TRANSUNION & D&B PSAPL

TransUnion has acquired an equity stake in D&B Predictive Sciences
and Analytics Private Limited (D&B PSAPL) for undislosed terms. With
this acquisition, TransUnion will provide throughout Asia-Pacific
decisioning
services and IT services for the development of global generic and custom
model development. This is in addition to TransUnion’s contributions to
the development and maintenance of “CIBIL”, India’s first credit reporting
company and first generic scoring model. TransUnion provides consumer
reporting with the gathering, analyzing and delivering of information and
employs over 4,000 in more than 30 countries while Dun & Bradstreet
Predictive Sciences & Analytics Private Limited (D&B PSAPL) is a risk
management, predictive modeling & analytics technology solutions provider.

Regulation Hampers Branded Prepaid Growth

A new report has found that regulatory pressures represent the most significant challenge to branded prepaid card issuers. A majority of respondents also view finding an effective way to market prepaid cards a serious impediment to their success. Nevertheless, Boston-based Aite Group found that only a quarter of respondents were dissatisfied by their current performance in the prepaid card market. More than three-quarters of issuers focus on selling prepaid cards directly to consumers through their own channels and marketing efforts. About 44% focuses on issuing prepaid cards to employers and government agencies. While another sizeable group utilizes retailers’ stores as a distribution channel, 56% currently stay away from selling through that channel. AITE concluded that most branded prepaid card issuers lack an integrated distribution platform.

CPSB & ZHEJIANG

China Postal Savings Bank has opened a branch in Zhejiang
province, the 20th of provinces in which the bank’s services are now
available. In terms of deposits, CPSB is China’s 5th largest commercial
bank and has been approved by the China Banking Regulatory
Commission for the establishment of 34 branches and more than
20,000 sub-branches. Furthermore, CPSB has registered deposits of
over 1.7 trillion yuan.

CREDIT CARD VOLUMES

According to Lafferty Research, credit card use among Turkish
consumers has surged 523% since 2002 with a total volume of
$17.9 billion for 2007 and is showing no signs of slowing growth.
Additional findings show that total debt on credit cards account
for only 20% of consumer spending, affecting 36 million consumers
in 2007, up from 15 million in 2002. Given these findings, the
research group concludes that Turkey is now among the top ten
most profitable global card markets with profits of $1.8 billion in
2007. Lafferty Group’s Turkey research examines trends in the
Turkish consumer finance and the payment cards market.

FGB PLATINUM CARD

First Gulf Bank (FGB) has extended its partnership network to upgrade
its Platinum-card offering. The network enhancement now provides
Platinum customers with enhanced benefits including fuel cash back,
reward redemptions at malls and redemptions at UAE entertainment
centers. Also thanks to the network enhancement, FGB Platinum can
provide customers with discounts at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club,
the Emirates Golf Club, Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa and the Abu Dhabi
Golf Club by Sheraton, in addition to 2,400 golf clubs around the
world. The extension of the FGB Platinum Card network compliments
the worldwide acceptance of the Platinum Cards, which are currently
accepted at over 28 million establishments in 210 countries.

Pacifica Powers First Hawaiian Rewards

Pacifica Group has agreed to partner with First Hawaiian Bank to expand its “Priority Rewards Program.” All First Hawaiian Bank customers that have a Priority Rewards debit or credit card will earn bonus points when they shop at hundreds of local retailers and restaurants. Currently cardholders earn 1 point per dollar when using First Hawaiian’s Priority Reward credit card and 1 point per two dollars when using the bank’s Priority Rewards debit card. Points can be redeemed for air travel with no blackout dates, gift cards from local and national merchants as well as cash awards. First Hawaiian Bank holds assets of $12.5 billion.

ReadySTATION to Deliver CheckFreePay

Fiserv’s CheckFreePay has signed a deal for its walk-in bill payment service to be deployed at all “ReadySTATION” kiosks in the USA. The kiosks utilize the NCR “EasyPoint Xpress” kiosk platform, which enables easy integration of additional services. All integration of the “CheckFreePay Link” software is being handled securely without service interruption. The ReadySTATION allows consumers to purchase a fully functional “ReadyCARD Prepaid MasterCard”. With the integration of the CheckFreePay walk-in bill payment service, which securely transmits payment information directly to billing companies, consumers will also be able to pay bills with cash at any ReadySTATION. Bill payments made at a ReadySTATION can be processed the next business day for $2.50, or through standard three-business-day processing for $1.50. Stores already featuring ReadySTATION kiosks include Dollar Tree in Atlanta and Houston, Save-A-Lot in Milwaukee, selected stores in the SUPERVALU network, and convenience stores in Minneapolis/St. Paul and El Paso, Texas. Consumers can locate a ReadySTATION by visiting www.readycreditcorp.com.

LIVE MORE CREDIT CARD

In honor of Lent, The Methodist Church has introduced its “Buy Less:
Live More Credit Card” to encourage customers to spend less. With the
new card, consumers are reminded not to buy unnecessary goods and
services, leading to a subsequent increase in carbon offsetting and a
decrease in consumerism. Designed to fit in the user’s wallet, the “Buy
Less: Live More Credit Card” is to be placed in front of other credit
cards as a reminder for this cause, rather than as a contributor against it,
and cannot be used for purchases of any kind. Experts responsible for the
card design say the new solution will allow users to reconsider priorities
and weigh the differences between their wants and needs.

Incentives/Training Drive Agent Card Sales

Even though the vast majority of all portfolio sale deals last year included an agent credit card program going forward, the performance of the agent relationship is dependent on how well trained and aggressive the agents are. A new analysis reveals that “weak performers” that offer no card sales incentives for the retail branch sales staff produce less than 72 accounts per year per branch while “Best in Class” performers generate more than 144 accounts per year per branch. Seasoned agent bank/credit union specialist R.K. Hammer also found that a branch turning in the bottom tier of performance generally promoted other retail products over credit cards. “Medium Performers” were characterized by 84 to 96 new accounts per year per branch; some incentives for branch personnel, but distribution often discretionary by the branch manager; better reporting down to the employee level, and continuous emphasis on card sales. The “Best in Class” peer group offered a wide variety of cash, gift, and trip incentives; excellent monthly reporting; continuous training and retraining, not only on its own products, but competitors as well; had a major focus on aggressive activation of new accounts.

GLOBAL POWERS OF RETAIL

According to the new Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu report, the “2008 Global
Powers of Retail”, Chinese and Russian retailers have made the top 250
largest retailers in the world for the first time. Compiled in
conjunction with
STORES magazine, the report’s findings show that among these retailers,
China’s Bailian Group ranked 101 on the list while Russia’s X5 Retail Group
N.V. was ranked 191. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., however, remained the
world’s largest retailer with the Carrefour Group coming in at a distant
second
place. Furthermore, the overall total sales for all 250 retailers rose
to $3.25
trillion in fiscal 2006, up 8% from the year prior, with an average net
profit
of 3.6 %. Deloitte provides services and advice in over 140 countries,
through
over 150,000 advisors around the world, to over 80% of the world’s
largest companies.

AIB MERCHANT SERVICES

The joint venture between Allied Irish Banks and First Data for payment card services has been cleared by the European Commission. In November AIB and FDC signed agreements to launch a joint venture to provide merchant acquiring and payment card processing in Ireland, the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. The new firm will be called AIB Merchant Services. This will provide for enhanced functionality for AIB’s 30,000 merchant customers and offer merchant services to enable expansion of the bank’s card acquiring. AIB’s card acquiring businesses is projected to conduct 140 million and 13 million transactions, respectively, before the beginning of 2008. Both companies will participate in daily operations of the venture and have a presence on the board of directors.