Renewing their partnership agreements, Citi and Vodafone have teamed
to launch the “Citi Vodafone One VISA”. With this new card, the
partnership organizations are offering a free-of-charge option to
accumulate 1 “Vodafone One” point for each EUR20 spent, 100
points awarded immediately upon activation, insurance coverages
including “Theft and Loss” and “Security Purchases”, and the “Citi
Alerting Service,” affording the user 24-hour account updates. Citi
provides financial products and services through its nearly 200 million
customer accounts across more than 100 countries.


The Alliance Data’s credit card subsidiary, “World Financial Network
National Bank,” has established financing for $600 million in credit-card-
asset-backed-bonds with the help of Barclays Financing. These afore-
mentioned bonds are set to mature in the spring of 2008, which will be
88% funded by the new facility and 12% by the combination of cash, CDs
and investors, and will be accommodated for by the company’s liquidity.
Alliance Data manages over 120 million consumer relationships
across North America and employs over 9,000 individuals at 60 locations

AmEx Travel Reports a Cruise Boost

American Express Travel Cruise Specialists have noted a growth in customers booking cruises, especially for trips to the Middle East and Vietnam Among the growing number of first-time cruisers, Cruise Specialists report an increase especially among multi- generational families, young couples/newlyweds, young families with children, and people looking to “test-drive” or sample destinations via a cruise before planning an entirely land-based vacation there. Cruise Specialists report that interest in luxury cruising is similarly on an upswing, helped no doubt by the lavish onboard amenities and opportunities for private and customized experiences available on the luxury cruise lines. The top 5 luxury amenities requested are suite upgrades, private butler service, gourmet chefs, expert lecturers and private pools and balconies.


China Minsheng Bank has bought 5.4 million shares of stock in UCBH
Holdings, at $17.79 per share, for a total transaction worth $95.7 million
and the first phase of 9.9%-20% acquisition. The second phase of the
development will result in a 9.9% acquisition of UCBH at a share
premium of up to 5.0% above the average. Decisions regarding the
possibility of further acquisition will be made thereafter by Minsheng Bank,
which has a market capitalization of $27.6 billion and total assets of
$125.9 billion while UCBH had $11.80 billion in assets with the closing
of 4Q07.


Standard Chartered has launched its ‘Gold Business Credit Card’,
co-branded with Singapore Airlines, to provide cardholders with a
flexible rewards program. The program, known as “KrisFlyer”, is
provided by Singapore Airlines and converts Business Rewards
to “KrisFlyer” reward miles, offers preferential rates and discounts
on various products and services. This partnership allows card
members to benefit from such perks as a discount membership to
Best Western Hotels, which has over 4100 hotels across the World,
20% discounts with DHL, a 20% discounts with Emirates Trading
Establishment, 15% Xerox discounts, 12% discount with CADD
Emirates and up to 40% discounts with Thrifty Car Rental.


To support its co-branded “enJoy Card”, Hang Seng Bank has deployed
Verifone Contactless Solutions. Co-branded with Jardine Matheson
retailers, the “enJoy Card” will be utilizing VISA’s “payWave” contactless
payment technology over VeriFone’s EMV-certified “QX110” contactless
reader for contactless payment solutions across a range of retail sectors.
VeriFone Holdings provides secure electronic payment solutions for retail
merchants around the world.


INSIDE Contactless has introduced the “MicroPass 4000” contactless microprocessor platform for the U.S. market. The new product has been built upon the “MicroPass L4-1G” and “L4-2G” products,
which have been utilized by more than 25 issuers to deploy more than 35
million cards in 2006 and 2007. The “MicroPass 4000” intelligent payment
platform was designed to optimally meet the high-volume, multi-payment
brand and multi-application requirements of the U.S., Canadian and other
contactless payment markets. The “MicroPass 4002” supports the “Discover
Zip” contactless payment application, while the dual-brand “MicroPass 4003” supports both MasterCard and VISA contactless payment applications. INSIDE also offers the “MicroPass SDK” to card manufacturers, terminal manufacturers, personalization bureaus, systems integrators, and issuers with in-house application development staff. The “MicroPass SDK” helps developers create retailer loyalty, transit, access, and simple ID applications, and incorporate those applications onto a MicroPass-enabled contactless payment card.

Capitol CU Joins TNB’s Rewards2U Program

Austin-based Capitol Credit Union has moved its card processing to TNB Card Services to build the portfolio through TNB’s superior products, marketing, and rewards. Capitol CU wants to strengthen its rewards program through TNB’s “Rewards2U” loyalty program, along with stronger promotions than its former processor could provide and variable rate pricing. TNB’s portfolio consulting team is also working with Capitol CU to provide expert guidance on setting up the new program to achieve maximum value to the credit union and its members. Capitol CU has 15,000 members and assets of $90 million.


Access to the City of Manchester stadium is expected to take on a
different meaning with the introduction of the reloadable MasterCard
“Tap&Go” PayPass pilot. The recently launched pilot will be available
to 3,500 season ticket holders in the North Stand Level 2 and, in
addition to stadium access, the “Tap&Go” solutions will be accepted
for transaction purchases of under GBP10 at various in-stadium
merchants. When customers’ card devices register with merchants’
“PayPass” reader, transactions are completed requiring reduced
queuing times. The UK reflects a strong market for the “PayPass”
solution with GBP200 billion per annum of transactions less than
GBP10. Moreover, “PayPass” had 23 million devices circulating for
use at over 95,000 merchant locations with the conclusion of 4Q07.

Chase Boosts Financial Literacy Grants

Chase Card Services is donating an additional $1.3 million through its Financial Literacy Grant Program. Chase’s Financial Literacy Grant Program, now in its third year, gives consumers greater access to information, credit counseling services and the support resources that they need to take control of their finances and improve their financial health and stability. With its donation this year, Chase has provided $3.9 million in the past three years to more than 90 organizations. The nationwide program is part of the ongoing commitment by Chase to support financial education and literacy for people of all ages.


Integri and CETECOM ICT have announced a joint collaboration
dedicated to the testing of German Network Service Providers(NSP).
This partnership allows testing of German NSPs’ data exchange and
connections to acquirers for ensured optimal functioning and the
provision of cardholders with approval/declination at the point
of purchase. Approved by the German Bank Association, Zentraler
Kreditausschuss (ZKA), CETECOM’s “GICC NSP Testing” PC-based tool
will be used to test acquiring host functionality over its host
simulator, providing over 1,000 test scenarios. The testing solution
operates over Integri’s “INQ platform” for customization and future