AMEX & WMF

World Monuments Fund (WMF) and American Express have teamed up with the
National Forestry Corporation of Chile (CONAF) to develop a sustainable
visitor reception center on Easter Island in Chile as part of the
Sustainable Tourism Initiative. With construction scheduled to begin
early in 2010, the Centro de Recepción de Visitantes de la Aldea
Ceremonial de Orongo will be funded with the US$200,000 grant from AmEx
& WMF. Severely impacted by increasing numbers of tourists each year,
Orongo has been the focus of an intensive conservation and interpretive
program supported by WMF and American Express since 2001. The visitor
reception center at Orongo integrates the existing facilities: the core
of the new building is the old warden station, and much of the original
structure will be retained, with construction materials to be recycled
and incorporated into the new building, which will be powered by solar
and wind energy.

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ReD Reports Cyber Monday Online Sales Soar 35%

Retail Decisions estimates that U.S. online retail spend reached $2.2 billion on “Cyber Monday,” up 35% year-on-year, but paling in comparison to “Black Friday” online sales that rose 52% to $3.1 billion. Total combined spend for the two days is now estimated at a massive $5.3 billion for a 47% total Y/Y increase, a good indication of consumers’ renewed confidence in the economy. Over $147 million was spent in just one hour between 1 and 2pm. The top 10 performing consumer products online include the TomTom GPS Navigation System; Kodak Digital Camera; Nintendo Wii; Ice Age 3; Sony Digital Camera; Sansui 19″ LCD TV; Sony Bravia LCD TV; Ginii Digital Photo Frame; Playstation 3 120GB; and the Samsung Digital Camera. Among fraudsters, the most popular items included Virtual gift cards and gift cards; Xbox 360; Nintendo Wii; and the “Call of Duty” Xbox game.

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MY SURPRISE CARD

Bridgewater Bank and POSATEL INC have partnered to launch the “MY
SURPRISE CARD” MasterCard-branded, non-reloadable, prepaid gift card.
Available in denominations of $25, $50 and $100 from retailers across
Canada, the “MY SURPRISE CARD” will begin to appear in retail outlets
across Canada including regional and national gas, convenience, and
general merchandise chains just in time for the Holidays. Montreal-based
POSATEL INC POS systems provider will design, market and distribute the
gift cards to participating retail outlets and provide the electronic
system that is used to process card authorizations and purchases while
Calgary-based Bridgewater Bank will issue the prepayment cards,
establishing procedures, monitoring fraud, and coordinate the settlement
processes.

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Credit Card Retreat Promotes Cash is King

Cash is king when it comes to holiday wish lists this year, with 45% disclosing it would be used to contribute to daily expenses, including gas, groceries, and bills. Meanwhile, 52% of expect to send a gift to someone they will not be seeing in person this holiday season, for which 60% think shipping costs are too high; 69% are planning to give the gift of cash; and 79% would prefer to receive a universal branded gift card. Additional items from the Western Union global payments consumer survey show a majority of consumers were planning to skip Black Friday sales, discouraged by the crowds, during which time overall sales were below expectations. In response, Western Union is providing consumers with $50 for a $5 fee when sending the gift of cash through December 26th, offering consumers a convenient holiday shopping experience.

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VISA A/P Q2

Scotiabank has introduced two new mobile services, including its “Scotia
InfoAlerts” to notify customers via text message or e-mail of account
transactions. The other is an iPhone/iPod touch or Blackberry
application offering a GPS locator for Scotiabank branches and ABMs and
together are to offer full mobile banking services starting next spring.
Account information alerts for “Scotia InfoAlerts” include account
balances, Visa/Line of credit minimum payment due and specific Visa/LOC
balance reached while security-related alerts include payment card
transaction alerts, ABM withdrawal and deposit alerts and VISA use in a
foreign country at no cost. The GPS application also provides the user
branch hours.

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U.S. Credit Card Delinquency Surges Higher

One-year after the credit meltdown it appears credit card delinquency
is gaining momentum and setting the stage for record charge-offs for the
first and second quarters of 2010. The two-year old recession is taking
its toll as more Americans are running out of cushion in emergency
savings and home equity. Fitch’s latest “Credit Card Performance
Indexes,” which tracks the performance among most of the U.S. credit
card-backed bonds, shows late payments rising to their highest levels in
five months. Measured by Fitch’s 60+ day delinquency index, late
payments rose 19 basis points to 4.41% following a similar increase last
month. Early stage late payments increased for the month as well, with
30+ day delinquencies rising 21 bps. Late stage delinquencies are now
31% higher than year-earlier levels and just below the record high of
4.45% set this past June. However, Fitch’s “Credit Card Charge-off
Index” declined 66 bps to 10.09% in October, marking the third
consecutive improvement. Despite the improvement, charge-offs remains
55% above year-earlier levels. Fitch says consumer credit quality
remains under significant strain as a result of the persistent weakness
in the labor markets.

ABS 60+ DAY DELINQUENCY
Jan 09: 4.04%
Feb 09: 4.33%
Mar 09: 4.44%
Apr 09: 4.37%
May 09: 4.45%
Jun 09: 4.31%
Jul 09: 4.26%
Aug 09: 4.06%
Sep 09: 4.22%
Oct 09: 4.41%
Source: FitchRatings

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TRIVNET & COMVERSE

Trivnet transaction management platform for delivering secured Mobile
Financial Services (MFS) has increased its footprint in Latin America.
The beginning of a series of deployments, Trivnet has partnered with
Comverse to expand service with Telesur in Suriname to build a complete
Mobile Financial Services Distribution Network. Comverse has already
deployed Trivnet’s platform at Telesur in 2007 to provide airtime
recharge and P2P value transfer service. Trivnet provides a transaction
management platform to deliver a comprehensive suite of secured Mobile
Financial Services , providing Mobile Network Operators with services
that are proven to increase their subscriber base, enhance loyalty and
drive ARPU while Comverse software and systems enable value-added mobile
services.

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Blackhawk Network Drops Visa Gift Card Fees

Gift card provider Blackhawk Network has eliminated fees after purchase
for Visa Gift cards sold through the “Gift Card Mall” and
GiftCardMall.com. Effective immediately, all Visa Gift cards sold at Blackhawk Network’s
Gift Card Mall will not include monthly service fees or charges for lost
or stolen replacement cards. Consumers purchasing gift card products
with the Visa symbol sold through Gift Card Mall will now have even
greater benefits and cost savings by using the no fees after purchase
Visa Gift cards. Gift Card Mall is available to consumers through an exclusive retail
network of leading grocery, mass, convenience, drug and specialty
retailers as well as online at GiftCardMall.com. The network includes
over 350 prepaid cards reaching more than 165 million consumers each week.
“No fee after purchase” began November 30, 2009 and applies to new and
already purchased “The IDEAL Gift” VISA gift cards. See Visa® Gift Cards
Terms and Conditions for foreign transaction fee detail and other
non-fee terms and conditions, which remain in effect. The Ideal Gift
Visa Gift Card is issued by MetaBank pursuant to a license from Visa
U.S.A. Inc.

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SAFESIGN

Thales has introduced its “SafeSign Mobile Authentication” for strong
mobile device authentication for financial services and government. The
Thales solution protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and offers
the user secure banking anywhere, anytime on their own mobile device.
Developed in partnership with Salt Group, “SafeSign Mobile
Authentication” offers a choice of mobile authentication solutions for
secure log on, transaction signing and payment authorization on either
an SMS or Java-based platform. Mobile authentication represents a more
cost-effective security solution since there are no distribution costs,
is cheaper and simpler than setting up a public key infrastructure or
providing and managing specialised tokens.

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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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