80% of Consumers Financially Comfortable, COFs/Unemployment Down

Nearly 80% of consumers now have little-to-no debt or a “comfortable” level of debt while the December Chargeoff rate was the lowest of all months in 2010- falling to 8.3%. Only 12% of those surveyed have “more debt than is comfortable” and 8% “have too much debt and have trouble paying bills,” according to M&T Bank research.

This coincides with and strongly reflects the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment having hit its second to lowest month of the year in December to 9.1% while it sits at 9.8 for January. Research also indicates credit card defaults within the industry declined during 4Q/10 and the M&T Bank consumer loan COF rate dropped 23% throughout 2010.

According to Cardflash, Charge-offs are expected to continue improving- in conjunction with the unemployment rate- after having peaked in 2Q/10 at 10.4% and in January at 10.6%, respectively. This is compared to a COF rate of 3.82% in the two year leading up to the recession and an unemployment rate of 5%. Meanwhile, the U.S. savings rate has risen from about 2% in January 2008 to 5.3% in December 2010. This might be because 50% think the U.S. economy is “still in a recession,” which is down 6 percentage points from the 56% 10 months ago

(Cardflash Library, 2011-01-31).

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NCR Promotes Senior VP From Within

Michael O’Laughlin has been promoted NCR senior vice president of its Financial Services division. O’Laughlin led NCR’s more than $2 billion global financial services business since March 2009 as VP and GM, growing its global ATM market share after having joined the Company in 2001. Prior to being named general manager of Financial Services, he served as the regional vice president for NCR’s business in the Caribbean and Latin America, where he was responsible for driving growth of NCR’s assisted and self-service solutions across the retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, gaming and public sectors. He formerly served as vice president of NCR Americas Services Sales and Marketing. Michael came to NCR with 18 years’ in technology sales and engineering, previously served Digiquant as VP, sales and sales engineering for the Americas.

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USA Tech Enhances ePort Connect Service

USA Technologies has made available its “USALive 1.6,” updating its current USALive online reporting system. Designed to provide vending operators with real-time business metrics, transaction and sales reports, machine health monitoring, payment reconciliation and the ability to handle settlement of routes for accurate accounting of the business, “USALive 1.6” offers increased flexibility for sorting information. It also offers a reports archive that enables users to save and search previously generated reports; lets users run a report and retrieve it later; and offers additional format compatibilities for file sharing and exporting. This component of USA Technologies’ ePort Connect Service includes card processing, merchant account services, wireless connectivity, DEX data transfer, online sales reporting, settlement services, level 1 PCI-compliant data security, over-the-air updates, and machine health alerts.

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NCR & Cardtronics Bring Bank-Grade ATMs to Off-Premise Locations

NCR Corporation unveiled a new, compact ATM with the power and reliability of a larger machine, making it perfect for supermarkets, office complexes, convenience stores or other non-bank branch locations. NCR worked closely with Cardtronics to help shape the design and functionality of the NCR SelfServ 16 as the ideal off-premise ATM. Cardtronics already has purchased a significant number of NCR SelfServ 16 ATMs for deployment in various locations around the world. At 0.28 square-meters, the NCR SelfServ 16 is the smallest cash dispenser in the NCR SelfServ family. With components – such as security, cash cassettes, display and software – similar to larger NCR SelfServ models, the NCR SelfServ 16 performs at bank-grade levels, maximizing uptime and reliability and handling mid-to-high transaction volumes with low power consumption. It features a 2,200 note cassette, the proven NCR spray dispenser, a 15″ color TFT LCD display, and options for a touch screen and sunlight-readable display. Featuring the latest Intel Core processors, the NCR SelfServ 16 also reduces energy consumption versus older models.

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Fiserv Debit Network Sees Record 2010 Growth

The Fiserv “ACCEL/Exchange” debit payments network saw record-setting growth in 2010 with an increase in total transactions of almost 29 percent from 2009. ACCEL/Exchange established a new annual record for total transactions with more than 1.2 billion transactions processed in 2010. December 2010 also set a new monthly record with more than 122 million transactions – a year-over-year increase of 26%. With this, POS transactions grew nearly 30% in 2010 to more than 1.15 billion, with ATM transactions also increasing 22% over the same period to 82 million. More than 300 financial institutions joined ACCEL/Exchange as new members in 2010, increasing total membership to almost 2,800 member financial institutions.

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ROAM Data Deploys mCard Reader With Big Names

ROAM Data mCommerce solutions has forged contracts with several large merchant services providers (MSPs) for its mobile card reader and software solution. Because of ROAM’s mobile software and its reader design, ROAM’s solution supports the most number of device platforms in the industry, with one hardware SKU that securely runs on iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets, Blackberry devices, as well as PCs, Macs, and Netbooks. Meanwhile, its price point allows MSPs to give away readers to support their small business owners and others to offer extremely competitive rates for their merchant base. The contracted MSPs include Intuit GoPayment, Total Merchant Services, Sage Payment Solutions and North American Bankcard.

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MoneyGram Appoints New Executive VP/ CMO

Juan Agualimpia has been promoted to executive VP and CMO. With this, he becomes an officer of the company with increased responsibilities that include MoneyGram’s global branding and marketing, product management and MGO, the online money transfer service. MoneyGram International is a global leader in the payment services industry and operates in more than 190 countries and territories. Agualimpia holds an MBA in marketing and finance from F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and a BS in business administration from Universidad ICESI in Cali, Colombia.

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Girl Scouts Take Payment Cards

The Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) will be ringing up cookie sales by accepting credit cards on their mobile phones with GoPayment, a mobile payment app for processing credit cards. Intuit has equipped the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio with its “GoPayment” mobile payment app, including a free Intuit credit card reader, and reduced pricing on transaction fees. GoPayment provides them with an easy and affordable way to process credit card payments on their mobile devices while protecting sensitive credit card information with industry-leading data encryption.

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Paydiant Closes Series A Funding for mPayments

Paydiant mobile payments closed a $7.6M round of funding led by North Bridge Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners to accelerate product development, sales and marketing. To formerly launch later this year, the Company’s partnership with North Bridge and General Catalyst will help it excel in the mobile and payment technologies arenas. Paydiant focuses on helping merchants, financial institutions and other participants in the payments value chain help customers make everyday payments with their mobile phones.

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PayPal Opens Office in Arizona to Support Global Growth

PayPal has announced its expansion with its new customer service and operations center in Chandler, Ariz. It will employ up to 2,000 new employees – which will help to support PayPal customers around the world. PayPal is continuing to hire customer service representatives and operations specialists in Chandler. Management, training and technical resource positions are also available. Qualified applicants can apply online for positions at www.ebaycareers.com. Additional new customer service, operations and development centers are located around the world including Dublin, Ireland; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; near Omaha, Neb; Austin, Tx.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Chennai, India; Singapore; Tel Aviv, Israel and Hunt Valley (Baltimore), Maryland.

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Upromise Helps Members Earn $600mm

The “Upromise” solution by Sallie Mae have saved members over $600 million in cash for college from their everyday spending, which covers a four-year college education for 20,000 students. Free to join and giving members cash savings of 1-25% at thousands of participating merchants when they shop online, book travel, dine out at local restaurants or buy gas or groceries, “Upromise” offers savings search and its “World” MasterCard credit card from Bank of America. This gives users an additional 2% back on eligible online purchases at more than 700 participating online retailers that can be directed towards education expenses. This is in addition to the 1-25 percent members earn from online retailers by shopping at Upromise.com and on top of the 1 percent that cardholders earn for all other purchases made with the Upromise credit card.

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Smart Cards Alliance Releases White Paper

“Meaningful use” of electronic health records has become a top priority in the U.S. healthcare system; healthcare providers that achieve it will qualify to receive federal incentives. The Smart Card Alliance addresses what the criteria are for meaningful use and how it can be attained in its latest white paper; “Getting to Meaningful Use and Beyond: How Smart Card Technology Can Support Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records.” The paper describes how smart card technology and smart card-based systems can aid in meeting the requirements set forth for meaningful use of electronic health records in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, while addressing many of the security and privacy challenges that come with electronic health records and health data exchange. It is available for free download at: http://www.smartcardalliance.org/pages/publications-getting-to-meaningful-use-and-beyond.

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