MasterCard Launches Advisors Merchant Solutions

MasterCard has introduced “MasterCard Advisors Merchant Solutions” to
provide robust reporting, modeling and consumer behavioral segmentation
capabilities. Advisors Merchant Solutions suite is made up of three distinct components:
“SpendingPulse”, a macro-economic indicator reporting on
national retail sales. Based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard
payments network coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other
payment forms such as cash and check, it has come to be one of the
timeliest and most accurate sources of information about consumer spending
activity; “Benchmark Analytics”, a web-based application that delivers
behaviorally-based competitive intelligence by analyzing merchant
performance against the industry category and/or a set of competitors,
nationally by state, all the way down to defined MSAs or DMAs. The insights
can inform critical decision making on advertising/marketing, buying and
merchandising, and retail operations and “Custom Marketing Solutions” which identifies cardholders of participating
banks that represent the best prospects for merchant marketing offers.
Leveraging actual behavioral data to identify best prospects, and
developing tailored offers geared to specific target segments, merchants
can efficiently drive customer acquisition, win back lapsed customers and
increase spend.

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SoftLayer& VeriSign Into ID Protection

TX-based IT provider SoftLayer is now offering the VeriSign Identity Protection (VIP) two-factor authentication system.
The VIP system requires a unique security code in addition to a user
name and password to access an online account. Each time a user wants
to access their account, they create a new security code via a VIP
“credential”—a VIP Security Card, VIP Security Token, or the new VIP
Access for Mobile application for iPhone or Blackberry. Requiring the
security code significantly increases security; user names and passwords
can be guessed or otherwise discovered, but users alone have access to
their VIP credential and can generate a valid code. VIP is available
free of charge for one user for all SoftLayer customer accounts, and
only $3/month for each additional active user.

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Datacard Appoints New VP for Global Sales

Datacard Group secure ID and card personalization solutions has
appointed John Di Leo Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Service.
Di Leo has held leadership roles at NCR, most recently as the Regional
VP for North America. In doing so, he was responsible for approximately
$2B annual revenue while leading 300 sales and 300 service
professionals. Previous NCR roles include VP, Network Sales, Managed and
Professional Services. Di Leo holds a Bachelors of Science degree from
Western Connecticut State University and a Master of Science in Business
degree from Johns Hopkins University.

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AmEx Membership Partners Offer More Rewards

American Express has forged new partnerships to offer Membership Rewards
with more choice, flexibility and attainable rewards in financial
services, travel, shopping, and dining and entertainment with
redemptions for as low as 200 points at over 2,000 locations and 23 new
hotel properties. Most notably, the new Membership Rewards points can be
used toward federal, state and local income tax payments when filing
through Pay1040 (pay1040.com) and Official Payments Corp. Due to
increased popularity and demand for travel reward options in Las Vegas,
American Express has added many Las Vegas hotel properties to the
Membership Rewards program to greatly expands the choice and variety for
a broader range of accommodations with redemption starting at 18,000
points. Other pertantent hotel properties are located in Florida and Los
Angeles CA. British Airways was recently added as a partner in the U.S.
Membership Rewards program, allowing miles redeemed for travel on
British Airways and Oneworld partner airlines to 150 destinations around
the world.

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Equifax& 1010data Offer Marketing Data

Equifax individual and household marketing data is now being made available to retailers on the 1010data analytics platform to combine internal transactional data with Equifax’s extensive marketing data. This partnership is designed to help retailers improve store site selection, merchandising, inventory effectiveness, product level assortments, promotional planning, as well as help improve customer loyalty programs. No longer forced to make decisions based on limited information, Equifax Marketing Data Suites offers marketers a much deeper view into consumers across financials, demographics, purchases, lifestyles, and life events. 1010data offers a data and analytics platform with a complete approach to performing the deepest analysis and getting the maximum insight directly from raw data.

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Conference Board Employment up 1.7%

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) continued to rise in
December, its sixth consecutive increase to now stand at 91.8, up 1.7
percent from the November figure. This is down 5.2% since the year ago
figure, but was driven by positive contributions from all eight
components. The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market
indicators which include percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find
“Jobs Hard to Get”; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance;
Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; number of
Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry; part-Time Workers for
Economic Reasons (BLS); job Openings; industrial Production; and real
Manufacturing and Trade Sales.

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Online Holiday Shopping 30% Higher Y/Y

Tracking daily online shopping activity throughout the 2009 holiday
shopping season, the number of online shopping transactions
were 30% higher and total sales volume increased 17.3% over the year
ago period, thanks mostly to a 9.8% drop in average ticket value.
Compared to 2008, when sales
volume for the holiday season was up only 4.5% and ticket sales dropped
10% year over year, 2009 was the second straight year of declining
average tickets. This, according to Chase Paymentech merchant acquirer
and payment processing
proprietary “Cyber Holiday Pulse Index,” also showed the e-tailer
strengthening began as early as November, when transactions were up
26.5% and sales were up 11.1%, the strongest day seen on Cyber Monday.
Chase Paymentech processes an estimated 500 Internet payment
transactions per second and released its pulse
index data based on the measurements of daily transactions and purchase
volume from 50 of the
top U.S. retail Web merchants.

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GCA to Present at 12th Annual ICR XChange

NV-based Global Cash Access Holdings will be presenting at the 12th Annual ICR XChange Conference on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at the St. Regis Monarch Resort in Dana Point, CA. Investors and interested parties may listen to the live audio webcast of this presentation at www.GlobalCashAccess.com at the appropriate time. GCA is a leading provider of cash access products and related services to over 1,100 casinos and other gaming properties in the United States, Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and Asia, providing gaming patrons access to cash through ATM cash withdrawals, POS debit card transactions, credit card cash advances, check verification and Western Union money transfers.

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Electrone Introduces Smart POR Terminal

Electrone has introduced its low-cost “EAL 8908” Smart POS Terminal with
POS terminal technology modernized to offer high-performance, advanced
payment terminal capabilities. Targeting the modern, cost-efficient
merchant, the “EAL 8908” POS Terminal by Electrone is designed as an
all-in-one payment terminal solution with a 32-bit, high-speed
microprocessor to perform quickly, efficiently and effectively. The
modern terminal design and 4 separate SIM card slots allows for use in
small space and function as a standalone wireless unit. Additional
features include an ATM-style interface; large, back-lit display; bold
menu prompts; easy-press keys; and a quiet, thermal printer, Electrone’s
Smart POS Terminal.

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LINK HOLIDAY VOLUME

LINK cash machine network has reported an increase of 4% in its December
cash machine withdrawals since the year ago figure, with consumers
withdrawing a 1 month record of GBP10.4 billion. The first two weeks in
December 2009 saw significant growth compared with 2008 of 7% and 6%
respectively. In conjunction with snowy weather on the 18th of the
month, however, cash withdrawals dropped markedly the weekend of
19th/20th 7% to GBP660 million compared to the GBP708 million in 2008.
Cash withdrawals bounced back and Christmas Eve was the busiest day of
the year with GBP565 million withdrawn in just one day, up 6% year over
year, and New Year’s Eve saw GBP448 million withdrawn, up 20% year over
year. There are currently 130 million LINK-enabled cards in circulation,
which processes over 1 million transactions an hour.

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Citi Names a New Consumer Banking CEO

Citi has appointed Manuel Medina-Mora to Chief Executive Officer of Citi Consumer Banking for
the Americas and Chairman of Citi’s Global Consumer Council.
Medina-Mora will oversee Citi´s retail branch network, the branded cards business and the local commercial bank in the
Americas. In his role as Chairman of Citi’s newly formed Consumer
Council, he will be responsible for Citi’s global consumer strategy and
work closely with all regional CEOs. Medina-Mora maintains his role as Chairman and CEO of Citi Latin America
and Mexico. Medina-Mora has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
Citi Latin America since 2004. Prior to that, he was CEO of Banamex, a
position he has occupied since 1996. He has more than 35 years of
experience in Banamex and Citi. Medina-Mora holds a bachelor’s
degree in Business Administration from Universidad Iberoamericana and an
MBA from Stanford University.

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payWave

In conjunction with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Visa announced it will be equipping 550 Coca-Cola vending machines with its “payWave” contactless payment terminals in Canada, most of which will be located in official Olympic venues. These venues include the Olympic and Paralympic Villages in Whistler and Vancouver and two Vancouver training centers. This solution allows customers to “wave and go” when buying a Coca-Cola product from the vending machines, which is closely aligned with Visa Canada’s migration to chip card technology. Both the Visa “payWave” card and the Visa “payWave” terminal have built-in security measures.

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