HSA Bank Eliminates Debit Card Fees

HSA Bank has eliminated the set up fee and debit card renewal
fee for its health savings accounts. By eliminating the fees, HSA Bank
addressed the top two customer concerns as identified in its annual
“Consumer Benchmark Survey”. HSA Bank serves customers in every state in the nation and has more than
12 years of experience with health care savings accounts. HSA Bank
continuously strives to offer the best HSA product in the industry.
HSA Bank is a division of CT-based Webster Bank, N.A., the wholly-owned
subsidiary of Webster Financial Corporation.

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NXP SEMICONDUCTORS

NXP Semiconductors has been awarded three EDN China 2009 Innovation
Awards for three of its products created in China over the past year.
The products recognized include the “LPC1700” series microcontrollers,
awarded “Best Product” for Embedded Systems and ICs, while the “PN544”
chip and the “BLL6H1214-500 LDMOS” L-band radar power transistor were
recognized as “Leading Product” in the “Telecommunications and Network”
and the “Analog and Composite Signals” categories, respectively. The EDN
China Innovation Awards was set up in 2005 aiming to recognize the most
influential products and technologies in the industry every year. The
awards are voted by industry engineers, experts, and readers, which
makes the voting results representative of wider public opinion.

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U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Cool-Off in November

Bankruptcy filings cooled-off in November, but are still on course to
top 1.4 million filings by year-end. The 112,152 consumer filings in
November represented a decrease of 18% from the 135,913 filings
registered in October, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute,
relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center. Despite
the drop from the previous month, the November filings represented a 12%
increase over the 99,925 consumer filings in November 2008. Chapter 13
filings constituted 29% of all consumer cases in November, unchanged
from the October rate. According to the Administrative Office of the
U.S. Courts, total filings in the second quarter of this year hit
381,073, compared to 330,477 for the first quarter and 276,510 one-year
ago. Bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending June 30th, were
up 35% over bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending June 30th,
2008. Consumer filings for the 12-month period ending June 30th, totaled
1,251,294, up 34% from the same period one-year ago. (CF Library 8/27/09)

BANKRUPTCY FILINGS
Nov 08: 99,925
Dec 08: 84,926
Jan 09: 88,773
Feb 09: 98,344
Mar 09: 121,413
Apr 09: 125,618
May 09: 124,838
Jun 09: 116,345
Jul 09: 126,434
Aug 09: 119,874
Sep 09: 124,790
Oct 09: 135,913
Nov 09: 112,152
Source: ABI/NBKRC; CardData.com

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Equifax Launches Debt Wise for Consumers

Equifax has launched “Debt Wise” which uses information from
the “Equifax Credit Report” to enable consumers to create a plan for
paying off their debt faster. The average subscriber can save over $30,000 in
interest and get out of debt 15 years quicker by following their Fast
Pay Plan. For less than $.50 per day, Debt Wise subscribers can create a personal
debt payment plan online in as little as 10 minutes, in the privacy and
comfort of their own home and receive access to highly rated, user
ranked features like “Monthly Progress Alerts” that help subscribers know if they are on
or off plan and when an account is paid off; “Credit Monitoring” and alerts within 24 hours of key changes to
their Equifax credit file; “Fast Pay Plan Wizard” that makes setting up a plan simple,
straightforward and flexible by automatically importing debts from the
“Equifax Credit Report” and enabling subscribers to decide which debts to
include in their payment plan; 4 FICO Scores every 12 months so subscribers can check their
credit score, as it may change over time; “Commitment Calculator” tool to simulate how paying additional
amounts towards debts could accelerate one’s debt freedom date; “Spend Smart Tools” that provide ideas on ways to save money and
spend wisely and “Identity Theft Insurance” of up to $25,000 with no deductible.

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CardinalCommerce Names a New Development Exec

Payment enabler CardinalCommerce has hired Charles Vojtas, previously with
Footlocker.com/Eastbay, as its VP of Design and Development.
Vojtas brings over 13 years of Information Technology experience
and expertise and has held key positions including Manager of Corporate
Development and Director, Development at Footlocker.com/Eastbay. His
hands-on experience within the eCommerce retail world in design and
development, quality control, mobile commerce implementations and
overall eCommerce strategy have allowed him to successfully establish a
proven track record of success in the direct to consumer marketplace.
Vojtas will be responsible for managing the ongoing development of
Cardinal’s product suite including: Cardinal Centinel, the worldwide
leading technology which enables over 25 eCommerce payment brands
through one integration; Cardinal MAX, the mobile platform allowing
merchants to expand into mobile commerce, banking, marketing, and
payments; and 2IDENTIFI, authentication solutions for financial
institutions.

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Debit Cards Rule Black Friday Sales Volume

New data show that overall transactions rose on “Black Friday” and that debit is outpacing all other payment types. Total transactions increased by 7.9% compared to 2008. According to First Data’s “SpendTrend” transaction data same store sales volume increased 4.8% led by solid growth among value merchants. Credit and signature debit rose 2.5%, while PIN debit increased 7.6% over last year. First Data recently released its “Holiday Gift Card Performance Report” comparing gift card sales for the week ending November 29th. The total dollar value of gift cards activated Friday grew 17.8% and the number of cards activated grew 9.8%.

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TRAVELEX PREPAID

The 2009 Prepaid Awards have recognized Travelex as “Best International
Prepaid Program” for its “Cash Passport” and “Best Corporate Prepaid
Program” for its “Airline Compensation” programs for the first time.
“Cash Passport” allows users to withdraw money from ATMs or be used to
purchase goods and services in any retailer that accepts Debit
MasterCard with balance protection. Meanwhile, the “Airline Compensation
Program” is being used by such airlines as British Airways, Cathay
Pacific and Finnair for compensation purposes in the event of cancelled
flights, lost luggage, etc. Cash Passport is now being used to
compensate 200,000 airline passengers around the world annually while
Travelex has developed product technology to support up to 70 million
annual payments.

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Fidelity ATM Fraudsters Face Big Jail Time

The U.S Attorney’s Office announced that two Florida men were found
guilty of ATM fraud.
Defendants Andrew Steinberg of West Palm Beach, was found guilty of one
count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud, and four counts of wire
fraud.
Stephen Duffie of Miramar, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy
and one count of mail fraud.
According to the evidence at trial, the defendants operated
Fidelity ATM, which operated out of offices in Boynton Beach and Delray
Beach from 2004-2006. Fidelity ATM has no relationship to Fidelity
Investments.
The business closed in November 2006 after being
sued in a civil case by the Federal Trade Commission. Approximately 110
victims across the United States were defrauded of $4.2 million.
Fidelity ATM sold a $30,000 “package” that was supposed to include three
ATMs, high-traffic locations for the ATMs,
and ongoing customer service. However, as shown during trial, Steinberg
and Duffie misrepresented the purchasers’ likely profits, misrepresented
the location services that Fidelity ATM would provide, and used fake
references. The evidence showed that Steinberg and Duffie
arranged for employees and friends to pose as successful Fidelity ATM
customers during sales calls with future potential purchasers.

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CELENT RESEARCH

MA-based Celent research and advisory firm has launched its new research
service to exclusively focus on the Indian financial services space and
deliver the latest insights around the business dynamics, operational
practices, regulatory evolution and technological underpinnings within
said market. The service will cover overviews on the market size and
areas of opportunity; how to understand regulatory issues affecting
India; advances in foreign and domestic financial institutions’
strategies; identifying growth strategies and target niches; aligning
technology solutions vendors with local business requirements; and
leveraging technology to reach the vast underserved rural market. In
doing so, the Celent service is most concerned with Cost Efficiency in
Indian Banking; risk management; payments; insurance; capital markets;
and financial instrument distribution challenges. Celent’s research and
advisory service helps financial institutions stay abreast of industry
trends, analyze and seize opportunities.

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Economic Confidence Sinks Among the Affluent

A monthly tracking poll reveals that upper-income consumers are now showing the biggest decline in economic confidence. Overall, 59% of consumers rated the economy as poor, a 3-point increase from October.
The Discover “U.S. Spending Monitor” was flat in November, rising only a half point to 86.3 as a majority of consumers continued to be pessimistic about the economy and their personal finances. The number of consumers who rate their finances as fair or poor was unchanged from October at 66%. Forty-nine percent of consumers felt their finances were getting worse, also unchanged from October. For the first time since July, a majority of upper-income consumers currently rate the economy as poor, 55%. This was an 8-point jump from October and the biggest increase from this income group the Monitor has reported since September 2008. There was also a 5-point increase to 42% in the number of upper-income consumers who felt the economy was getting worse, the highest number reported since June. Discover noted that November marked the first time in 26 years the unemployment rate reached double digits and while some economic reports have stated the economy is getting better, a majority of upper-income consumers tend to disagree.

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ADCB & CYVEILLANCE

Cyveillance cyber intelligence has partnered with Abu Dhabi Commercial
Bank (ADCB) full service bank, among the largest ATM networks in the
UAE, to integrate its enterprise solutions for protecting bank customer
information. ADCB chose Cyveillance for its proven Internet security
solutions offering the necessities to protect data with a proactive
approach. ADCB intends to leverage industry-leading information to
identify cyber threats, providing protection from threats both inside
and outside the bank’s network, and will be provided a more
comprehensive view of its online presence through brand-related
intelligence reports that focus on online brand protection. ADCB
commercial bank products and services include retail banking, wealth
management, private banking, corporate banking and Islamic products.

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