U.S. Consumers Paying Credit Cards Over Mortgage

After historically disclosing the mortgage as the bill always paid
first, U.S. consumers are now ranking credit cards as a higher repayment
priority. The most recent research demonstrates US consumers are now
placing their mortgage payments as a second-rate priority. The research,
collected from a survey of 430 credit card users conducted in October
2009 conducted by Auriemma Consulting Group’s Cardbeat, ultimately
concludes credit has become tighter. With issuers more willing to cut
credit lines, cardholders are more astute one missed or late payment can
trigger rate increases or account closure. At the same time, ACG
concludes mortgage foreclosures have become common and many consumers
have ‘underwater’ mortgages for more than the current value of their
home, thus it’s more important to be current on credit cards than
worthless mortgages.

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InComm to Offer Western Union GoCash

Western Union has teamed with GA-based prepaid card provider InComm to offer the
“Western Union GoCash” in-lane prepaid money-transfer service.
The InComm agreement builds upon Western Union’s prepaid go-to-market
strategy in the United States, and complements Western Union’s consumer
experience by giving consumers the convenience of being able to pay for
a domestic or global money-transfer while shopping at select locations.
With the GoCash service, consumers will have the option to select any of
three prepaid amounts ranging from $50; $100; and $200. GoCash can be
purchased for both domestic and international money transfers. Once
purchased, the sender will need to complete the transaction over the
phone through a Western Union customer service representative and
provide the money-transfer information to the receiver.
InComm partners with more than 150,000 retail locations. Through its
relationship with InComm, Western Union can offer the convenient GoCash
service to consumers through many of these grocery and convenience
stores, pharmacies, or mass merchandiser locations.

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MasterCard Advisors Names a New President

MasterCard has tapped Kevin Stanton to serve as president of MasterCard Advisors.
In his new role Stanton will be responsible for driving the overall
competitive and differentiated products and services offered through
MasterCard Advisors. He will have global oversight of the regional
Advisors teams, as well as the three practice areas, including:
Marketing Services; Information and Analytics; and Risk, Fraud and
Operational Efficiency; as well as its high-impact strategic consulting
services. For the past five years Stanton served as president of the Canada
region, where he was responsible for the strategic planning and business
performance of all aspects of the company’s Canadian operations. Prior
to that, Stanton was senior vice president, Strategy and Market
Development in Canada, and held positions of increasing responsibility
in MasterCard’s law department, including serving as vice president,
senior counsel, and North America Region counsel.
MasterCard Advisors provides payments consulting, information,
analytics, and customized services to financial institutions and their
merchant partners worldwide.

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New Discover Survey Shows a 15% Holiday Decline

Shoppers are planning to spend 15% less on holiday gifts compared to last year while 48% of shoppers who plan to spend less blame the economy, but 80% are nonetheless keeping spirits high. The findings, made available through the Discover Financial Services annual “Holiday Shopping Survey,” also show shoppers plan to spend $723 on holiday gifts, compared to $831 in last year’s survey and $896 in the 2007 survey; Women plan to spend $742 while men will spend $702; 47% plan to spend between $100 and $500 this holiday season; 25% anticipate spending anywhere from $500 to $1,000; 43% of shoppers plan to spend less this holiday season; 63% are very concerned, concerned or somewhat concerned about their finances down from 74% Y/Y; and 66% plan to stay within their holiday shopping budget.

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DCS Cards Intros EMV Smart Start

Instant card issuer Dynamic Card Solutions has introduced “EMV Smart Start” bundled suite of
software and services for card issuers who want to issue EMV
credit and debit cards. The company developed EMV Smart Start to help
those financial institutions who are not currently offering EMV cards
the ability to easily issue them instantly in branches or centrally in a
back-office location. In addition to delivering the CardWizard software and associated
hardware, DCS will help educate and provide comprehensive consulting
services. DCS’ EMV Smart Start eliminates dependence on a third-party
service bureau so that issuers will be able to produce and deliver EMV
card offerings quickly, conveniently and more cost effectively on their own.

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Social Media is Influencing Holiday E-Sales

For the holiday season-to-date, nearly $16 billion has been spent online, marking a 3% increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week ending December 6th reached $4.6 billion in holiday spending, heavier than any individual spending week in 2008 but still below two individual weeks in 2007. comScore says the week began with strong weekday spending, led by $887 million on “Cyber Monday,” but
ended on a softer note with negative year-over-year growth rates during the weekend. According to the most recent survey, conducted on Dec. 4-7, 2009, 28% of those who have begun their holiday shopping this season indicated that social media has influenced their purchases.

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Equifax Unveils an Ability to Pay Package

Equifax has introduced a new product suite for credit issuers and lenders to assess consumers ability to pay. Equifax enables a timely and holistic view of consumers’ “ability to pay” by offering specific measures to complement a firm’s own risk management data and strategies. Firms can take advantage of these solutions today, including: the “IXI Ability to Pay Index and the Credit Capacity Index; Income and Employment Verification with The Work Number Income: Employer provided, verified income at the individual level and “IXI Income360”: Estimated total household income including income from wages and income generated from invested assets, continuous up to $2M; “Equifax Personal Income Model”: Estimated individual income; “Equifax IRS Direct”: Verify income using the IRS’s Form 4506-T; the “Equifax Credit Report”
and the “IXI Discretionary Spending Index and Discretionary
Spending Dollars”: Estimated household discretionary spending,
exclusive of non-discretionary expenses, provided as a dollar amount or
index. The suite also provides analytic evaluation of more than 100 debt and income relationships, real time or batch delivered.

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JSC AMEX CARDS

The CARTES & IDentification Conference to the Sesames Awards and the
high numbers at the stands, visitor numbers hit 19,883, up from 19,752
in 2008, 68% of whom were from abroad (63% in 2008). Next year’s show has been slated for December 7th to 9th. Representing 146 countries (132 in 2008), the trade show confirmed its international
influence with 427 exhibitors, 78% of whom were from outside France.
Furthermore, the 18 conferences on offer over the three days welcomed
1,228 delegates, 85% of whom were from outside France. IDentification,
dedicated to identification and authentication technologies, hosted 72
companies which demonstrated the dynamism of the identity protection
sector. The winners of the 2009 SESAMES were announced to around 500
guests and include the HARDWARE SESAME AWARD to Gemalto/Leti/Raisonance;
the SOFTWARE SESAME AWARD to Sagem Orga; the IDENTIFICATION APPLICATION
SESAME AWARD to JDSU; the IT SECURITY APPLICATION SESAME AWARD to
Neowave; the HEALTH APPLICATION SESAME AWARD to Gematik; the TRANSPORT
APPLICATION SESAME AWARD: ERG Transit Systems; the MOBILE APPLICATION
SESAME AWARD to Gemalto; the BANKING/FINANCE/COMMERCE APPLICATION SESAME
AWARD to Hypercom; the E-TRANSACTIONS APPLICATION SESAME AWARD to
Monext; and the LOYALTY APPLICATION SESAME AWARD to Oberthur Technologies.

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Moneris Solutions Inks Chegg.com

Online textbook retail provider Chegg.com has signed Moneris Solutions
for payment processing.
Under the terms of the agreement, Moneris will process all Visa,
MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card and debit card payments for
textbook rentals made through Chegg.com, as well as payments made with
Chegg.com’s own pre-paid Visa card. to date, Chegg.com has rented over
one million
textbooks to students at over 6,400 campuses nationwide and saved
students over $53,000,000. Moneris Solutions
provides payment processing products and services to more than 350,000
North American merchants and processes more than 2 billion payment
transactions annually.

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OCT LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Japan increased by
1.7% while The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
increased 0.2% in October. With the 1.7% increase, the Conference Board
LEI for Japan now stands at 87.8 (2004=100), which increased 2.7% in
September and increased 3.1% in August. Meanwhile, the CEI results for
the month were preceded by a 0.3% increase in September and a 0.5%
increase in August and now stands at 95.7 (2004=100). LEI results for
the month were attributed to positive gains in 9 of the 10 components
that make up The Conference Board LEI for Japan, including the six month
growth rate of labor productivity, real operating profits, the index of
overtime worked, real money supply, the Tankan business conditions
survey, the (inverted) business failures, interest rate spread, dwelling
units started and the new orders for machinery and construction
component while the lone negative contributor was stock prices.

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