Affinion Revenues Up 4.5% in 4Q/08

Affinion posted net revenues for the fourth quarter of $351.6 million, a 4.5% gain over 4Q/07. Membership products revenue increased $14.3 million, or 8.5% for the fourth quarter. Insurance and Package products revenue increased $3.6 million, or 4.0% for the fourth quarter.
Loyalty products revenue increased $3.2 million, or 18.4% for the quarter. International revenue declined $6.3 million, or 10.1%, over the fourth quarter of 2007. For complete details on Affinion’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData ([](

4Q/07: $336.6 million
1Q/08: $339.2 million
2Q/08: $354.3 million
3Q/08: $364.8 million
4Q/08: $351.6 million
Source: CardData (

Costco Deploys More Cardtronics ATMs

Warehouse club retailer Costco has extended its ATM placement agreement with TX-based Cardtronics. With this expansion Cardtronics ATMs will now
be available in 97% of the over 400 Costco warehouse locations in the
USA. Cardtronics, the world’s largest non-bank ATM operator, has enjoyed
a long-standing ATM placement agreement with Costco which currently
operates 550 warehouses.

Survey Says Teens: Financially Knowledgeable

A new survey from Mintel shows 79% of teens consider themselves
knowledgeable about financial matters. But the Federal Reserve’s 2008
test of high school seniors resulted in an average financial literacy
score of 48%, four percentage points lower than 2006’s average score of
52%. Eighty percent say they would like to learn more about investing.
Moreover, approximately half express favorable attitudes towards saving
and say they are careful about spending. Prepaid cards such as the “Visa
Buxx” or “MasterCard Myplash” are another hot item to market to teens,
reports Mintel Comperemedia. These cards work like credit cards but only
contain a fixed value, allowing parents to monitor spending.


Self service payment provider Postilion has teamed with India-based
Prizm Payments to implement a Postilion payments processing platform.
Prizm Payments
provides secure payments services for financial institutions, retailers,
and service providers, across multiple electronic channels.
Prizm Payments identified an opportunity to offer innovative ATM and
POS services to
financial institutions and retailers. Postilion allows Prizm Payments to
establish a
world-class ATM and POS network across India. Prizm Payments will
introduce a comprehensive payments services infrastructure to India,
comprising of retail ATMs, POS services, third-party maintenance
services, and prepaid card services. Prizm Payments is
led by a management team with extensive experience in the payments
industry and with Sequoia
Capital as a financial investor and was created to develop a
self-sufficient nation-wide modern payments ecosystem for financial
institutions, retailers and service providers. Postilion is a leading
provider of integrated solutions for self-service banking and payment
processing that drive self-service
financial transactions and payments, including advanced transactions
such as prepay, through Internet access points, ATMs, POS
terminals,phones and for more than 100,000 ATMs and 500,000 POS
terminals worldwide.

Monitise/Metavante Launch Text Message Banking

Monitise Americas and Metavante have introduced text message banking services. Metavante is the first provider to deploy the new technology from Monitise Americas. The integration of Metavante payments solutions — including bill pay, prepaid and the NYCE Network — with its mobile financial services creates a clear line of sight to mobile payments and commerce. This type of integration also creates the benefit of making mobile services available to virtually all account holders at a financial institution.

America First CU Shows Prepaid Card Success

UT-based America First Credit Union has renewed its prepaid gift card partnership with IA-based The Members Group. America First sold nearly 26,000 gift cards in 2008. Since becoming a TMG client in 2006, America First Credit Union has been able to offer its membership customizable picture cards within its gift card program. America First is the 12th largest credit union in assets in the USA with $4.4 billion in assets. TMG’s core products include credit, debit, ATM and a variety of prepaid solutions, as well as online reporting, item processing, ACH and ALM and services.

Virgin Money Wants to Unlock Social Lending

Virgin Money has teamed with the campaign to raise awareness about available and alternative sources of credit for consumers and businesses. The campaign provides a platform where credit-worthy consumers can find lending alternatives with the help of two leading social lending networks, Virgin Money and Lending Club, and other consumer-friendly personal finance companies. Virgin Money is a pioneer in social lending – personal loans between people that know each other – and has originated close to $400 million in social loan volume. The role of Virgin Money is to formalize service and automate the loan process.

PayPal Offers the New Guard Dog Service

Identity protection service Guard Dog is now available through PayPal.
PayPal is Guard Dog’s newest addition to its
continuing expansion of consumer payment processing methods. The move is
in response to more sophisticated payment methods dictated by today’s
expanding consumer client base.With
PayPal, Guard Dog customers can utilize direct bank transfers, debit
card, or credit card payment transactions. The utilization of PayPal
payment transactions represents a significant and largely untapped
revenue streams for Guard Dog’s identity protection services.


The MasterCard Foundation has invested $9 million for two new programs to expand savings initiatives in Tajikistan and
Rwanda with Aga Khan Foundation Canada and CARE Canada. These programs will strengthen and create
innovations within the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model,
benefiting approximately 900,000 people in remote communities, many of whom
live on less than $2 a day. VSLAs are self-managed savings groups that receive no external funding.
The accumulated savings within each group is made available in small
loans to members. Each group sets its own rules about membership, savings and loans.
Over the next five years, Aga Khan Foundation Canada will adapt and
introduce VSLAs to the mountainous regions of Tajikistan, benefitting more
than 350,000 people. Concurrently, over the next three years, CARE will found new VSLAs in
Rwanda, where 37 percent of the population is too poor to meet even their
basic nutritional needs. This $4 million program – $2 million from The
MasterCard Foundation and $2 million from the Canadian International
Development Agency – will allow some 540,000 people to build sustainable
livelihoods with access to financial resources they never had before.

Pipeline Data Completes Restructuring

Payment processor Pipeline Data has completed restructuring agreements
with convertible noteholders and holders of a $16 million put claim.
Under the terms of the transaction, the current $37 million, 8% coupon
convertible notes due June 29, 2010 have been restructured to a $42.1
million loan, with a 10% coupon until June 30, 2010 and a 14% coupon
until June 30, 2011. The Company has the option to extend the notes for
an additional year until June 30, 2012, at its sole discretion. As
restructured, all convertible equity features have been removed from the
notes and all 11.1 million detached full-ratchet warrants have been
terminated. ComVest Investment Partners III, an affiliate of the ComVest
Group, led
the $15 million initial investment in cash for the purposes of
restructuring the balance sheet and acquiring new merchant account
portfolios and other operating companies. As part of the investment, the
Company has issued Pipeline Holdings, LLC a $15 million face amount
preferred convertible stock instrument convertible into Common Stock of
the Company at 12.2 cents per share with a 16% payment-in-kind (PIK).
In addition, the put right on 9,398,058 shares of Pipeline Data’s Common
Stock held by the former shareholders of, Inc., which was
redeemable for almost $16 million with interest accruing at 18%, has
been settled in full for $2 million in cash and the return of the name with related domain rights. The 9,398,058 shares of
Pipeline Common Stock have been returned to the Company and will be

Credit Union Portfolio Sales Slip in 08

Credit card portfolio sales for credit unions have continued to decline
substantially. In 2008 about 22 portfolios with balances of about $100
million sold versus about 70 portfolios with $390 million in
outstandings in 2007, representing a roughly 75% reduction in portfolio
sales. OR-based AssetExchange says that fourth quarter data suggests
that only two credit unions with credit card portfolios larger than $1
million sold their portfolios during the quarter, with a combined
balance of roughly $3 million. In the fourth quarter of 2007, about 16
portfolios with about $110 million in combined balances were sold.
Outstanding balances grew 8.5% between December 2007 and December 2008
to $32.3 million. The firm says card accounts grew 2% over the same
period to 12.2 million and that credit card penetration remained
approximately flat in the fourth quarter of 2008 at 18%.