VERIFONE ISTS

Verifone Holdings has introduced its VeriFone “Integrated Systems
Professional Services” organization and delivery agreement with
ISTS Worldwide delivery corporation. The new service solution has
been implemented for the expansion of the company’s retail IT
delivery capabilities, software and integration. ISTS Worldwide
provides retail and payment solutions and a track record of dealing
with Veifone and customers. Additionally, this partnership will
expand the company’s services capabilities and product integration. ISTS
Worldwide software development provides various retail & payment
technology verticals and allows organizations to maximize profitability
while
VeriFone Holdings provides secure electronic payment solutions to
merchants, processors and acquirers around the world.

DIBL & SUNGARD

Dawood Islamic Bank Ltd (DIBL) has deployed the Sungard “System Access
Customer Service Manager” for the provision of Internet banking solutions.
The solution is designed to provide safe, affordable Shariah-compliant
retail
banking services to allow consumers access to bank services, including
online
payments and financing facilities. Additionally, “System Access Customer
Service
Manager” provides customer information to integrate with back-end
systems and
helps customer retention with integrated marketing campaigns. Dawood
Islamic
Bank initiated operations with an initial capital of 2 billion rupees,
currently has
5 branches in operation and is planning to establish 20 branches throughout
Pakistan for 2008. SunGard has an annual revenue of over $4 billion and
serves more than 25,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Plummets in January

A monthly barometer has found that consumer sentiment plummeted in January driven by rising food prices and fuel costs coupled with declining housing values. The decline in the overall “Index” has pushed the index to its lowest level since data collection began in 2002. The composite “RBC CASH Index” for January 2008 stands at 56.3, compared to 65.9 in December and 95.3 one-year ago. The “RBC Expectations Index” for January dropped more than eight points after rebounding in December. The “RBC Current Conditions Index” slipped again this month reaching 78.9, down 6 points from December’s level, and down 22 points from October’s high. The “RBC Jobs Index” also dipped to 106.9, compared to 113.9 in December. The “RBC Investment Index” was down another three points to 76.3, compared to 79.7 last month. RBC Financial Group says its research shows no slowing of current economic headwinds and that consumers could pull back further on spending, increasing the risk of a recession.

RBC INDEX HISTORICAL
Jan 07: 95.3
Feb 07: 103.0
Mar 07: 92.3
Apr 07: 85.4
May 07: 87.1
Jun 07: 81.4
Jul 07: 76.1
Aug 07: 89.3
Sep 07: 71.1
Oct 07: 80.6
Nov 07: 64.0
Dec 07: 65.9
Jan 08: 56.3
Source: RBC Financial Group

AmEx Q4 Charge-Offs Rise 80bps Over 4Q/06

Credit card-related stocks took a hit yesterday after American Express reported that delinquencies and charge-offs rose during December as cardholder spending slowed. Earlier in the day Capital One reported that November showed a strong uptick in delinquencies and charge-offs. AmEx reported that delinquencies in its managed U.S. lending portfolio increased to approximately 3.2% in the fourth quarter from 2.9% in the third quarter, and that the charge-off rate in this portfolio increased to 4.3% from 3.7% for the same periods. Charge-offs for AmEx one-year ago stood at 3.5% according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). Cardholder spending rose about 16% for the fourth quarter but the growth trailed off to 13% in December with particular weakness in U.S. billings. As a result, AmEx will take a pre-tax charge of approximately $440 million for the fourth quarter. This charge will raise worldwide lending reserves to one hundred percent of past-due loans and increase reserves related to the charge card portfolio. AmEx also is projecting worldwide billed business growth of approximately 8% to 10% for 2008. Charge-off levels in the managed U.S. lending portfolio are projected to average 5.1% to 5.3% for the full year. Capital One reported that its charge-off ratio for U.S. Cards climbed to its highest level in more than four years during November. Delinquency (30+ days) for its U.S. Cards also increased to its highest point since June 2003. (CF Library 1/10/08)

AMEX U.S. CHARGE-OFFS
4Q/06: 3.5%
1Q/07: 3.7%
2Q/07: 3.7%
3Q/07: 3.7%
4Q/07: 4.3%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

Rent-A-Center to Deploy NCR ECRs

Rent-A-Center has partnered with Diebold to install seven “Diebold Express Cash Recyclers” as part of an agreement by which Rent-A-Center will purchase 500 units through the next two and a half years. The cash recyclers automatically count, authenticate and securely safeguard cash deposited by clients. That same cash is later dispensed for customer cash withdrawals. Diebold teamed with Arcatech Systems, a supplier of transaction automation components, to design and manufacture ECRs to penetrate the teller market with an automated recycling solution specifically designed for North America.

CardFlash Looks Back to April 2007

First Data signs a deal to be acquired by an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for about $29 billion. MasterCard launches a “MasterCard Nearby” service trial that allows MasterCard cardholders to use their mobile phones to access information on ATM and merchant locations, driving directions, rewards, special offers, etc. Discover renames the “Discover Platinum Card” as the “Discover More Card” and the “Discover Gas Card” as the “Discover Open Road Card.” Marshall & Ilsley confirm plans to split Marshall & Ilsley and Metavante into independent public companies. Wells Fargo launches the “Wells Fargo Home Rebate VISA.” AL-based Coca-Cola Bottling Company United begins equipping its vending machines with USA Technologies’ “e-Port G6” to accept “MasterCard PayPass” contactless payments as well as traditional magnetic stripe credit card payments. Affinion Group acquires CA-based CardCops, a specialist in ID theft protection, data monitoring and analysis technology solutions. VISA USA publishes its new interchange rates online that are effective April 14th. OR-based Chockstone has acquired MA-based Peppercoin, a small payments technology company providing card-based merchant loyalty programs and related consulting and analytical services. First Data confirms plans to acquire FundsXpress, a provider of online banking and bill payment services for consumers and small businesses. Wells Fargo becomes the first U.S. financial institution to make clean, renewable energy reward options available to its cardholders. Discover Network announces plans to roll-out “Discover ZIP,” its contactless payment solution. The U.S. House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on “Credit Card Practices: Current Consumer and Regulatory Issues.”

TXT2GO

Travelers with Go North East can now purchase tickets with the new
“txt2go” solution. The new solution affords travelers a mobile
phone digital ticket almost immediately after purchase,
eliminating the need for customers to carry cash. Furthermore, with
“txt2go”, tickets can be ordered anytime and anywhere by sending the
appropriate text to a specified number. The initial step for establishing
an account requires customers to establish an on-line account at Go
North East’s website to allow funds to be added using a debit or credit
card. This will generate a funds pool for the purchasing of tickets. The new
solution is made possible thanks to the partnership with international IT
services, Atos Origin and Swiftpass.

Apex Merchant Solutions Launches eChecks

NY-based Apex Merchant Solutions has introduced eChecks for its merchant clients, charging a 1.5% to 2.0% per transaction fee. Other features of eChecks include user authentication, age verification a reduced liability window for charge backs, and 60 days for checks, compared to 180 days for credit cards. In addition to saving as much as 50% per transaction, eChecks also provides access to an estimated 10 million online households without a credit card, thus providing an additional revenue flow for the merchant. Apex creates payment processing solutions for retail, e-commerce, restaurant, professional and mobile businesses.

JALCARD

Japan Airlines is considering corporate shareholders for a possible
majority stake in its “JALCARD” credit card division. Among the 5
companies, down from 10, being considered to purchase the division
shares are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Credit Saison Co.,
Mitsubishi Corp. and U.S. investment fund TPG. Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group and Credit Saison, however, are projected to win
consideration, which will ultimately be determined at the second round
of bidding before April of 2008. JALCARD currently has nearly 1.9
million cardholders with a total transaction volume of 1,650.5 billion
yen in 2006.

Fortress Financial Acquires Moneyworx

FL-based Fortress Financial Group, a shell corporation, has acquired Moneyworx, a reseller of U.S. domestic and international MasterCard debit cards. The Company plans on launching its own “Fortress” branded International Debit Card this year and will focus its energies on cardholder acquisition through an extensive marketing campaign and the use of Internet Marketing technologies. The Company’s Management has spent extensive time in ensuring that the new web site contains exhaustive information and it is expected the site will go live very shortly.

PUDONG & CITI

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank is proposing Citigroup raise
its investment stake for 2008. Citigroup currently holds 3.8% share
in Pudong Development Bank and is given the option to up this
figure to 19.9%, primarily for the credit-card and corporate
governance divisions. The bank is projecting annual loans of just
over CNY80 billion for 2008, similar to the 2007 figure, however,
with a lower rate of 15%. Furthermore, the bank’s 2007 net profit
was CNY5.5 billion, up 64% from the 2006 figure, and currently has
nearly 370 branches throughout China.