GiftCardMall Launches Mastercard Gift Cards

The Blackhawk Network prepaid and financial payments products has made available the “MYPLASH” MasterCard prepaid gift cards commemorating The Twilight Saga: Eclipse at Safeway, Albertsons LLC, Meijer, and Jewel Foods. Consumers will be able to give their friends and family MYPLASH MasterCard prepaid gift cards customized with images of everyone’s favorite characters in the Twilight series: Bella, Edward and Jacob. The Twilight movie franchise has grossed over $1.4 billion in worldwide box office ticket sales to date.
The cards will be available in denominations ranging from $20 to $500 and are issued by MetaBank through MasterCard.

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Citi & ExxonMobil Launch Dining Certificate Promo

Exxon and Mobil retailers and Citi are giving cardholders the opportunity to earn a dining certificate that can be used at thousands of restaurants and online merchants. From September 1 through November 30, 2010, ExxonMobil Personal Cardholders who register at dining.exxonmobilcard.com will earn a $50 dining certificate if they purchase 100 gallons of gasoline within 90 days of the date of registration. Offered by Restaurant.com, this certificate can be redeemed online at more than 15,000 restaurants and online merchants nationwide. New cardholders will receive one $50 certificate when they are approved for a new account and another $50 certificate if they purchase 100 gallons of gasoline within 90 days of the date their account was opened.

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Qualys Deploys Scanning Vendor Support Solution

Qualys on demand IT security risk and compliance management solutions has released its “QualysGuard PCI 5.0.” Offering customers a simplified way to meet the latest PCI DSS compliance requirements, the dashboard includes updates following new Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) requirements released in March 2010, and a simplified user interface (UI) with workflows – helping customers easily and accurately detect security vulnerabilities, and efficiently remediate issues for PCI compliance. The “QualysGuard PCI” compliance solution is used by 68% of all ASVs and 46% of Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs) to help merchants with PCI DSS certification and validation. New features include an “Asset Scoping Wizard” to walk customers through the process of identifying IPs and domains that are in scope for PCI compliance; a “Compliance Wizard” to help customers through each step of the process in an informative manner; and “Interactive Reports,” which includes a new format with additional content, revised scoring terminology (High, Medium and Low), and sections for attestations.

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AmEx Members Project Partners with GLEE

Members Project from American Express and TakePart have partnered with FOX’s series GLEE on a new, first-of-its-kind campaign. Kicking off Wednesday, Sept. 1, the collaboration will feature an innovative mix of original television, online and cinema content written, directed and produced by the GLEE creative team and featuring everyone’s favorite GLEE characters. The partnership is designed to elevate common themes shared by both GLEE and Members Project, including finding inspiration by working together and harnessing the power of the collective and individual actions to do something good. GLEE and Members Project have created a broad spectrum of promotional video and online content in the distinctive voice of the series to spark dialogue about doing good versus doing nothing and to motivate fans to take a step toward making a difference.

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First Data Launches New Payment Card Security

First Data Corporation electronic commerce and payment processing has made available to merchants its “TransArmor” payment security service through its resale network. The “TransArmor” solution protects consumer payment card data from the moment it enters the merchant environment, and replaces card data with a token number that preserves the value of card data for merchant business operations but removes all value for fraudsters, thus reducing the scope, risk and costs associated with PCI compliance without new hardware. First Data successfully completed a pilot in June 2010 that tested the TransArmor solution in a variety of merchant point-of-sale (POS) environments. During the pilot, more than 150 merchant locations processed card transactions using the TransArmor solution’s unique blend of tokenization and encryption technologies.

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August Spending Monitor Remains Flat M/M

The number of consumers rating their personal finances as poor reached a six-month high in August on the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor, which was flat overall from the month prior having dropped just 0.3 points to 86.2. Only 27% of consumers feel economic conditions are improving, a 4-point increase from July, which was offset by 24% of consumers rating their personal finances as poor, a 3-point rise from July. Additional findings show 19% plan to spend more in the next 30 days, unchanged from July; 25% planned to spend less, 1 point lower than July; 48% plan to spend less on going out to dinner or the movies, unchanged from July; 48% plan to spend less on home improvements, unchanged from July; and 45% plan to spend less on a vacation or gym membership, 1 point lower than July. Additionally, 57% rate the Economy as Poor; 57% rate current economic conditions as poor; 42% have no money left over after paying monthly bills; while 37% are expecting an income shortfall or added expense in the next 30 days, unchanged from July.

2010 SPENDING MONITOR
JAN: 85.2
FEB: 87.5
MAR: 85.0
APR: 91.5
MAY: 90.4
JUN: 88.4
JUL: 86.5
AUG: 86.2
SOURCE: Discover

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Giftango Launches Virtual Gift Card mDevelopment

Giftango Corporation digital virtual gift cards has released its mobile developer’s toolkit to allow mobile developers to issue national brand virtual gift cards from within their own mobile applications. Allowing merchants to set clear standards the mobile development community can follow, Giftango’s Mobile platform allows merchants to ensure the mobile community follows established guidelines to avoid disparate developer models and applications which may not fit their respective enterprise standards. Giftango also helps merchants manage the appropriate distribution of these applications via its mobile platform. Giftango acts as the plumbing between the merchants and the variety of mobile distribution models in the marketplace.

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Inner Fence Deploys iPhone Card Swipe Terminal

Inner Fence “Credit Card Terminal” for iPhone is now shipping Credit Card Reader for iPhone. An Apple-authorized hardware accessory that allows merchants to swipe credit cards, “Credit Card Terminal” credit card POS app for Apple’s iPhone allows merchants to optionally use the new “Credit Card Reader” accessory to perform swiped transactions. It attaches to the iPhone dock connector and is designed for speedy transactions and high volume with a high-accuracy read head and sturdy construction. The accessory was tested and certified by Apple to be compatible with iPhone as part of the Made for iPhone program.

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E FCU Expands Bluepoint Relationship

E Federal Credit Union has renewed its existing contract and expanded its relationship with Bluepoint Solutions by adding “QwikDeposit Home” member remote deposit capture; “ImagePoint Foundation” image-based, in-house item processing solution; and “Virtual Backup and Disaster Recovery” (BDR.) Bluepoint Solutions is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and leading innovator in remote deposit capture (RDC), image-based item processing and enterprise content management software technology for financial institutions. E Federal Credit Union operates 8 branches, has more than 27,000 members and over $250 million in assets. E Federal is one of the oldest charters in the country and remains committed to serving its growing member base well into the future.

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Target Stores to Issue Facebook Gift Cards

Target is making available Facebook “Credits” gift cards at its stores nationwide beginning Sept. 5, the first brick-and-mortar retailer to do so. Facebook “Credits” allow users to buy digital goods in more than 150 popular social games and applications offered by independent developers on Facebook. The gift cards will be available also through Target.com beginning Sept. 5. The card is allotted in increments of $15, $25 and $50. The $15 Facebook Credits gift card has been created exclusively for Target. Americans will spend more than $1.6 billion in 2010 on virtual goods and social gaming.

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Mastercard Research Shows Retail Sales Holding Steady

MasterCard Advisors’ “SpendingPulse” macro-economic report tracker of retail and service sales reported U.S. Apparel Sales was up 2.6% year-over-year in August after July’s 1.1% decrease. Apparel Sales have been up 5 out of 8 months this year while the Consumer Electronics and Appliances showed increases on a year-over-year basis by 2.3% and 9.4%, respectively. Meanwhile, eCommerce sales growth slowed in August to +7.2% for the smallest year-over-year increase in 2010. All eCommerce subsectors except Electronics were in positive year-over-year territory. Online Electronics recorded a modest decrease in August of 0.1%, online sales of Jewelry were back in positive territory, up 2% year-over-year.

AUGUST RETAIL SALES
Electronics: +2.3%
Clothing: +2.6%
eCommerce: +7.2%
Appliances: +9.4%
SOURCE: Mastercard

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