Heartland Payment Systems & 7-Eleven Renew

C-store chain 7-Eleven has extended its credit and debit card processing
contract with Heartland Payment Systems. Under the
seven-year extension to the current contract, Heartland will continue
authorizing
and settling credit and debit card transactions for more than 5,800
7-Eleven-branded convenience stores nationwide. Heartland Payment
Systems is the 5th largest payments
processor in the United States, delivers credit/debit/prepaid card
processing, payroll, check management and payments solutions to more
than 250,000 business locations nationwide.

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PAYDAY LEGISLATION

The Province of Ontario will finalize its regulation of the payday loan
industry as of December 15, 2009, including a maximum rate of borrowing
of $21 per $100 loaned, to balance strong consumer protection with a
viable payday loan industry. National Money Mart, subsidiary of Dollar Financial
and Canada’s leading convenience financial service provider, is
welcoming this news and has acknowledged the Province of Saskatchewan
will soon be regulating the maximum rate of borrowing for payday loan
transactions. In doing so, it will cap the maximum allowable charges for
a payday loan at $23 per $100 loaned, the fifth province to have set a
maximum cost of borrowing for payday loan transactions.

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Asta Funding Writes Down Big Impairments in Q3

NJ-based debt collection Asta Funding reported a third quarter net loss of $79.2 million, compared to net income of $782,000 for the same period in 2008. Third quarter revenues were $16.5 million, compared
to $23.8 million for the year ago quarter. Asta says it recorded $137 million in significant non-cash impairments in the quarter. The Company completed $3.1 million of portfolio acquisitions with a face value of
$149.9 million during the quarter. This compares to $1.0 million of acquisitions with a face value of $47.5 million during the fourth
quarter of last year. The Company expects to generate positive cash flow of approximately $35.0 million to $40 million from its existing portfolio during fiscal year 2010, excluding the Great Seneca portfolio purchased in March 2007. For complete details on Asta Funding’s latest performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Touch 10 Jet Card is Launched

FL-based private jet service provider InJet has rolled out the “Touch
10” jet card.
The card gives customers the ability to sample ten hours of InJet’s
services without a large capital outlay, but while still enjoying all
the member benefits of the InJet program. It’s not just a debit card,
but rather a tangible purchase of flight hours that maximizes the ROI on
private jet travel—making it CFO-approved. “The Touch 10” jet
card—along with InJet’s other services—allow members to
travel domestically or internationally on light, mid-sized or heavy
jets, which accommodate between seven and 14 passengers. Benefits
include no blackout dates, no additional charges for
peak-season travel, and the Round Trip Efficiency Bonus, a discount for
members during certain flights.

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SEAMILES

SeaMiles cruise loyalty provider has launched new benefits for its
members to further enhance opportunities. The benefits include new and
improved opportunities to earn SeaMiles and the ability to redeem
SeaMiles for car rental, resort and hotel stays as well as airfare.
SeaMiles launched in 2004 with the Carnival Sea Miles MasterCard program
and in May 2007 and added the Chase “SeaMiles” Visa Rewards Card, both
of which offer “Any Cruise Line… Any Time” with no restrictions, no
blackouts and no fees. The enhanced benefits on the SeaMiles Visa
Rewards Card will include; Four SeaMiles for every $1 spent on ANY
cruise booking, up from 3 SeaMiles; Two SeaMiles for every $1 spent
onboard ANY Cruise Line, up from 1 SeaMile; Two SeaMiles for every $1
spent on select car, resort or hotel booking made through
1-877-SeaMiles; One SeaMile for every $1 spent on all other purchases;
“Ability to Redeem on Any Cruise Line… Any Time”; and the ability to
earn and redeem on car, resort, hotel air bookings.

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OCT LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for France increased
0.9% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
decreased 0.1% in October. With the 0.9% increase, the Conference Board
LEI for France now stands at 104.0 (2004=100), which increased 0.8% in
September and 0.8% in August. Meanwhile, the CEI results for the month
were preceded by a 0.1% decrease
in September and a 0.1% decrease in August to now stand at 102.7
(2004=100). LEI results for the month were attributed to positive gains
in 5 of the 7 components, including yield spread, building
permits (residential), production expectations, industrial new orders
and the stock price index while negative contribution came from inverted
new unemployment claims and no change was posted for the ratio of the
deflator of manufacturing value added to unit labor cost for manufacturing.

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GLOBALCOLLECT & MAGENTO

GlobalCollect payment service provider for local e-payments and Varien
have partnered to provide retailers global sales initiatives. Developed
by Varien, the “Magento” e-commerce platform is based on open source
technology that provides merchants with high levels of flexibility and
control over the user experience, content, and functionality of their
e-commerce channel and will now have access to a portfolio of local,
alternative, and international payment methods in over 200 countries and
for 170 currencies. The correlation between the number of payment
options and increased customer conversion rates is compelling retailers
to find solutions for accepting multiple types of payment and
international currencies.

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Peregrin Offers CARD Act Services

MD-based consultant Peregrin Services has opened its CARD Act compliant toll-free line for consulting creditors.
Peregrin’s platform offers creditors many choices in implementing their
CARD Act solution. In all applications Peregrin assures full time
availability through multiple site redundancy. Services will be offered
in a variety of ways starting with a Peregrin hosted environment that
will incur a low cost per minute charge and small monthly service fees,
to more enhanced options that will allow creditors to lease ports and
either use Peregrin resources to administer the calls or integrate them
into their own in-house systems. For creditors, the leasing and hosting
options will ensure cost certainty and furthermore makes certain that
callers can always connect. Peregrin urges creditors to have a solution in place by January 15 to
ensure compliance on February 22.

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POCZTOWY & COINSTAR

Coinstar remittance has signed agreements to offer money transfer
services in all Pocztowy Bank (Postal Bank) locations, the largest
banking network in Poland. With this agreement, Coinstar Money Transfer
becomes a key player in the Polish market and a new competitive money
transfer service for the Polish Diaspora. Coinstar Money Transfer
provides an easy to use, reliable and cost effective way to send money
around the world. The services are specially suited for individuals away
from home who need to send money to their family and friends or to
manage their personal finances. Coinstar Money Transfer Ltd. has become
one of the leading money transfer providers, with over 45,000 locations
and operates in 140 countries worldwide.

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RCM & GIVEX

The Royal Conservatory (RCM) and Givex gift card technology have
launched their gift card program. Targeting gift givers offering concert
tickets, the RCM gift cards can be used for any concert of the
recipient’s choice. Givex is innovative stored-value technology that has
driven customer acquisition and retention programs for clients in 35
countries since 1999 while the Royal Conservatory is the largest and
oldest independent arts educator in Canada. It is an
internationally-renowned centre for performance and learning providing
opportunities for personal development through music and arts education
in over 300 communities across and Canada and a dozen countries around
the world.

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XIRING & GEMALTO

Digital security provider Gemalto and XIRING have completed acquisition agreements and signed a banking contract for EUR20MM. XIRING EMV based strong authentication solutions
for e-banking and e-commerce has developed efficient technology and a
competitive range of solutions. With more than 12 millions solutions
already deployed in Europe, XIRING EMV based strong authentication
solutions for e-banking, e-commerce and all
activities of the banking business will be entirely acquired. The
contract includes the transfer of the technical and commercial team and
all the associated products, IP and technologies, on December 31 and has
no impact on XIRING non-banking activities or on other activities of
Gemalto.

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Credit Card Rewards to be a Challenge

A new study says that credit card rewards program profitability will continue to be a problem through 2013. Aite Group found nearly half of all consumers belong to a financial services rewards program, with 70% of all credit cardholders owning at least one rewards-based card. Rewards card ownership increases consumers’ credit card usage and purchase consideration, and even improves marketers’ ability to target customers. Loyalty program success has resulted in financial services firms’ seriously considering adding loyalty programs to other financial products, including debit cards. But, the profitability of debit card rewards programs varies widely depending on penetration rates, activation rates, program costs and increases in spending levels.

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