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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Hypercom Conducts Major Executive Appointments

Heidi Goff has been promoted Senior VP, Global Strategic Accounts, with Hypercom to oversee global strategic account relationships. This is in addition to David S. Cronin being appointed President and Managing Director, North America to drive sales, service and support activities throughout North America. Cronin joins Hypercom from Borderlinx Europe, SA where he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development. He also held multiple executive positions during his 23 years with American Express, including Head of International New Product Development, Strategy and Governance; Vice President, Asia Marketing and Business Development, and Area General Manager, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines; and Country CEO and GM, American Express Hong Kong. Clint Jones has been named to the newly created post of Acting President and Managing Director, Latin America.

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AmEx Announces Film Contest Finalists

American Express announced the five finalists of its “Round One of My Movie Pitch” contest. To bring one unique independent movie idea to life during the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, the finalists were decided on by viewers whom voted for their favorites and an American Express panel of directors. The finalists will receive a Filmmaker Toolkit, featuring a laptop computer, movie editing software package and portable video camera and will remain in the running for the ultimate grand prize: the winning movie idea made into a short film to debut at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. This is a precursor to “Round Two of My Movie Pitch,” during which aspiring filmmakers will have another chance to submit 60-second movie pitch ideas at www.amexfilm.com. With this, film fans are encouraged to visit www.amexfilm.com and rate pitches with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.”

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VSoft Corporation Ranks on the Inc. 5000

VSoft Corporation process improvement solutions for financial institutions has been named for the fourth consecutive year to the Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. More than 1,900 banks, credit unions and savings institutions trusted the company’s services to meet their individual needs and help them mature in spite of a down economy. VSoft continues to expand its business in 2010, and has already introduced a new core platform, CoreSoft, launched a Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model for its full suite of check processing, document and reporting solutions and reached a significant milestone with 4,000 credit union branches leveraging its imaging solutions.

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Evolution Benefits Sees 3-Year Sale +197%

Inc. Magazine has ranked Evolution Benefits (EB) electronic benefit card payment services number 1468 on its fourth annual Inc. 5000 ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. EB services healthcare and employee benefits accounts for approximately 3.5 million people throughout the country. The company was sold to Genstar Capital LLC in July of 2010. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found on www.inc.com/5000.

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Mobey White Paper Focuses on mPayment Implementation

Mobey Forum mobile financial services has released its white paper on how mobile remote payment technology can effectively be delivered to end-users by leveraging existing systems and establishing an open infrastructure. Appealing to decision makers at financial institutions, “Mobile Remote Payments General Guidelines for Ecosystems” focuses on payments where two parties are able to send and receive or exchange funds using the mobile channel, irrespective of where they are located. Other points touched on include the role of the mobile phone number and how this can be used instead of bank account details; needs of different markets vary considerably and what might be an efficient solution for one market might not be acceptable for another; and establishing and agreeing a roadmap to mass-market interoperability is key to drive adoption.

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