SCA to Offer an EMV Webinar for the U.S.

The Smart Card Alliance is hosting a free educational webinar, “Top 10
Reasons for Considering EMV in the U.S,” on Tuesday, January 26, 2010.
Industry expert speakers are Nick Holland of Aite Group, Dave Metcalfe
of Bank of Nova Scotia, Deborah Baxley of KeyPoint Consulting, and Simon
Hurry of Visa Inc. Speakers will discuss the current rate of EMV/chip
deployment internationally, the benefits of the technology in fighting
payment fraud, and implementation options for U.S. card issuers. The
webinar will include a case study of EMV/chip implementation in Canada,
and an analysis of how U.S. cardholders who travel abroad with
non-EMV/chip cards alter their purchase behavior, resulting in lost card
business and customer goodwill. Further Alliance resources on chip card technology in the U.S. payments
industry include the position paper, “End-to-End Encryption and Chip
Cards in the U.S. Payment Industry,” and the white paper, “Fraud in the
U.S. Payments Industry: Fraud Mitigation and Prevention Measures in Use
and Chip Card Technology Impact on Fraud.” The Smart Card Alliance is holding the 3rd Annual Payments Summit
Conference on February 23 – 25, 2010 in Salt Lake City. The Summit will
include industry experts from banking, retail, transportation and mobile
payments markets discussing convergence opportunities for chip technology.

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Hypercom and McDonnell JV for a Network

Hypercom and The McDonnell Group have signed a LOI to form “Phoenix
Managed Networks,” a joint venture to equip payment processors, banks
and retailers with highly reliable and cost-effective data
communications services for transaction-based applications. “Phoenix
Managed Networks” will acquire and operate Hypercom’s “HBNet” secure
transaction transport business to support wireless/ IP-initiated
transactions and to speed the authorization and processing of electronic
transactions for retail POS, financial, government, health care and
other customers in dial, wireless and IP POS markets. HBNet is powered
ultra high-density Hypercom technology strategically positioned within
the North American Public Switching Telephone Network (PSTN) and at
processor data centers.

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InsurCard Visa Prepaid Card is Launched

The Bancorp Bank Payment Solutions Group has joined with the New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association
to offer the “InsurCard Visa Prepaid Card”
to make payment claims. “The InsurCard Visa Prepaid Card” is loaded when emergency payments are
required, eliminating the challenges associated with check issuance. In any designated catastrophe,
representatives of NJIUA and/or field
adjusters will have access to an inventory of preprinted cards. These
cards remain inactive and have no value until authorized by NJIUA. After
the catastrophe, adjusters will contact policyholders who have
experienced losses and make an initial claim evaluation. Based on this
evaluation, the cards will be distributed and activated by NJIUA either
by phone or via an internet connection with an amount to be paid for
immediate needs. Once activated, the InsurCard provides the policyholder
with the necessary funds to meet critical needs such as food, shelter,
and emergency repairs. As the recovery process continues, the card can
be reloaded to pay for permanent repairs and additional living expenses. The
InsurCard can be used to make purchases wherever Visa debit cards are
accepted and cardholders have access to cash through ATMs located
nationwide. Policyholders can obtain account balance and transaction
information 24-hours a day.

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Holiday Gift Card Total Dollar Value Slips

The total dollar value of specialty store gift cards has grown 12.3% while the dollar value of all gift cards increased only 1.1% for the week of December 13th when compared to the year ago figure. The total dollar value of gift cards activated has grown 1.7% over the same period. The dollar value of specialty cards activated increased 5.2% since the same time last year, suggesting more cards are being activated in smaller denominations. Also when compared with the week of December 13, 2008, the total dollar value of all gift cards activated decreased 1.6%, the number of gift cards activated decreased 2.7%, gift card redemptions grew 5.1% and average gift card amounts were up $0.33 to $30.86. The First Data “Holiday Gift Card Performance Report” are based on aggregate transaction data across First Data’s gift card processing business.

GIFT CARD $ AMOUNTS 08/09 % -/+
ALL CARDS: 30.53/30.86 +1.1
BF WEEK: 36.83/39.50 +5.7
SPECIALTY: 43.83/40.97 -6.5
RESTAURANT: 18.02/$18.12 +0.6
Source: First Data

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Fifth Third and TSYS Extend Their Contract

TSYS has extended its payment services agreement with Fifth Third
Bank through a multi-year contract renewal. The renewal includes the processing of Fifth Third
Bank’s consumer and commercial credit card portfolios.
Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company
headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company has $111 billion in
assets, operates 16 affiliates with 1,309 full-service Banking Centers.
TSYS is one of the world’s largest companies for outsourced
payment services, offering a broad range of issuer- and
acquirer-processing technologies that support consumer-finance, credit,
debit, healthcare, loyalty and prepaid services for financial
institutions and retail companies in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific
regions.

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BBVA Compass Launches a CARD Act Visa

Sunbelt-based BBVA Compass has risen to the tightened demands presented
in the “CARD Act” and introduced the “BBVA Compass ClearPoints” credit
card that features clear, simple and transparent terms and conditions,
as well as pricing terms that will never change. The “BBVA Compass
ClearPoints” card is the first in a comprehensive suite of credit card
products that will be rolled out by BBVA Compass in the coming months.
The suite of three credit cards will cover every level of
creditworthiness and includes our secured credit card, called the “BBVA
Compass Optmizer” credit card, which was launched on November 16, 2009.
By keeping the suite of products limited, consumers are able to more
easily understand which card is most appropriate for their credit needs.
Features of the new “BBVA Compass ClearPoints” credit card include
pricing terms that are tied to a Prime Rate index that will not change
for the life of the card, no default pricing, no annual fee, no
unexpected or hidden fees and offers rewards for good payment behavior,
free credit bureau monitoring, free identity theft coverage and the
“CompassPoints” rewards program. BBVA Compass credit card products are
currently available in Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and
Colorado.

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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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