World Debit MasterCard Adds Another Issuer

Since its launch in March, the “World Debit MasterCard” has gained momentum. The new card offers an extensive rewards, savings and an
array of special perks. Fifth Third Bank has now introduced the card. The card features “MasterCard Savings” that provides U.S. consumer debit and prepaid MasterCard cardholders with significant merchant-funded discounts and special offers from thousands of merchants across the country. The Fifth Third Bank “World Debit MasterCard” also features access to “Priceless.com/World,” through which cardholders gain unique access to events and games and can take advantage of exclusive opportunities for hotels, shopping and travel. Cardholders can earn one point for every $1 spent on signature purchases and enjoy no limit on how many rewards points they can earn each year. When combined with the “Fifth Third Rewards Checking” account, customers also can earn one point for every $10 in direct deposits to their checking account. The card also offers “MasterCard Savings Plus.”

AUGUST LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for South Korea
declined by 0.3% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index
(CEI) increased 0.1% in August. With the 0.3% decrease in August, after
six consecutive months of increases, the Conference Board LEI for South
Korea now stands at 105.8 (2004=100) after increases of 1.4% in July and
1.5% in June. Meanwhile, the CEI now stands at 107.9 (2004=100), after
having increased 0.1% in July and 1.3% in June. LEI results for the
month were attributed to positive gains in 4 of the 7 components, which
include real exports FOB, letter of credit arrivals, stock prices, and
private construction orders while negative contributors include the
(inverted) index of inventories to shipments, value of machinery orders,
and the (inverted) yield of government public bonds.

SCA and M-Payments Council Outline Priorities

The Smart Card Alliance Contactless and Mobile Payments Council will
continue educating on chip card technology security benefits in the
hopes of reducing fraud in the U.S. payments industry. Resources on this
continued education include a position paper, End-to-End Encryption and
Chip Cards in the U.S. Payments Industry. With contactless cards and
acceptance terminals already widely deployed in the United States, the
paper discusses the fraud-reducing benefits of contactless chip cards.
The embedded dynamic cryptogram with each transaction stops card
counterfeiting, a major source of fraud, the increasing adoption of
which builds on infrastructure already in place to meet interoperable
EMV standards. The Contactless and Mobile Payments Council is made up of
over 120 individuals from 45 organizations, who welcome its new Chair,
Charles Walton of INSIDE Contactless, new Vice Chair, Ron Pinkus of
Giesecke & Devrient and new Secretary, James F. Lock III of JPMorgan Chase.

Smart Card Alliance Targets Healthcare

The Smart Card Alliance Healthcare and Identity Councils have released a white paper that seeks to improve data collection for
electronic medical records.
The Councils recommend the use of existing federal standards for
smart cards to create a trusted identity management infrastructure.
The Smart Card Alliance paper discusses the current challenges facing
the healthcare IT infrastructure and details why smart cards provide the
most cost efficient, secure, and user-accepted method for solving the
healthcare identity management problem. It also explains how smart card
technology can help make the critical capabilities needed in the
healthcare infrastructure both possible and cost-effective. It can also
provide an ideal way to achieve HIPAA compliance and meet the more
stringent regulatory requirements of ARRA / HITECH.

Employment Trends Index Finally Heads Up

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) increased 0.3% from
the revised August number, marking the first increase since January
2008, to now stand at 88.5. Down 15.6% from the year-ago period, the
August ETI was driven by a positive contribution from four out of the
eight components, which were Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance;
Percentage of Firms With Positions Not
Able to Fill Right Now; Industrial Production and Real Manufacturing;
and Trade Sales. The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the
ETI consist of those finding “Jobs Hard to Get”; Unemployment Insurance
Claims; Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now;
Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry; Part-Time Workers for
Economic Reasons; Job Openings; Industrial Production; and Real
Manufacturing and Trade Sales.

AUGUST LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the Euro Area
increased 1.8% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index
(CEI) decreased 0.1% in August. With the 1.8% increase in AUGUST, the
Conference Board LEI for France now stands at 99.1(2004=100), which
increased 1.3% in July and increased 1.3% in June. Throughout the 8
months in 2009 up to August, the LEI increased 8.0%. Meanwhile, the CEI
decreased by 0.2% in both July and June and has been trending downward
since its peak in February 2008. LEI results for the month were
attributed to positive gains in 6 of the 8 components.

MoneyU Drops Fees for Educational Institutions

Online financial skills education tool MoneyU is now free to qualifying
educational institutions.
The course is designed for young adults age 17 to 24 and uses 120
lessons and tasks
covering eight topics to teach practical personal finance skills such as
comparing credit cards and auto loans, researching the starting salaries
in a chosen field, managing debt, saving for the future and completing a
1040 EZ income tax form. The offer is aimed at addressing the critical
need to provide young
adults the practical money skills and experience necessary to be
successful in the challenging environment they are about to enter. More
than 84% of college students have a credit card and half have
more than four credit cards; debt is the biggest reason for dropping out
of school; students leave college with an average loan debt of more than
$20,000, and student debt is rising faster than starting salaries for
new graduates. These same students say they don’t know enough about
personal finances and scores in this area show that student knowledge
about personal financial issues is worsening. Griffin Enterprises,
creator of MoneyU®,
must include a $4 fee for each learner to defray its costs to develop
and deliver the program and the offer.

JULY LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Germany increased
for the 4th consecutive month by 1.1% while The Conference Board
Coincident Economic Index (CEI) posted no change in July. With the 1.1%
increase in July, the Conference Board LEI for Germany now stands at
89.1 (2004=100), which increased 1.1% in June and increased 0.6% in May
and increased 0.7% over the previous 6 months with five of the seven
components increasing. Meanwhile, the CEI decreased 0.8% throughout the
previous 6 months with none of the four series making a positive
contribution. LEI results for the month were attributed to positive
gains in goods industries, yield spread, consumer confidence, new
residential construction orders, inventory change series and stock
prices while negative contributors include gross enterprises and
properties income.

Chase Makes it Debit Cards More Consumer Friendly

As pressure builds on bank overdraft practices, particularly with regard to debit card transactions, Chase announced it will revamp its policies early next year. The plans call for eliminating overdrafts for debit cards unless the customer opts in to overdraft services; modifying the
posting order to recognize debit-card transactions and ATM withdrawals as they occur; eliminating overdraft fees if a customer’s account is $5 or less overdrawn and reducing the maximum number of overdraft fees per day to three from six. Chase says it will continue its current policy of not allowing customers to withdraw more cash from an ATM than they have available in their account. In addition, Chase will continue to offer overdraft protection for customers who link their checking account to a savings account, credit card or home equity line of credit. Earlier this month, Chase introduced “Blueprint,” a new initiative that makes it easier for Chase credit card customers to reduce balances and avoid interest charges.

SCA Slates Physical Access Workshop

The Smart Card Alliance will hold a workshop in October that focuses on
the next generation of physical access controls.

The workshop will be held in conjunction with the Smart Card Alliance
8th Annual Smart Cards in Government
Conference in Washington DC. The workshop, “Smart Cards and Next
Generation Physical Access Control
Systems” (PACS) will present an overview of the technologies and
requirements that are driving next
generation PACS designs, based on FIPS 201-2 and NIST SP 800-116
Guidelines. The workshop will look at the impact that cryptography,
federal interoperability requirements, risk-based multi-factor
authentication, and PACS integration with asset tracking and logical
access systems will have on next generation PACS implementation.
The Smart Card Alliance Physical Access Council is focused on
accelerating the widespread acceptance, usage, and application of smart
card technology for physical access control. The group brings together,
in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public
and private sectors and works on activities that are important to the
physical access industry and that will help speed smart card adoption in
this important market. Physical Access Council projects have focused on
the impact that FIPS 201 will have on U.S. government physical access
requirements and on the integration of physical and logical access control.

JULY LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Korea increased
1.4% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
increased 0.1% in July. With the 1.4% increase in July, the Conference
Board LEI for Korea now stands at 106.3 (2004=100), which increased 1.6%
in June and increased 0.3% in May. During the six-month span through
July, the LEI During the six-month span through July, the leading
economic index increased 6.3% with five of the seven components
advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 71.4%) while the CEI
increased increased 3.3% with three of the four components advancing
(diffusion index, six-month span equals 75.0%). LEI results for the
month were attributed to positive gains in stock prices, private
construction orders, and real exports while negative contribution came
from value of machinery orders.