other disbursements. By surveying current payment practices and focusing on the legal and regulatory issues facing card adopters, “Debit and Stored Value Cards for Government” identifies areas for growth in this emerging payment segment, said Helwig. The Electronic Funds Transfer Association (www.efta.org) is a 29-year-old professional association of organizations dedicated to the advancement of electronic payment systems and commerce.

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AssetExchange Facilitates Six CU Card Sales

OR-based AssetExchange has represented six credit unions in the sale of credit card portfolios and the establishment of card issuing partnerships including Heritage CU of Madison, WI; Focus One Community CU of Monrovia, CA; HealthAmerica CU of Jacksonville, FL; Trona Valley Community FCU of Green River, WY; Tri-Co FCU of Randolph, NJ; and, Eastern New York FCU of Napanoch, NY. AssetExchange conducted performance assessments for each credit card portfolio and provided counsel to each credit union in determining whether a portfolio sale was the best strategic option. AssetExchange represented each credit union’s interests in obtaining, reviewing, and negotiating offers to ensure that each received fair compensation and favorable partnership terms. AssetExchange is a leading credit card advisory and brokerage firm for financial institutions. Services include credit card portfolio brokerage, performance assessments, and market valuations.

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LitFunding Acquires CardMart Plus USA

Las Vegas-based LitFunding has acquired CardMart Plus USA which offers the “Billetera-e Maestro Card,” an international pre-paid card. According to the letter of intent, CardMart Plus and LitFunding will enter into a series of transactions whereby LitFunding will acquire CardMart Plus in exchange for a controlling interest in LitFunding, pursuant to the terms of a merger transaction that will be detailed in a subsequent, more definitive agreement. In addition, CardMart Plus will acquire 8 million shares held by Morton Reed, CEO of LitFunding. Further, CardMart Plus has agreed to fund $300,000 to Easy Money Express. CardMart Plus will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LitFunding, with the management of CardMart Plus in control. LitFunding, until recently, has specialized in the funding of litigation, through its wholly owned subsidiary LitFunding USA.

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VDK Spaarbank to Distribute VASCO’s Digipass 810

VDK Spaarbank has agreed to distribute VASCO’s “Digipass 810” unconnected smart card reader to all its online users. VDK Spaarbank’s e-customers will use “Digipass 810” in conjunction with the VDK debit smart card for e-banking and e-commerce. VDK Spaarbank is a medium sized bank in Flanders-Belgium, providing all round services from about 100 offices. VDK Spaarbank is among the pioneer banks to participate in the e-commerce project of Banksys, which allows payment by debit smart cards for online purchases. To pay online, the customer needs his debit card, the card number, the expiration date of the debit card and his Digipass to identify himself. A growing number of Belgian e-commerce websites use this online payment system.

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BofA Survey Finds Checkout Lines to Long

According to a new survey conducted by Braun Research and Bank of America, consumers spend an average of four hours and 35 minutes shopping at retail stores during the holiday season. Nearly one-third of that time is reportedly spent waiting in checkout lines. The research also found that more than 80% of Americans report shopping online, but, only 65% bank online. Despite their best efforts, many people experience a “financial hangover” once the holiday season is over. Over a third of respondents admit to going over budget when it comes to holiday purchases, yet 39% claim they always budget for the holidays, and 35% claim they sometimes do. Women spend 50% more time budgeting for the holidays than men. To promote online shopping and banking BofA has hired Robyn Spizman, well known in the Atlanta area, as a gift-giving and how-to expert.

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